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It's the old question--do you want fame or money?  Many "artists" of today
apparently keep their day jobs and go for fame by giving it away, thinking
fortune will follow.  Seems like it seldom does, and this has very little
to do with basic talent.  It's a recipe for a lousy pop music world, which
to my ancient ears is just what is happening.  Meanwhile any third-rate pop
artist from the past can sell out a hall today.   Thank goodness they are
there.

As for vinyl, it's a blip and a fad.  If it gets people listening who
otherwise wouldn't be, then fine, I like it, but we who ought to know
better mustn't kid ourselves.  As a format, vinyl is a dead one, and it
deserves to be.  Of course I'm not tossing out my record collection, but as
a person who restores old records in modern formats, I have no nostalgic,
romantic illusions about vinyl's supposed virtues.  If people are happy
listening to it, then be happy and go for it. But as "audio people" let's
not go fooling ourselves.

Best,
John Haley





On Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 9:09 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Interesting stats from Nielsen:
>
> http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/22/10816404/2015-album-sales-trends-vinyl-catalog-streaming
>
> Soundscan does not pick up the whole market, but the trends seem credible.
> Interesting that Adele fans are also vinyl fans in such a pronounced way. I
> wonder if the back-catalog trend was just a blip because so much of it is
> now in print either as downloads or physical media, just about every
> "golden age" audiophile favorite is not out in new-remaster vinyl, and what
> CDs are left in the pipeline are heavily discounted. But, that said, the
> market to create great new music is not really there -- artists make more
> just touring and releasing a song here and there via download or video
> streams. So why get in a studio and create great art? There was also an
> interesting interview in the latest issue of TapeOp magazine with the
> Minneapolis hip-hop collective Doomtree. One thing they said that stuck in
> my mind is that there is a penalty today for taking the time to write
> great, meaningful lyrics. The music-buying public wants catchy phrases and
> well-worn stereotype statements set to music, they want simple ditties, and
> simple sells.
>
> This report looks at unit sales for the first half of 2015:
>
> http://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/us-album-sales-fall-4-in-first-half-of-2015-as-cd-rules-market-just/
> The problem that isn't documented in unit sales is that copyright owners,
> artists and everyone else with a stake in making quality music get pennies
> on the dollar from these streaming services, and that's the main growth
> area as far as consumer uptake (yes, the vinyl niche is thriving, but it's
> a tiny niche compared to overall music sales, and does not produce enough
> revenue to float any artist or major copyright owner). I think it was very
> foolish for the record companies to surrender to streamers on the cheap.
> They should be charging royalties like radio, plus a download fee, and the
> streamers should be forced into a model where everyone who streams pays a
> monthly fee. Most of the streaming is freebie streaming, and that just
> doesn't produce enough revenue. If I were an artists, I'd say you get
> nothing for free streaming, and if I'm a hit-making artist I'd say you get
> nothing without paying me regular download fees.
>
> -- Tom Fine
>