The Quietus | How The Music Industry Is Killing Music And Blaming The Fans

But the longer the industry continues to cling to old-fashioned values, the more people gravitate to illegal sources that are reliable, uncomplicated and modern. It’s an extraordinary situation: in a roundabout fashion, the wider industry is inadvertently preventing fans from legally accessing music in the manner they’d like to, and which technology has facilitated, while blaming them for stealing because they’re not so wild about the systems that have so far been approved.

Whether the industry likes it or not, music is now like water: it streams into homes, it pours forth in cafes, it trickles past in the street as it leaks from shops and restaurants. Unlike water, music isn’t a basic human right, but the public is now accustomed to its almost universal presence and accessibility. Yet the public is asked to pay for every track consumed, while the use of water tends to be charged at a fixed rate rather than drop by drop: exactly how much is consumed is less important than the fact that customers contribute to its provision. Telling people that profit margins are at stake doesn’t speak to the average music fan, but explaining how the quality of the music they enjoy is going to deteriorate, just as water would become muddy and undrinkable if no one invested in it, might encourage them to participate in the funding of its future. So since downloading music is now as easy as turning on a tap, charging for it in a similar fashion seems like a realistic, wide-reaching solution.

Interesting essay about all the extra labor musicians are expected to do and much much more.


Dave Cool on Why Bands Shouldn’t Give Away (ALL) their Music for Free

So what happened here? The artist took time to develop a relationship with me. Once I knew the artist better, once they had made a deeper connection with me by making me laugh and responding to me personally a few times, they no longer felt like just another one of the thousands of other artists out there. They stood out from the pack because they took time to get to know me and I felt like I was a part of their world. Now I wanted to support their career.

Great post about the importance of developing relationships rather than just throwing free downloads at everyone.

Jonathan Coulton on charges his success isn’t replicable

I can’t believe I have to point this out, but there are plenty of artists making music and using unique and creative promotional techniques to sell it directly to fans (say it with me, won’t you?): Trent Reznor, Radiohead, Amanda Palmer, Paul and Storm, Marian Call, OK Go, MC Frontalot, MC Lars, the list goes on and on and gets larger every day. We are successful to varying degrees and we have different ways of doing things, some of us came from labels, went to labels, or eschewed labels entirely, but we are all participating in the same basic re-jiggering of the spreadsheet. I obviously don’t know the details of everyone’s business, but I’m guessing that we have this one thing in common: we’ve all decided that it’s fine with us if we reach fewer people as long as we reach them more directly. The revolution in the music industry (which has already happened by the way) is one of efficiency, and it means that success is now possible on a much smaller scale. Nobody has to sell out Madison Square Garden anymore to make a living.

And that is the point. That is what’s inarguably different today because of the internet. We now have an entirely new set of contexts and they come with a whole new set of tools that give us cheap and easy access to all of them–niche has gone mainstream.

Read the whole post, it makes a lot of great points. Also, love the line “That’s like saying the Beatles won the British Invasion lottery.”

Kickstarter stats on funding creativity

Film leads the pack with nearly $20 million in pledges and Music follows with more than $13 million. Ten of the 13 categories have seen more than $1 million in pledges.

Dollars Pledged by Category
Art: $3,184,732
Comics: $943,118
Dance: $645,492
Design: $3,601,851
Fashion: $554,048
Film: $19,717,790
Food: $1,583,063
Games: $1,052,557
Music: $13,094,547
Photography: $1,679,361
Publishing: $2,732,501
Technology: $1,748,109
Theater: $2,570,503

Film and Music???s enormous numbers skew this list a bit. More than $2.5 million pledged to Theatre projects, $600,000 to Dance projects, almost $1 million to Comics projects ??? numbers we???re proud of.

Kickstarter stats galore. Fan patronage in all its glory.

Budweiser Bought My Baby | Too Much Joy

While it wouldn’t be possible to overstate my continued disdain for the jingle, I am deliberately stressing my low opinion of it, and my ongoing qualms about the money it earned, because I’m going to spend the rest of this presentation trying to convince you of two things: the first is that my feelings are both very real and completely justified. The second is that those feelings are wildly wrong.

It took me 30 years to figure this out, but I’m pretty sure the change in my thinking is based on a better understanding of what music is for, and that this change mirrors an evolving acceptance of brand sponsorship among alternative bands and their fans.

Important fact #1: each band member earned enough royalties individually as a result of that little jingle getting played throughout 1992 that, for the first time ever, we all qualified for health insurance through AFTRA.

Tim Quirk on selling out by doing a Budweiser commercial.