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Music Media The Almighty Buck

Gene Simmons Blames College Kids For Music Industry Woes 860

drcagn writes "Gene Simmons has blasted 'college' kids and claims that they have destroyed the music industry, with the labels also to blame for not properly suing them out of existence when they had the chance. When asked about Radiohead and Trent Reznor's recent support of a different direction in music distribution, he says "that's not a business model that works. I open a store and say 'Come on in and pay whatever you want.' Are you on f---ing crack?" When asked about music being free and making money off of merchandise, he says, "The most important part is the music. Without that, why would you care?" even though earlier in the interview he brags that he believes that KISS's merchandise is more profitable than Elvis's or the Beatles.'"
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Gene Simmons Blames College Kids For Music Industry Woes

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  • amusing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mgabrys_sf ( 951552 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:49AM (#21375967) Journal
    Someone who was always about the merch and not the music would complain. Unless of course he's missing his weekly coke-money that came in from his risiduals which have all but dried up. Or perhaps the band just sucked and the kids have moved on 30 plus years later. I love the fact that industry that made most of it's money on the backs of the youth market has all but watched that market not only walk away but become outright hostile when sued (imagine that).

    In other news of the worthy for Gene and his ilk - water is wet amazingly enough.
  • by Paktu ( 1103861 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:49AM (#21375971)
    This is not the first stupid thing Mr. Simmons has said or done. []

    In a later Fresh Air interview, satirist Al Franken related to Terry Gross his own encounter with Gene Simmons. According to Franken, he was awaiting a racquetball partner at a club when Simmons, whom Franken had not recognized, challenged him to a match, stating "I'll kick your ass" only to suffer an embarrassing loss to Franken. Simmons responds by calling for another match and when Franken indicates that since his racquetball partner has arrived, he can't play Simmons again, Simmons responds by making loud "bock, bock, bock" chicken sounds. Franken then offers to play Simmons with $500 at stake, at which Simmons walks away.[3][4]Franken tells Terry not to blame herself for her experience with Simmons, and that Simmons behavior at the racquetball made him "the most awful person I've ever met."
  • What a Fucktard! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:06AM (#21376067)
    Like this shithead ever created any art for the sake of being creative. What ruins the industry is simple minded musicians mass producing garbage for the masses. what a fucktard!
  • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:16AM (#21376133)
    Note that in Europe, liberal and conservative have different meaning than in the US. There, liberal means anti-government, close to a libertarian. Margaret Thatcher called Ronald Regan the greatest liberal of our time.
  • Wow (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Publikwerks ( 885730 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:35AM (#21376239)
    So he wants to base his business model around suing college kids for downloading songs? Maybe if the recording industry focused more on innovation than lawsuits they wouldn't be in this mess.Everyone and their mother told them that the cd was a dead end, and yet they dragged their feet. Now, they can't catch up.
  • by theheadlessrabbit ( 1022587 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:37AM (#21376255) Homepage Journal
    why is it morally wrong?

    copyright law was intended to encourage artists to create new work by granting them a temporary monopoly on their work.

    with mass-reproducible art forms - music, photography, print, film, industries were created which took copyright away from the content creators

    once the copyrights have been acquired, the industry big-wigs have repeatedly bribed government officials and law makers into extending copyright protection to ridicules terms so they cab squeeze every penny out of each copyright they own, while the creator makes next to nothing from their work.

    so, is it morally right for large corporations to bend laws and buy-out politicians to allow their business model to work?
    is it right for laws to protect corporations over the rights of private citizens?

    as a private citizen, I believe the current situation is unjust, and I believe that a moral person has a moral obligation to fight unjust laws. But I also come from a country where blank media is taxed, to compensate the artists. so I steal as much content as I can. I've got to get my money's worth.

    I am a content creator myself, and I have been inhibited by these oppressive copyright laws.
  • Outside the box (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stanislav_J ( 947290 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:41AM (#21376279)
    I once had a small business (really more of a hobby than a major enterprise -- something to bring in some extra wampum) in which I sold unusual esoteric merchandise to a small group of fanatics (I think at most I had a few hundred folks on my mailing list). Sales were down and the economy was bad, so one month I did a "name you own price" special -- you tell me what you want and what you think is a fair price and we have a deal. And I had a higher net profit in that month than any other that year. Apropos of nothing, perhaps, as I know every business and industry is different, but the basic point is that often it is the unconventional business model that turns out to be the most successful. The more set you are in your ways, the more you stand to lose as the world passes you by.
  • Re:He's right though (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DingerX ( 847589 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:44AM (#21376293) Journal
    Well, Gene Simmons is right, sorta, when he points out the core issue:

    The only reason why gold is expensive is because we all agree that it is. There's no real use for it, except we all agree and abide by the idea that gold costs a certain amount per ounce. As soon as you give people the choice to deviate from it, you have chaos and anarchy.
    Property is, at heart, an agreement between people about things. My computer has nothing intrinsic in it that makes it mine and not yours: we just agree that that is the case.

    There's something very basic in humans that less us understand the concept of "mine" and "yours", and apply it to physical objects. But what about ideas? Intellectual property is much more difficult for most people to wrap their minds around. For example, you don't understand it either. "Downloading stuff that you didn't pay for" is not stealing. Stealing is a criminal act where you deprive someone of the use or enjoyment of property. Making a copy of a work is not criminal, nor does it deprive the copyright owner of anything. It can be against the wishes of the copyright owner, and the copyright owner can assert that you inflicted damages, but it is not stealing, just as hijacking an aircraft is not committing insurance fraud.

    So, we've got property rights that are agreed upon by a society, or so we think, and some of those, few people really seem to understand, and yet affect everybody. Worse, these are relative young "rights". Copyrights came in with mass printing and were built to combat mass printing. With the cost of duplication practically nil, and the means of communication readily available, Copyright law, as it is now, is just impractical: it's designed for mass infringement cases, not as a means of generating revenue.

    On the one hand, human behavior in these matters has not changed since the beginning of written communication: people copy what interests them, and don't immediately grasp the notion of paying for an instantion of an idea (they do, however, immediately grasp the importance of paying someone to produce ideas). On the other hand, we have a handful of companies with a business model based on the high cost of mass production and distribution confronted with a change to an environment of cheap distribution and individualized production. And there's no worse citizen than a fading elite. The music industry in particular made this worse by focusing on saturating the market with a few insipid "hits", and overexposing the listeners: to the average person, that song that they're hearing several times a day isn't worth anything in itself.

    So to answer your question: nobody's saying downloading music without paying for it is ok. I say that, yes, downloading music without paying for is ok, when the copyright holders make it available for free.
  • Re:amusing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:49AM (#21376323)
    Indeed, I find it fascinating when labels or musicians insist on trashing college (and high school) kids on their music purchasing preferences, suing them, or otherwise treating them like crap when most of their revenue comes from this same audience. That sort of policy will certainly encourage them to give you more of their money. :rollseyes:

    The industry's only hope of recovering is to realize that their model needs to change to reflect current trends. I am in college and while I have downloaded music for free occasionally, I know a lot of people that do not. What I have also noticed is that regardless of whether people I know download or not, very few buy new music on CDs anymore. Some just listen to old (70s, 80s) music, and others I would assume can't afford to buy it. But whatever the reason, the younger generation seems to be saying to the industry "hey industry, we are no longer interested in the product you are offering and/or the way that you are offering it".

    So, instead of attempting to find out why this has taken place and shift their focus to offering a product that the market does want and will pay for, they have instead attempted to force continuation of the antiquated distribution mechanisms through litigation. This is a strategy that will ultimately end in failure, for obvious reasons which are too numerous to list. The real question is whether the industry will realize this and adapt before they go totally bankrupt. I suspect they will not and it will thus take the dissolution of the current structure before any permanent future strategy can be designed. It may have already been realized to some extent with the current increase in non-DRM digital outlets, although I am not sure if any of the current ones represent the final form of what the market is demanding.

    Of course, there is another more insidious element of the industry's "kicking and screaming" approach and that is the efforts they have taken to buy off the legislature. If they can succeed in getting their non-economically viable business models made mandatory by forcing them upon us as the law of the land, then it will take significantly longer for the questions of future distribution models to be worked out.

  • Re:Music's dead? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:00AM (#21376387)
    What is interesting is that Simmons puts the greatest argument against records in that article himself:

    There is nothing in me that wants to go in there and do new music. How are you going to deliver it? How are you going to get paid for it if people can just get it for free? I will be putting out a Gene Simmons box set called "Monster" -- a collection of 150 unreleased songs. KISS will have another box set of unreleased music in the next year.
    2 boxed sets of unreleased music - at best second rate crap that was not good enough to put out the first time - coming. All to just make money as he admitted in the first sentence was his main motivation since making music for it's own sake or attracting new fans isn't enough by itself.

    I don't know what motivates musicians, but knowing enough young visual artists, when they start out, most of them are ambitious, just want to make an impact on the world, and make their living doing what they love which doesn't necessarily mean making a fortune. Making an impact seems to be especially important to them -- although I don't know if that's just intended as a road to money.
  • Re:Logic? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bill_of_wrongs ( 761897 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:30AM (#21376513)
    That can actually be used as a damn good demonstration of why he and other believers in "intellectual property" are wrong. The price of gold is determined by supply and demand. The supply is limited by the production costs per unit which can be estimated quite accurately. The same supply and demand mechanism also regulates music sales but for music the production costs approach zero as the number of copies approach infinity. Trying to artificially increase the cost of making a copy doesn't work in a somewhat democratic society, in order to enforce it you need some kind of dictatorship.
  • Re:Music's dead? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DavidShor ( 928926 ) * <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:36AM (#21376561) Homepage
    Sure, there will always be some music played. However, the equilibrium music production reached when the only incentive to produce is one's own joy is less than the amount that produces a social optimum.

    When someone plays music, it benefits people who listen to the music as well as the producers. In an ideal world, people who listen to the music would prefer to pay the musician for extra music then have no extra music at all. So in order to achieve socially optimal music production, artists need to be compensated for the utility they bring listeners.

    To some extent, this is done by the prestige and fame system, but this seems to create rather curious incentive structures and marginal effects.

    Not that this justifies the RIAA stance, there is quite a bit of evidence that our copyright system actually discourages production by allowing artists to live off the earnings of previous songs. Even if it is against the immediate interests of listeners and artists, we need to create an incentive structure that is best for society.

    Personally, I think that we should reduce copyright times to 4 years, as research has shown that period maximizes the incentive to produce music. Marketing can be expensive, so sometimes musicians will release their music free, but that is their choice. At the same time, fines for downloading copyrighted materials should be decreased drastically, to about two times the purchase price, so that the dispute can be handled in small claims court, minimizing transaction costs.

  • Music and Profit... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by knghtrider ( 685985 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @07:23AM (#21376813) Homepage
  • by lupis42 ( 1048492 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @07:34AM (#21376879)
    To be fair, the implication is that it's paying 20-40$ to go to a show, and 30$ for a T-Shirt, that's supporting them. I will also say that I have never bought tickets to a show by an artist I didn't discover through piracy. Same goes for most of the albums I've bought since about 1996. I don't watch broadcast TV, and I don't listen to the radio, so I discover music when someone I know 'lends' it to me.
  • by maryjanecapri ( 597594 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @08:20AM (#21377125) Homepage Journal
    Lately I've been forced to listen to the radio at a lot. Between NPR, user-supported radio, and the standard fare, I have come to the conclusion that the downfall of the music industry can be blamed on one beast - radio. Why is that you ask?

    Think about it. You listen to FM radio all day and what do you hear? The same 10 songs (depending upon genre and station) over and over. So anyone wanting to hear new music (or even older music they have never heard) is out of luck. So what happens is people like me who gave up on the radio years ago quit buying music. We just listen to the same old stuff over and over again. We really have little idea that there might be something new and wonderful out there because the radio stations won't let us here it.

    Oh sure there might be stations in larger cities, or on XM radio...but barring that you are sequestered to the same ol' mix of the same ol' songs day in and day out.

    Oh and it doesn't help that there is hardly anything new and wonderful out there these days. The radio waves are filled with talentless hacks and CEO-created boy and girl bands, increasingly angry and ego-maniacal rap, depressing get the idea.

    So maybe the recording industry should stop trying to lay blame on music pirates because they are typically only pirating old music because it's the only thing worth a damn anymore. Instead they should point the finger of blame back at themselves. Why?

    1) They bleed the musicians of all their profit.
    2) They only produce what they think are "sure things" which are, ultimately not. In that process they side step possible, actual talent!
    3) They create a situation where radio stations can only play what the music industry considers a "sure thing" thus filling the air waves with the same ol', played out music that we were tired of hearing a decade ago.

    Maybe the whole idea behind the advent of radio stations should come back to haunt us - to play good music. To play music worthy of buying. But that's not going to happen because there is no profit in that.

    And that's what it's all about you hokey pokey people.

  • by earlymon ( 1116185 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @08:26AM (#21377159) Homepage Journal
    Let's remember a little history - I'm a geezer geek, so I'll help. AFAIR, Kiss hit the stage in makeup to cover up their day jobs - and it was popular knowledge that one of them was an accountant and they were all white-collar, up and comer types.

    Cheech and Chong, in their Alice Bowie schtick, referred to them lyrically as, "And I only know three chords!!" (Or was that Bachman, Turner, Overweight? Another distinction without a difference.)

    I knew of NO ONE at the college I attended in the early '70s ever owning, or even tolerating listening to, Kiss.

    One of the Marsalis brothers put it succinctly - it's a thing called rhythm. Young or old, college or not, there's a whole planet full of people that get that simple thing.

    Then, there's the rest of the polyester-wearing, mass-media slurping ugly crowd, served by "rock" bands like Kiss (apologies if reading rock and Kiss in the same sentence makes you as sick to read it as it did me to write it). Kiss "music" (translation: drek) seems targeted to only increase the population of the slurping Eloi - it's just part of the 8-track in the brain, endless loop program that most idiots seem to have running around in their heads. I'm sure there's an industry for that, but in the day, we referred to it as Madison Avenue, not the music industry.

    Eugene's only real problem (may we call him Eugene?) is that he's going to be the first to whine when his brane-programming revenue is threatened.

    Here's another happy slogan from an old college student of the '70s: When the revolution comes, he's going to be among the first with his back to a brick wall being offered the choice of a blindfold - or not.

    Hope this clarifies things from a certain point of view.
  • by tacocat ( 527354 ) <tallison1&twmi,rr,com> on Friday November 16, 2007 @08:45AM (#21377293)

    Rather than blasting Simmons as being an irrelevant wanker, I think there's a more useful observation.

    The business model of music distribution is changing. It's not really a debateable issue anymore. It's just a fact. But changing to what?

    I think Radiohead went overboard. There is not a valid business model when you say, "Pay whatever you want". If you disagree with this conclusion than consider how you will respond when your employer or customers decide they will start paying you whatever they want to and if that's not enough for rent, too bad for you. It's no way to make a living.

    But what is important here is the Radiohead has demonstrated that you can make a lot of money selling CD's for really cheap once you manage to get rid of the pimp-ish middleman known as the record industry. The record industry used to have a stranglehold on all things related to radio play, music sales, concert promotions, and other product sales (shirts and posters). But so far, the internet has demonstrated a means for the bands, with a little effort on their part or someone far less expensive than the RIAA, to provide music sales and product sales via the internet. Now all they need to do is set up a means of doing concert promotions and (most importantly) radio play. Without the radio play, they have a hard time getting anything else going.

    The Recording Industry must realize by now that their original business model is a bust. This is supported by their efforts to sue rather than change or adopt. But they are also losing a lot of the legal battles. You can analogize this to Monopoly busting or even Union busting.

    The future of the Recording Industry may look something like this: A much smaller industry in terms of people employed with a more passive role of providing the framework for bands to connect to concert halls, stores, and radio stations and allow the radio stations, concert halls, and stores to determine their own purchase volumes and schedules. More like the NYSE in that people bid/buy resources based on demand in their geophraphic and demographic areas.

  • by Palpitations ( 1092597 ) * on Friday November 16, 2007 @08:53AM (#21377349)

    Anyone remember DAT cassettes? The record industry legislated them out of existance with a special tax.
    Interesting... I picked up a DAT deck around the same time as a CD burner, and a few years later I got a used Alesis ADAT deck, but I don't remember the decks or the tapes costing a whole hell of a lot for either.

    Not that I don't believe you, a quick look at the Wikipedia pages on DAT and SCMS (DRM used on DAT) mentions RIAA actions - but honestly, I never knew about it or noticed it at the time. Until you mentioned it and I looked it up, I actually had no clue that DAT even had a form of DRM - I used it solely for original recordings.

    A quick explanation for those that don't know - DAT is a digital audio tape, using PCM and roughly the size of a regular audio cassette. ADAT is similar, but uses something the size of a VHS tape and is capable of recording/playing 8 channels - until digital audio workstations and interfaces were common ADAT was the de facto standard for use in multitrack recording.

    Thanks for bringing that up, it brought me back to a time many years ago, and taught me a few things along the way :) I just wish one of the lessons learned wasn't "the more things change, the more they stay the same".
  • by aplusjimages ( 939458 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @08:59AM (#21377403) Journal
    But rock music on toothbrushes are so rock n roll man. It's almost the equivalent to smashing up a hotel room.

    If I ever build a time machine the first thing I will do is bring "rock" artists from the past so they can see themselves in the future and hopefully beat the shit out of their future self. I'll start with KISS and Metallica
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:06AM (#21377459)

    There were plenty of garbage artists in the 80's, and 70's. You just don't hear about them now. Case in point Twisted Sister...
    Heh... Reminds me of a story from my youth. Twisted Sister was playing a concert nearby, and my family had a friend who worked at the airline they were flying in on. Security was tight, nobody was supposed to know they were going to be coming in at the time they were. He let us know, we went and bought some of their albums, and just happened to have them and a marker in our luggage when they were walking through the terminal (not that we were going anywhere). Got them to sign, and then turned around and sold them outside of the concert.

    I remember asking my parents why they were bothering because it was a horrible band... Yeah, that's random, and doesn't really have anything to do with the story, but still...
  • It's too late (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:29AM (#21377671)
    Once something has changed that's it. You will need to lock up a lot of people to change the situation.

    It's the same with alcohol and drugs, once they've taken hold it takes a very determined leader to try and exstinguish such things. It was tried in the US in the early 1900s and failed.

    Gene is old school, he simply doesn't understand the way people think these days. I would love to see him survive on the money available to an average college student.
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:41AM (#21377801) Homepage
    How you do combine social liberalism, such as universal health care, a good welfare program, and other socialist ideas with low taxes?
  • by AdamWeeden ( 678591 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:51AM (#21377899) Homepage

    Gene Simmons is a dinosaur.
    Worse, he's a GREEDY dinosaur. Has anyone seen his "reality" show? My wife loves it, but I can't stand it because it's all about him trying to sell Kiss' collective souls for as much profit as possible. The guy seems like he cares much more about making money than enjoying life. He comes off as loving money more than his family. I would not look to him for advice on what a good compromise in a new market economy is when it comes to digital distribution. If his show is any indication, that man would make you pay $50 a Kiss record and thank him for the privilege if he thought he'd get away with it.
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:52AM (#21377907) Homepage
    I think the Radiohead thing is just an interesting experiment to find out what people really do want to pay. People have never had a choice before. The album is released, and the people who buy it only have 2 choices. Buy at the price they are selling it at, or don't buy it. This is like taking a poll and asking people what a downloaded album is really worth. Then there's the Saul Williams album, where he said, pay $5 or $0, it's your choice. $5 is a much more reasonable price to ask for a downloaded album, where there is no physical product, and no distribution chain.
  • by raidfibre ( 1181749 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:59AM (#21378003)
    If you're unsure that Gene Simmons really isn't an idiot, read this transcript of his interview with Terry Gross on NPR: []

    Terry Gross: Are you trying to say to me that all that matters to you is money?

    Gene Simmons: I will contend, and you try to disprove it, that the most important thing as we know it on this planet, in this plane, is, in fact, money. Want me to prove it?

    Terry Gross: Go ahead.

    Gene Simmons: The first thing you need -- besides air, which so far is free, and by the way if you went scuba diving, you're paying for air -- the other thing besides that is food, it's what we need to survive. I don't know what other tool I would use besides money to buy it. Although, as a woman of course you have the ability to sell your body, then get the money, and then, with that, get food. But ultimately money is part of it. And so --

    Terry Gross: [laughs] You -- you -- you are weird.

    Gene Simmons: Really? How do you get food?

    Terry Gross: Well, not by selling my body. But --

    Gene Simmons: But that's a choice you have that I don't. But getting to the money part, money is the single most important thing on the planet, including the notion that uh, love gives you everything. That's a lot of hogwash. Because although I subscribe to the romantic notion of life --

    Terry Gross: Well, let's cut to the chase. How much -- how much money do you have?

    Gene Simmons: Gee, a lot more than NPR.

    Terry Gross: Oh, I know. I -- you're very defensive on money, aren't you?

    Gene Simmons: No, I'm not, I'm just trying to show you that there's a big world out there, and reading books is wonderful. I've certainly read, well, perhaps as many as you have, but there's a delusional kind of notion that runs rampant in --

    Terry Gross: Wait, wait, could we just get something straight?

    Gene Simmons: Of course.

    Terry Gross: I'm not here to prove that I'm smart --

    Gene Simmons: Not you --
  • Re:He's right though (Score:3, Interesting)

    by swillden ( 191260 ) * <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:00AM (#21378015) Homepage Journal

    Like sneaking onto the subway without dropping your token into the turnstile. You didn't steal the subway. You can be charged with theft of service and go to jail.

    Are you sure about that? I've never heard of "theft of service" and can't find it anywhere in my states' laws. It seems like in the case you mention there's a much simpler and less contorted charge that would also land you in jail -- trespassing.

  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:25AM (#21378269) Homepage Journal
    Ah, here it is ... if you don't recognize the prose in the above post, here's the original Bloom County cartoon [] from which it is taken.
  • Re:Capitals? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by clary ( 141424 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:44AM (#21378555)

    I've also taken it to mean that when you're 40, you have money and property you want to be greedy about and protect, and so don't care as much about the welfare of your fellow man. Likewise I'm better off than at 18, and it sure doesn't deter me from wanting to make the world better overall.

    I'm over 40, care about the welfare of my fellow man, and try to do my part to make the world better. However, I don't want to take other people's stuff against their will to do it. I use my own time, talent, and treasure. That is the key difference between liberal/conservative and libertarian (in the US context), though many don't want to emphasize that.

    Several years ago I saw a long interview of Michael Kinsley (by Bill Buckley I think). Now, I couldn't disagree more with most of Kinsley's positions, but I respected his thinking as consistent and principled. He was quite open about his assumption that it was the proper and desirable function of government to redistribute wealth to achieve good outcomes.

    Try to get such a straight answer from a Republican or a Democrat today on the underlying principles of his political ideology. You might get a vague nod in that direction from a Democrat, but he will make sure the voters know that he only wants to take stuff from "the rich," which is always defined as someone who has more money than the voter. Worse yet, the Republican will lie their tails off, claiming to want to "let the taxpayer keep his money," all the while redistributing money for everything from sugar subsidies to bridges to nowhere.

  • by phantomlord ( 38815 ) <slashdot AT krwtech DOT com> on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:53AM (#21378663) Journal

    What might be more interesting would be his response upon finding out that Radiohead made at least as much money from their With Rainbows experiment than they have from traditional album releases, and that there's still a "special edition" CD to be released and sold yet.
    The Radiohead thing is only one data point... I don't think it necessarily shows that mass internet distribution would be profitable.

    I know people who bought all of Loki's games, even if they didn't like some of them, because they wanted to support a new company that was catering to something they wanted. How many people threw a few dollars at Radiohead, even if they don't like Radiohead's music, just because they're one of the first big bands to do this ? When every band does it, you'll lose that factor because it's not something special anymore.

    Radiohead also already benefited from the existing recording establishment... They were backed by a music distributor who made sure they got on the radio and MTV, that the right professionals were managing their tours, etc. Would people care about Radiohead's new album (in such a large quantity) if they weren't already established as a AAA band? I don't see people dumping millions on the quality bands I see locally who offer their stuff online.

    My regional grocery store chain is cutting back the number of brands they offer for any given particular product because "people get confused when they have too many options." If you go from having 100 choices for music to having 100,000, you probably won't even know where to start looking for what you want to hear. Yeah, it'll be cheaper than the current model, but assuming 95% of it is crap, you're filtering out 5 albums out of 100 versus 5,000 out of 100,000.

    In short, I don't think the business model has proven itself on an industry wide scale based on Radiohead's experience (which is the optimal experience, rather than the median experience).I think the traditional companies can still provide a benefit in the internet age, but they're going to have to adapt (they could theoretically separate the wheat from the chaff and narrow down that huge selection to the 5,000 good ones for you) and they aren't going to have the margins they used to take anymore (so they'd better make sure they're getting you the wheat).
  • by Palpitations ( 1092597 ) * on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:12AM (#21378907)
    I can speak to one commercial use of DAT... Before moving to a randomized playlist controlled by computer, a radio station where I grew up prerecorded shows for their late night hours on DAT and had 2 decks they swapped between. They recorded new tapes about once a month to keep up with what was popular, randomized the order they played the tapes in every night, and just had some poor bastard sit in the studio and transfer between the two for the graveyard shift.

    Actually, I'd say that would be a great job - just having to push a button or two and change a tape every hour or so - but because of FCC regulations against broadcasting dead air, they actually had to listen to the crap that was being broadcast to make sure everything was working as it should. Poor sap.

    Well, that, and I had actually had a job where I was paid to sleep 7 out of 8 hours a day unless there was an emergency. Kind of hard to beat that, even if the pay was horrible.
  • Re:Outside the box (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stanislav_J ( 947290 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:01PM (#21379605)
    Of course, to be honest, it's probably more that the guy has other income, or is comfortably retired, and just runs the shop as a hobby. I've run into a lot of used book stores like that -- old dude in a checkered shirt, smoking a pipe, petting his dog and watching "Matlock." Gets maybe a dozen customers a day, of which 2 or 3 might actually buy something. Clearly barely enough income to pay his store rent...maybe. I always figured those guys were just bored old farts on a good pension (military or whatever) who just want to have something to motivate them to get out of the house and drive the '88 LeBaron (with only 43,000 miles on it) half a mile to "work" every day and get to meet a few folks, have some interesting chats, and stay out of the wifey's hair.
  • "used to be" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Torodung ( 31985 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:26PM (#21382535) Journal
    I can basically do Decca Records circa 1934, or Motown circa 1965, on a $500 machine, right now. Not the masters, of course, but the end product that everyone listened to and loved. That's what I meant.

    Nobody cares about the lost fidelity. Damn few can hear it. I happen to be one of those who can, but that doesn't mean that I'm blind to the realities of the popular music market. They're compressing most of the fidelity out of modern pop recordings now, precisely because people can't hear the difference.

    Didn't the word "pressing" tip you off? Or perhaps you skipped over the words used to be. Re-read it. I was thinking of a studio and record pressing run circa 1965, played back on the technology of the age or through a transistor radio.

    I can absolutely produce that sound on $500 worth of equipment.


1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents