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Artists Strive To Wrest Rights From Music Industry 287

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the industry-jenga dept.
eldavojohn writes "The funny thing about the RIAA & BPI is that the artists are just as tired as the fans with how online music is being handled. So they're trying something new called the Featured Artists' Coalition. FAC's site states in their charter: 'We believe that all music artistes should control their destiny because ultimately it is their art and endeavors that create the pleasure and emotion enjoyed by so many.' As digital releases are increasing, the artists aren't seeing any more money. With the advent of online distribution, are the traditional music industry functions of promotion, samples, radio, and marketing now nothing but costly overhead for the artists? From Iron Maiden to Kate Nash to Radiohead, some big names are backing this new organization."
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Artists Strive To Wrest Rights From Music Industry

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:01PM (#25278111)

    If there is any way that you can help (adding a banner to link to their website, putting flyers up where appropriate, etc), please do.

    • by bonch (38532) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:47PM (#25278593)

      One of the justifications I often hear for piracy is that you're revolting against record labels. Are people now saying that they will in fact stop pirating music if the RIAA isn't a factor?

      Why do I have a hard time believing that?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kneo24 (688412)

        You're right that most people probably won't stop. However, I doubt most people are using that phrase anyway. The only people you hear using that phrase are the staunch supporters of the artists who are heavily into the whole RIAA debacle in the first place.

        However if you're just strictly taking that group into consideration and ignoring the rest, well, I have no fucking clue. Some assuredly will, and some definitely won't (they'll just find other reasons).

      • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday October 06, 2008 @07:40PM (#25279037) Homepage

        If it means there's a web site I can go to and donate directly to artists I like then, yes, they'll get more money from me.

        If I'm "pirating" now it's because:

        a) The RIAA's various shenanigans over the last few years has earned my contempt.
        b) I don't believe the artist would get any of the money from a CD sale. The RIAA will keep it all.

        The only CDs I've bought in the last few years have been from places like CDBaby which state clearly how much the artist will receive from the sale. Buying from any other distribution model is worse than any amount of piracy IMHO.

        • by FridgeFreezer (1352537) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:10PM (#25279257)

          This is my rationale too - If an artist only gets 25% of my money currently, I'll happily pay them that amount directly (or a little more) as it is cutting out a huge swathe of arseholes all taking a cut and contributing nothing of value.

          With the current system, buying music legitimately is a bit like funding terrorism - the vast majority of your money goes to the people who are responsible for all the stuff that's wrong with the industry.

          • This is my rationale too - If an artist only gets 25% of my money currently, I'll happily pay them that amount directly (or a little more) as it is cutting out a huge swathe of arseholes all taking a cut and contributing nothing of value.

            Having auditioned for an amateur band and listened to their recorded music, I can tell you that good production quality is very important for the resulting listening experience. So some of the assholes are actually of value ;)

            That being said, if we donated directly to musicians, and a bit more than they make from sales right now, we could pay for the production indirectly by giving the musicians enough money to buy/hire/loan good production staff and facilities themselves.

            There's also marketing: if you don't know the song exists, you're not going to pay for it. That can be fixed on the cheap by teaching everybody to go to $WEBSITE for new music (for some value(s) of website), if possible. That also solves distribution on the cheap.

            (maybe the musicians would be overwhelmed by the choices of production staff/facilities and marketing platforms; perhaps they could hire someone dedicated to manage those choices; maybe those kind people could form a company offering their services, including in-house production staff :D)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by F34nor (321515)

            25% ??? Are you smoking crack while eating crack-berry ice-cream with crack flakes on top???
            Ani DiFranco was at one point the highest paid musician in America per album earning (I can't remember exactly but something like) $1.50 on a $15.00 CD. She owns her own record label. Hootie and the Blowfish at the time were the second and earned something like $1.30. For $3.25 and album is probably more than 300% more than almost any signed band gets and more than enough for a band to pay for some quality studio ti

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              I was using a made-up figure to illustrate a point, no crack was harmed in the making of that post. I know artists get half of f*** all. That's why I'd love to pay the artist direct - I could pay maybe 10% of the commercial price, yet the artist would be getting many times more money than they are used to.

              I also know that you do need some guys in the studio - although you are much less reliant on expensive studios these days, a decent home-recording setup is within most people's means, if you can afford a g

      • by MidnightBrewer (97195) on Monday October 06, 2008 @07:42PM (#25279057)

        I agree that citizen piracy won't stop, but the artist's still stand to gain from stopping the institutionalized kind.

      • by GodWasAnAlien (206300) on Monday October 06, 2008 @09:47PM (#25279987)

        Will you stop illegally singing "happy birthday to you" without paying royalties if we redirect all royalty funds to the descendants of the original author of the "Good morning to you" song?

        First, using "pirate" to refer to something other than robbery at sea is marketing.

        Second, without copyright reform, the new association will become as corrupt as the first.

        If there is money and power associated with keeping an extending a publishing monopoly. Even if an association tries to be the a monopoly that is "good", is bound to fall into the same trap.

        The only real solution is copyright reform.

  • Stop saying RIAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan667 (564390) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:01PM (#25278113)
    To stop the RIAA, everyone needs to hurt those that fund the RIAA.
    These are the companies that need to be vilified.
    - Sony
    - EMI
    - Universal
    - Warner Brothers
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by johanatan (1159309)
      So, SUEW.
    • by argent (18001) <peter@AAAslashdo ... minus threevowe> on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:06PM (#25278185) Homepage Journal

      Warner Brothers

      Yakko, Wakko (and Dot) would never have anything to do with THOSE people!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by isBandGeek() (1369017)
      I was going to buy a VAIO laptop, but decided not to because of Sony's incident with its rootkit, SecuROM, and this too.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You should have if you really wanted it. Sure, there is the giant "SONY" as a global conglomerate, but each branch of "SONY" does not always know or even approve of what the other branches are doing.

        There is SONY Entertainment (SONY Pictures, etc) which covers music, movies and games. Then you have SONY the hardware company, which makes things like televisions, the PS3, computers etc.

        My uncle used to deal with Sony, and he had some rather amusing stories of the entertainment division constantly fighting wit

    • big 4 = RIAA. it's the same people.

      unfortunately, almost all mainstream music acts are signed to one of the big four majors. and even lesser known indie artists that are signed to indie labels have to get their distribution through one of the majors.

      anything you can buy at Best Buy, Tower Records, Virgin Megastores, even iTunes, is in some way affiliated with the big four labels, even if the bands themselves aren't signed to Sony/EMI/Universal/Warner Music Group or one of their subsidiaries.

      so unless you on

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dan667 (564390)
        I agree with your assessment, but the average joe is not powerless. If you cannot buy it through a channel not related to the RIAA, it is still worth while to attack these companies with negative press. The RIAA companies (Sony,EMI,Warner Brothers,Universal) are very sensitive about their brands. If their brands start to suffer as a result of negative press, they will change their behavior.
    • Universal and Warner (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027)

      To stop the RIAA, everyone needs to hurt those that fund the RIAA.
      These are the companies that need to be vilified.
      - Sony
      - EMI
      - Universal
      - Warner Brothers

      Be careful. In 2004, Vivendi sold 80% of Universal to General Electric but left Universal Music Group out of the deal. So to boycott Universal Music Group, you really should be boycotting Activision and its joint venture with Vivendi Games. Likewise, Time Warner spun off Warner Music Group in 2005. These two companies might still be worthy of vilification due to their MPAA affiliation, but don't associate them with the RIAA's practice of suing its customers.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:01PM (#25278119) Journal

    Shocked indeed.

    Unfortunately, there are far too many (largely former) artists, who would prefer to sit back and let the record labels pull in the money for them.

    • by Jay L (74152) *

      Really? Who are the former artists that are having their money "pulled in for them" by the record labels, and how much money?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:31PM (#25278437)

        Really? Who are the former artists that are having their money "pulled in for them" by the record labels, and how much money?

        Britney Spears comes to mind. It isn't long since her last album. Do you really think she is in any shape to make music or that it is really her voice on the CDs? However, she has a big brand (created by labels), a lot of advertising (by labels) behind her and as such people keep buying CDs with her name on them. Same goes for numerous other artists.

        I'm pretty sure that plenty of artists benefit a lot from the companies. As much as they could? nah. As much as they should? Arguable. I don't know if you really should become multimillionaire just because you can sing well and work a lot for it (I work a lot too. ;)) as long as you earn your living... But saying that labels are bad for all artists would be very wrong.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wall0159 (881759)
          Britney Spears is not an artist. She is an entertainer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nbert (785663)
        I don't know much about the structure of the IRAA, but its local puppet Gema [www.gema.de] collects royalties for playing a song in public in Germany (at least if there's a business behind it). They even collect fees from businesses which have a radio running in public areas of their venues (restaurants, stores, hotels ...). It's a stupid system and I wouldn't mention it if Germany wasn't the 2nd largest music market in the world.

        So basically whenever "I'm looking for freedom" runs on some station in Germany there's a
        • In the US, those functions are handled by ASCAP [wikipedia.org] and BMI [wikipedia.org].

        • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Monday October 06, 2008 @07:35PM (#25278995) Homepage

          In reality, that "big check" goes to the many people that handle the licensing. The artist gets, at most, a few pennies per play.

          That's part of the problem: the system exists primarily to support itself, compensating the artists is a secondary objective.

          I think radio stations are largely responsible for the great divide between those who collect royalties, and those who want/expect free music wherever they go. If you tune your car radio to WFKU-FM, you don't pay a penny (though the ads are obnoxious). If a restaurant plays music for its patrons, they're expected to pay licensing fees and/or subscribe to a commercial muzak service. Like many things in the music industry, the distinction was fabricated decades ago, and the business model is pretty much an exercise in hypocrisy.

    • by magus_melchior (262681) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:38PM (#25278501) Journal

      The labels were a convenient one-stop shop for artists and composers, where they can get a production, publication, and distribution package all in one, and get paid in big enticing chunks. This works great... until you deviate from the contract. Then their label demonstrates that they own them, as wealthy colonists owned the indentured servants of old.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bonch (38532)

        Well, one should certainly expect repercussions for deviating from a contract, and one should consider not signing a contract they plan to deviate from. Just saying. Comparing the voluntary signature on an entertainment contract to slavery is pretty absurd.

        • by quanticle (843097) on Monday October 06, 2008 @07:24PM (#25278889) Homepage

          While its entirely unreasonable to compare an RIAA contract to slavery, I do think you're overstating the amount of voluntary choice that one has when signing these contracts. Simply put, many artists see a choice between giving in to the RIAA or languishing in obscurity forever. And, it is in the RIAA's interest to let such a situation continue. This is why these sorts of organizations (by the artists, for the artists) are to be welcomed.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by b4dc0d3r (1268512)
            "If you don't sign here, there's a hundred bands who would kill for the opportunity - I'll just go find someone to replace you" My guess at what the quote would be, but it'd definitely something like that.
            • by KGIII (973947) * on Monday October 06, 2008 @11:34PM (#25280743) Journal

              Instead of posting AC I'll post as me. It is a lot like that which you described. This was in the early 1990's though so I'm not sure if it has changed. If anything I expect it to have gotten worse. We failed having refused to sign a contract with Geffen which included signing one with the RIAA.

              At MOST we'd have made about $0.17 per album sold and, for the record, like $0.0003 for each time our songs got played on the radio.

              I admit that I was the ignorant fucker at the time and the one who wanted to sign. There were some good perks.

          • by Z34107 (925136) on Monday October 06, 2008 @09:33PM (#25279899)

            Simply put, many artists see a choice between giving in to the RIAA or languishing in obscurity forever

            To play devil's advocate, it seems the RIAA is providing a legitimate service then, doesn't it? Sign here and you will no longer languish in obscurity.

            If this new artists coalition thingy can provide the same services, all the power to them. The industry needs competition, and if they can offer a better deal on the sign here to not languish part of the business, it's better for everyone.

  • Well. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:03PM (#25278139)

    Here it is. The start of the final fall of the RIAA and its ilk.

    The musicians and songwriters are revolting and refusing to be put in their place.

    The only question remains: Will they re-do what the RIAA has done? Will they seek an iron-fist of control?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by gdog05 (975196)
      Sorry, I clicked on Redundant by accident. I'm a bad mod. This post is to fix.
    • if it worked, it would have worked for riaa.

      all it did was to alienate listeners.
    • Re:Well. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HiVizDiver (640486) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:31PM (#25278435)
      I do firmly believe that the RIAA (and, by extension, the MPAA) are FAR from out of tricks. They didn't get to the positions they are by being stupid, just greedy.

      I fervently hope that I'm wrong, but we've been hearing the "This is it! The death of the RIAA!" announcements for YEARS.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Well, that's obvious.

        The RIAA will NOT die overnight. They wont die tomorrow, nor will they die 5 years from now (unless disbanded via RICO). Ling Chi comes to mind as the form of death.

        If no or few artists sign on, they will end up with fewer talented artists while the rest of them create their own music guilds and trade unions in which they giants will have to deal with. With fewer One-Hit-Wonders to milk profits, they will be forced to lower overall advertising. Those musicians who are in the guilds not

      • Re:Well. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by steelfood (895457) on Monday October 06, 2008 @07:13PM (#25278807)

        See, here's the thing. Stuff like this takes time. Things don't just collapse like Lehman or AIG. Actually, not even Lehman or AIG fell overnight, despite all appearances. They've been in trouble for at least a year now.

        The timeframe for social change is typically on the order of 10 years, about a half-generation or a decade. Outright revolutions take even longer, about 20 years or twice as long. The American Revolution began in the 1760's and ended in the 1780's. The unrest that brought about the American Civil War began in the 1840's and finally ended in the 1860's.

        The RIAA doesn't just represent a bunch of companies, it's an industry, a business model. TThe fall of the RIAA began with Napster, but only because the genie had been let out of the bottle. Things didn't really start rolling until they began suing normal people, because people don't much care about what goes on around them until it hits their pocketbooks, or threatens to.

        Then, it was just bad PR for musicians to be associated with companies that sued their fans, and it was all a matter of time. But even then, it takes time for artists and fans alike to realize that they can cut out the middleman and do better. They're not going to necessarily be superstars, but how many artists get to become superstars, and at the expense of how many others?

        Had the RIAA not started suing people, it might've taken longer for them to be rendered antiquated, perhaps another 10 years. But that was an eventuality. The world changes, regardless of anybody's desires. It is an inevitability. The RIAA decided to put their resources into fighting the change rather than working with it. For that reason alone, they are destined to fall. It's like swimming against the current. Eventually, they will tire, and when they do, they will drown.

      • I do firmly believe that the RIAA (and, by extension, the MPAA) are FAR from out of tricks. They didn't get to the positions they are by being stupid, just greedy.

        Indeed. If I had tagging powers, I'd probably put up "goodluckwiththat" -- the artists don't own the radiowaves and the music video networks like the RIAA does. I've helped one or two one-hit-wonders make it out of their garages and into Billboard's top 40 through word-of-mouth and spamming "request-a-song" radio shows when they were signed with no-name independent labels, but for the most part, a new band's exposure begins with the 4 capital letters of "RIAA" -- though once they have a flowing fanbase, t

  • Good for Them (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:05PM (#25278167)

    But will it simply turn into a gambling chip against the RIAA to get a marginally better deal?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Artraze (600366)

      > But will it simply turn into a gambling chip against the RIAA to get a marginally better deal?

      What do you mean "turn into"? It already _is_. You quit your job if you're fed up with it; you threaten to quit if you want something. The only real question here is how long the RIAA takes to meet their demands. Too slow and they'll quit for real.

      Remember that there's a love-hate relationship between artists and the RIAA. Working in entertainment usually means giving up making good money (doing something

      • by vux984 (928602)

        The only time you make excellent money is when you become a superstar.

        Ok.

        If the RIAA didn't exist, that will almost never happen,

        It would happen with the same unlikeliness it happens now.

        while with it, you stand a pretty good chance

        Uh, no you don't. You stand a terrible chance. First you have to get signed, which is brutally hard, and if you do get signed for the most part, they -decide- exactly how big you get.

        (and basically no chance if you are against it).

        Primarily because they've muscled you out of all

  • The question is not "Are they costly overhead?" the question is "Are they JUST costly overhead?"

  • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:12PM (#25278247) Journal

    ... actually it's not offtopic since it refers to a tag on this story - but why are all the stories now being tagged 'story?' What's it going to be next? Tagging them with 'words?'

    • If you put your mouse over the tag, it tells you what kind of tag it is[1]. The 'story' tag is a 'Type Tag'. The next two up, 'tech' and 'music' are 'System Tags' (presumably because they correspond to the system categories), and the top level ones are 'Top Tags' - and, at the time of writing, both 'story' and 'words' are in this category.

      Presumably, at some point, things that are not stories will appear. I have idle.slashdot.org blocked from my front page, but I'd imagine things in this category get a

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Eil (82413)

      This is to differentiate them from the non-news sections of Slashdot which are appearing more frequently and are instead tagged as "crap".

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:17PM (#25278309) Homepage

    It seems to me that for the FAC to serve the interests of the artists, there will need to be a legal arm for them. Furthermore, to even become famous, there needs to be some form of marketing and promotions for artists. Marketing and promotions is what the labels provide... in exchange for the souls of the artists.

    Is the FAC prepared to provide this to its members? If so, then great... but is it really so different from what the Labels and RIAA provide? I suppose it remains to be seen... clearly, at least from the outside, it seems to favor artists more... for now.

    FAC : RIAA == Manager : Pimp ?

    • I think you have it completely wrong here.

      think less in terms of your own cleverness, and more in terms of publishing.

      Classical publishing is the model we're seeing here. Though, I understand the parallels are not perfect.

      The RIAA represents publishers. The web says, "we don't need no stinking publishers". Authors and 'artistes' are wondering why they're sticking to the old school publishing method when it provides so little return. They are going to try the new method. Self publishing is now possible and cost effective. The artists know this. The artists have the product. They have the name. Without artists, the RIAA and its member companies make a big 'whooshing' sound. i.e. vacuum.

      We will see labels and publishers suing artists for not renewing contracts. We will also see some artists re-invent themselves due to not owning their 'image'. The only thing that the RIAA's member companies bring to the table now is capital. The market isn't loyal to the publishers. The people are fans of artists, not labels. What we are seeing is the birth of a new industry from the ashes of an old one. The recording industry is at its knees and this, my friends, is its death knell. Long live music and the interminable spirit of human culture.

      • Some artists may not be able to get moving without funding from their nation's specific arm of the RIAA. That's actually good though - some of the most popular artists today are just the same crap being foisted on us year after year because the recording industry has decided that's what we want. If singers and songwriters start getting directly paid for their work, we'll probably see a lot of new styles emerging.

        I hereby declare this age "The Renaissance of the Troubadour"! It's a weird title, but I hop

      • by raehl (609729) <raehl311 AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday October 06, 2008 @07:05PM (#25278725) Homepage

        They're promoters.

        You don't need the record company to get your CDs made or your music distributed. You need the record company to get your song on the radio, to get your band on Leno or SNL, to get critics to listen to your stuff....

        Being able to distribute your own music cheaply doesn't replace the record label - you still have to get anyone to want to listen to your music at all.

      • by tkw954 (709413)

        The only thing that the RIAA's member companies bring to the table now is capital.

        They also have a significant promotional infrastructure in place.

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          Who needs that when you've got the Internet? On the Internet you don't need to print posters and you never run out of window space.

          On the Internet a few music-loving bloggers could replace the promotional mechanism of the entire music industry.

  • Donation link (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unity100 (970058) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:25PM (#25278375) Homepage Journal
    give it.
  • damn publishers! (Score:5, Informative)

    by LingNoi (1066278) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:28PM (#25278415)

    The rights for performers should be improved to bring them more into line with those granted to authors (songwriters, lyricists and composers). Authorâ(TM)s rights are much stronger because their rights model was developed 100 years before performers' rights. Some key differences:
    - if an artist's recording is used in a TV advertisement in the UK, the author gets paid (via PRS) every time it is broadcast but the performers do not
    - if an artist's record is played on free-to-air radio in the US the author gets paid public performance income (via ASCAP or BMI) but the performers do not
    - if an artist's recording is used in a feature film, the author but not the performer gets paid public performance income every time the film is shown in a UK cinema.

    and there you have it ladies and gentlemen. The recording industries bullshit lies. Piracy be damned. The reason artists make squat is because the publishes have stolen all the money!

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:29PM (#25278427) Homepage Journal
    I dont want MBA types deciding what price should an album from a particular artist should be sold. they naturally decide on how much they can get out of the pockets of the consumer.

    and since, artist is bound by contract to the label, it is another form of monopoly - you wont be able to get records of that artist from any other label.

    lets not fool ourselves. this is no competition. just like in the fields of patenting, it hurts our society.

    we need market decide what they want to pay for any music piece. or, the artist even.
    • Maybe you've never thought about it before, but art is a non interchangeable good. You can't swap a Picasso for Johnny smiths drawering. Some individual is always going to be setting a base price for it. If the artist doesn't' sign with a label they must still decide how much they will charge for their services and goods. They only way the free market would decide the prices is if the artist gave up all rights on their music and anyone who wanted to distribute their music set their own price.
    • by SnowDog74 (745848)

      The market does decide. No government entity steps in and determines retail pricing or gross margin. Sellers and buyers are market forces... If the market of buyers doesn't want to pay $15.98 for a CD, then they ought to boycott it.

      If they're serious enough, buyers will, either as a group of individuals or an organized collective, force retail margins down.

      Piracy is thought to be an answer but it does nothing to set a better market price, or to attract artists away from bad record deals (which they are re

  • it's simple (Score:2, Interesting)

    by HaeMaker (221642)

    STOP SIGNING RECORD CONTRACTS!

    There is no reason to do that anymore, at least there shouldn't be. Make the music, record it, and put it on iTunes or some other media.

    Burn it to CD-R and sell it on eBay or Amazon. CD-Rs cost less than $0.25 now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Trogre (513942)

      Distribution isn't the problem. Is hasn't been for nearly a decade.

      The problem is promotion. You can put up your music for purchase just about anywhere, but "who's gonna buy it, kid - you?".

      That's where the labels hold power. They control how much exposure (advertising, radio time, etc) your music gets. I suppose you could try and promote your own music, but spamming is generally frowned upon.

  • by Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:40PM (#25278517)

    Most of the labels (ie RCA, EMI, Sony,etc.) are the middleperson (gender neutral) issue here. Most labels are unfair to the artist so I think that the artist should be like Prince the revolt against all of the unfair labels. However not all labels are this bad. Independent and smaller labels are more fair in their distribution of royalties and doesn't have "Wall Street" pressure to "perform".
    Right now Wall Street is only good for learning what a fraud it is and prevention of this fraud.

  • Established artists (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bonch (38532) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:40PM (#25278519)

    As idealistic as these announcements are, it's almost always established acts who do this--acts that have already benefited and made money from being distributed by a record company.

    That's why I wasn't impressed when Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead released music for free, because they sure weren't doing that 10 years ago when they needed the money.

  • by fermion (181285) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:49PM (#25278615) Homepage Journal
    I am tired of artists complaining that it is all the labels faults. Did Radiohead not cave into the labels in hopes of fame and making money, or did they just think the new name would be more 'artistic'. Did the band join EMI for free, or did not EMI pay them a sum of money in exchange for doing what EMI wanted. Do artist trade creative control for up front payment, or is that more indicative of a business in which the purpose is to make money, not art. Reportable Radiohead demanded 10 million pounds before they were willing to continue their art, and changed labels in hopes of getting that money.

    There is nothing wrong with making money, but be honest. Whether a label gets the money, or performer, or the drug dealer, ultimately gets the money makes no difference. They are all after the same thing, maximizing profits. The label deserves significant profit because they are the ones promoting the performer and providing the upfront capital. The sell out performer, or 'artist', deserves some profit because they provide the raw material. The drug dealer deserves some profit because they provide a necessary product.

    In any case, once yo sell yourself I don't see much room for moral arguments about art. I respect honest people, like the late Robert Heinlein, who provided excellent entertainment, but never pretended his work was anything else than it was. He wrote to make money, he wrote for a market, and if one publisher would not buy his work, he would move to another. He did not cry like a whiny child that he had to work to make his money. No one is putting a gun to these 'artists' heads making the accept the offers from the labels. They could just go out and be artists, if they would give up the money. I buy all sorts of music like that, for instance if that's entertainment [bitmunk.com]

    • Exactly. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by raehl (609729)

      The thing is, there is a HUGE oversupply of "artists". There are way, way, way more people who want to be stars than there is a need for stars.

      By comparison, there is much, much, much less money sitting around to turn one of the many people who want to be a star into an actual star.

      The "artists" don't get much from the record company because if the "artist" isn't willing to take what the record company will give them, there is a long line of other people who will take it just to be famous.

      The actual music

  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday October 06, 2008 @07:55PM (#25279167)

    Here's someone else who is also sick of the RIAA and decided to go rogue. Mike Patton with Ipecac Recordings. [ipecac.com]

    Total freedom to release anything you want, no multi album contracts so you're not locked in, and royalty checks that favor the artist.

    Ipecac is distinguished from most labels (independent labels included) by their policy of signing bands to only one album contracts. "Lawyers or businesspeople call us morons for only doing one-record deals," Werckman scoffs. "They say, 'You're not really anything, then.' Well, we like our catalogue. We like the records we put out. Our bands aren't rushing away. Our job isn't to own any artist. We're here to put out the art that people create."[2]

    Ipecac also presses no more than twenty thousand units at a time.[2]

    Low overhead and no video or promotional cost partnered with very little distribution costs allow for hearty royalties "Every six months I send those guys the fattest royalty checks," Werckman says. "It's great. It's the way it should be. Even bands that are very successful â" when they get royalty checks from us, they're stunned."

    Source. [wikipedia.org]

    I'm pleased other people are getting fed up with the RIAA. And I'm *very* pleased they're starting to demonstrate that they are unnecessary.

    It won't be long now, I'm thinking.

  • if the riaa were wiped off of the face of the earth tomorrow, another such organization would rise from obscurity to fulfill their role

    why?

    because while plenty of people talk about their love of their niche music, of being independent in tastes, about being anti-establishment, the truth is, 90% of music consumers want to be told what to listen to, and pay large sums for a little bit of convenience

    for every dude really into gogol bordello or some college chick caterwauling about some bullshit teenage angst i

    • by JustNiz (692889)

      The point is that if the record comapanies monopolistic control of the music industry gets busted, it will be nothing but good for both consumers and artists, and also largely irreversible.

      Of course there will always be clueless morons that can't tell musical talent if it hit them between the eyes, so there will always be a market for shit like Britney (or whatever they're currently being told by marketing execs to think is cool).

      But whatever business model comes along after the labels as we know it fail, i

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cdrguru (88047)

        The point is there is no "business model" that will come after the labels and RIAA. You can't sell free stuff. If it is available for free and 100% of the people know it and can get it for free then there is nothing left to sell.

        I don't know anyone that will buy music again. It is available for free and that is how people get it. Trying to build a new business that will get money for music is pointless. iTuens is offering convenience and a brand to people, but even still is making basically zero money.

  • " With the advent of online distribution, are the traditional music industry functions of promotion, samples, radio, and marketing now nothing but costly overhead for the artists?"

    Good question. Are all your customers online?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cdrguru (88047)

      Right now, for some pretty thin markets, I think 100% of the customers are online. Techno Trance, for example.

      For more mainstream music, no, I don't believe anywhere near 100% are online, willing to spend money for music, or are able to download music quickly. When the CD section at WalMart closes down, then I will beileve that the music promotion business is no longer needed or useful. I have no idea what their demongraphics are, but I can guess that they are dial-up Internet users that are currently st

  • Been true all along (Score:3, Informative)

    by whitroth (9367) <whitroth AT 5-cent DOT us> on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @11:45AM (#25287269) Homepage

    Janis Ian, who us folkies know, and the rest of you don't, and who's been a well-known musician since the sixties, wrote about the RIAA and the music industry when the RIAA came up. Among other things, she noted that many artists make a lot of their income by selling CDs at their own concerts... and are *screwed* by the record companies. "BMG has a strict policy for artists buying their own CDs to sell at concerts - $11 per CD"!!!

    So, yeah, if the RIAA did *anything* for the artists, that would be nice. Instead, it *only* does it for the recording industry... and how many times have you read that a poor musician, who (of course) has no health insurance) had to sue the record company for their money? Arlo Guthrie has said that it only took him ->THIRTY YEARS- to "make money" for his record company, so that they'd give him money.

                  mark

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