David Byrne: 'The internet will suck all creative content out of the world'

opentune

Platinum Member
Thanks! GREAT read.
The old saying "there is no free lunch" still rings true. Sure you can get all your film and music for free nowadays, but the cost is all coming down the road.....sucking dry all the forces of those who create it.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Yeah, Bob Lefsetz talks about this all the time. Artists like Byrner and people in the music industry are living in the past. There's no stopping the new markets.
Its true, the model of the past is just that, but one wonders what are the new markets? Who will they pay out to? According to Byrnes calculations, not the musicians, and ultimately (new) artists cannot live or produce on no income.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
According to Byrnes calculations, not the musicians, and ultimately (new) artists cannot live or produce on no income.
Some artists must be making an income - the makers of the plastic pop that people seem to want. There gap between mainstream and independent seems to be widening.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Great read!

There was alot to agree with there - but what I found troubling was people who complain about these artists as "whiners" or that say "true artists want to share what they have with everybody" - on the one hand I suppose I can understand that, but on the other hand, if my way of putting food on the table and keeping a roof over my head was my artistry, I'd be concerned about continuing to get paid a fair wage.

And it isn't just songwriters, what about those of us who play drums for a living, or a partial living? Isn't that artistry too? Unless you've ever been in the position of actually making a good income from what you love, I doubt you'd understand what is at stake, hence these people labeling artists as whiners, right?

I don't know, its a tough call, but I know I wouldn't be displaying any artistry if I had to get a job to make ends meet.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Lots of truth, but Byrne clearly has no clue on one pint.

he says:
I also don't understand the claim of discovery that Spotify makes; the actual moment of discovery in most cases happens at the moment when someone else tells you about an artist or you read about them – not when you're on the streaming service listening to what you have read about (though Spotify does indeed have a "discovery" page that, like Pandora's algorithm, suggests artists you might like)
There is more to this, and Byrne sells this one aspect short.
Every band page on Spotify has a "Related artists" button that will give a page full of bands that are actually similar in style to whatever you are listening to. I have discovered many, many new bands this way. This aspect is not like Pandora's algorithm. It's more like a record store grouping bands by sound.

And in addition to there is indeed a discovery page, which is more algorithm based.
I'd be even more curious if the folks who "discover" music on these services then go on to purchase it.
I have. Many times. If I like the band/album enough, I will buy my own copy to have it.

And yes, there have been many albums I was interested in that I did not buy because I heard it on Spotify and decided I wasn't really into it. But there have been bands/albums I had never heard of before, that I discovered via Spotify's "related artists" that I did go out and buy the album, and began to follow said band.

I manage to check stuff out without using these services. I'll go directly to an artist's website, or Bandcamp, or even Amazon –
Slight hypocrisy there. If you listen to track on this methods, no one is getting paid, It's all free. How is listening to a free song different than listening to a free song? At least with Spotify, the band might get a penny. Simply going to the bands website means the band gets nothing.

Are these services evil? Are they simply a legalised version of file-sharing sites such as Napster and Pirate Bay – with the difference being that with streaming services the big labels now get hefty advances?
Spotify may be evil, but at least it pays towards artists, where as file sharing does not.

When my band gets listened to on Spotify, I eventually get a penny. OK, that's no much. And I have to wait until I get $20 worth to get paid. It's sad. On the other, people are listening to me. I'm not on a record label. No one is promoting my band. It's just there.

The other aspect is I often use Spotify to listen to things at work that I already own at home. Because it beats carrying the album from home. So in fact, some bands are getting paid twice by me, once for the album purchase, and again for listening to it via Spotify.

I do get his overall point. I really do. But as he said:
I don't have an answer. I wish I could propose something besides what we've heard before
And this is what it comes down to. You say it's bad, you can wish it away, but it's here.
 

Brian

Gold Member
Technology is evil when in evil hands...which is becoming more and more. Regardless, a good book helps ease the pain. ;)
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
Slight hypocrisy there. If you listen to track on this methods, no one is getting paid, It's all free. How is listening to a free song different than listening to a free song?
You don't listen to complete songs on Amazon, just a sample. Definitely enough to tell whether it's something you would want to purchase.

What everyone seems to be missing here is that there is a LOT of money changing hands thanks to music. The problem is that it isn't going where it is SUPPOSED to go.
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
Yeah, Bob Lefsetz talks about this all the time. Artists like Byrner and people in the music industry are living in the past. There's no stopping the new markets.
Living in the past? I think it's you who are living in the past. The DISTANT past.

There is a lot of money going to the WRONG people. The only thing allowing this is legislation that is "living in the past" and governments who refuse to enforce existing laws.

Believe me, if there was a will, this problem would be solved immediately.

Apple, Spotify, Pandora, Facebook, Google, YouTube ALL need to pay up, and pay up BIG. None of them would exist if it weren't for all the content that they refuse to pay A FAIR PERCENTAGE for. NONE OF THEM.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
You don't listen to complete songs on Amazon, just a sample. Definitely enough to tell whether it's something you would want to purchase.
On Amazon, yes.

But on the artist website, band camp, and such, you usually get an entire song.

Many bands stream there entire new albums on their sites or such for a few days FOR free.
If I listen to the legal stream, provided by the band/record company, for FREE, I get the whole album to judge if I want to listen to it again.

In the end, not much different.

Apple, Spotify, Pandora, Facebook, Google, YouTube ALL need to pay up, and pay up BIG. None of them would exist if it weren't for all the content that they refuse to pay A FAIR PERCENTAGE for. NONE OF THEM.
Technically, true. I won't disagree.

But that is what was always said about the labels too. They take the vast percentage of the money from album sales, and then expense every last penny it took to make said album against the small percentage the artist was supposed to get. Long before the internet, plenty of bands signed record deals, sold thousands of albums, and were still broke. For every artist that sold a million records on a major label, there were a dozen more who's albums got made but never promoted, and ended up in the 99 cent bin, or just shelved all together.

The music business has never been fair. The Beatles got ripped off on the rights to their own songs. The Who had financial issues their entire career due to bad contracts they signed when they were young. And on and on.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
Artists will always make art.

Azzhats will always prey on whomever they can.

...and so it is....
 

Reggae_Mangle

Silver Member
The one major grouse I have about the internet is file sharing. It's become so common place to just download a torrent, that people are no longer supporting people that produce art. Or software.

But the same thing can't be done with a car or a refrigerator or a television. People are scared to steal cars and fridges. They don't think twice about digitised content because it's not a physical commodity.

I keep hearing the same arguments: the record industry is cheating the artists, artists make more money from touring, artists should starve for their art.

But the fact is that people like free stuff. And it's sad, when everyone praises capitalism, that they would go berserk if their favourite band decided to have a limited release on a proprietary format that they couldn't download. The same guys that are stealing the maximum from musicians and software companies are the guys that are putting out dozens of crap online records, polishing their turd with stolen plugins.

Offer free stuff and people will be killing each other in the line so that they can get more than their fair share. Tell them they can steal it for free when it has a price tag and they'll become Communists.

I also think the dig at Radiohead was uncalled for. I think it was great the way they released an album online and asked people to pay whatever they liked. It reminds of something similar done by Nine Inch Nails, when they released an entire album for free.

You know what? It was soon packaged as a torrent for people to leech off. Disgusting.

It'll take legislation alright. And I'm all for it, as unpopular as that might be in the minds of the masses. I think of it as protection of a minority.
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
Technically, true. I won't disagree.

But that is what was always said about the labels too. They take the vast percentage of the money from album sales, and then expense every last penny it took to make said album against the small percentage the artist was supposed to get. Long before the internet, plenty of bands signed record deals, sold thousands of albums, and were still broke.
The artist would usually get a large advance against future profits, and they would never have to repay that advance if sales never recouped that money. I'm not saying record labels were always fair, but many used to "develop" artists, and lose money in the process, while they made their bread and butter off of their big sellers.

The current system is ENTIRELY skewed such that the artist will always lose.
 

Reggae_Mangle

Silver Member
Recoupment is one of the sad things about the small print in record contracts.

But with the way album sales have fallen as a result of digital piracy, can you blame them if they want to make sure they don't lose money. The way things are now, even if you are a super-famous and recognised artist, it might not be on account of record sales.

Plus, being seen on TV and heard on the radio are a big part of getting a band exposed to a larger audience. It costs money.

The way things are right now, I wouldn't be surprised if there are software programmes designed to infiltrate computers and maximise hits on specific videos/web pages. I mean, it's almost as if careers are made and broken on the internet. And it doesn't have anything to do with quality of music.
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
The debt would pile into the next record.
That would depend on the particular contract, but not always. Usually, if the record didn't sell well, or if they lost a lot of money on it, they would just drop the act.
 
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