Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Music Industry?

Last week, in the total US, a population of 305,899,239, sold just 62,000 units last week. Units are a fancy term that big record label execs use to make their shit sound more important and a term that the Nielsen Soundscan uses to make themselves relevant. Well news flash dudes, the music industry isn't that important anymore. The chart-topper goes to Taylor Swift, whose Fearless has become a fixture at the top. The Swift record finish is the fourth-lowest number one since Soundscan started in 1991. Year-to-date, cumulative album sales are down 12 percent to 57 million.

So those are the facts. Now the question is, what the hell is the music "industry" suppose to do about it? Answer? Nothing. Every major label/major label band is absolutely freaking out, "Oh my god, what the hell are we going to do?" It has been a known fact that any CD sales don't get you money. "THEN WHY ARE WE A BAND?!?!?!?!?" asks the synthesizer, neon wearing 18 year old kid. Well Timmy, to make music not money for one, but also to TOUR!

Touring costs money, yes. But if you are signed to a label, scratch that. But if you are signed to a industry conscious label, it should be no problem. I am only 21 years old and have no experience in the music industry aside from my endeavors into radio, but what I AM is a music loving, buying, downloading, supporting, show going, money forker outter for good music, and an all around fan. Shouldn't my opinion and thoughts matter over a big 50 year old label exec?


Lazy John said...

A friend of mine used to work for SST Records. He quit because, in those days, the music industry was just that - an industry. He was disgusted that the people he worked with weren't music fans.

Times have changed - for the better. Watch out for those big biz and big gov interests who want to squash this via eliminating net neutrality.

Michael Thomas said...

I agree with you cause the music industry is lacking something that It hasn't had yet. I think that music labels need a new formula for how they promote, sell, and record/produce albums. I actually heard a couple weeks ago that producer Ross Robinson is working with a band called Repeater. I think the band is from Long Beach and apparently they are working together to promote their music, produce and record their next album for free, and work with other people in the industry to basically change the way the music business handles music. I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens with this idea.

petro said...

Good post man! And you couldn't have hit it on the head any better. "Well Timmy, to make music not money for one..."

Andrew said...

Lazy John- Couldnt agree more. There is a band called Portugal. The Man (playing at the Casbah on 3/1) who is a complete DIY band. They have what is a small version of a 360 deal with Equal Vision Records and it is completely working out in their favor.

Michael Thomas- That idea is an amazing one. Let's hope they stick to it. Unfortunately they will run in to a lot of bumps in the road, but it can be done.

Petro- Thanks buddy. See you tomorrow. Cannot wait for it!

Greg Sieme said...

Hey everyone,
My name is Greg Sieme and I work for Equal Vision Records (thanks for the shout-out, Andrew).

We don't tie bands into unfair deals, and in addition to being a music marketing company, we offer services we think are actually useful to bands (merch printing, webstores, order fulfillment, etc). We do them to the best of our ability, so artists choose to work with us.

The music industry is in a crazy place right now. The fact that the industry in general still relies on Nielsen SoundScan is somewhat strange. A band who technically "scans" 60,000 records, could have sold 200,000 t-shirts, and their album could have been traded online a million times. You never know. So SoundScan is an odd gauge in the 21st century.

We're trying all kinds of different models (since there are no rules) including what we call "EVR365." It's an annual subscription where you'll receive all of our releases either on CD, MP3 downloads, or a deluxe combo of both for an entire year for one price. It's a way for us to try and introduce new bands to existing fans and keep the label growing.

Hope you all can make it to the 3/1 Portugal. The Man show in San Diego @ The Casbah. I'm sure it'll be a great show.

Keep in touch through our official website. Feel free to drop us a line with any comments, suggestions, etc.


Ronald said...

Making music is extremly expesive and the fact that noone wants to pay for it is sad. The consumer has been programmed to feel that they are entiltled to it for free. Therefore the only bands that will truly hang around will be ones with bigtime support, or who don't mind living under the poverty line with no health care, etc... The problem is way bigger than greedy record execs, it filters down to even small independent labels who can't keep their doors open, or better yet invest in new talent. The idea that musicians are not entitled to make a living doing what they love is sad. They are creating something we love. I would rather pay for music and have them make a living than, then hold on to the bullshit idea to just make music for the love of it. If it was just for the love they would keep it to themselves and not pay to record it.

petro said...

Man not sure I agree with your point Ronald. You only listed the two possible senarios, but I believe the last one you mentioned and disreagared is valid as well. Why keep it to your self if your making it, maybe the love of making it and playing it is enough for some.

I personaly work all day and play music all night. I don't make a penny from it, if fact if i added up all the hours spent practicing, money spent on gear and recording you would see the worst idea ever in action. don't really care though, its not my job, I just really love doing it, keeps me out of the gang scene as I say.

Here's the thing everyone is differnet, when people check out my music great, but if not, no worries. I think its totally fine to do it and not get any money back, what "artist" actually makes money anyways, very few. nad I always wonder to myself how happy they are with their "art". I mean just listen to the compression on albums today to start with! its a labor of love, alwasy was, always will be. if you want to do exactly what you want to do with no comprimise, be prepared to do it for free.

i actually think people who are trying to do music for a living are kind of silly. Its a terrible idea, what fraction of a percent sucseed? And I it the industry has always been this way. That is my opinion only though, doesn't mean its the right one.

Also, I'd like to add, back in the day there were few recording studios, no internet, you couldn't buy a $100 mic that was really amazing, or download music software for free, and what the heck was a computer! We are oversaturated with all of this now. I don't think most people can imagine what it was like 10 years ago much less 20! This of course causes an influx of peope making thir own art. I'll bet that after Bic introduced the first cheap ballpoint pen there were a heck of a lot more painters!

Now couple that influx with the internet added in and how can anyone actually syupport it? i still buy CD's and vinly, but let me tell you I'm very, very chossy. I support, btu I only support a few. if its not worth buying, its not worth downloading. Also, with sites like Amazon I can perview music before I decide to buy it. no more trelying on word of mouth or picking albums by cool cover like when I was in high school.

Anyways i digressed a little bit, and I obviously can't spell, but i think my point is a valid one. And at least worth considering. Just making "art" for the love of it is ok. who cares about the indusrty. You don't really need to starve to be an "artist," you just gotta learn to multitask.

Ronald said...

Well put Petro but there is a large amounts of artists that make money for there craft and rightfully so. I am sure you make money playing and selling your art. It just may not be enough yet to justify leaving your day job.

I do believe to make art for art's sake is more then commendable, but it is never a terrible idea to follow your heart. I would rather have failed then never had tried.

If that many people had that attitude about trying to make money in the music business, I am sure your music collection would have suffered greatly.

Spelling is overrated,


Andrew said...

AHHH. I love that I am getting this many comments. Thanks for the kind words Greg. What equal vision is doing is absolutely brilliant in my eyes. Supporting the bands that YOU choose to sign is kind of caveman these days, so please keep it up.

I see both of your points Ronald and Petro. But in the end, i have to put myself in an artists shoes. Sure I would love to make money, but that is not why i would paint, draw, write, play, etc etc ANYTHING. In fact i consider what I do ("radio" djing) an art. A lost art at that. And i do it for the love of music. It is nice that i get a paycheck, but i will continue to do it until it not longer makes me happy. Not till i dont get paid for it anymore.

And yes Petro, correct spelling is overrated...