Lars was right...

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
So, making everything yourself and uploading it to iTunes makes you no money ar all? That would mean you're creating an undesirable product.
No, it means I'm not being discovered, like the other 6,000 people who uploaded their tracks today. To get discovered it helps if your face fits and you have $$$$ to send on promotion, greasing palms, including paying to get on playlists. There is a mountain of content being uploaded, and most consumers are just swiping past it, or just consuming the music their favourite playlist puts in front of them. The algorithm pushes trending tracks to more and more people. Not ;good' tracks, but trending tracks.
I'm not sobbing about my lot, I'm just explain how it works. No one but the top 10% in the industry is making any serious money from streaming. the rest of the 90% in the industry is using streaming to promote their live show. It is unpaid promotion. Which is why no one spends 6 months or even 6 weeks making their album these days. It is working for $0.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
Man I used to LOVE BMG and Columbia House.

Getting 11 tapes/cds and 1 free for 1 cent plus postage and sometimes a money order for $2.50 if I recall.

Honest question: How did musicians cope with this?
Though not free, it was still somewhat highly accessible means for a middle school person.

My cousin had a huge book of CDs from that he would order from there anytime we picked up a music magazine or catalog that had them.
Maybe hundreds close to thousands of dollars worth at a low fraction of actually spent.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
If you wanted the music on your computer in 2001, you had two choices. i) Piracy or ii) buy a CD in a physical store and then rip it. I remember it well.
What's wrong with buying the CD and directly supporting the artists? That's what I was doing, then uploading wavs to my computer, making compilations for my iPod etc.
Piracy didn't really impact the labels, they had deep enough pockets, and they ended up doing the deal with Spotify. Piracy deprived independent musicians of their income.
MP3 is bad quality. A lot of streaming services are moving away from MP3 to better (CD) quality. Digital downloads was a brief fad. Really the industry has gone from CD to streaming, with a brief dalliance with piracy and downloads. By far the most people stream music in 2022/23. And the problem with that is only the top 10-20% of very popular artists are earning money from streaming. Everyone else is just using recordings to promote the live show.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
So, making everything yourself and uploading it to iTunes makes you no money ar all? That would mean you're creating an undesirable product. It requires zero fuel to do all of that from one's home and create a following; if you make music that people want to consume. When one creates a following, demand creates opportunities to tour for actual decent money.
In the end, making a living off a product, which music is, is dependent upon making a product the people want to consume.
Like Chris has alluded to you’re competing with thousands of tracks being uploaded the same day.

Now if your music is featured by one of the streaming sites or listed on an official playlist or the algorithm favours you then you’re instantly increasing your audience as masses are being directed to you so that 0.000006 pence per play (or whatever it now is) starts to feel less insulting.

It’s simply not as easy as creating something good and ‘people will come’ I wish it was that simple though.

There are thousands of good artists/bands that will never see their listener count increase to a point whereby they’ll make anything like acceptable money/return from their investment.

Saying that personally as someone who has released music on Spotify and all the major streaming providers and hates their practices for artists, but pays Spotify a monthly subscription like a total hypocrite.

I think Deezer pays the best rates to artists, but again we’re talking zilch.

Unfortunately out of the streaming companies/owners, the listeners and the artists it’s the ones who create the music or ‘product’ that everyone else benefits from who get shafted.
 
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someguy01

Platinum Member
No, it means I'm not being discovered, like the other 6,000 people who uploaded their tracks today. To get discovered it helps if your face fits and you have $$$$ to send on promotion, greasing palms, including paying to get on playlists.
How is this any different than what has been going on since the dawn of consumer driven music?
You've ways had to "get discovered" in order to make a living. What I said was that now, you don't have to sell your soul to the label and lose control of your art. You get to keep it all.
How many people in younger generations have been exposed to and risen the profiles of older artists through YouTube and streaming services? I'd be willing to bet that number is high.
I get that to almost everyone "change" is a swear word, but things change and one can adapt and thrive or stay where they are and be left behind to die off.
The industry and artists failed to see the writing on the wall, as @Mediocrefunkybeat eloquently pointed out. The same thing happened to the book and bookstore industry when they failed to read the writing on the wall that said "Amazon". They did not adapt and most died off rather quickly. One can complain about the game and the rules or they can play. The choice is yours.

Who got paid when Brand Nubian sampled "What I am"? I'm guessing the label.
 

someguy01

Platinum Member
Whatever, Daniel Ek, creator and owner of Spotify is a billionaire. the average pro musician is lucky to earn average wage. I think pretty much everyone* agrees the balance is wrong. Not you, not I, but everyone* who has seriously researched the streaming business model, including a committee of UK parliamentarians.
Let's trot out the old tried and true Walmart argument. Or even better the CEO vs the Janitor wage gap argument. Shit, might as well compare oranges to bricks while we're at it.
When someone has a better business idea, everyone loves to crucify them for being successful. I'm kind of tired of the anti success crowd. First it was Sam Walton for having the better business model. Then it was Bill Gates for creating something everyone wanted to use. Then it was Jeff Bezos for again creating something that everyone wants to use. No one accounts for the huge losses all three men took in order to secure their product and marketplace.

Note to self, be a failure in life so no one will crucify you. Be a success and the green eyed monster of society will come for you.

Random note: did you know that Walmart single handedly was responsible for CDs being removed from those humongous cardboard sleeves and being reduced to shrink wrap on only the CD? They maximize shelf space and in doing so informed all manufacturers of products they carry that things need to packaged to fit their shelving or they wouldn't carry the product. Thanks for reducing waste in the landfill Walmart. Thank you to all the streaming services for reducing the amount of plastic finding its way into the landfill in the form of a scratched CD.
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
Nooooo. The price of music was reduced to zero by piracy, which 100% ENABLED Spotify to work as a business model. they are paying basement rates to musicians. When asked why they couldn't pay more (in a recent UK parliamentary enquiry) ALL the streaming companies said the same thing - they are competing with free (piracy). people will pay $9.99 per month for music, but of the fee went up to $20 a month, the consumer will just go back to piracy. That's why Spotify streaming prices haven't changed for ten years.

With respect Chris, I'm not talking about digital streaming. I'm talking about digital music sales. Which is a different thing.

You log into a storefront (e.g. Apple Music) and you buy a copy for downloading to your hard drive. Streaming is an entirely different paradigm.

Between 1995 and 2003 there was no significant online market place to legally purchase music for downloading onto your hard drive. This is much closer to the 'piracy'. You don't stream the music as a pirate, you download it your hard drive.

The fact that no significant legal service existed for this in the eight years that the technology existed up until 2003 is a damning indictment of the music industry and it was the very notion of piracy that eventually drove the industry to accept that they would have to get with the times and make digital music available for sale and to download to your hard drive. In the end, Apple got the jump on the market and made the iTunes Store popular. They brokered deals with the record companies and took 30% of the cut.

The record companies could have done this in 1995. They didn't. They failed to see where the market was heading.
 

robthetimekeeper

Senior Member
What's wrong with buying the CD and directly supporting the artists? That's what I was doing, then uploading wavs to my computer, making compilations for my iPod etc.
Good question. I still do this as much as possible. Artists are beginning to not offer CDs at all, forcing me to buy a digital download instead. Ironically, the same artists are selling vinyl, which I can't rip into my computer or listen to in my car. And yes, both my car and computer still have CD players. Sorry for the Gen X rant. I want my old CDs (Mtv)!
 

s1212z

Silver Member
Growing up, my dad had a reel to reel and later on got a whole ADAT system with a mixing board and whatnot. I was lucky to have some access to multitracking recording growing up for sure, it taught me alot and at that time it wasn't a common thing aside for some 4 track recorders.

Now, everyone has a home recording studio of some kind (big or small), no wonder we have such content saturation. You can see it the in the budget kits got better...globalization (for better or worse), made these thing far more accessible and affordable. You can make music without learning an instrument either. On top of this, the competing media of modern tech...even more media saturation, more so than any time in human history. Pretty tough to cut through the noise.

Natural selection would say for music, the media needs to evolve to something far more exclusive to cut this noise. Maybe that means have VR body suit experiences at music shows or changing what an album is in the classic sense (or always have it combined with other media like movies or animimation with a new technological front). Just some wild ideas....but part of the art is creative solutions and it hasn't found its self other than repeating legacy formats of yesteryear that are just lost. Nature says either evolve or die.
Between 1995 and 2003 there was no significant online market place to legally purchase music for downloading onto your hard drive. This is much closer to the 'piracy'. You don't stream the music as a pirate, you download it your hard drive.

I'm having a flashback of CD burners in 1997...remember when getting a 4x was like Ferrari? And just like dual tape decks, everyone was primed to this concept since more or less many people traded with their friends without much thought....until is got ridiculously easy like the Napster thing, seemed like a line got a crossed. And not to be an old fart, but there is a notable generation difference that expects 'free' media without a second thought that weren't even alive at this time...the attitude now is more like an expected 'why isn't it all free' is what I gather.
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
Growing up, my dad had a reel to reel and later on got a whole ADAT system with a mixing board and whatnot. I was lucky to have some access to multitracking recording growing up for sure, it taught me alot and at that time it wasn't a common thing aside for some 4 track recorders.

Now, everyone has a home recording studio of some kind (big or small), no wonder we have such content saturation. You can see it the in the budget kits got better...globalization (for better or worse), made these thing far more accessible and affordable. You can make music without learning an instrument either. On top of this, the competing media of modern tech...even more media saturation, more so than any time in human history. Pretty tough to cut through the noise.

Natural selection would say for music, the media needs to evolve to something far more exclusive to cut this noise. Maybe that means have VR body suit experiences at music shows or changing what an album is in the classic sense (or always have it combined with other media like movies or animimation with a new technological front). Just some wild ideas....but part of the art is creative solutions and it hasn't found its self other than repeating legacy formats of yesteryear that are just lost. Nature says either evolve or die.


I'm having a flashback of CD burners in 1997...remember when getting a 4x was like Ferrari? And just like dual tape decks, everyone was primed to this concept since more or less many people traded with their friends without much thought....until is got ridiculously easy like the Napster thing, seemed like a line got a crossed. And not to be an old fart, but there is a notable generation difference that expects 'free' media without a second thought that weren't even alive at this time...the attitude now is more like an expected 'why isn't it all free' is what I gather.
My family are absolutely steeped in sound recording and technology. My Grandad was involved in the design of the BBC BC1 Monitor speakers and we have a prototype pair sitting at my parent's house. He worked for the BBC from 1958-1988 and followed everything until he died a couple of years ago at 92. He was working on digital audio in the late 70s when it was a brand new concept. He had his hands in everything...

I think he would have been the first to say that technology and artistry move in a locked step. I would entirely agree with that. As the technology evolves, so must the industry and so must artists. I don't so much believe in 'cutting through the noise' as much as wildly embracing the wider democratisation of the industry. A lot of rubbish is made but so is a lot of interesting music that would never have left the bedroom 30 years ago and I think we're all the richer for it. It's simply a case of learning to curate your own taste.

This does mean that there's a smaller chunk of the pie for many artists - but those artists may never have had any part of the pie at all in the past because their music would never have been released to a wide audience and if it was, it would have been through underground casette scenes (which still exist, incidentally).

The major labels got complacent and thought that their hegemony over distribution with physical media would continue, despite the presence of the Internet. They were wrong and now the people making the most money out of music are technology companies like Spotify (and I don't use Spotify for a number of reasons - including ethical) and Apple (who I do buy music from regularly and their streaming service does tend to pay more than Spotify). Digital music distribution completely sideswiped the major labels and it took Sean Parker and Napster to make them realise that digital music distribution was the future and that there was a market for it.

Streaming comes in much later. Do I stream music? Sometimes. I have an iPod Classic that I still use regularly and I prefer buying the file and downloading it to my device where possible but there are also times when I really want to listen to a particular artist and don't happen to have that album to hand - or I haven't bought it yet. I do usually buy anything I stream more than a handful of times but I know that attitude isn't prevalant and I have a level of disposable income. When I was a teenager I did pirate music on occasion but anything I liked I have since purchased in one format or another. I own casette tapes, reel-to-reel tapes (no way of playing them), CDs, a modest amount of vinyl and a range of devices, speakers and headphones to listen to them.

I care that artists get paid fairly for their work and I care that artists are able to put their work out there on services like Bandcamp without needing a distributor. It may not get them many sales or a huge audience but I've discovered dozens of interesting, independent artists online and spent many hours listening to digital dowloaded albums I've bought from these artists. Sometimes I also buy physical media from them when it's available. There's also a Bandcamp page for my own work and I have offered physical media from there too.

It's a much wider industry now than it has ever been and I'm all the more grateful for it. The joy of discovering an underground artist on Bandcamp and exploring their catalogue by streaming some of their tracks, then purchasing their music never goes away and it has hugely enriched my life, opening up possibilities and genres that I would never have thought to listen to.

I'm not upset about the decline of major labels. They're still out there, still dominating the charts and that's fine. Taylor Swift managed to get all ten top-ten slots on the Billboard Hot 100 the other day, so you can't exactly claim that major labels are dead. It's just that had they managed to get an early start - like Apple did - they'd be making a Hell of a lot more money now than they do.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
How is this any different than what has been going on since the dawn of consumer driven music?
You've ways had to "get discovered" in order to make a living.
Where to start....
Record labels and radio stations acted as curators. Often a label had a sound that you trusted as a consumer - Motown, Solar, Warp, ECM.
Before streaming you weren't competing for ears with The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, effectively every classic record ever released. Apart from 'oldies' stations, most popular radio played new, or relatively new releases. If you liked Van Halen you typically sat through a couple of hours of other artist's music until your radio station played the new Van Halen release. These days most streaming users aren't exposed to music they don't know.
Artists were nurtured and funded by the system. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to be 'discovered'. That's what the label advance paid for. Now we are supposed to pay for it ourselves. That's why young bands of under 25's are either broke or unheard.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
I'm not upset about the decline of major labels. They're still out there, still dominating the charts and that's fine. Taylor Swift managed to get all ten top-ten slots on the Billboard Hot 100 the other day, so you can't exactly claim that major labels are dead. It's just that had they managed to get an early start - like Apple did - they'd be making a Hell of a lot more money now than they do.
Sorry, but you really don't understand the topic. The gap has widened. The major labels are stronger, making more money than before, more dominant than ever. Independents have become weaker and individual musicians are much poorer. That is the actual facts of it.
You keep wanting to link record labels with musicians. That is wrong. Record labels took a minor hit to their income with piracy, but they had deep pockets. They also owned most of the classic music that had ever been released, which gave them great bargaining power.
So with recorded music being worth $0, they did a deal with Spotify that agreed fees of $0.004 per stream - which is better than $0 right? And also likely to become a much bigger number on catalogues that millions of users stream repeatedly.
The record companies might have been caught with their trousers down with mp3, but individual musicians weren't. What did you expect us to do? We didn't have millions of R&D dollars behind us, we make music not technology.
These threads on musician forums depress me.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
and now the people making the most money out of music are technology companies like Spotify (and I don't use Spotify for a number of reasons - including ethical) and Apple (who I do buy music from regularly and their streaming service does tend to pay more than Spotify). Digital music distribution completely sideswiped the major labels and it took Sean Parker and Napster to make them realise that digital music distribution was the future and that there was a market for it.
Yawn. Funny you list the people making money out of music and there is no mention of the workers, the people actually CREATING the music.
You repeat this tired old trope about Sean Parker hammering the labels, 1) ignoring the impact on the workers (the creators), 2) contradicting yourself by admitting later the record labels still exist and still dominate the charts.
It's no good smaller independent musicians having access to distribution and the ears of the public if no one ever sees or hears the release.
The tech companies are funded by sponsorships and advertising. Their algorithm is therefore 100% designed to peddle the most popular music that will attract more listeners and keep them listening for longer. So yeah...Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, etc...
At least the old system paid SOME respect to greater art, but the streaming algorithm purposely promotes the most commercial songs and hides the left field, innovative music which is of course the least popular.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
And by the way, largely speaking tech based disruption hammers the workers and rewards founders and their investors. Recent research found that food couriers - self employed people delivering for Just Eat, Deliveroo are working very long hours and earning about £7 per hour. The average hourly wage in the UK is currently £14.99
Streaming is great for consumers, and so are online food apps, but be aware of the workers who are exploited.
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
Yawn. Funny you list the people making money out of music and there is no mention of the workers, the people actually CREATING the music.
You repeat this tired old trope about Sean Parker hammering the labels, 1) ignoring the impact on the workers (the creators), 2) contradicting yourself by admitting later the record labels still exist and still dominate the charts.
It's no good smaller independent musicians having access to distribution and the ears of the public if no one ever sees or hears the release.
The tech companies are funded by sponsorships and advertising. Their algorithm is therefore 100% designed to peddle the most popular music that will attract more listeners and keep them listening for longer. So yeah...Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, etc...
At least the old system paid SOME respect to greater art, but the streaming algorithm purposely promotes the most commercial songs and hides the left field, innovative music which is of course the least popular.
You still haven't addressed any of my points, Chris.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
You still haven't addressed any of my points, Chris.
You didn't address mine - how are emerging artists able to make a living, even though they can access cheap distribution?
Why have the leading pirates joined the board of streaming companies?
Is the market broken or not?
If the 'market decides' that means music is like KFC. Markets follow popular money makers, not artistic integrity.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
And it's not just me. Shirley Manson on the BBC today.
Quote:
"That is the deal: Creative people need systems by which they can reach the population and the industry exploits that need. They make a lot of money and they are very careless with artists - who are the last people to get paid.
"We were lucky in that we emerged at a time before streaming when you could build a career. These days, alternative artists, who aren't making music to appeal to the mainstream, are getting drowned every single day."

 
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