Bono has always annoyed me anyway, but I’d be equally irritated if Elvis Costello or Shane MacGowan wrote something like this in the New York Times:
Caution! The only thing protecting the movie and TV industries from the fate that has befallen music and indeed the newspaper business is the size of the files. The immutable laws of bandwidth tell us we’re just a few years away from being able to download an entire season of “24” in 24 seconds. Many will expect to get it free.
A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us — and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.
We’re the post office, they tell us; who knows what’s in the brown-paper packages? But we know from America’s noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China’s ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it’s perfectly possible to track content. Perhaps movie moguls will succeed where musicians and their moguls have failed so far, and rally America to defend the most creative economy in the world, where music, film, TV and video games help to account for nearly 4 percent of gross domestic product. Note to self: Don’t get over-rewarded rock stars on this bully pulpit, or famous actors; find the next Cole Porter, if he/she hasn’t already left to write jingles.
Pirated MP3 files are equivalent to kiddie porn!
There’s also lots of problems with this on the facts. First off, the newspaper business isn’t in trouble becausing people are swapping its .html files, it’s in trouble because they don’t make as much money from online ads as they did from print ads. Then there’s this (from Ars Technica):
What we see, in fact, is box office receipts rising to record-setting levels over each of the last three years, even as bandwidth exploded and P2P hubs became even simpler to use. This isn’t a complete picture of the industry, but this one data point alone puts the lie to the idea that people simply won’t pay money for experiences and objects that they value.
When it comes to music, there are other key questions: Why are live concert revenues way up? What role has the shift to digital singles rather than full album sales played in the major label revenue decline? If piracy is such a problem that deputizing ISPs is needed, how is it that labels like EMI are actually growing their revenues?[….]
The music industry did attempt to “rally America” to defend its economic practices, and America wanted nothing to do with the mass lawsuits that the industry eventually had to halt. Is Bono seriously suggesting that the far more invasive practice of turning ISPs into wiretappers would somehow find public traction as a great idea necessary to defend Hollywood?
Bono’s idea to make Jonny Ive or Steve Jobs the “style fascist” of GM isn’t much better, IMHO.
I don’t think having celebrities write regular op-eds for major newspapers is a good idea. I don’t even think it works at the Huffington Post.
Come on. Those Deepak Chopra posts at the HuffPo are comedy gold.
Shane MacGowan? You think he can write? :)
I lost all respect for Bono when, after living tax-free in Ireland for decades (because they don’t tax artists), he moved his operation to the Netherlands for tax purposes after the Irish government put in a provision taxing artists who make googobs of money. This was at a time when he was encouraging people to lobby their governments to give more aid to Africa.
You think he can write?
He wrote “Sally MacLennane”.
Bono is a tool. Always has been.
This is perfect bullsh*t here. Where’s the graph? Where’s the data that proves ISP profits (which come from access to the entire internet, including netflix, iTunes store, and youtube) are all coming from the music biz? WTF Bono?
He could ask Mara Liasson to tell him wassup with the young black kidz.
Lyrics, DougJ, lyrics. He also wrote “Fairy Tale of New York,” but I wouldn’t put him behind a computer for an 800-word full on op-ed piece.
Name-checking Elvis and Shane in the same sentence as dissing Bono? I love you DougJ.
More than that, he wrote “A Pair of Brown Eyes.”
a few years ago, promoters discovered that people really will happily pay $100 to see their favorite bands.
Pirated MP3 files are equivalent to kiddie porn!
He did not say anything remotely like that.
Jesus, agree with the man or disagree with him, but don’t be mendacious dick about it.
The Grand Panjandrum
It’s all downhill after you’ve been the halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl. I just hope he finds what he’s looking for.
Even more hilariously, I once saw an interview with Bono back in the eighties. The music industry’s sworn enemy then was home taping, i.e. borrowing your friend’s new vinyl and making a cassette copy of it.
Bono told the interviewer “Home taping’s not killing the industry. Crap music is killing the industry.”
Oh well. I guess only selling a paltry 1 million copies of your latest CD will change your opinion.
He did not say anything remotely like that.
I think he is, he’s saying that pirated MP3 files should be monitored the same way kiddie porn is monitored.
Read what he said again. I think you will agree with me.
And I probably don’t have to mention that I am hearing more and more new artists than ever before thanks to myspace, pandora, limewire, bittorrent, etc.
It’s a great time for musicians. Not a great time for industry executives.
Closer to what I work on, his snippet about angiogenesis is super superficial. He’s not an expert, so he defers to… The Edge! (Who told Bono something is important because a researcher says that his research is important!) I work with five to ten different ideas that I could convince Mr. Edge are going to be medical revolutions- we keep working on them because we still don’t know, and we still don’t know about angiogenesis, it’s one possibility of many.
Intellectual property and piracy are so central to the entire existence of teh intertubes that it’s hard to believe anyone reading here doesn’t have a settled opinion… but whatevs… I’ll throw in my 2 cents.
I’ve generally been on the side of protecting IP, and I always pay for media I download… but over the years the absolute PITA that DRM has made for me has caused me to vow that I will not buy a single song that has it. I will only ever purchase MP3’s or equivalent. Labels like EMI realize that people, that aren’t 13, generally want to pay for songs, but want convenience… and hopefully will make a killing where the rest of the music industry is blind.
Yeah , I read this Sunday and couldn’t decide if he’s so uninformed about the music industry and the internet that he should have a guardian appointed or if he’s just another lying scumbag trying to prop up what I can only hope is a dying industry (selling plastic coated aluminum, not making music.)
Bands need to make 2 1/2 hour concert films like “The Song Remains the Same” and then IMAX the shit out of it. With lasers!
Bono can blow it out his ass.
If i download a song and like it, 9 times out of 10 i go and buy the album. That being said nothing is worse than going and paying 20 dollars for a CD (i remember cassette’s only cost 10) only to have most of it suck.
I can’t figure out which I enjoy the most. Your chat questions or your post titles.
Balloon-Juice is the sunshine of my life.
Safe Green Balloons
Not a great day for the Times. Between Bono’s op-ed and Deborah Solomon’s interview with John Yoo, this past Sunday’s issue was worse than usual.
These people couldn’t live off their Tape, Vinyl, CD , MP3, or whatever media sales even if there was 0% piracy. They live off their dayjobs and always have.
There are some who can make a livable wage from selling their TShirts and CD’s at their performances, but its not many.
When I hear music industry types complaining about piracy, I think about the story I read about what the new owners of EMI found when they took over the label in the recent past. The LA office alone was spending $20K per month on ‘flowers’. Which means, drugs. For whom, I don’t recall. Could have been for the suits, could have been for the musicians, could have been for radio station programmers.
I have little confidence that piracy is hurting the artists as much as it is hurting the greedheads who traditionally have both been the biggest exploiters of musicians as well as the people who are responsible for getting it completely wrong with regards to the market for digital downloads of music.
They were caught completely flat-footed and their primary response was and has been to use really egregious legal bullying of their customers to enforce their racket, which largely consists of coming up with new distribution technologies which allow them to keep re-selling back catalog, a tremendously profitable business when you think about it.
…here’s the story about the ‘flowers’ at EMI:
People may want to read the recent book “Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age” by Rolling Stone editor Steve Knopper. According to the book, Napster and other file sharing start-ups did make attempts to get the music industry involved in their companies, but the industry basically told them screw themselves. They thought CD sales were only going to continue going up and up and they wanted to keep riding that gravy train. Of course just the opposite happened and now the record industry is on it’s way to extinction. Really, it’s their own stupidity and greed that has put them in the position that they’re in today.
Most musicians in the didn’t make livable wages off their creative labor even before piracy. They almost always were making their money off of the physical act of playing music not from the songs they wrote.
First, I agree with Renato and Bono-circa’80s — crap music was killing and continues to kill the music industry.
Second, in the 90s, when CDs became dominant, they were relatively expensive and you could not buy a “single” anymore — I’m so old, I can remember how 45s were the gateway to buying albums. Even if a friend made you a cassette, if you liked the music, you tended to go out and buy the album (as well as concert tickets).
In the 90s, I can remember buying CDs because of one great song, only to discover the rest of the album was CRAP. This put me off buying CDs until I had heard more of them — ie, thru listening to someone else’s copy, first.
Once iTunes made singles available again, I went right back to my old music buying habits — buy a single, or two, or three… decide you like the artist enough to buy the whole album — and I usually still buy a CD if I like the music enough, not just the downloaded album.
I’m probably the average music (and movie) consumer, in the 40+ age range…
I realize young people are different — but my kids tend to follow my example.
Also — the movie industry needs to STOP with the stupid region coding crap! This only encourages people who travel (and ex-pats) to hack their DVD machines or buy illegal copies — because when you pay for a DVD in one region, but are trying to play it in your home in another region, or on a flight with your portable DVD — it really SUCKS to be told your movie has the wrong code and won’t play!!! Ditto when Grandma sends the latest DVD of a Pixar movie to the grandkids for xmas, only to be told you can’t play it in your region!!! Hello?? These are legally bought and paid for DVDs — they should play in a home player, period.
I’m proud to say that the last time I saw U2 was in 1983, when Bono was still keeping it real. He wore a T-shirt and fashionably ragged jeans (which he surely did not buy in that condition like you see today).
Today? Just another narcissistic rock star.
Bands need to make 2 1/2 hour concert films like “The Song Remains the Same” and then IMAX the shit out of it. With lasers!
You know, that’s not a bad idea.
@r€nato: No wonder the local florists here look so disreputable and operate out of alleyways.
Slightly OT – New wagering opportunity: How many days can the HuffingtonPost go without having a picture of Ariana on the main page (her own bloggish thing exempted)?
Or more concept albums a la ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘The Wall’, where hearing the whole thing is the experience.
@MBunge: It’s not that great a time for a lot of musicians who want to, you know, make money off their creative labor.
I think it’s more subtle than just this. Lots of artists give away their music, esp. new work, to generate support for touring. Other artists use file sharing as a way to generate or grow their fan base in the hopes of filling more seats, or to land a record deal. Certainly there are copyright holders that don’t want file sharing to dilute record sales, but banning all file sharing (as I understand Bono is advocating) will undoubtedly hurt many bands that have effectively used it as a promotional tool.
Before the piranhas learned the joy of the 360 contract, this is actually where most bands made their money. Even huge sellers don’t make dick from the labels. Read Courtney Love’s article where she does the math, and realise that things have gone way downhill for artists since then.
And now I’m off to deal with someone who thinks they’re a genius because they aren’t bright enough to use linux but can understand the brain deadness that is everything Apple. Grrrr.
@DougJ: Actually, Rush has cranked out a number of really good concert videos over the last number of years. The ‘Snakes and Arrows’ tour concert DVD was stunning. As was the “Rush in Rio” DVD. I would love to see one in IMAX.
Those artists need to produce quality concerts then. Bono is less an artist protecting his rights here than he is an industry hack.
“Newspaper stocks had a GREAT year in 2009. If you’d bought last Jan, would have 10x the money! Truth. http://j.mp/4Wqcew 11:17 PM Jan 4th from web Retweeted by 12 people
I don’t know what to make of it?
Further evidence of the continued cluelessness of music suits:
Their greed so completely made it impossible to come up with an easy way for people to purchase and download music legally, that Steve Jobs was able to step into the gap with the iTunes Music Store.
While the anger seems to have subsided, after iTMS took off in popularity, music suits – particularly at Universal – flamed Jobs for not paying them enough, not charging (gouging) customers enough and for using their content to leverage iPod sales.
It seems the music industry has finally adjusted to the existence of iTMS; nevertheless, they have nobody but themselves to blame for a small-ish computer company in Cupertino turning itself into a major player in their business almost overnight.
You mean like in the ’50s and ’60s when all those great blues and R&B artists were making a killing? /snark
Musicians – with the exception of the really big acts – have never made a great killing off their labor in terms of record sales. For an excellent example, see this blog post from a member of Too Much Joy who now works at Rhapsody.
I agree with Bono. We should all submit ourselves to Chinese-like tyranny and oversight so that “songwriters” can feed their kids. THEIR KIDS!!! You guys are so selfish.
I think he’s saying that if we possess the capability to monitor kiddie porn, why not use it for pirated music files?
It’s the new music artists’ choice to share; shouldn’t all artists have that same choice? And I don’t believe the executives suffer to the extent that the artists do.
No one’s creative efforts should be taken without their creator’s consent. That’s theft, period.
Define dent? I’m sure everyone has anecdotal evidence of having had a tape made of some album and never buying the original.
And how do you empirically prove every single illegally downloaded mp3 is a lost sale?
I’m not saying mp3 downloads are legal or moral, just their arguments are bad.
The record industry came up with a service to replace radio ( like Pandora, last.fm, slacker radio) that they didn’t try to force their crap down peoples throats people might start seeing them as sympathetic rather then evil empires they take great pleasure in screwing over.
I would add two things to your observation. The bands that are doing that are ones that came to prominence no later then the late 70 or maybe very very early 80s so are basically from rocks golden era, and they are not getting younger, and it just so happens that a bunch of them have run very long tours in the last few years (Springsteen, Joel, Genesis, McCartney, etc). When you look at the facts if concert revenues are up its not because new bands are developing that people want to see live and are willing to pay to do it.
Time to haul this out again:
Bono is an industry. A money-making industry regardless of political persuasion and/or ideology. And, yes, some of that is corporate, solely profit-based.
And as long as it’s positive cash flow for him, it’s worth media promotion.
For those that disagree, please provide some proof via independent sources that he hasn’t profited, in any way, from whatever ’cause’ he has publicly promoted.
As a working dj and person who has had his own radio local radio show (my part time gigs) for the past 5 years, I can honestly say that anyone lamenting the effects of piracy on the music industry is missing the forest for the trees.
What used to happen, where an artists would make a bunch of songs and then allow the music industry to package, market and parcel out for sale those songs for what could be considered obscene profits, is over. Done. Kaput.
The internet has severely undermined the role of gatekeeper once held my the record labels and their handmaidens; the music retailers.
What have witnessed since the advent of file sharing is two simultaneous phenomena.
1. Large scale piracy by end users who found it easier to steal music than to buy it. Not helping things was the decades of the music industry promising lower prices and never delivering and the pushing of crap music.
2. A democratization of music where the consumer and the artist can have a more direct relationship without dealing with the middle men in the record companies.
What has also happened is that because the record companies can’t depend on every artist selling millions of records, artists can no longer expect to get rich quick.
Those with the talent, endurance and commitment to go on tour, get in front of audiences, gradually build their respective fanbases and make a living as working musicians.
I have literally dozens of friend who do this. Sure they make about as much money as the manager of a Wendy’s franchise, but they are doing something they love and they don’t have actually manage a Wendy’s. Not a bad deal.
The old model is dead. Record companies will shrink, artists who lack the ability to tour will languish, and piracy will continue to be an unfortunate but manageable drag on the industry.
Welcome to the new world order.
I would also add that all these ancient acts are sucking up oxygen in the concert space that might go to newer artists who aren’t yet approaching medicare age.
I always pay for online music and movies. Everyone should.
But what Bono is suggesting is already more or less happening. If a content provider (HBO, etc.) finds someone illegally downloading their content, they inform the user’s service provider, who then sends a cease-and-desist letter. If the downloads continue, the service is discontinued.
Um, yeah. Point to a time in recorded music history when, you know, this has been the case.
I’ve dusted this chestnut off about 1,000 times, time to dust it off again:
15 years ago, my father was in the twighlight of his professional career, working for a major IT company. They hosted a seminar with the label heads, several movie executives, and other entertainment concerns (like Blockbuster, remember them?)
The gist of the meeting went a little something like this: “Have you heard of the internet? No, OK, have you heard of email? Well the internet is like email, which will greatly shake up the manner you distribute your product to the customer. We can help you anticipate this phase shift.”
RIAA/entertainment execs: “Where in this business model allows us to sell a disc of plastic (net cost $0.037 after royalties and manufacture) for $17.00, or charge our customers $4.50 for returning a plastic cassette at 12:01 pm rather than 11:59 am?”
“It doesn’t, in fact, this will eventually be a faster, easier way for your customers.”
“Not interested, we like our business practices.”
We all know what happens next.
Yes, that is my impression as well.
Technology changes business models. Always has. Always will. Bono wants special powers afforded to his business to negate the changing landscape. Presumably, he also wants the descendants of blacksmiths to be compensated by all those who adopted the horseless carriage for lost income.
Arts is one area where the idea of supply and demand kind of breaks down. Artists create, not necessarily for the financial reward, but because they can’t not create. Technology has also worked in their favor, allowing them access to the market that would have been denied by gatekeepers of old. I guess this is just a way to say that the demise of good music due to piracy has been vastly overrated.
The problem is Bono is stupid and he thinks that if we can “monitor” KP (I would really prefer we use a different word here) then we can monitor music pirating. He thinks its a switch no one has bothered to flick on.
EXCEPT, it takes a tremendous amount of resources to deter KP downloading (like devoting law enforcement to investigating and prosecuting those who do). There is a legitimate reason to devote the resources to stop it.
I, for one, don’t think we should devote that level of resources so Bono’s wealth is preserved.
Imagine if at the town hall meeting, some jackass stood up and said to the Chief of Police — “Well, I see my neighbors kids haven’t been kidnapped, so I don’t understand why you can’t stop someone from stealing my garden hose. Where are your priorities?”
James K. Polk, Esq.
We’ll make dealing with music piracy a priority when the copyright laws stop getting amended preventing music from entering the public domain.
@The Grand Panjandrum:
See, now this is what is so great about BJ. Come for the analysis, stay for the snark.
Thanks for reminding me of this:
Negativland’s notorious “U2”
“These guys are from England and who gives a shit! Diddly shit! Diddly shit!”
There is another big difference between music and video files.
I belong to legally questionable torrent download sites because I like to watch Canadian, Australian and New Zealand (places where I previously lived) television shows that are inaccessible to Americans.
American broadcasters generally don’t buy foreign programming (outside of PBS and BBC America buying some British shows) and DVDs of foreign shows are unplayable on U.S. DVD players unless they have been [illegally] hacked and made “region free”. Even computer DVD drives are matched to a region which is meant to deny people access to any DVD outside of that region.
There are many ex-pats, people who want to learn foreign languages or people with an interest in a particular country who are denied legitimate ways to access this content. There are people in places like New Zealand or Argentina who often have to wait several weeks for American movies or months/years for U.S. TV shows to be released there, yet they will hear about them on message boards or newspapers and want to see them right away.
The TV networks and Hollywood studios have exerted control over video distribution in a way it has never done for music. They have put so many onerous controls on the legitimate distribution of movies and TV shows that people feel forced to turn to illegitimate means.
Until this stranglehold changes the need will always be there. I’d be more than happy to pay a dollar or two per episode of New Zealand’s current season of “Outrageous Fortune”, but there is no legitimate way to do that. So I download from legally questionable sites. I just try to do it ethically, only downloading content that I can’t buy.
DJ Shadow recently posted a rant about this sort of thing, minus the kiddie porn bullcrap. I mostly agree with Shadow, though, especially this part:
But then again, ever since Napster first became an issue, I’ve been pretty derisive of the Underpants Gnome model professed by the “I demand to be able to get any music I want for free!” crowd.
I don’t know, DougJ. You write post after post wondering, why the media is always so slanted, biased and wrong, and then you pop out this:
“…the newspaper business isn’t in trouble becausing people are swapping its .html files, it’s in trouble because they don’t make as much money from online ads as they did from print ads.”
I’d say the big corporate newspapers are in trouble because they are NO LONGER NEWS. They shill for the Right. They print propaganda. You really should read your own posts sometime.
Want a topic? Explore what’s going on in Iceland. The population is protesting being bound down under the banksters’ debt, complete with IMF and British/Dutch government threats that Iceland’s citizens had better accept their new servitude and pay up. That’s coming here if it works.
Just let celebrities write, it will be okay. You know, free speech and all that. The only people who have unbearable grievances against celebrities speaking their opinions are Right-wingers. And that isn’t you … correct?
If Bono really cares about fledgling artists, he can take a nickel from his giant pile o’ money and help a starving artist. Fuck him. And U2 sucks. Also.
These days I mostly listen to Pandora and podcasts (Roots Rock Radio). If I hear something I like, I get it off of iTunes. Typically, the music I like to purchase isn’t readily available on the basic file sharing services anyway. And some versions of songs are only available on file-sharing services AFAIK.
I’m sympathetic to people making a buck on their creativity, but the music industry only made obscene amounts of money because they had a very controllable distribution system for a relatively short time. Before the ’30s, if you wanted to hear music, you went to a dance hall and listened to a band (or played at home). Now, it’s similar, I listen to a song and if I like the artist, if it transcends a simply catchy jingle, I buy the MP3 song/album and make plans to see the artist on tour. Otherwise, I support my local artists on a Friday or Saturday night.
The business model for making a buck on music ain’t going to last. And it definitely won’t last trying to persuade me to spend another $20 on something I’ve already purchased before. Start from the assumption that content has been artificially overpriced for the last 50 years and the direction in which the music industry is heading makes much more sense.
That sums it up nicely. Bono is defending the model he succeeded under and that he’s familiar with. For alternate models like jh is describing see Nina Paley’s movie Sita Sings the Blues, for which she made not just the animated movie available for free download, viewing, and copying, but also the source files for the animation.
Also Lawrence Lessig and his writings on Free Culture are worth reading.
that was awesome.
Rock stars share one thing in common with elected political officials (as do movie stars). Their entourage is usually packed full of sycophants willing to tell them how beautiful/brilliant they are. The swelled head syndrome is a natural outcome.
Trust me–I observed this up close and personal, watching the ex’s head swell after he was first elected ten years ago. In part, it’s also due to the MSM failing to call out the idiots on their idiocy because they are so into the cult of personality.
Nonsense. Everyone knows that the lost revenues are the result of a declining number of pirates.
As a fan of ska-ish bands like Rustic Overtones and State Radio, Bono can kiss my ass. I buy their music despite the fact that coke-snorting LA taste mavens would rather me be listening to Matchbox 20.
Artificial scarcity in media is dead. Cope.
Plus ça change: Wire, ‘Go Ahead’ (1979).
U2 – The Early Years
This I doubt. In the past year, I’ve seen everything from heritage acts (Ray Davies and Paul McCartney) to acts from the past few decades (Wilco, Sonic Youth) to new bands (Girls, The Walkmen, Band of Horses), so I’ve spent some time watching a different mix of shows, as far as age goes. The fact of the matter is that old acts and new acts usually play different venues and for different aged crowds. While some of the older acts may have a younger fanbase and thus some crossover, the newer acts were pretty much stocked with young’uns, my old ass not-withstanding. I think that while a McCartney show in a city followed by a Springsteen show may affect each other in economic terms, I seriously doubt that the McCartney tour is poaching a significant number of concert attendees away from Girls or some newer band.
Indeed. Not every profession comes with opportunities for its practitioners to ‘make it big.’ It was just a matter of chance that, for a window of several decades, persons who made music for a living were able to (a) engage in mass distribution of their product, (b) find a market for it, and (c) control the distribution, all at the same time. The same wasn’t true for sculptors or statisticians or vocational guidance counselors or most other professionals, craftspersons, or whatever.
Bono doesn’t explain why it’s important to preserve the fluky good fortune of one particular profession relative to the rest of us. That’s probably because there really is no good reason to do so.
Wut?? So the fear is that someone might expect to watch a show for free that is broadcast weekly over the airwaves for free?? The horror!!
The problem today is that there is too much music and too much music that sucks. Maybe if there is less money to go around, we can cull some of the crappy musicians. What Bono sees as a problem might actually be a plus. The punk DIY “ethic” was a bad idea from the beginning. Let’s let the people who are really good at it make the discs. The rest of the wankers can go home and try to develop their craft to higher standards.
I’m sitting at my day job wishing more people would “steal” my music. That would mean more people were hearing it. My band has been played on the radio, showcased at festivals like CMJ, even been on the early round of the Grammy ballot and the thought of making any money from it is laughable. It’s not really about that for a local band, but I really would like to know who these “young, fledgling songwriters” are who would be able to make a living off of record sales if it weren’t for the evil pirates.
Side note: if anyone reading this is within throat-punching distance of Bono, I’d happily buy you your choice of beer next time you’re in L.A.
I still think the future is a service like oink that has legal downloads and costs $10/month to use. Unlimited downloads for a certain price a month is the way to go.
eh, no. he’s saying that if ISPs have the technology to track kiddie porn then they do have the technology to track illegal downloads. that is true. that is not saying that the two are morally equivilent.
Death Panel Truck
Small scale compared to today’s file sharing. Back then, you had to have a modicum of technical skill (i.e., knowing how to use a cassette deck to make a good-sounding tape, knowing which tapes to use, etc.) Most people didn’t know how to do it, so they relied on others. I wish I had a dollar for every tape I made for friends on my Akai GXC-570D (the best deck Akai made in the 70s – glass heads guaranteed for life. I still have it, and it sounded great the last time I used it in 2007).
But today, file sharing requires no technical skill at all. A few clicks of a mouse and you own a song, whether paid for or not. Making a tape is time-consuming work. File sharing is instant. They’re not comparable.
I’d add emusic.com, which has a limited number of downloads based on a flat fee, and they’re all mp3. Lots of good artists. They used to be unlimited downloads for a set fee, but they couldn’t get any major labels to go along with them. Still, it’s a pretty good deal – better than iTunes.
Bono Bono sounds frighteningly like Sonny Bono here.
@MBunge: Only a tiny handful of musicians, under the system Bono is defending, ever did make money. The music industry has never been good to the small musician, ever. Not artistically, certainly, and not economically. If they cared so damn much why have they spent decades using payola and false checkout scans to artificially force their monopoly crap through the distribution channels and into the top ten? Why do they write contracts that bankrupt their musicians?
Nothing wrong per se with celebrities writing op-ed’s, provided only they know what the fuck they’re talking about.
I’d say the big corporate newspapers are in trouble because they are NO LONGER NEWS. They shill for the Right. They print propaganda. You really should read your own posts sometime.
Believe it or not, as critical as I am of the big newspapers, I think they are losing money because online ads aren’t that lucrative, not because they suck. Also, I don’t think the newsrooms suck that much, it’s more the editorial pages that bug me.
I find it amusing the number of people who think that because music sales weren’t automatically a financial bonanza for musicians in the past, it justifies removing that economic option.
If someone creates X, you are not entitled to enjoy X unless you pay for it. That does not excuse of justify the incredible greed and stupidity of record companies, nor does it require anyone to pay more than they want to pay. But mass consumption of someone else’s labor with out equally mass compensation is nothing but exploitation. And yes, there are some people who will gladly allow themselves to be exploited (at least for a while) and, yes, exploitation still applies to rich folks.
I’ve never done emusic, but I have done the new Napster on a subscription basis, and the key to what you mention is MP3’s. If it’s DRM based, you’re going to need to be logged in to refresh your usage rights or songs won’t play… and you have to pay more if you want them on your phone too… and if you cancel your subscription the music isn’t yours anymore. It’s such a hassle that I just have no interest in any service like that if it isn’t MP3 based.
“The music industry has never been good to the small musician, ever.”
Yeah, and people who demand to enjoy their music for free are so much better.
Since you can never have enough Negativland references: It’s ponderous man. Fuckin’ ponderous.
Also, Shane MacGowan would never write shit like that…although he did once take a shot at some of the other Pogues for insisting on writing songs for later Pogues albums once they realized that Shane was getting all the publishing royalties. He excepted “Thousands Are Sailing,” with the caveat that Brendan Behan would not have danced up and down the street.
Fuck Snuggles. Also.
File-sharing and the internet have empowered an entire generation of music fans to abandon the music industry as the “gateway” between what artists are making and what big studios deem appropriate for consumption. This is terrifying to rock stars like Bono whose fortunes and image as a “serious artiste” are dependent on major label monopolies.
Without the internet and the instant reach that file-sharing provides, popular bands like Deerhunter and Grizzly Bear would have spent about two years making music in their basement before dissolving to get real jobs. While these artists certainly aren’t rich now, they are able to make a decent living doing what what they want apart from corporate control.
I’d also love for Bono to tell us how much of this $675,000 is going to the artists whose songs were downloaded. 30 songs.
Also, too: Dick Dale said it better than I ever could.
That’s napster, which is a STUPID model. Emusic doesn’t work that way. I’ve dropped the subscription a couple of times, and all of my mp3s still play.
I don’t get that from reading the responses here. I think people are saying that most bands benefit economically from the exposure they get with file sharing. Anecdotally, I think that’s true – I have paid for concerts and iTunes downloads from bands I never would have discovered were it not for file sharing.
It’s hard to know exactly what the music industry is fighting. Neither piracy nor the end of artificial scarcity (read: CDs in a store and the same 30 songs in a loop on the radio) benefit their old business model. I sympathize with the views on piracy to some degree, but it’s so tightly coupled with their interest in artificial scarcity that I don’t care one way or another.
It seems to me that the big losers are the pop mavens who used to decide what we listen to. There are algorithms that cater to us as individuals today. We’ll always have artists… the big bands are not much worse off than they were before (if at all), and the smaller bands and consumers are arguably much better off.
Spot fucking on. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation, or a minor variation of it thereof.
DOWNLOADER: Fuck the record labels! All they do is rip off artists!
ME: Agreed. So what do you think should be done about it?
DLER: I’m not giving them any more money–I’m gonna download all my music.
ME: So instead of record labels underpaying artists for their music, you want to just take that music for free, giving the artist nothing.
I find your strawman somewhat tiresome. Nobody is making the argument that artists shouldn’t benefit from the fruits of their labor. The point is that artists were never really the ones benefitting from the fruits of their labor. And the economic options are more available NOW for smaller-scale artists than they ever were under the major label system as it existed previously.
Sharecropping (which is basically what the major labels have always practiced, or indentured servitude) is not a great “economic option.”
And fwiw, I pay for every song I download, and streaming services have caused me to buy more music from more bands than I ever would have from listening to FM radio in the 80s and 90s. Ditto concerts, t-shirts, etc.
I pay for NetFlix as well.
I’d pay for more sports streaming as well if the monopolies who controlled that franchise would pull their heads out of their asses and make it available without a cable/satellite subscription.
The fact that there is something wrong with the news business doesn’t mean that wrongness is the reason behind their troubles.
Yes, assaulting nad murdering folks to keep his criminal enterprise running made Capone a bad person. However it was taxes that brought Capone down.
Perhaps if the news business was better they’d have better adoption and therefor better ad revenues. But the fact that there are non-newspaper advertising options for businesses and the lower online revenues for ads is the crux of their problem. It was never quality that allowed newspapers to make the money they did, it was the market. They thrived when they were odious in other ways long ago, such as when they worked to thwart women’s sufferage, but they were still profitable then.
Nice strawman. Next time try reading the comments, asshat.
@Don: Exactly. If online ad revenues are what’s killing newspapers, why in the hell is google’s stock price at $597 today? That is their SOLE revenue stream.
@arguingwithsignposts: Yeah, that’s what I meant. Napster = stupid, MP3’s (emusic) = promising.
How does having your work get taken for free work out to be better for you than being underpaid for said work?
If online ad revenues are what’s killing newspapers, why in the hell is google’s stock price at $597 today?
Probably for a similar reason that gold miners never made as much money as the people selling them shovels and gingham did.
The Moar You Know
Another horsewhip and buggy maker whining about them newfangled cars.
Times have changed, Bono. Adapt or die. Recorded music and fat budgets to make it are over with. If you want to make money as a musician, play more concerts.
People will pay money to see bands live. People will not pay money for recorded music. Fuck, figure it out. I did.
Oh, boo-hoo! People are having a marginally harder time becoming obscenely wealthy from their leisure activity. There’s a reason using an instrument is called “playing” and not “working”.
Pirated music can never reach the level of fraud perpetrated on performers and songwriters by the music industry executives. Jackie Wilson, Little Richard and others were being gamed out of their profits long before some teenage college dweeb invented Napster. That is all.
Bingo. It’s funny how the needle always swings in the IP holder’s direction and never the consumer, who has his or her own rights.
Underpaid is a subjective term, free is not.
@Morbo: I can’t figure out how the judge lets them get away with this. If a “play as much as you want” subscription service costs $15/month. How in the hell can they extract more than some small multiple of that from someone? GAH.
@SLKRR: A show with product placements ads embedded in it, no less.
1) Revenue that used to be going exclusively to newspapers is now being shared with Google. That’s obviously bad for the newspapers and good for Google.
2) Google has a much bigger share of the market than any newspaper ever did. The papers had a strong share of their local market, but none of them ever had a substantial share of the national market, much less the global one. Google has its finger in over 50% of global on-line advertising. That gives it a much broader revenue base than the newspapers ever did, even at their peak. So even if overall revenue has declined, Google can do very well by taking such a huge share of it.
Blame black musicians of the 1940s-50s, they brought theft into the industry.
I don’t even think it works at the Huffington Post.
A-men, brother! It’s one reason I stopped reading that site, unless something compelling comes up on it and it’s pointed out from another source.
The major problem for the music industry in the Nulls (2000-2009) was that they went from $15 CDs with 3 good songs to 3x$1.29 iTunes singles. There was no real way to make the digital revenue make up for the CD revenue without charging $3-4 per song, which obviously wouldn’t fly. At dollar-singles, they’d need a 10x boost in sales to bridge that gap.
This is not a problem the movie industry shares. Even if iTunes totally cannibalizes DVD sales, you go from $15 DVDs to $10-$15 downloads – not a huge loss. Netflix is probably a wash relative to movie rental stores. Home theaters eat into Theater sales, but DVD is where the money is. So while all-digital conversion cuts music revenues by 80%, it only hits movie revenues to the tune of 20%.
TV is in the same boat as music. Hulu makes pennies on the dollar relative to live-TV viewings, and at $1.99 an episode, iTunes cannibalizes box sets more than live-viewing.
I suspect the problem is that customers are indeed used to getting free TV and free music. I can turn on the radio for free, and most TV is either free OTA or paid for on a monthly basis. That’s not a justification for piracy, but it explains why people are less used to the idea of $2+ songs/episodes than they are to $15 movies online.
Exactly. “Underpaid” entails, you know, money. Not as much as one might feel one deserves, but money nonetheless. Free entails no money. So you agree with me, then? Or do you believe that giving an artist no money is superior to giving an artist some money?
Not sure anyone was making the argument that that was the case. And for piracy to be the main causal factor behind declining record sales (which by the way were declining prior to P2P), you have to make a 1:1 correlation in which a downloaded song = a lost sale. That seems pretty obviously not the case.
Piracy is wrong, but file-sharing enables many smaller artists to have direct access to their fans without going through the gate-keepers that are the major record labels. The new technology certainly is a trade off, but to simply paint it as an alloyed negative seems to be missing a big part of the picture.
@cyntax: Exactly. There are obviously ethical problems with file-sharing as it exists, but it has also been unquestionably beneficial to smaller artists. The question is how you can recreate that access and freedom at a reasonable price.
To this end, it seems obvious to me that the future of the music industry will be Netflix-style subscription services where you can instantly stream high-def content from an expansive online library. CDs are deader than wax cylinders. Services like EMusic and Lala are moving in this direction but they still have problems in terms of file quality and the depth of their respective libraries.
At the same time, it’s also the case that, as you note, the people doing most of the file sharing are college kids without any money anyway.
Find me a quote that says this, or stop having arguments with yourself and start engaging in what people are actually saying. Just because we’ve all had this discussion a million times doesn’t mean you can bring up arguments you’ve heard from a 13 year old and pretend like it’s a consensus view in this thread.
@MBunge: “The music industry has never been good to the small musician, ever.”
Yeah, and people who demand to enjoy their music for free are so much better.
Since you are going miles out of your way to miss the point, this is probably hopeless…
The music industry cannot morally use the small musician as a shield against the march of technology, because they have never in their storied history had the small musician’s best interests at heart. Ever. If the record industry is jabbering about what’s good for musicians, trust that it’s bullshit, and they are pushing some other agenda. They lost the right to claim this high ground, is basically the point. You have run off into snarking some stupid “thieves are heros” bs that isn’t present in any of the arguments in this thread.
When I can buy a CD released last month for $5 just like I can with last month’s DVD’s then I’ll be happy, and will stop resenting the record companies. The Movie compnies have used technology that is cheaper to produce (DVD vs. VHS) to drive down the price of their product and make it a no-brainer to pick up a copy of whatever movie you want. The record companies have continued to jack up their prices and inflate the profit margins on a dwindling number of sales, then scream when we push back. If the customers don’t want to pay $16 for a CD, that only has 3 songs that we’re interested in hearing or owning, then drop the price to meet the market or break up the record into pieces that people will buy.
The Customer is always right.
Statutory damages. By the nature of peer-to-peer file sharing, people who download music also making it available for other people to copy. That makes them active pirates rather than passive recipients of pirated goods. Since it’s difficult to prove how many times the song has been downloaded from a given file sharer, the copyright holder can try to claim statutory damages. Those can go up to $150,000 per song if they can prove willful infringement.
Here is a question.
I can record off a radio station that I listen to for free. Now, supposedly, they’ve paid for their copy of whatever song it is that I’m listening to. I can take that recording, convert it into MP4 format, and drop it in iTunes, and it’s nearly indistinguishable from buying it OR stealing it.
Which is more important to the artist: The nickel they may have lost in me buying it seperately, or the free exposure they get when I play that song for my friends and relatives?
And if it’s a band that you can’t find in your local record store, which is more important, the nickel for that track or the possiblity that I’ll go to their website and buy their album?
These aren’t hard questions, by the way, and the vast majority of my music is purchased. (Most of the unpurchased is stuff that will never be available for sale – live tracks, artists/bands who no longer exist, etc.) But how else will a band like Great Northern, which is almost exclusively Left Coast and further gets next to zero airplay even on internet radio get to my ears, so that I can buy both their albums and their EP and see them live?
So your points are:
1. Music shouldn’t be a profession, it should only be pursued by hobbyists with day jobs.
2a. There is nothing between zero and obscenely wealthy.
2b. Everybody who does try to pursue music as a full-time profession is obscenely wealthy.
I’m afraid I disagree on both points.
As a corollary to your statement, can we assume that professional athletics (tennis PLAYERs for instance) should be abolished?
By the way, “playing” an instrument is an English expression. In Spanish for instance, the verb is “tocar” which also means “to touch”. So would you conclude that it’s OK to be a professional musician if you are a Spanish speaker, just not an English speaker? Or what?
There’s a really good crime fiction writer from N Ireland named Adrian McKinty who totally has a thing against his fellow countryman, Bono. His fiction writing is killer. His blog posts are super double triple killer.
Check out these posts on the U2 frontman here:
Just out of curiosity, how much more are you willing to pay for an ISP that dedicates sufficient resources to policing P2P traffic? How much are you personally willing to pay to prevent IP theft?
It’s simple. If you don’t suck (suck being subjective), people will come see you play. When they come see you play, they’ll buy overpriced t-shirts, hoodies, and your CD’s. If you do suck, you sit in the basement complaining about file-sharing.
@toujoursdan: I can’t even count how many Japanese and K-dramas my friends watch, I’ve seen some myself and they’re quite good– no way to watch them legally. Hulu’s brought over some anime, which is cool, but it’s too small a market to have a big, busy legal presence (having said that, some are available through Netflix).
As somebody who makes their living in the entertainment business, I will say Bono is being a bit over the top but the threat is real. Look at music, people are putting releases (all types) up the day it’s released! What I do not understand is the mentality that if it’s good enough to be downloaded and listened to then it’s good enough to be purchased. If somebody is REALLY taking free music for evaluation reasons, fine. If they don’t like it I’d hope they’d delete the files (why keep something you didn’t like?). If they do indeed enjoy the content, buy it.
The problem is, many people just take the files and never support the artist and the people who invested in the recording at all. People do not realize that to produce a music recording it involves a lot of investment…the artist’s time and effort, recording costs, marketing. The business is wising up and working with artists on 360 deals where labels get to invest fully into an artist and get a share of tour packages, merchandise, licensing and publishing.
The movie business is a tougher animal. Say what you will about any film but it’s still an artform that needs patronage to survive. Music recordings can still be made rather cheaply but a movie is something where a movie like Avatar will not exist in the future if more and more people take it for free. Why should a producer invest millions into a production for freeloaders to take it for nothing?
I am all for Internet freedoms but there needs to be lines in the sand. Taking a movie file or music is no different than walking into a store and taking something without paying. Give me grief for this, but how would you like it if somebody took something of yours for free with a vague promise of evaluating it for a POSSIBLE purchase? I am quite sure many of you would not like that at all. What I advocate is making sure there is a system in place that allows artists, producers and investors to get a shot at making back their investments if people like their works.
This idea that music and movies should be free is ridiculous and will not crash the giant media companies. Sharing media will basically put the independently owned risk takers like Lionsgate or labels that sign interesting artists into the trash while major media companies will only keep cranking out low risk crap with the argument nobody wants to pay to see interesting little movies anymore. They may have a point if this continues, sadly.
@MichaelR: I’m not taking sides on this, but one cannot prove a negative. (I cannot prove I didn’t make money supporting my local charities for instance…) Do you have proof from independent sources that he has made a profit off of his causes?
Well, the post immediately following yours says this:
And a quick scan of this thread brings these quotes:
So yeah, in this thread–and in pretty much every other conversation about this–the argument that “labels haven’t been good to musicians, so that justifies me grabbing music for free” gets trotted out in some form or another.
Since I’m about to get attacked as some sort of label-loving lackey, let me state clearly and for the record: I think the music industry fuckin’ sucks, and I think it needs a massive overhaul in how it does business with artists and in how it does business with consumers. But to offer up free file sharing as a solution is to offer up a solution that’s worse than the problem.
The Moar You Know
@jrg: Not to mention how on earth are you going to sort out Bono’s
shitsupposedly still-relevant music from a guy like me who now is giving away his back catalog because the record company deems it “out-of-print” and refuses to distribute it anymore? How are we to separate U2s God-given holy notes from some kid in Milwaukee who is playing in his basement and trying to get his stuff out there just to be heard? Fuck, no one has explained how that is supposed to work.
But I have an idea. If Bono is so fucking gung-ho to police the internet and make sure that none of his precious “intellectual” property is going unpaid for, he can damn well pony up the money for the brand-new root routers and filtering software and do it himself.
Capitalism is a bitch. A tax-dodging jackoff like Bono knows it. He’s just moved to the inevitable next step, which is when the market craps out for your product, get the government and taxpayers to subsidize your business instead.
@jrg: We may have no choice down the line but the reality is this…the ISPs should be taking this seriously. All this free sharing does clog their systems and slow them down.
In Sweden they have instituted a 3 strikes law that the EFF has issues with but is actually quite fair compared to more draconian approaches that have been suggested. I guarantee that if the pilfering of media continues, the USA won’t be too far behind in implementing similar type laws.
Which is why I said read the comments.
No one is defending piracy. The point of most comments is that the music industry no longer controls distribution of music. Artificial scarcity is gone. Piracy is, and will be, a factor going forward. However, the Music Industry (and entertainment industry as a whole), and Bono is a prominent member of the Music Industry, want to retain their control of the distribution of music by using piracy as an excuse.
I’m not going to be treated like criminal because the new business model won’t make them oodles of money like their previous monopoly. I’m not going to open my computer up to the RIAA so they can make sure I didn’t illegally download a song anymore than I’ll open my files up to the IRS without a warrant.
For example, I’ve stopped buying DVDs altogether and basically only use netflix and on-demand services. Like the guy at Kung-Fu Monkey, who makes his living on being creative, posted about Netflix: “This is the future of broadcasting, whether we like it or not. Look, learn, adapt.”
Haven’t I heard many people say, oh, ya gotta see it in IMAX or 3-D or whatever? Haven’t I heard about Avatar making kazillions of dollars in sales? Aren’t people already signing over their children to get an advanced copy of the super-special director’s niece’s dog’s cut? Are we in danger of leaving behind our consumerist culture?
@The Moar You Know:
When this happens I have no sympathy for media companies that cry about sharing in this regard. Either make it available or don’t cry since the sharers aren’t competing with any for sale products. We should also amend the copyright laws to say if you don’t make your catalog items available for sale, you lose protections.
@Bubblegum Tate: But people aren’t saying ‘the industry sucks, therefore people should steal music.’ People are saying ‘the industry sucks and the current model is not working, therefore continuing to push the current model is stupid.’
You can talk about how Morally Wrong the music stealers are all you want– they’re still going to steal music.
You (general you) can come up with a different revenue model that provides access to music for a fee, as many have advocated on this thread; you can decide individual tracks should be given away promotionally and musicians should make money on merchandising and touring. (Most musicians with major label contracts have made their money on merch and touring anyway, so this isn’t a radical idea.) What most of the people on this thread are saying is that the horse has left the barn, so Bono writing a righteous editorial advocating barring the barn door with quality steel locks is going to get us nowhere.
You’re projecting. Just about everyone said that they pay for music, just not through traditional industry sources. A few were brave enough to admit to illegally downloading content they can’t readily get ahold of.
I never tire of having science bloggers utterly destroy Chopra and his nonsense. This is Breast Cancer surgeon Orac, posting on a back and forth between Chopra and noted skeptic Michael Shermer. Too awesome.
@AhabTRuler: For that matter, Paranormal Activity, an indie that I think cost twenty bucks to make, has made over $7 million.
My roommate just quit his job because he is now making enough money to live off of from his band’s t-shirt and ticket sales. Despite being a small band, they have tons of fans in cities all over north america. Enough for him to make a living touring. Why? Because the internet has allowed his band to get more well known than anything a record company could ever even dream of 15 years ago.
As for record sales? Well, due to the wacky accounting / recoupment system of his label, he won’t ever be seeing much from them unless they become as big as U2.
I have many friends who make music (including some famous grammy winners). None ever make much of a stink about pirating. That’s because the ones truly hurt are the labels, distributors, and the giant bands that have already recouped. In short, the already well-to-do.
I’m sick of multi-Millionaires crying about how the average joe is preventing them from being the multi-Billionaires they think they should be.
Yes, but you are still PAYING for the entertainment you consume, just doing it differently.
The issues people in my industry have is not with Netflix so much as with people who put this stuff up on p2p servers and on blogs and call it sharing. It’s piracy plain and simple.
Bono may be a douche but he should still have some say how his content is being used. Subscription services, Netflix, etc. are all legal and the studios/labels get a cut of it. In the case of Netflix, they pay the studios for every DVD they rent in a royalty. In the case of a Rhapsody, E-Music, etc they pay the labels based on a revenue sharing/use structure.
The companies accept that these services are but one of many ways to consume entertainment. What is unacceptable is that my recording/movie is being handed out, for free, to anybody who wants a copy. THAT is stealing.
a couple of people made this point, but there is almost no economic benefit for us to protect rich musician’s IP any more. If copyrights expired after a reasonable period like they used to, then the calculation would be a little different. I certainly am not willing to give up my civil rights or even live with network delays in order to make the music industry money. I haven’t dl’ed a song illegally, ever. I’m still operating on the sneakernet method that is the equivalent of lending your LP to a friend.
Even under iTunes, artists get almost no money per song. Change is still on the way, but it’s agonizingly slow.
And I would love to tell Bono that my 17 y.o. daughter calls him “that old geezer.”
And this, in a nutshell, was why I finally gave up on music as a career about ten years ago.
Not because I didn’t like writing it: I loved it.
Not because of music downloading: I was distributing my music on the Internet for free before most people had ever heard of MP3s.
It was because I wrote music in a digital format, music which I had no way of “performing” live–unless you count playing back prerecorded music as performing, and I don’t. I think some of what I wrote was pretty good. I have no doubt there are people who would’ve paid for it.
But while our band might’ve lucked out and gotten a one-hit-wonder contract to provide us with a temporary windfall, I realized there was simply no way I could turn it into a career. Only one of the four of us actually played a live instrument. There are artists who’ve made good careers DJing digital music, but I have never kidded myself into thinking I had the kind of talent it would take to overcome the inability to perform live.
Anyway, the point of this whole anecdote is to support those who have noted that musicians who make a living playing music almost invariably do it through performing live, not from album royalties, which tend to be pennies on the dollar.
What record industry contracts and the album sales that come with them do for artists is provide visibility and exposure–through marketing, radio play, and tour promotion. This was a good deal when they were the only way to get that exposure, and the new fans (and concert ticket sales) that come with it. Until the Internet, the record industry was the gatekeeper to the public, and the only way to bypass them was through the hard, soul-crushing work of playing local venues and touring on your own dime–building your fan base the hard way.
This is no longer the case. The only gatekeeper on the internet is you, and the amount of time and effort you’re willing to put into promoting and marketing your music online. You can reach more people in a day with a Facebook page than you could in years of playing locally, and if your music is good, you’re technically savvy or can find/hire someone who is, and you know how to draw links from high-profile sites, you don’t need the record industry anymore.
The record industry’s business model is obsolete–they just don’t realize it yet, and are flailing around in a panic, desperate to blame anything except their own failed model for it. And unless their executives make the mental shift required to understand that downloaded music is free advertising, not theft, they will eventually go the way of the dinosaur.
Edited to fix retarded blockquote dysfunction.
@Bubblegum Tate: I don’t think anyone is offering up free file-sharing as a solution. It’s more of a transitional condition that exists in reaction to a business model that doesn’t serve the interests of either artists or the many, many music fans who don’t occupy the lowest common denominator to which the industry almost exclusively caters. What people are reacting to is the notion that preserving the old business model would be a good thing for artists who aren’t raking in the cash like Bono. Quite simply, it would not. Moreover, the majority of working musicians benefit more in the current environment than they did before file-sharing services.
This doesn’t mean free file-sharing is the solution, but it does point us in the direction of the solution.
As I said above, I think the solution will be subscription services that recreate the basic benefits of file-sharing services (for both consumers and artists) while ensuring compensation for artists proportional to their popularity among the subscriber base. In Europe, they’re already looking at models like this, and I think we’ll see similar services in the US before the end of the decade.
I gets more pointed than this. There are programs that you can use to save the pristine MP4s that Pandora pushes onto your computer, plays, and then deletes. This is a violation of your agreement with Pandora, but is indistinguishable in terms of copyright law (unless there are some new cases in the last couple years I don’t know about – this is not legal advice, please) from recording with a cassette tape a song on the radio. Unlike ripping radio streams where the songs usually overlap a bit, you have taken, possibly quite legally, a perfect copy of the song.
As far as I have heard, recording such streaming has not been tested by the RIAA because they do not want to risk losing such a case.
What is unacceptable is that my recording/movie is being handed out, for free, to anybody who wants a copy. THAT is stealing.
Again, read the fucking comments.
NOWHERE HAVE I SAID THAT I WANT FREE SHIT.
I’m not having this stupid argument.
Which option sounds better to you if you’re in a band?
1. No one knows who you are. The few that do pay full price for your album. The label takes it all from you as they “recoup” the expenses of making the album.
2. A lot of people listen to your music (gasp! for free) and write and talk about you. They go to your concerts, buy tickets, merch, etc. and all the buzz around you gets your songs licensed for a movie/commercial/tv show, more articles get written, you get invited on Letterman, leading to more and bigger concerts with pricier tickets and more merch, and yes, SOME record sales.
Just take a look at Susan Boyle. Would anyone ever even dare suggest that the fact that everyone in the frickin’ world heard her music FOR FREE over the internet HURT her tremendous record sales?
I don’t know who’s making that argument. I certainly never did. I DO believe that artists who CHOOSE to put some of their content on the web for free can profit in ways that were never available to them pre-Internet/filesharing/whatever.
You said “It’s not a great time for artists who want to make money off their creativity.” I said it was NEVER a good time for artists, as the vast majority of the revenues in the music industry went to the record companies. Also, touring artists had a much more difficult time getting heard, maintaining a tour schedule back in the day because the only outlet for their songs was the local college radio station or public radio late night show or the Import bin at RecordShack.
NOW, artists have the opportunity to eliminate the middleman and market themselves to potential customers and keep more of the revenues for themselves. To me, that seems like a GOOD thing.
Again, I can only work from anecdotal evidence. I have probably bought 20-30 albums over the last year from bands/artists who I found on their myspace page after searching for a concert in a city I was traveling to. Paid for a concert and an album, sometimes a t-shirt. All because of those 2-3 free songs they put on the web.
And I have several friends who’ve done likewise. And nobody expected to download their albums without giving something back to the artists in question. But I’m not a college student, so I can’t speak to that aspect of the filesharing puzzle.
Yes, most bands will make money from touring and merchandise going forward but a wrong still doesn’t make it right. Your friend’s band doesn’t care but others do. I am not talking about these millionaires, but rank and file bands who worked hard to get good careers going, do their own record deals, tour with their own money, etc.
Many independent labels are starting to be places where bands are headed. These people take care of their artists. If one good thing has come of the sharing culture, it’s that the majors have been hobbled and indie labels have risen up to fill the gaps. The problem remains, if a band wants their music on p2p, they have that right. If I sign a band to my indie label, I give them a solid cut of sales without the b.s. why is it fair that some person can take our blood and sweat and put it up on a sharing network?
What’s good for one isn’t good for all. It costs money to make a record and there is no guarantee what worked for your friend will work for my friend’s band.
The record business did help create this attitude, but I do laugh at anybody who would sign a deal with a major label. Many bands I know are starting their own labels to distribute their music via physical and digital mediums. They should have the right to allow or disallow sharing of their music. Period.
Yeah, I really need Jim Carey to tell me more about how vaccinations are like nazi germany.
I used to read the HuffPo until Huffington stuffed it full of gossip and culty pseudoscience. I guess from reading up on her personal gurus and the quacky “medical experts” she associates with, she’s always been this nuts.
It’s also funny how quickly any critical comments disappear from celebrity garbage threads, or at least anything relatively questioning the validity of her content is never approved. At this point, I’d be happy if the Daily Beast or Tucker’s BowtieDaily creamed the crap out of HuffPo, the less trashy liberal rags we have around, the better informed people are.
majors are not all there are
As someone who has worked for roughly the past decade in the music industry on the digital side of things, I think it’s nice to see one of my favorite bloggers attempting to make hay of an issue he doesn’t seem have much background on. It’s like me with the politics stuff
Artists on major labels are pretty much screwed either way (somebody’s already linked to the Albini tome on the subject). Moreover, major labels don’t even bother paying artists for digital sales, or account for them.
But what about the fledgling artists on independent record labels, whose album only sells 5,000 copies, but yet every college hip kid has downloaded from a blog? Independent labels are more reliant on digital sales than majors, have smaller profit margins (even on successful albums), and less room for error just to stay in business.
There is a far bigger (and better) music industry out there than just the major labels and the RIAA. The rest of us shouldn’t have to suffer just because those are pieces of shit.
Still, Bono is an idiot.
In the end, the consumer gets what they want. The Music Industry(tm) has been catering to their bottom line, not the consumer and they don’t have a clue as to how to do so in a way that benefits them because they can’t figure out how to do so that benefits them as much as it did in the recent past.
I’ll be dead in the ground before I let Disney sniff through my hard drives trying to make sure that they’re getting all their money from Hannah Montana.
As somebody who knows how this works, here’s a flip side argument: Nobody forced these bands to spend their advances on fancy studios with million dollar producers. I worked at a major and can tell you stories of newly signed bands wanting parties, limos, etc yet they knew it came out of their record sales.
I am NOT defending major label recoup practices (these weird charges for packaging deductions, etc) but I don’t have much sympathy when most bands would easily sell as many records on a good indie AND make a better royalty.
@Bubblegum Tate: I knew it was hopeless. Jesus, you are dense.
But the entire industry isn’t only Universal, Warner and Sony. Many labels DO care about their customers. The problem is because the majors do things that piss people off indie entrepreneurs pay the price as usual for the so-called “free market”. It still doesn’t make sharing or piracy right.
If you like a piece of music or a movie, pay for it, rent it, subscribe to a service to hear it as many times as you want. Just support the stuff you like with a sale of some sort.
If they could recoup the cost of the bandwidth used in P2P with an infrastructure upgrade, doesn’t it stand to reason that they would have already done so?
You can buy a 1 terabyte drive for around $100 these days. SATSQ.
“fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket … ”
Except for the ones who do. How many artists exist on small labels because large labels won’t touch them? Thousands. And most are making a living by playing music.
Maybe people don’t want to buy shit. Maybe that’s why big labels have seen a decrease in revenue.
If something is of value – whether it’s music, film or whatever – it will find a way to survive in our culture.
I say burn the old models to the ground. They do more to cripple us culturally than they help us. What’s so bad about more small artists and hobbyists making music closer to the actual listener? Why is the only model considered “legitimate” the one of big names being backed by big business?
Tear it all down and build from scratch. I think – I hope – the future of art looks more like the 19th Century than the 20th.
But in that case, THE ARTIST chose to make those tracks available. That is smart business. The labels CAN learn a thing or two from bands that GET IT. What I don’t agree with is some guy on his computer putting up a full album on a sharing site without asking permission. That is the problem.
First, not every musician has wealth like Bono. This really isn’t about Bono.
But more importantly, what Bono’s really talking about is a 21st century version of what was done to artists at Chess Records and Motown artists. No one thinks that was okay, so why is this.
I read your quotes and I saw a lot of people criticizing the music industry… and their current business model… but nobody but you has connected any dots to justification for stealing music. Criticizing the argument Bono used for draconian DRM isn’t the same as advocating abolishment of all IP law.
@The Populist: Yeah, we sold those kids a glamorous lifestyle and they bought it! Hah, imagine that. And the fact that it puts the label in full control of every aspect of the artists ongoing life doesn’t enter into how the system has been set up at all?
Limiting choice hurts consumers too. Payola is the reason the radio stations in the market I live in suck so bad. And they really suck.
If you’re (as in you, “The Populist”) going to respond to my comments, please read them.
The small labels get hurt too. That’s the downside. Most small labels work hard for their artists, give revenue sharing and don’t nickel and dime the artist into a negative recoup situation. That’s what is sad here, they are being hurt by this rush to share everything without a dime of compensation.
I did and I responded. What’s the problem?
Few (if any) people on this thread are making this point. It’s wrong to steal, no doubt.
The point is that someone has to pay (either through the inconvenience of DRM, the cost of an ISP, or through tax dollars) to prevent piracy. Whose responsibility is that?
Me having to pay for the protection of someone else’s IP is no different than a P2Per stealing an album. I’m not going to pay for the security guards in someone else’s gated community.
What I don’t agree with is some guy on his computer putting up a full album on a sharing site without asking permission.
Allow me to introduce you to the point of the thread:
If Bono wants us to be like China so that the record companies can control the distribution of music and recoup every penny that they think they’re worth, then he can go fuck off.
The point is not, “I want free shit.”
Comrade, I am not defending the old practices. I am not defending major labels. I am all for new ways of doing things but this sharing thing is hurting small labels and others more than is being told. That’s all I am saying.
Payola is crap. CD prices going up and up when we were told they would come down at some point is crap. Labels like Chess in the 60s not paying artists is crap.
What I am saying is that artists in the last 20 years would leave an indie label for some major that wouldn’t sell anymore records that what could be sold on a small, hungry label. The artists get f-ed and that is where my sympathy dies.
What I am saying is that we can do all kinds of great things but this sharing culture is not good for the business of MUSIC or MOVIES regardless if you are independent or a major.
Believe me when I say the majors made the bed they now have to lie in. I am just saying that the only sympathy I have at all is over the ease of sharing something for nothing.
@Xenos: Better yet, as part of their control everything model, the record companies paid kickbacks to get that song on the radio. God forbid anything independent get some air time.
I was not saying you are looking for free shit nor am I looking to pick a fight here. I am not saying we have to be fucking China but it’s NOT okay to share people’s property without some compensation coming back. As content owners THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO SAY HOW THEIR CONTENT IS USED even if Bono is another millionaire douchebag.
I get the topic at hand and I have been responding with my take and opinion like you have. Nobody wants to turn us into China over this crap. Why is it whenever an argument happens with regards to health care, file sharing etc, either side runs with the idea that the other wants to turn us into China, Iran, etc. Argh.
Again, that is wrong but it still doesn’t make sharing music/movies anymore right.
Why can’t the ISPs take a slice of the fiddy I cough-up every month and distribute it to the providers of the digits I choose to pipe-in? Perhaps then KEXP and NPR wouldn’t have to ask me for cash so often.
They should but won’t unless Congress tells them to. Maybe there should be a system where those who use file sharing services pay a little more to the ISP (the ala carte model) so this way people are paid for their works.
Amen, my point exactly. If we don’t come up with a plan that is fair for all (consumers too) then you know there will be some variation of a 3 strikes law that will get passed to counter the out of control piracy of media.
I give up.
Don’t give up…I responded to your points. I don’t know what the problem is. What do you want me to say? Big media companies = bad so putting media up on sharing and P2P platforms= justified? Disney doesn’t care if you play Hannah Montana on your harddrive 1 time or 1000 times. They want the money for their content and once you own it, it’s yours.
If you read my previous points I disagree with Bono, I just do not agree with people who think it’s okay to give people’s works away for free without their participation or permission.
Whatever, sorry if I’ve pissed you off. Not my intention at all. I respond and make my point, you seem to think I believe you advocate free shit YET you keep talking down to me over my point that MANY PEOPLE THINK GIVING FREE SHIT AWAY IS JUSTIFIED?!?!?! My points are just that and if I thought YOU, ChrisS, was all about stealing music and making excuses, I’d be CALLING YOU OUT ON IT. I didn’t so I do not understand why you are so frustrated.
The Moar You Know
@The Populist: A right that you cannot enforce is not a right in any substantive term of the word.
I understand where you are coming from – I worked in the music business for more than 20 years – but the genie is out of the bottle. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get that idea through the heads of folks like you, but the old model of content and ownership of content is dead.
And it is not coming back.
I would say to anyone who creates content – writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers…whoever makes content that can be digitized – you need to find another revenue model. Your old one is done and over.
@The Populist: As someone else stated above, this is a transitional period, not a stable state. Lamenting the current situation is an interesting exercise only for so long. Small bands who want to make a career go of it will leverage sharing, not fight it. This pandora’s box can’t be closed again, so its seems far more worthwhile spending energy to look ahead. The possibilities for new models are endless, but a culture change will have to happen alongside. Media consumers and producers are both in reactive mode and its not pretty.
It will look better when it settles down. Bands, like bloggers, need virtual tip jars, and music players getting merged with cell phones open up all kinds of opportunities for the musician getting monetary encouragement if not a decent wage. (Paid band badges for your social networking homepages, for example, to make supporting your content providers into a public statement.) Once we get a culture shift to: I like this band so I’m supporting them because I want more music like this, it gets a lot easier. And if we don’t get to that that culture, then we don’t, and music remains a hobby gig for the majority. I don’t find that a horrific prospect, personally. I’m just thrilled that my music choices have gone up from the days of combing the mall’s record store.
@The Moar You Know:
Moar, then why should anybody make content at all then? Why is it people do not respect ownership then?
I guess i must be an idealist. I accept that my content will be shared but I do not agree with it. I love how people in certain parts of this country talk about free markets and ownership, etc yet do not RESPECT the right of people who do own something regardless if it’s media content or the building that gets graffiti on it.
Not comparing the two but I respect people’s property. When I want something, I pay for it. I guess i must be a fool to believe this.
Not mad at you or anything, I respect and understand your point (as I do with the exasperated ChrisS) but I guess I will never understand this concept that we make a movie, for example, so somebody can give it away and kill a segment of the market. If you enjoy something, patronize it is what I am saying…oh well. Guess I should quit arguing.
I don’;t argue the change. I am involved in careers of a few, so we accept the issues and challenges. None of us like it and most likely ever will but we will adapt.
It just sucks is what I guess I have been saying all over this thread. I love all you guys, this is my favorite blog to read from and read all the comments. If I pissed anyone off with my stance, I apologize but it’s tough when you are hands on with people’s careers and you see somebody’s hardwork being handed out like a flyer on Las Vegas Blvd.
BTW – To end this on a positive note, I am glad there are still a few record stores left. If one positive came out of all this, the stores left are for people who like music and still want to own it in physical form.
I love digital too for the ease it gives me as well as exposure to new artists that only cost me $.99 to try before buying a whole album. The times are exciting I do admit!
No, just on the side of artists. Deal.
@The Populist: For an idealist you sure are negative. Also a terrible listener, but that’s less ideological.
Fuck it. Music should be available for free from consumer to consumer. If you’re stuff doesn’t suck, the gin joint will be packed with people waiting to hear you live. Hopefully, you didn’t use auto-tune(sp?).
@The Populist: I never said it made it right. I really didn’t. But the Industry can’t have it both ways. It can’t screw over consumers as a decade’s running cartel and then claim protection under copyright, which is at its core intended to help consumers by encouraging content production. That’s what copyright is for. We seem to have lost that somewhere.
But, it’s all an academic exercise, really.
Read what happened in Rochester when Time Warner so much as wanted charge the heavy bandwidth users more per month. If the RIAA strongarms congress into messing with people’s internet, I expect and hope that it will only hasten their demise.
Canada has models like you are saying. They tax (levy) removable media, and blank discs, and fork the proceeds over to the Industry based on soundscan. Personally, if my ISP started taxing me for music and I have never before stolen any music, I’d seriously start considering that, since I’m now paying, and not by choice, I’m going to eat all I want. Of course, because of the soundscan provision, the small musicians and labels are still getting screwed, and given human nature would get screwed more.
@Bubblegum Tate: And you assume I’m not an artist. Good job on that.
Think more creatively or die. Whine all you want and assert I said things I didn’t. It won’t help you at all.
I saw a report where the ISPs are not upgrading their infrastructure and we are one of the worst in the industrialized world with regards to upload/download speeds.
Is this true?
Another point I read earlier was where somebody was saying who should pay for the ISPs to police the net. I guess as a businessman, I should but if it’s determined that somebody does nothing but share other people’s content on the net, they should too. I don’t believe average folks should pay one dime more.
And BAM! People show up to your next show, buy an overpriced made in China t-shirt, and maybe a CD.
You make very good points. Thanks for the discussion.
True on the tax. Somehow there has to be a way to clamp down the seedier p2p sharing networks without losing the spirit of Internet freedom/fairness (which I support). You won’t stop all of it, but you could try and put a dent in the illicit services that do nothing to promote anybody or anything.
The Moar You Know
@The Populist: That’s two very distinct and very important questions. The first is easy; people will make entertainment regardless of whether they’re getting paid or not. And they will share it with others whether they’re getting paid or not.
Answering the second is a lot harder. Back in the old days, when only a few companies printed books, cut records, and made movies, “ownership rights” were easy to enforce.
Now it is impossible. And I can’t stress that enough. Filter BitTorrent traffic and people will just encrypt it. Filter every packet and people will burn DVDs and pass them around to their friends (this is a far larger precentage of piracy than most people are aware of, BTW).
I’d go so far as to say that when you create a digitizable work of art, your “ownership” of it ends when you decide to distribute even one copy of it anywhere. If people like it enough, they are going to get it. Supply and demand. Most people will pay for it, and most of them, in spite of Bono’s whining to the contrary, still do pay for it. Some don’t, and in the end, there is not one damn thing you can do about it.
I’ll give you an example. The lovely ditty, “Happy Birthday To You”, is, by a weird fluke in copyright law, copyrighted. This is why you don’t hear it on TV or in movies anymore, because the owners want royalties.
Has that stopped anyone from singing it at their kids’ birthday parties?
All content is becoming “Happy Birthday”. You need to figure out how to adapt to that.
Or maybe they don’t. I am not convinced people do that based on bands I’ve worked with where we did that on purpose and saw no noticeable increase in sales of music or merch.
Small sample size, true, but still not convinced 100% that free music sharing is generating new fans who want to now pay for a ticket and a t-shirt.
Nor is it helping you. Your point, then?
The Moar You Know
@Cassidy: This, word for word, is my bottom line and last word on the subject. Thanks for writing it for me :)
I don’t know that we’re “one of the worst in the industrialized world,” but we’re definitely behind the curve as far as speed, availability, and pricing go.
@The Populist: In all fairness, the rest of the industrialized world (Europe, Japan, Korea) the population is far denser and the ROI on running pipe much higher as a result. Ditto for cell coverage and ditto for public transportation too.
@The Moar You Know:
Don’t get me wrong, we are adapting. If anything I am just venting here.
It is what it is but if there is a way to clamp down on the more illicit sharing services that is something I wouldn’t be against.
I find through people I talk to that if the stuff isn’t that easy to get most people won’t dig deep enough to find it. THAT is the issue here I think. I don’t expect nor assume it will ever be stopped but that doesn’t mean there can’t be ways of making it harder to get.
Again, it’s a pipe dream but in the end I am doing what I can to adapt the situation (and we use modern technology for every promotional opportunity possible).
I guess someone doesn’t like being called out for theft.
This is mostly true. But that’s not because of P2P. That’s because our ISPs are just as greedy as the cable/mobile/telephone/music/movie monopolies.
Why can I freely save a show to my DVR, but if I happen to miss that opportunity, I often have no legal way to acquire the same show, either with the original commercials intact, or by paying money? It’s an asinine system they have, and they deserve what they get for being so completely inept at distribution.
And why should we support coveted protection for the studios over stupid-ass policies when we freely endorse violating the governments stupid-ass policies regarding pot? If the studios don’t want people stealing their content then they need to do a better job making it so people can buy their content in a reasonable form and for a reasonable price (I consider iTMS being reasonable on both counts). That’s actually helped the music industry, but goddamn did it take a lot of fighting with them from the likes of Apple and Amazon.
@The Moar You Know:
Cassidy is right about quality. I can’t emphasize it enough to bands. Make killer music and you will succeed and possible make a good living at it regardless of the hurdles of free music sharing services.
Or maybe your bands just suck. ;-) (joking)
I think there’s an important point to make here: It is *harder* for a band to build up an audience in this environment, in the sense that they have to spend way more time marketing themselves, making contacts, exploring opportunities, etc. If you don’t have the big label support, that’s going to be a challenge.
And there are exponentially more bands/artists out there thanks to cheap recording equipment and editing software. Just like blogs and web sites – cream will rise to the top, but it won’t necessarily happen for all of them, and it won’t necessarily be easy to do.
Martin, I do not disagree with the majority of your points. Personally, I like Itunes, but I like Amazon more. I remember when we’d all advocate with our bosses to get with Itunes when it was a big deal. I remember arguing that DRM sucks and we should go with high quality Mp3s. I was and am a huge advocate for cheaper physical media. Too bad they didn’t listen back then! Anyway, I am now advocating for sites that can sell 320KBPS music in FLAC format so audiophiles and fans can buy CD quality downloads.
There are people who want what you want in these industries but the problem is the execs who are either too old to listen or too greedy or shortsighted (doesn’t help when their salary is so much that they don’t want to take chances!).
You get no argument from me on choices for consumers. I LOVE offering choices. Being a fan of 5.1 music I was sad that the labels didn’t keep SACD around for audiophiles like myself (and there are a lot of us) because they would argue they didn’t sell enough even though they knew it was a niche market. Funny part was that an SACD recording of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side sold over 100K….idiots are what they are.
Give the consumer purchasing choices, I support that 100%.
@Martin: There is a saying that hollywood needs to take to heart: “If anyone is going to poach your business, it better be you.” Especially since it’s this sort of incident that gets otherwise paying customers to install p2p stuff in the first place.
Amen brother on that. I do agree with Martin’s frustration. Offer the consumer choices and they are less likely to look for free alternatives.
James K. Polk, Esq.
Fergawdsakes, piracy is NOT the same as theft.
When you make an identical copy of a work, you are not removing the original.
If you steal a bike, the physical object is removed from its proper owner.
When you pirate a movie/song/software, the original doesn’t go anywhere.
It’s a bad analogy.
@The Populist: On the plus side, the new BluRay supported audio formats can reproduce the audio quality of SACD and DVD-A, and are much more likely to reach a broader audience. Maybe not music discs but maybe music collections and/or a single-BluRay being a box set / concert BluRay.
dear lizard Bono is such an insufferable blowhard. what a freakin idiot. as someone in the music biz, he certainly must know that you never made your $$ on selling music, unless you had a gazillion-selling album like ‘The Joshua Tree’ or the like.
he’s really saying that the reason U2 doesn’t sell as much anymore is because evil adolescents are out there illegally downloading their albums instead of ponying up yet another $15 to more-money-than-god-having rock stars. FU, “Bono”.
your music blows these days, how about that? you haven’t released a good song in about two decades, how about that? get all the aid to Africa you can, no complaints about that. but other than that, STFU, ok? we all know you make your money on mega-tours (which are not at all good for the environment you claim to love so much) and merchandising. and you’ll keep making huge $$ off of that until you either die, or lose control of your bowels completely, whichever comes first.
when I was 14, 15, and I dubbed copies of ‘Rattle and Hum’ and ‘The Unforgettable Fire’ from a cassette tape to a blank tape, was I “stealing” from U2? nope. if I download a chintzy sounding 128kb rate mp3 file, am I “stealing” from U2? nope, sorry. not that I’d download a U2 track when there’s so much good new music out there.
the height of the illegal downloading craze was the last time in the US when there actually still was a robust ‘music industry’. what was the best-selling album of the 00’s? it was ‘No Strings Attached’ by N’sync. 2000-2001 era. any idea how many times that whole album was downloaded illegally? like, millions and millions. any idea how many of those same people also bought the album? like, millions and millions. but the more the industry tried to prosecute people and companies which were, ultimately, symbiotic with them (had they not been so greedy), it alienated people. and more people just realized that they were pushing a bad product, and started to look elsewhere. and thus, U2 sales ain’t what they used to be. and N’sync sales are pretty much nonexistent.
Yep, bought the new Tom Petty live box set and the bluray sounds fucking amazing. My next purchase is the Neil Young Bluray box set.
I am hoping the labels adopt this. In the current environment, why not create more choices for customers. The long tail theory is where entertainment businesses are headed sales wise anyway.
The DRM came at the insistence of the labels, not Apple, and it was the only way to get iTMS running in the first place. Amazon just managed to convince the labels to drop it sooner. The labels used the opportunity to turn the tables by only letting Apple go with the non-DRM stuff if they kicked more back to the label. The labels made money on the DRM both coming and going.
But in any market, consumers only bend so far to the will of corporations. It’s not just music and movies. One of the more interesting piracy problems early on was embroidery pattern software for high-end sewing machines. Auto makers have tried to protect the diagnostic port on your car to boost revenues for authorized service. Printer manufacturers have gone to great lengths to prevent you from using 3rd party ink. It goes on and on.
Just to recap
1. Major labels and bono can go fuck themselves if they think WE are going to pay or support a burgeoning surveillance state just to protect their intellectual property.
2. The business model of major labels is deader than Dillinger. They just don’t know what to do about it so the flail about and blame it on piracy.
3. People will pay for a content if it is convenient and doesn’t feel like a rip off. New methods of content delivery are proving this (iTMS, Netflix, Emusic, etc.) Sheet, there are literally dozens of DJ centric music stores that sell underground club music with no hope whatsoever of radio airplay that are doing quite well.
4. Fewer artists will be rich in the future but a lot more will be able to make a living as working musicians.
5. Piracy is wrong. It is the unfortunate byproduct of a lazy, corrupt kleptocratic music industry that ripped consumers off for so long and to such a degree that people don’t seem to care that it hurts some of their favorite artists, but it remains wrong. Fortunately, the aforementioned new methods of content delivery will minimize the effects of piracy.
6. Not to be redundant, but fuck Bono. Also.
Does that about cover it?
@The Moar You Know:
People have always stolen art. And some form of intellectual property right has come to the aid of creators.
Thieves sat in the theater and scribbled down the plays of Shakespeare and Jonson, and reprinted them without paying the authors a dime. Lending libraries got a boost in America because publishers stole Dickens’ novels. Charlie Dickens went on reading tours to recoup some of his bucks, but this took him away from doing what he did best — write. And if he didn’t have his British copyrights, he would have been in a deep hole.
Early movie makers hightailed it to areas, like out west in Hollywood where they could avoid paying playwrights for adaptations. And so it goes. (And of course, big bullies like Disney are hoarding and extending copyrights to keep a tight grip on works that they originally picked up in the public domain or stole from authors).
So, the old model is dead. But the problem remains. How about a $1,000 a month technology tax (to cover computers, smartphones, tablets and new devices) to distribute royalties to video and music artists?
Comrade Darkness — And if we don’t get to that that culture, then we don’t, and music remains a hobby gig for the majority. I don’t find that a horrific prospect, personally.
Fortunately, technology has become cheaper, so maybe it’s easier for musicians to become professionals and produce work. I find the prospect of a world inundated with the crap work of amateur musicians to be appalling.
And with the return to monetizing everything, we might return to a variation of the days in which the rich hire and maintain professional musicians for their private amusement, and everyone else is told to pound sand.
<then why should anybody make content at all then?
I tie flies for fishing. Lots of people do. Guides, shop-owners, and hobbyists. There are thousands of different flies. While some borrow from other patterns, some are so goddamn original, it’s like the light of heaven must shown down on that particular vice on that day and said, “And it shall be.” Some even catch craploads of fish.
Like this one: The Copper John.
And there it is right there, after three years of tweaking and re-designing, the guy that designed the fly is giving you and everyone on the internet everything you need to know one of the most productive flies created. Cabela’s sells the flies, Orvis, local shops, home-tyers on Ebay all sell the fly. John Barr doesn’t make a dime on his design, or content if you will.
There isn’t a fly pattern in existence that can’t be copied or “pirated” but people still design flies (some are revolutionary, like streamers designed for bonefish). So with no financial incentive, people still spend time and money and effort on dreaming up fly patterns for other people to sell. People create because it’s what they do. Orvis or Cabela’s aren’t trying to shut-down internet sites that trade patterns or offer instructionals that could impact their sales. Yet people still buy flies from Orvis and Cabela’s.
The recent model of distributed content is dead, piracy is a function of that death, but it doesn’t have to be the only outcome.
Perhaps you and Bono should look into a little band called Radiohead and their album “In Rainbows.” They may just have this whole music downloading thing figured out. But then, they don’t do the “look at me! I’m Bono and I’m so cool and political and all” thing. They just make great music and make it available on line for their fans and let their fans pay what they think it’s worth for a period of time. And then they charge regular price. And what do you know? They end up with a #1 CD and make themselves and their fans happy.
But Bono’s raison d’etre isn’t making his fans happy. It’s to glorify himself as some sort of benevolent ruler/music god. Fuck Bono with one of asiangrrlMN’s rusty pitchforks.
Ed in NJ
I haven’t read this whole thread, so perhaps this has been brought up already, but the reality is that almost no one who downloads movies or music illegally was ever going to buy it to begin with. So it really isn’t a great deal of lost revenue.
On the other hand, many people who do download, and enjoy a movie or some new music they would have never bought, will, through word of mouth, spur additional sales and attendance at concerts.
I, for one, in addition to paying for multiple premium cable channels, a Blockbuster online/instore monthly subscription, in addition to taking my family to 2-3 movies a month and buying many DVDs that my kids watch over and over, still will download a movie every once in a while for the convenience of having it on my laptop. As for music, between my Sirius/XM and my Zune Pass, I rarely have need to download mp3s for myself, but I do throw the occasional song on my kids’ mp3 players. There is a limit to my entertainment budget, and 7 and 8 year olds have very fickle, quickly evolving musical taste.
@James K. Polk, Esq.:
True. But calling record/movie piracy “theft” allows the recording and movie industries to posture from a higher moral position than they would occupy otherwise. When they go on to put it terms of “stealing from the artists” it gets even more ridiculous.
@Death Panel Truck:
Um, no you didn’t. I made tapes from friends’ tapes all the time and they did the same from mine. We made tapes from each other’s LPs too. Hell, we even did with 45s. Among my group of friends (when we were tweens and teens back in the late 60s and early 70s), this was the most common way we got our music. Hell, we even sometimes taped from the radio. Didn’t take an ounce of technical knowledge. I know that because I have yet to download a song because it’s too technical for me to figure out.
@geg6: See also: Trent Reznor
Y’all should check out Magnatune. I love some of the music on there, some I don’t but at least you can listen to them and decide for yourself and then pay between 5-10 dollars and the artist gets most of the money. It is good stuff. (Ehren Starks rocks!)
I don’t think this is true. I’ve discovered more bands and paid for more material simply by having access to pandora, Myspace and Facebook. Hollywood Undead is an example. Major label support came after the fan base. The loyal fan base of punk bands is another. They didn’t have major label support, but still made a living.
I think the argument they are making is that the music industry is clueless on what people want. File-sharing is a consequence of the industry not listening to the market. If you lowered the cost of what a cd of music costs then you might reduce filesharing instead of running to the government to solve you problem by asking for tougher laws, greater copyright power etc. They want to preserve teh amount of profit they get instead of dealing with reality. One of their frequent defenses of their behavior is that they are defending the musician which we all know is a total bullshit. You’re talking about the industry that still puts a charge for “breakage” which is the charge for vinyl breaking.
Record execs of buffoons of the highest order. They have taken to producing and creating their own bands, it is no wonder I can’t seem to like anything that is on the radio now. The future is last.fm and pandora where I can get a better range of artists. I don’t buy a lot of music anymore, but I haven’t file shared a mp3 in about 8 years. Who wants to fileshare crap?
OT: LOL at the google ads generated for this post: “Porn help for Christians,” “Clean porn off computers.”
The future is last.fm and pandora where I can get a better range of artists.
Especially since I can stream Pandora to my iPhone on the 3G network during my ~30 commute to work. If I’m paying AT&T for unlimited data transfer, I’ll damn well transfer data.
But if you’re an unsigned band, or a band that exists on a very small indy label, you’re going to be doing a lot of seeding that content yourself, instead of having a major label A&R person pimping your material. When I say “hard,” I mean in the sense of planting the garden – putting the songs on MySpace, keeping up a Facebook presence, sending out music to radio stations, etc. Sure, once it’s planted and you keep watering it, the sun and earth does most of the work. But it’s hard work to get it growing in the first place.
The DIY punk experience is an aberration, as it’s always been operating under this paradigm (back to the days of Maximum Rock & Roll, etc.)
But it’s hard work to get it growing in the first place.
Then again, most professions are hard work if you want to earn a living.
Writing a hit song and selling it a few million times (thanks in part to your record company’s deal with radio stations) in a few different formats and splitting the money with record company 80-20 and then comfortably living out your days on royalty checks is about as likely as winning the lottery.
Of course, Radiohead was able to get a #1 that way because of the decade-plus they spent on a major label building up an audience. Joey Debutant isn’t going to have the same kind of results from his first release.
(See also: Reznor, T.)
Not even vinyl (which doesn’t really have a breakage issue under normal shipping conditions). It’s for SHELLAC 78S (which did).
What’s it been, 60 years since they stopped making 78s?
A man whose band regularly charges $250 for a stadium show ticket (i.e. the largest venues) has completely lost any grasp on the concepts of value or worth. Just ONE show like this has the potential to take in more money that some of the smaller ISPs (which would go under based on his suggestions, leaving the entire market to Comcast, Verizon, etc. Oh won’t that be good…) make in an entire year.
Shut. The. Hell. Up. Bono.
You’re no longer ‘one of us’, haven’t been for years. You’re ‘one of them’. Understand?
Excellent; please quote me, in partial context, and elipse some shit why don’t you.
Here, two can play at this game:
Very late to the conversation and many thoughts have crossed my mind as I read the comments. I will say one good thing about record labels is that they provide health insurance for their artists.
I also wonder how much media consolidation of radio stations has hurt the growth of small artists as it makes it harder for them to build up a local/regional fanbase before expanding nationwide.
Vinyl sales are picking up, so the record store is going to make a come back since this medium seems to be getting popular again.
“Fortunately, technology has become cheaper, so maybe it’s easier for musicians to become professionals and produce work. I find the prospect of a world inundated with the crap work of amateur musicians to be appalling.”
Inundated by whom? In what venue? Like the craptastic overproduced written-by-committee radio songs that drove people to satellite… that kind of inundation?
The tastemakers who like slogging through what’s out there looking for gems are not going anywhere, but there will be more flavors of them. Not just djs but also blog writers and adaptive recommender systems on music sites. Sheesh, what a lame thing to worry about. OMG a world with too much music!
I love XM and I love Pandora. Two perfect examples of the long tail effect that the business needs to get used to and run with.
Agreed 100%. It’s nice to see that there will be some places to go if you want to actually look at, pick up and buy a physical media format.
Martin, I know that is why I fought with my bosses on the idea of DRM. Seems to me if we will be in that world, you should allow the consumer to move their files between any playback device they want.
Jobs knew DRM was bad but he played along with the idea that the labels would grow weary of the debate down the line. With more MP3 stores popping up it will only be a matter of time before they start competing on price (Amazon is already doing this with their deal of the day).
@arguingwithsignposts: I get that, but Hollywood Undead is an example of DIY turning into mainstream popularity. HU didn’t have someone pimping there material. They DIY’ed and the major label came after the fact. And, once the contract was signed, it took 3 years to produce the album, but the fan base continued.
The punk era DIY is only an abberation because no one else wanted to put the time and effort into the job.
They signed one of those 360 deals right? I remember it being lucrative because they built everything from the ground up and then moved to a major to capitalize on it (even though they could easily be on an nicely capitalized indie if it’s a music only deal).
The crap on satellite is much like the crap everywhere else. In one corner we have overproduced written-by-committee radio songs. In the other we have under-produced earnest but hopelessly amateur songs. Not much to choose from.
And satellite radio seems to be going the way of FM radio. It may have had one of the shortest half-lives in pop culture history.
I don’t keep up with the music scene as much anymore, but whenever someone recommends some “great” indie band, it’s typically some derivative, wan, amateurish crap that sounds like other derivative, wan, amateurish crap.
Ironically, even Balloon Juice music threads often end up being about stuff that is 10, 20, 30 years old more than about anything contemporary.
Ultimately, it is each to his or her own taste, but the idea that stealing music or eliminating intellectual property rights is going to result in more creativity is magical thinking. Kinda like suggesting that if you cut people’s wages or eliminate the minimum wage, they will magically become more innovative.
I’m not worried about too much music. Hell, that would be like worrying about too many cable channels. I am glad that there are people who write about and listen to music that fires them up. I just think that artists should get paid.
Here’s my two cents.
1) Creativity and the arts will endure, with a price tag on it or otherwise. Music flourished before the record industry and it will continue long after.
2) The moral scolds regarding filesharing and the perceived evils of fair use remind me of the abortion debate. The technology exists, be it birth control, condoms or fucking MP3s. Learn to adapt to it or forever shout your righteous indignation from the dustbin of human history.
@Brachiator: No one said artists shouldn’t fucking get paid. Jesus on an ipod memory stick. What I’m trying to point out is the battle is already lost. No one will get paid if they keep thrashing around in the quicksand at the bottom of the hourglass by refusing to adapt to a well-established new reality. How bloody hard is that to grasp?
Is Bono involved in the music industry now?
When Dickens had to give readings of his novels because American publishers, like Internet pirates, stole his work, he adapted to the well-established new reality until intellectual property rights were respected in the US.
Different century, same game. There are solutions other than capitulation to thieves. How bloody hard is that to grasp?
January 24th, 1980, issue of Rolling Stone, in an article titled ‘Furor Over Taping LPs Off Radio’ (FM stations were playing whole albums):
As others have noted, the hyberbole and arguments about lost sales vs. free peer to peer advertising, or sales that wouldn’t have occurred, or piracy, or exposure that wouldn’t have occurred, or 75% crap albums, or market control, etc., are old.
A couple years after that, another article in RS with the same debate, but over record-rental stores.
And every year before and after that.
The sky is always falling, just in different places over the decades or centuries.
@Brachiator: Nice moved goalposts. Fuck it.