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Moby Says Techie Fans = Fewer Sales 1249

jalefkowit writes: "Launch is reporting that Moby explains the recent slide in sales for his newest album, "18", by describing what he calls the 'Pearl Jam Effect': bands and artists with more tech-savvy fans sell fewer albums than those with less tech-savvy fans, as the techies will disproportionately get their copies of the album from friends with CD burners or P2P services rather than from record stores. What do you think, are we putting our favorite bands in a bind?"
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Moby Says Techie Fans = Fewer Sales

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  • Woe is.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:06PM (#3753872)
    the super rich.
    • Re:Woe is.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by mAIsE ( 548 )
      So i am a techie fan of moby and i did get a copy of this from my friend.

      BUT, I usually only do this to see what the album is like before i buy it, because MP3's dont really get all of the musical information (because im a techie i know this).

      This album really sucks and i knew it before i bought it. That this the reason i didnt buy 18!!
      • Re:Woe is.. (Score:3, Insightful)

        I liked Play, and I'm already bored of 18. I mean dear god it sounds tired. Basically a soundtrack album can't go on forever and the idea has been done. It sounds like b-sides, and it's the best he can do which is unfortunately. Moby, as a person, has been a git lately. He begins every damn interview by saying "this may sound presumptuous, but..." or "this may sound like trite, but..." -- so, why on earth say it?! If it's such trite then find another way of saying it. His interviews sound more like his music - damn tired and guff.

        Here's a clue Moby - maybe you're not selling as many records because you suck. You're like the MPAA or the RIAA - always blaming someone else and you're especially vicious when you don't have any evidence.

        • Re:Woe is.. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by WhyCause ( 179039 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @09:39PM (#3754666)
          I'm replying to this because I want to voice a similar sentiment, and speak to Moby's invocation of "The Pearl Jam Effect" The reason everyone and their brother bought "Play" and Pearl Jam's "Ten" is that they were the right kind of album at the right time. "Play" came along just as everyone wanted to hear what this whole electronica thing was about, and, thus, sold well. "Ten" also sold well because people wanted to hear good old fashioned rock-n-roll after 80's new wave became old wave.

          Subsequent albums by Pearl Jam (and here, Mr. Moby, is what the real "Pearl Jam Effect" is) were exactly the same as "Ten", except not so good. They sold poorly because the public's taste had changed, the music did not change in the same way, and nobody wanted to hear Eddie Vedder's political vitriol.

          What "18" has shown us is that Moby is likely interested in only making albums that are almost like "Play" but not quite as good. Thus, our study of history teaches us that we are seeing the beginnings of another "The Pearl Jam Effect", and that no future Moby album will be good, or relevant.

          Before you start railing against me because I bash Pearl Jam and Moby, note this; this whole reply is purely my opinion. I think that both "Ten" and "Play" are two of the more influential and well-crafted albums of my day. I own both, and I still listen to both. I've heard "18" and all I thought was "ho-hum". That is the exact same thing I thought after I purchased Pearl Jam's "vs.", which is one of the albums that taught me to make damn sure I like it before I drop my hard-earned cash on it.
          • by _|()|\| ( 159991 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @10:54PM (#3754917)
            Subsequent albums by Pearl Jam ... were exactly the same as "Ten", except not so good. They sold poorly because the public's taste had changed, the music did not change in the same way, and nobody wanted to hear Eddie Vedder's political vitriol.

            I thought it was the other way around: the public wanted another Ten, but got "Not for You" and the aforementioned politics. When it comes to a platinum album, most fans don't want a radically different sequel. This is a band we're talking about, not Picasso.

            • by Dermot the Forg ( 246459 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @11:41PM (#3755102)
              This is the funny thing I've noticed with a few bands - especially REM, Counting Crows and Pearl Jam - who take their music seriously. Each new album they are simultaneously accused of reinventing themselves AND producing a clone of their previous material.

              I agree with the undercurrent of this thread - there is a fair degree of denial out there that some people didn't like the second albums simply because their appreciation of the first one was a fad.
        • Re:Woe is.. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by colmore ( 56499 )
          I think the phrase "selling out" is a bit overused in music criticism. There's nothing wrong with trying to market your sound to get a larger audience. I mean, hell, the Beatles did it better than anyone else.

          But Moby has sold out. His liner notes are filled with diatribes against eating meat, polluting, human rights abuses etc. etc. and yet he peddles his songs to huge corporate advertising campaigns and idiotic TV shows. Moby doesn't drink and hates cars, yet his songs help sell cars and hard liquor. While I think it's unfair to criticize people with strong beliefs for slight hypocracy (it's far more noble to have somewhat compromised beliefs than to have no beliefs at all) Moby has gone a bit too far in his attempts to be a ubiquitous cute little media icon.

          Besides, DJ Shadow is far far far better.

          ... and "Everything is Wrong" was better than "Play"
      • Re:Woe is.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Steev ( 5372 )
        This album really sucks and i knew it before i bought it. That this the reason i didnt buy 18!!

        Amen. I liked a few songs from Moby's previous album, so I bought "18" on the day it came out. I think it sucks balls. I will happily sell it for cheap to anyone who wants to pay for the postage (I'm in Canada).

        I think that Perl Jam and Moby don't sell many albums because they suck. That's pretty simple. That whole article is Moby, up on his high horse, trying to explain why his latest effort is crap.

        Blame it on the fans. Sure. Whatever.

        Just for the record, I have every Weezer CD too. Even that crappy Pinkerton one.
  • Well.,.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ChrisMG999 ( 308536 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:06PM (#3753873)
    Well, if you like the music that a band puts out, you should buy the CD to support the band in the first place.
    • Re:Well.,.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by madbeaner ( 568435 )
      Well, everyone says that, but in the end gets a bootleg instead. Me? I only buy albums i truely enjoy, based on band loyalty. Even if i have it readily available for free, its good to support the artists you like.
    • > Well, if you like the music that a band puts out, you should buy the CD to support the band in the first place

      In the current market yes, if you like the band the best way to show your support seems to be to buy the CD (and merchandise and concerts and ...)

      Ideally though the artists would be a little bit more technologically savvey they would allow fans to fund their music without there being so many middlemen skimming off profits.
      And Moby in particular will probably make more money selling his songs to advertisers than he will on record sales (and the advertisers often end up adversting Moby as much as their product).

      The music industry is on crack, and Moby has fallen for their rhetoric. I think my subject sums it up neatly. Will they ever learn?

      wher eis the spllchkr when u need it...
    • Indeed (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:49PM (#3754174) Journal
      And yet... take a look at today's tech-savvie kids. You would not believe the amount of bootlegging that goes on at high-schools. There are many kids that do not buy CD's anymore, they just make get a bootleg from a friend who downloaded it from the 'net. Some kids have a nice little business going that way.

      The real question is: how many of these bootlegs constitute a lost sale for the record company? The anti-pirate zealots would have us believe that every bootleg means a lost sale, and there are others who would have us believe none of these kids would have bought the records anyway if the bootlegs were not available, or even that bootlegs are increasing sales.

      I believe there is some truth in all these statements. Some kids might not want to buy a record, but get the bootleg if it's available. This is simple economics: decrease the price from $20 to $2, and you'll increase demand. Some kids might go buy albums of a band they got a bootleg of and liked. Yet, if I look at the highschoolers I know, none of them are buying nearly as many CD's as my friends and I bought CD's and records, back when we were in high school. And these days all kids have some sort of part-time or evening job, where we would have to make do with what pocket money we got fro our parents. I'd say there are definitely many lost sales through piracy. Of course one could argue that through bootlegging, these kids are being exposed to a far wider range of music than what would be possible legally on their budgets. As a result they might legally buy more music when they get real jobs, but personally I think that is stretching it a bit.

      All that said, I am still firmly opposed to anything that prevents me from playing the music I have paid for, when I want and on what platform I want, from the medium of my choice.
      • Re:Indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Fiver-rah ( 564801 ) <slashdot@qiken.oNETBSDrg minus bsd> on Sunday June 23, 2002 @08:28PM (#3754363) Homepage Journal
        You would not believe the amount of bootlegging that goes on at high-schools. There are many kids that do not buy CD's anymore, they just make get a bootleg from a friend who downloaded it from the 'net.

        When I was in high school, my friends and I still bootlegged everything like crazy. We just made tapes of tapes. I've paid real money getting legitimate copies of the things I bootlegged. I think that most high school students just don't have that much money. Honestly, they're maybe losing some money now, but six years from now, if the band is still around, they'll still have fans. Besides, you love what you listen to a lot, and you go to concerts of what you love, and buy T-Shirts and posters ....

        I don't think it's really too much of a stretch.

        • Re:Indeed (Score:5, Informative)

          by madmancarman ( 100642 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @02:59AM (#3755641)
          Besides, you love what you listen to a lot, and you go to concerts of what you love, and buy T-Shirts and posters ....

          I used to run the official web site for a major-label band and learned a couple things about the music industry through dealing with the band's management (and occasionally, their label).

          First, the majority of bands make practically nothing on album sales. Record labels are only there to fund the recording, production and promotion of an album so that they can own the majority rights to all the songs and hopefully strike it rich with one of them (either through sales or through sellings the rights for advertising and sampling). It's sort of like playing the Powerball lottery thousands and thousands of times - every once in a while you'll get three numbers and a couple bucks back, and on rare occasions you might get five numbers, but if you get them all plus the Powerball with a chart-topper hit, you've made enough money for your label to make all the duds worth the risk. It was surprising to me how little labels really have to do with anything - oftentimes they don't even do their own promotion! Usually they hire promotion companies to do radio, TV and print promotion so they don't have to.

          Second, the bands make very little, if anything, at concerts and live performances because of the extreme costs that come from putting on a live show. The venue usually (if not always) requires a significant deposit that isn't returned unless so many tickets are sold (or sold out, if it's a big enough venue or name). The management company has significant costs involved with transporting the performers, their roadies and crew, and their extremely expensive equipment (which is usually rented, save for instruments and some amps) on a daily basis throughout the tour. Also, don't forget the costs involved with housing the band and trying to work with the label to promote the band while they're on tour. Most signed bands go on tour only to pay back the money the labels loaned to them to record their albums and videos in the first place, and that's if they have a successful tour.

          So where do bands make their money? Moby has a good point that everyone seems to be missing while they're ripping on his album - future existence of bands will be determined in part by their record sales, and that model may not work any more with the rise of file-sharing software and cd burners. The way bands make the most money usually has very little to do with the labels at all - merchandise! When you buy a $25 extra-large t-shirt at your favorite band's concert, that's money that's more or less funnelled straight to the band (once the cost of the shirts is covered). Short of finding them after the show and shoving a couple dollars in their hands, you can't get more direct than that.

          You can also help them out by joining their fan club, although many are operated by management companies. Still, the money generated by the merchandise sold through there largely goes to the bands, not the labels.

          What we really need is a band whose songs are only available online to become so popular that radio and maybe even MTV can't ignore them, and they do it all without the help of labels. Of course, this could never happen due to the strangehold the industry has on all forms of promotion, but it's worth dreaming about.

          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Gandhi

      • Re:Indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rustman ( 143533 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @01:32AM (#3755417) Homepage
        Hi. I'm old. I was in high school in the Seventies.

        We bootlegged tapes. Dual tape units had not come out yet. We had taping parties where we'd bring over multiple cassette decks and dub tapes.

        The record companies screamed "Home taping is killing music!"

        Since then they've gone on to make more and more and more money.

        What's the difference?
  • Excuses, excuses. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kufat ( 563166 ) <kufat AT kufat DOT net> on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:07PM (#3753878) Homepage
    "Techie fans" have been able to pirate songs for years now. Perhaps Moby's latest album just isn't that good? I haven't heard it, but that seems like the most likely explanation.
    • the tech has advanced, and techies are more likely to download music now that before. Better technology, and more users have made filetrading easier, so those who were too unsavy (or had a life) to use ftp or newsgroups can now use simple tools like gnutella.

      your average 6 year old britney fan probably wants a cd because it's not just the music, it's a piece of britney. hell, i'd rather download the album, it is really only mediocre, but that doesn't make downloading it alone any more excusable. People before would be more willing to buy the cd because mediocre music could not be obtained in any other way. Now that people can get it free, why pay for it? There's no incentive to support the artist like there is with great music where you are truly grateful to the artist. I don't think this situation is right at all. But i'm poor and morals are expensive so feh.

      I believe moby is right on the money with his claim but the times are a changing and little aside from legislation can stop them.
    • by Scanline ( 28688 )
      This album sounds just like the previous one, so I would say that the problem isn't tech savvy fans, only that they recognize a rip-off.
    • Re:Excuses, excuses. (Score:2, Informative)

      by nichomoff ( 578699 )
      I think the album is very good, and I'm glad I bought it.
    • Re:Excuses, excuses. (Score:4, Informative)

      by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @08:44PM (#3754428) Homepage
      I actually did buy the new album, and it does suck compared to his previous offerings (esp. Play, which was a pretty good). The first track is decent, but the rest sound completely uninspired (IMHO). I've told all of my friends not to buy it.
      • by Sleepy ( 4551 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @10:46PM (#3754898) Homepage
        >I've told all of my friends not to buy it.

        Same here.

        I *do* buy CD's I've heard and know I'll enjoy listening to (end to end, not for some stupid single).

        Moby's "Play" was one of those must-buy CD's... it had a nice groove start to end, while "18" has *one* good track.

        Now, perhaps "18" will bring Moby some new fans. Or maybe he just wanted to experiment (good for him)... but I just don't like the new album. It's far too melow and slow.

        PS -- It's *completely* unfair to label "techies" as CD copy fiends. It seems the last time I checked, the #1 CD on was Eminem... that's *hardly* music for the "techie crowd" (I'll resist the opening to label the Eminem crowd ;-).

    • by mekkab ( 133181 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @09:02PM (#3754493) Homepage Journal
      So hmmm, Wilco breaks into the billboard chart at number 13 [] thanks to mp3 trading on the web,

      and Moby is "barely floating".

      Good! First off, Moby may know a thing or two about making music, but what exactly does he know about Economics, and specifically those that are related to album sales? Ah! He doesn't have any qualifications. Thats fine, I am not a slave to "pieces of paper" that say Harvard or Yale, what is his evidence?

      1) he's not doing so hot.
      2) Weezer's not doing so hot.
      3) Pink is beating the PANTS off them both.

      Hmmm, could it be that PINK spend mad money on songwriter (Specifically the lady from 4 Non Blondes) Linda Perry []

      Hunh, maybe she's just getting more air play and has better quality songs?

      okay, okay, fine. WEll, what about Wilco, who's album has been available for ages on the web, I would think they have a techie fan base?
      And didn't wide spread MP3 availability simply help them out?

      So let us re-phrase the Pearl Jam Effect- when your new album sucks in comparison to your previous albums and you don't sell because you don't deserve it?

  • Techie fans are more likely to be legally conscious and aware of their rights and the copyright law. I, for one, download (pirate) MP3s, and see if I like the artist/album. If I do, I buy the CD, and the MP3s become legal. If I do not, I delete the MP3s. This exposes me to a wider variety of new music, as I might not be aware of music that's not commonly played, but all it takes is an MP3 download to judge an artist.

  • excuses, excuses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by olim ( 103999 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:08PM (#3753883)
    I didn't buy it because the reviews sucked, and because it didn't seem like enough of a departure from 'Play' to be interesting.

    On the other hand, I don't steal music.
  • by pjl5602 ( 150416 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:08PM (#3753888) Homepage
    To me, the "Pearl Jam Effect" means that they haven't released a good album since Vs. Sure, there have been a few decent tracks here and there, but none of the albums since Vs. has been worth a hill of beans... Is this what Moby means?
    • Man, I don't care if I get modded down for redundancy (posted similarly in another thread higher up) or flamebait, but every album between Ten and Binaural is fantastic, with those two book ends being better than average! I can't believe a post saying "xxxx sucks" got modded up to 5 insightful. Vs.-Vitalogy-No Code-Yield is perhaps the best (and most diverse) 4 album series from ANY group of the 90's. And that's not even considering Merkin Ball, which was between Vitalogy and No Code.

      To me, the parent (and others posting to this article) sounds like FUD who's maybe heard the aforementioned albums a time or two, if at all, with very narrow and simple tastes in music. And FUD (or"xyz sucks"-type flames) should not be modded up to 5 (nor 3 for that matter).

    • Gateway Music? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by crisco ( 4669 )
      You know how they say that marijuana is a gateway drug, that it supposedly leads to using other drugs? I think Moby is gateway techno, you listen to him for a while and then you start listening to Aphex or Board of Canada (sp?) or something else and you sit around and dis Moby for making weenie techno.

      Actually I'm just kidding, I still kinda like Moby. I do miss my monkyradio and somafm due to the stupidness of CARP.

  • I do tend to listen to new tracks from a band by using a P2P service first, then if I like what I hear I go buy the CD - then rip it to OGG/MP3. In fact, I've bought CDs from bands I've never heard of before based on a single track I've downloaded.

    Maybe I'm not the average "criminal" though...
    • I've bought CDs from bands I've never heard of before based on a single track I've downloaded
      As have I. Delerium springs to mind. I've also actually bought some CDs from
  • washed up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JeepingNET ( 522361 )
    Its funny how you only see the old washed up artist compaining.. Sure there are people not buying albums cause they burned the cd but I always download the cd before I buy it cause frankly most cds just have like one good song on them and no way am I going to buy an album for just one song.. Our parents all copied tapes Don't fear the technology, abuse it
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "I'm not saying this is a good or a bad thing," he added. "I'm not writing this to voice my opinions. My concern is the way that the industry looks at the success of a musician or of a record that sells or doesn't sell. Popular artists traditionally sold a lot of records. In the future that might not be the case."
    ---- Moby from launch
  • It's just not that good frankly. Moby really needs to consider moving back to electronica, his past two cd's have just been sad remberances of the kind of music moby used to put out. . .
  • Moby fans are more tech-savvy? Really? Why? Is there geek music? Since when did Moby qualify? This couldn't be because his latest album was not that great and/or more of the same? No, I don't listen to the man, just speculation for disappointing sales..

    I really do wish they weren't so anal about all this. If you could conveniently buy high-quality non-crippled copies of your favourite artist's songs, that *might* eat into p2p-"marketshare" .. But it's impossible until there's DRM which will give absolute control to Record Industry.

    I'm just one person, but I do buy CDs from artists I like. First I rip 'em and then put the CDs away. I usually go for the "mid price" discs, tho..
  • Moby's new album isn't that good, he hasn't gone in any new directions since his last album. It's very predictable.

    Blaming bad sales of a weak album on technology is pretty lame.

  • I disagree.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by James_G ( 71902 ) <james.globalmegacorp@org> on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:14PM (#3753923)
    I'd completely disagree with this analysis. It's something I was discussing with a work friend the other day.

    Artists like Moby are precisely the sort of artists who stand to benefit the most through distribution of their music through p2p networks. The reason is simple: Moby's music would be considered by many "alternative" and consequently it doesn't get a lot (any) air play. So where am I supposed to hear it to know whether I like it enough to buy the album?

    If that's the case, then why hasn't this album taken off then? Well, I'd say the recent successes of the RIAA in getting p2p networks shut down has probably helped, but ultimately, maybe the album just isn't as good? Not having heard it, I can't comment on that.. Maybe someone else can. Maybe the marketing of the album sucked? (I haven't heard of it all until now). Either way, I think it's clear that blaiming the p2p networks is based on opinion (And FUD) rather than fact.

    • Re:I disagree.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @08:03PM (#3754247)
      Either way, I think it's clear that blaiming the p2p networks is based on opinion (And FUD) rather than fact.

      Wow, talk about living in denial. P2P does hurt sales directly. Does that mean that ALL those people would have necessarily bought that album? No, but you have to accept the fact that many/some people would rather download than buy. Moby makes a good point here:
      "I'm not saying this is a good or a bad thing," he added. "I'm not writing this to voice my opinions. My concern is the way that the industry looks at the success of a musician or of a record that sells or doesn't sell.

      I think its fairly obvious that Moby understands the exposure benefits of P2P, but is trying to point out how success can never just be based on sales alone anymore.

      I'm also curious as to the assumption that more sales = better music. We know that the way to make a superstar doesn't start with muscial ability but with marketing, PR, gimmicks, manufactued controversies, bubblegum pop, etc. What Moby is saying, and its been said before, is that sales cannot determine any meaningful information about the artist especially now with P2P and he asserts there's a victim demographic. Arguably, there is a victim demographic. Whether or not exposure, concert sales, and fandom outweigh album sales is the real question.

      • Re:I disagree.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @09:22PM (#3754598) Journal
        You're right, except you're not seeing the whole picture. You're correct when you say that P2P hurts sales because some people would rather download than buy; on the other hand, you're forgetting that a lot of people will download and then buy anyway (assuming the music's any good). Whether that makes up for the download-instead-of-buy segment is arguable, of course, and we'd need hard numbers to really tell...
    • Re:I disagree.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 3Suns ( 250606 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @08:05PM (#3754254) Homepage
      Moby's music would be considered by many "alternative" and consequently it doesn't get a lot (any) air play.

      Umm, have you been listening to the radio recently? Moby's single We Are All Made Of Stars is getting lots of airplay in mainstream radio stations. It's currently #19 on the Billboard Dance/Club list, and the album is at #35 on the Billboard top albums list. I think it's safe to say that Moby has moved into the mainstream.

      If you ask me (or him), Moby is not condemning people for burning/filesharing his music. He's just trying to explain that his music is more popular than the record sales give him credit for. From the Launch article:

      "I'm not saying this is a good or a bad thing," he added. "I'm not writing this to voice my opinions. My concern is the way that the industry looks at the success of a musician or of a record that sells or doesn't sell."
      He's not bitching, he's just musing. Give him some credit.
  • Actually the "technie" crowd, while not the least guilty when it comes to trading music, are certainly not the most.

    Saying that it is because the techies "trade more music" is really oversimplifying something which is, in truth, much more complex. There are issues such as the number of them who listen to the particular style of music, the percentage of them who purchase music, and so on. This is particularly relevant since "technical savvy fans" probably make up a very small percentage of the potential fan-base.

    Seems that this is more scapegoating than anything having to do with music trading.
  • Apparently, Moby has stated that he will not allow any track from 18 to appear in an advert. This follows the artistic slating he got from selling every track off play to advertisers, many of whom were in direct opposition to his status principles (he's a vegan, Christian environmentalist).

    So...less people have heard the music. Fans will know there's a new album out, but the casual listener won't. Me, for example. I'm a 'casual' Moby listener - I bought Play because I'd heard the tracks on adverts and liked them, whereas I doubt I'll be buying '18' because I haven't really heard any of it. Except 'Made of Stars' or whatever its true title is, and that really wasn't to my taste.

    Summary: no music in adverts = less exposure.


  • I bought 18, and I really like it. *BUT*, it's not the revolutionary, fresh album that Play was. It's more like Play 2. Moby talks about this in his Wired Magazine interview: []

    There's no getting around it: 18 sounds, almost track for track, like Play. It even has the sampled gospel vocals - though in place of the earlier disc's rusticated "Ooh, Lawdys," 18 features more urbane, sexy-sounding shout-outs to the Almighty. Moby insists the echoes are essentially coincidence. "I want to make a good record," he says. "And if it means it has songs similar to things on Play, fine." It is a good record - and if Play hadn't existed, it would be a great record.

    And that's what he delivered. A good album that is highly derivative of Play. It isn't a bad album at all, and I'm sure it will sell well. I like it a lot. But Play was revolutionary. But Moby is, by his own admission, an egotistical prick. It's easier to blame downloaders and copiers than it is to admit that he will probably never, ever, have a record as popular as Play ever again.

    • People aren't buying 18 because it doesn't surprise them the way Play did. I was pretty disappointed with it when I first listened to it (I got a copy for my birthday), because I was hoping for another departure.

      But after a couple of plays, I'd have to say that 18 is probably the better album, musically. It's more refined; it's generally less repetitive and punctuated; it has a better flow. Those old-timey (heh) vocal samples seem less wedged-in.

      If this is Moby's "old samples" phase, so be it. The very fact that people complain of similarities in his songs between two albums says a lot about the impact Play had and the variety he's shown himself to be capable of in the past (Animal Rights, I Like To Score...)

  • of 'We Are All Made of Stars' kicks the original into submission completely. Sorry, Mr Hall, but your latest album blows goats.

    First, you decided to release the same record again. Then, you whored yourself -- and admitted as such -- by putting yourself on the cover of literally every magazine you could find. To blame people with burners is missing the point. Hell, how the hell did you get to be where you are today? Aren't you the artist who lives in downtown Manhattan with the ascetic's loft and the loaded studio and the Macintoshes?

    I appreciate Moby, I think he does valuable work, but when he says, 'I'm not blaming tech-savvy people...' you have to wonder why he feels the need to rationalise in that way.
  • is the grip that technology, disregard for intellectual property, or a consumership that is less respectful thereof causes a decrease in sales. I hate it when artists this argument for two reasons: (1) they shouldn't accuse their fans and supporters of being so shady; and, more important, (2) it's a cheap excuse for the flatline or drop in the quality of artistic content. Heck, The Thong Song was number one on Casey's Top 40 a year or so ago, and the RIAA is complaining that Napster reduced its CD sales? That's like the Marlboro Man blaming lung cancer on working at a gas station as a teenager.

  • There's a phrase that could, and should be considered when examining a downturn of sales of _anything_ right now: "It's the economy, stupid."

    There's a subset of the populace who don't have work (who DID during the bonanza). They aren't likely wasting any remaining saved income on non-essentials.

    There's another subset of the populace who is just happy to have a job, and having recently experienced joblessness, or having watched people they know go through it, aren't real likely to be wasting any disposable income. They might even be saving for a rainy day.

  • Factually, does he know why his album isn't selling well?

    I would agree with the majority of the posters here is that it's not his audience that's the problem, it's his album itself.

    It seems by making comments about his album sales not doing so well due to the fact that his fans/audience don't want to pay for his music and would rather steal seems like he's shooting himself in the foot.

    Don't piss on the people who made you. If you screw up (produce an album that doesn't hit the top of the charts), make something better.

    Are we likely to see more and more people blame their crappy album sales on piracy? Of course, it's not fun to take responsibility for your work if it sucks.
  • I just don't happen to think MOBY is worth buying, or listening to for that matter.
  • by woodstok ( 17147 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:28PM (#3754029)
    I thought Eminem summed it up when he said:

    "And Moby, you can get stomped by Obie,
    You 36 year old bald headed fag blow me
    You don't know me, you're too old
    Let go, it's over, nobody listens to techno"


  • Could it be because the single sucks?

    I liked the last album and bought it, but the only song I've heard off the new album SUCKS so I'm in no hurry to go buy it... imagine that...

  • Not the tech savvy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by halftrack ( 454203 ) <> on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:29PM (#3754034) Homepage
    I belive that tech savvy people easyer understand the legal aspect of piracy, EULAs and modern copyright protection. They might not agree with RIAA on means and do share and download songs, but very often they end up buying the album. I belive this is either because they want the real stuff or because they belive that everybody are entitled to their own opinion, even if it means accepting that others can creat destructive EULAs and over protecting their copyrights because they only think about profit in a short term.

    The ones who hurt music are those who are less tech savvy, less hackish/geekish. Most youths know how to operate a computer, burning CD's and sharing files is a piece of cake. What they are not aware of is the impact this has on musicians and record labels. They are just not thinking, what they really do is think like RIAA: "How can I get the most without paying?"
  • Funny how the music on commercial airwaves sounds either exactly like Limp Bizkit or Creed. Also funny how 98.3% of the music available on p2p filesharing systems is these same bands.

    Click here [] for some real opinions on music.
  • "nobody listens to techno, so lets go"

    Moby vs Eminem []
  • Not sure how these people can accurately say their fanbase is the "techie crowd", but I'm sure he's correct in saying the hackers are to blame. These damn kids are downloading and trading the albums instead of buying truly brilliant and inspiring art, often (in Moby's case) the best album by the best musician ever. For evidence, look at some other things that did poorly, that were marketed to the techie crowd:

    Battlefield Earth - the finest film of all time

    Waterworld - second finest film of all time

    Art Garfunkel's solo career

    Joe Pesci Sings []

    So please, everyone, stop the filesharing! If you want the artists to continue making music and movies of this quality they need to be paid now, or else the quality might change...and that would be terrible! ;)

  • He has it backwards (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RainbowSix ( 105550 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:41PM (#3754120) Homepage
    I feel that having a large following of tech fans is a plus, because a larger amount of them understand things such as value and capitalism. Reading slashdot user comments shows people always telling us to support artists that we like by buying their stuff. Look at Mandrakesoft. They say they're out of money, put up a donate link, and bam, cash flow. Why? Because their product has more value than $0 to many people who use it.

    It is the non tech people who hurt sales; they see $0 vs $19 and don't consider things like quality, bandwidth, time, and value as measures of money. A lot of my non-tech friends used to buy CDs, but now don't understand why the money needs to change hands.

    It is those people who will download with no intention of buying, not tech savy economically conscious slashdotters. (In most cases at least)
  • Oh course its true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:47PM (#3754162)
    Moby is only saying something that's been repeated a million times elsewhere. He's an intelligent enough to address the issue without berating his fans Metallica-style.

    I would say this is hard to refute. Indie, geeky, techno, and others in the technophile musical demographic are being copied left and right. Oh course there are huge advanteges to this in terms of exposure, concert attendence, etc. For instance, even before the broadband P2P revolution, back in 1998/1999 Stereolab managed to sell out two good sized Chicago venues. This is a band that never got any local radioplay and never came close to the top40 or top100 record sales.

    Shameless copying is a tradition that started with music lovers and has simply been made easier through technology. Moby questions how the industry measures success. That's a very important issue. The genie is out of the bottle, but the industry measures success through outdated methods.

    In another way this isn't exactly new. A lot of talented artists who take risks instead of sticking to pop formulas tend to be undervalued and underexposed. At least P2P can fix the latter.
    • by simm_s ( 11519 )
      The genie is out of the bottle, but the industry measures success through outdated methods.

      Nah, I think the music industry is measuring success just like any other industry, by the money entering their pockets. P2P, tape swapping, and CD copying may increase exposure for unkown musicians, but when the musician is on top, it ceases to help them.
  • Direct Quote... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Davak ( 526912 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:54PM (#3754199) Homepage
    Quote from Moby.Com:

    difficult sort of update, sort of.

    about record sales. and charts. and etc.
    i've written about this before, but i thought i'd address it again, especially in light of the fact that i have a new-ish record in stores.
    a while ago i wrote about the 'pearl jam effect'. i described the 'pearl jam effect' as being a phenomenon wherein bands who have very technically savvy fans will see their records do poorly in the charts, whereas bands/artists who have less technically savvy fans will see their records do quite well in the charts. this is owing to the fact that bands/artists with technically savvy fans will have a lot of fans who will end up downloading music or burning cd's, whereas less tech-savvy fans will generally end up buying their cd's. looking at the 3 week sales history of weezers new record, for example, has proven to me that this 'pearl jam effect' is strongly influencing the album charts in the states (and elsewhere, although not so much with weezer cos they seem to only sell a lot of records in north america). weezer sold a lot of records in their first week of release, but since then their sales have dropped off considerably. even though they have radio hits. even though they have a very loyal fan-base. even though they've made a record that their fans really like. even though there's good press coverage on the band and their new cd. etc. i would be very interested to know not how many cd's weezer have sold, but how many copies of their record are actually in existence.
    i have a feeling that there might be almost twice as many copies of their new record in existence (in the form of mp3's or burned cd's) as have actually been sold.
    i'm not saying that this is a good or a bad thing. i'm not writing this to voice my opinions. my concern is more for the way that the industry looks at the success of a musician or of a record that sells or doesn't sell. popular artists traditionally sold a lot of records. in the future that might not be the case. in fact even now that might not be the case. pink outsells weezer in the states not so much because she's more popular, but because her fans are more likely to buy, as opposed to burn, her cd's.
    i don't mean this as a criticism of pink, i'm just using her as an example. just look at the american top 20 and you'll see what i'm talking about. most of the records in the american top 20 are by bands whose fans are, for the most part, more inclined to buy a cd as opposed to burn or download it.
    again, i'm not editorializing. i'm just pointing out a strange phenomenon and wondering at what effect it will have on the future of music. this whole issue of burning and downloading is too big and too complicated for me to really voice my opinion on it (not to mention the fact that having an opinioin on burning and downloading is kind of like having an opinion on the weather. meaning that having an opinion about the weather isn't really going to change anything.)
    ok, that's it.
    good night.
  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @08:06PM (#3754259)
    When even the poster of the article doesn't read the article. Moby never said that anyone was putting him in a bind. He's not complaining about lost revenue, and he's not saying that ripping and/or burning are good or bad.

    He thinks that sales of his and other band's CDs are lower because people are d/ling mp3s instead of buying them. He thinks the recording industry doesn't properly account for that when it "decides" how popular an artist is. (They're probably too busy suing people to worry about it.)

    I'm not sure why 20 bazillion posts need to be made about how you think the CD sucks. I think that ground has been covered just a tad.

    And another quore from Moby about this issue:

    "What do you think about Napster and CD burning?

    Moby: On one hand the thought of people in the music business losing their jobs makes me sad. I have a lot of friends who work in record stores and at record companies, and I know that they're nervous these days. So I hope that some way is found to protect their jobs. But I do hope that as the music business becomes less profitable that the people who are in music only to make money will be forced out. People who love money more than music shouldn't be involved in the music business, in my opinion."

    From a random interview i found. []

  • No Incentive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Cat ( 19816 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @08:21PM (#3754339)
    People who copy albums have neither the incentive or the bandwidth to compete. It really is a competition. A business' product vs. their product for free. Fine. Let's look at a comparison. (Businesses here mainly includes independent artists):

    1) Businesses can afford readily available and reliable bandwidth in large amounts.

    The free copies probably can't.

    2) Businesses can advertise.

    The free copies probably won't.

    3) Businesses have an incentive to provide a higher quality product at a better price due to increased competition.

    The free copies probably won't put in the required time, and certainly not for free.

    4) Businesses can make new products.

    Copies, by definition, are never new.

    5) Businesses have an incentive to make it very convenient to find and purchase their products.

    Free copies are usually very difficult *and time consuming* to find. That's not free. Time is money.

    Add to this the fact that most people are honest, and the whole "piracy" argument becomes quite flimsy indeed.

    I'm not in support of draconian *AA legislation and irrational copyright controls, but I *am* in support of artists earning a fair living from their work. Technology should be used to encourage that.

    "Illegal" copying will never go away. It's no different than shoplifting or people writing bad checks. It's going to happen. That should not be an excuse to treat everyone else poorly (Best Buy, are you listening?). If you treat people like thieves, that's exactly how they will behave, mainly because of the implied insult, not because they weren't willing to buy your precious "content."

    Note to the music and video publishers: Put your stuff on line sooner, and these problems will be reduced.

    Another $0.02
  • by wackybrit ( 321117 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @08:24PM (#3754348) Homepage Journal
    Weezer have far more 'geek' fans than wannabe-populist Moby, or even the fine Pearl Jam (whose audience was mostly psuedo-intellectual depressed teens).

    Weezer have continued to have great success, and Maladroit has sold more than the green album. All this despite a -very- easy to obtain high quality rip coming out weeks in advance! Weezer aren't anti file-sharing either, so it's all good.

    Moby can go stick his head in a grinder. I actually like Moby and what he stands for, I even like his music.. but really, his music is pretty damn dull. It's no surprise people wouldn't buy it.
  • The Pearl Jam effect is not what Moby says it is.

    Moby says Weezer is also suffering from the "Pearl Jam Effect." "Weezer sold a lot of records in their first week of release, but since then their sales have dropped off considerably, even thought they have radio hits..."

    What happened to Weezer (and Moby) is that the audience changed. They have a group of core fans who went out and bought their album as soon as it came out. But their sound, though solid, no longer bit the general audience as hard. Pearl Jam is a perfect example of this. It's not that their music is overshared, it's that no one in the larger audience cares, they've moved on to something else (not neccesarily something better).

    I can't believe this FUD came from Moby. I can't believe he had this thought and then sat down at his computer and then typed his thought out and then sent his thought to his website. File sharing isn't hurting the record industry any more than MTV and the radio have.

    Moby claims that he has "very technically savvy fans" and that everyone else who manages to sell records does not. That's such a silly argument, it's hard to believe he said it. Does he have numbers to show that his audience consists solely of super-intelligent computer geeks? Or that only computer geeks participate in file sharing or CD burning?

    Poor Moby, you're album is at 35. Last week it was at 15! Sorry, buddy, I've heard it and this album isn't "Play", it's just another silly Moby album. The people that are dedicated Moby fans are going to run out and buy it immediately. Word of mouth is going to say, "It's not all that good, unless you're a big Moby fan", and then sales drop as people who aren't as into you (e.g. me) stay home in droves.

    Saying that his fans are more savy is rediculous. Stealing music isn't technically difficult. You need only a computer and internet access (can you say "College Student"?). One person with ripping software gets the MP3s on the web and the rest is just the personal choice effect. I would bet that the most shared music is also the most sold music. Moby's music isn't getting shared more than Eminem's. That's the bottom line.

    • by cheinonen ( 318646 ) <cheinonen&hotmail,com> on Sunday June 23, 2002 @10:02PM (#3754738)
      More examples of this would be the last two albums from Radiohead (Kid A, Amnesiac) as well as The Fragile from Nine Inch Nails. All the die hard fans went out and bought them as soon as they were released, so they would debut at #1 on the Billboard charts, but they had no radio/video airplay to keep them going. Both bands might still be great (and Radiohead is as good as anyone in the world right now), but without a single and a video that's really popular (and I mean higher than #15 on the Modern Rock chart), you won't stay up there for long.
      • It's sad that artist quality is judged on album sales when it's such a manipulated statistic. Whoever gets airplay gets sales. Whoever gets sales gets a higher rank. See the problem?

        The Fragile was a phenomenally produced album. No one got it. Britteny Spears album was cheesy, predictable, studio crafted (i.e. Sound Engeneers, not Artists) pop music, and it sells out. Who has more commercials and exposure? OK, thanks.

        Let's not even get into artists like the Pranksterz and Paul Glazby. They're techno (well, hard house/nu nrg/hard trance/etc, but as far as most are concerned, same thing), and they're MUCH better and more creative than Moby. Ever see them on any pop charts? Think they even would have the money to do a video? Ever even HEAR of them? Nope. Real talent hidden away. <rant>And now I take flak for being too "underground" in my music tastes from Eminem fans who sing "Nobody listens to techno!" Ironically enough that lyric is about Moby...</rant>
    • Hmmm, so how can Moby explain Bands Like TMBG?
      where their entire audience is highly tech-savvy? they sell albums at a awesome pace and their older albums sales increase all the time as new listeners of TMBG get to love their music and spend gobs of money and time buying all the older albums.

      Tech-savvy does not equal loss in sales.

      BTW, I am a newish TMBG fan, only have been listening to them for 2 years now... and I still am buying the older albums and new albums... Hell, I bought their kids record! Liar's Island is a Kick butt song!

  • Moby and quality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by intermodal ( 534361 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @08:51PM (#3754453) Homepage Journal
    i liked older moby. i own those CDs. I listened to some of his newer stuff, then didn't really like it and got rid of the cds. The reason his current cd isn't selling well is because it's not very good, not because it's being pirated. That's a lame, scapegoating approach, moby. Go back to your old electronica stylings, and maybe your sales will pick up again.
  • "Pearl Jam Effect:"? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Cytlid ( 95255 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @09:17PM (#3754574)
    Moby seems to forget one very important piece of information... Pearl Jam, has for years allowed their fans to bring recording devices into concerts, have often released foreign import albums in this country and have gone out of their way to be an enlightened band. I have all of PJ's albums, some of which I've purchased two or three times. Moby, on the other hand, suffers from little-bald-guy-on-stage-with-a-guitar, "record in my bathroom" laptop-sample-using-techno-rock. To be more accurate, he should have called it the "Moby Effect". If you want to hear any good electronic music, listen to someone like Nine Inch Nails.

    My $.02 which is more than I have spent on Moby albums in the last few years...
  • After reading this crap I don't think I will ever listen to or buy any more Moby CD's. I am sorry but his latest work just isn't up to the quality of all his others. If he wants to blame it on his loyal fans, then he can go screw off, cause he has LOST me as a listener.
  • Techies out of work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @09:45PM (#3754683) Homepage

    While the unemployment rate of the US population in general is a mere 6%, among techies, unemployment plus underemployment is somewhere between 25% and 35%. Techies are not that big a portion of the whole population. With no disposable cash, of course they won't spend where it can be avoided. Of course there will be many who steal music even if well employed, but many others won't.

  • by brooks_talley ( 86840 ) <brooks&frnk,com> on Sunday June 23, 2002 @09:46PM (#3754687) Journal
    First, let me say I'm not a huge Moby fan. I don't dislike the guy, but I remember when he was a basic rave DJ in the San Francisco area.

    Funny that he made his money for so long by mixing records of other peoples' stuff together. Somehow I doubt he paid the appropriate ASCAP or BMI fees. So right off, I have a hard time sympathizing with his complaints about piracy.

    But beyond that, isn't it notable that artists with a large fanbase in the tech community blame that fanbase whenever sales slip? Metallica was the first; Moby is just the latest.

    My theory is this: Acts like Metallica or Moby build up a cult following over years. By nature, that cult following is largely techies and other folks who don't follow the Christina Spears of the month club. People who actually care about music and are willing to follow smaller bands to get what they want.

    At some point, some of these bands go to pot (literally, figuratively, or both). Their later work becomes increasingly detached and less and less like the early work, eventually ending up as a mellowed out, regurgitated pablum made up of bits and pieces of all of their early work, mixed with maybe a few mainstream artists whose stolen sounds might help draw in a few more customers^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hfans. Fans lose interest and buy less.

    And then, as the final stage of intellectual and moral decay, these acts engage in a strange form of denial crossed with egotism crossed with paranoia. "The fans must still love us!" they shout. "We're sure they're still listening to this new crap we put out, but for some reason sales are down. It's those goddamned fans! They must be stealing our crappy new stuff, because after years of paying for our old, quality stuff, they've suddenly become a backstabbing pack of thieves! Yeah, that must be it! Those fans of ours sure do suck!"

    Anyways, that's my theory. It would just be sad, if it didn't have the dangerous potential of impacting our legal system.

  • by cpfeifer ( 20941 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:28AM (#3755242) Homepage
    Here's Moby's original journal entry [] that started it all.
  • by Quixadhal ( 45024 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:29AM (#3755248) Homepage Journal
    I think it isn't a case of lots of "techo-savvy" fans burning and copying instead of going out to buy the cd. It's a case of people like me who refuse to buy any new music, because I want to buy the MUSIC, not the stupid distribution media. The RIAA wants me to buy the physical media and be stuck with that, so I'll have to buy it again when blue-laser cd's are out, and again when crystal hologram storage comes out, and again when RNA-enhanced neurons come out. Sorry, I have about 400 cd's that mostly collect dust now that their contents exist on a file-server on my LAN. I don't plan to go back to the days of swapping discs every 35 minutes just because some pointy-haired business exec can't give up the old ways.

    Let me download a good-quality 256k-bit mp3 or ogg directly from the publisher and I'll happily pay $1 a song. Until then, I have my collection, alternative music through non-RIAA sources, and the radio.
  • by Swaffs ( 470184 ) <> on Monday June 24, 2002 @01:12AM (#3755355) Homepage
    Finally someone has figured out how Britney Spears manages to sell as many CDs as she does.
  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kris_J ( 10111 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @01:20AM (#3755372) Homepage Journal
    I purchased Moby's Play, but I have neither downloaded any of his new tracks nor purchased his new album.

    Actually, "purchased" might be too strong a word. I think I might have used some GeoCities GeoPlus points that got turned into gift e-certificates to order the CD via Amazon (or similar).

    Personally, I believe he's reached "terminal saturation" -- that is to say that's we've all had enough of him. Guy Pierce is suffering from the same thing (actors must hate it when three movies come out at once). Britters is pretty close too. That Pepsi/soccer ad combined with the photo of her smoking has probably pushed her over the edge. Then add the PS2 game...

  • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @02:57AM (#3755638) Homepage Journal
    Thanks for the reminder, slashdot!
  • by Aqua OS X ( 458522 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @05:34AM (#3755906)
    Moby is feel'n the burn because 18 sucked. Tons of people ran out to buy 18 because Play was great... hence the great initial sales. However, after most people placed 18 in their CD player and realized that 18 was not as good as Play (it was like a bizzaro rehashed version of Play), the word got out, and sales slowed down.

    Go to any record store which sells used CDs... you can find a million and one copies of 18 used. Used CD stores are a -great- way to tell if a new album is good or bad. If a lot of people are buying it, and keeping it... it is probably good. Yet, if a lot of people are buying it and selling it back for 4 or 5 bucks, it probably sucks.

    I think the numbers speak for themselfs. I'm obviously not the only one that ran out to buy 18 and was let down.
  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @09:56AM (#3756557)
    When a CD sells a zillion copies, but not a bazillion copies, that's not a flop. That's more success than just about any of us reading this will ever have.

    All the people blasting Moby as being old and over the hill are pretty funny. 36 is not old, except to know-it-all teenagers.

    There sure are a lot of people with bottled up angst, wanting to put down this CD in some sort of all-encompassing way. It's just a CD! If you don't like it, don't listen to it!

    And then there are the people who say you should copy it because either (a) it sucks, or (b) Moby has an attitude problem. What weird logic! If those cases you think you wouldn't want anything to do with it, but it's the old double standard of "I hate you music industry, but I desperately need what you sell."
  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @02:17PM (#3758227) Homepage
    Maybe tech-savvy fans buy less stuff because it requires intelligence to become tech-savvy, and a side effect of being intelligent is that you acquire discriminating taste and become selective about purchasing stuff, rather than rushing out like a brainwashed lemming every time you see something shiny to buy.

    The average well-trained fanboy who instinctively buys everything that happens to have the right logo that he's been brainwashed to respond to, whether or not it's crap, can't really be considered "intelligent".

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern