unastronaut*

Feet on the ground – head in the clouds.

Modern music, the new industry and the big losers

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This is my take on the music industry, shaped by the events of the last decade. My thoughts on the RIAA, the big winners, the changing tides, and the digital format. A big mouthful and at the same time, we’re really dancing around one issue piracy.

The recording industry includes: A&R reps, management and public relations, sound engineers, producers, advertising and anyone else lifting a finger for the band. I’ve seen bands get stupid amounts of advance money, and spend it on stupid things without retaining enough to stay an active band. Granted, the bands doing this were dumb, not friends but local bands I watched and wondered why their following continued to grow. But even dumb people deserve a fair shake, and the easiest way to ensure a dumb response is to flash an absurd amount of money around, or at least an absurd amount for the area.

The internet gives everyone a fair shake, and a chance to let the music speak for itself. No advertising campaigns, no major banner play, just a plan and free sites on web. For less than $200 you can press 50 copies of a demo or limited edition CD (and depending on predicted sales up to 1000 CDs for under $500), print album art and submit the album to every major digital retailer (iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, walmart.com). Sign up on AmieStreet, Last.fm and theSixtyOne as an artist and upload a few songs for some more opportunities to let your music speak, and establish communication with listeners.

The problem with all of this is that it cuts out a lot of that first equation. Now you only have the issue of recording/studio time. In any metropolitan area, you will find a boatload of recent recording arts graduates working for a fair price. I also describe on this site how to build a home studio, or the general direction to take. My tutorial is for beginners thinking about building something that works and works well, it is in no way a “best of” compilation of gear.

That is what all of these RIAA lawsuits and issues are about; the loss of many middlemen, the industry shedding it’s skin and the good ol’ American chase for the dollar sign. Recently the accusation was made that some artists represented by RIAA lawyers hadn’t seen a dime of the money from settlements reached. These are the last breaths of a slain dragon. The world is better off with too much music than filtered crap music, and it’s much better off if we filter our own crap. Pandora can pay the artists what you used to, go re-train in Green energy.

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