Radiohead: So did the Boot Work?

A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
Results of Radiohead’s little experiment of life without leeches, I mean record labels, have started to come in. Early on, reports showed that in excess of ONE MILLION people downloaded the album ‘In Rainbows’ from Radiohead’s site.


Discuss "Radiohead: So did the Boot Work?" here. Read the article.
 
C

corey

Senior Audioholic
I think that they're on the right track. However.....

I went to their site & tried to pay some money for their music, but there was no converter to US $. I guess that would be cool if I knew all the foreign exchange rates, but I don't travel that much.

If I had a way to put down $5 to support their stance, I would in a heartbeat.

Does any one know the currency conversion?
 
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davidtwotrees

davidtwotrees

Audioholic General
Record Co's do play a part!

Excellent article, although I thought it rather biased to the downloader side of the argument.
While there are many downsides to the big biz music companies, one thing they do is finance unknwon artists to tour. My fav artist is an Australian woman named Sia Furler, whom I have met numerous times. Her most recent album, Some People Have Real Problems, is due out in January. It was leaked a month ago only days after it was finished. She was disappointed but told fans to download it and if they like it buy the hard copy. She it is that pointed out to me that when she tours, it is on the music companies dime. No way could she afford to finance a tour bus, musicians, roadies, adverts, etc etc. I tried to get a figure from her, but she just intimated that ticket sales and merchandising at the shows recouped about half of the expense of touring. The Point? Record companies DO play a part in the process. Sure, the Internet and myspace can help young bands self promote and distribute their music. But to get on the road and play live is still, imho, one of the biggest aspects of a music artist. Sia, whom I mentioned is the finest live performer I have ever seen. And without a record company, she would be just some chick singing in Adelaide Australia..............
 
DavidW

DavidW

Audioholics Contributing Writer
The article was not biased for down loaders, but rather it is decidedly critical of the music business and the record labels.

I am familiar with Sia.

If you do speak with here again, ask her if she owns her music, the stuff published by her label.

I would be most amazed if she does in fact still hold the copyrights to any of her works as part of her record deal.

Yes record companies play a part, they sponsor and promote new bands and musicians that don't have the capital to produce and distribute records and front a tour on their own. And up front, the record companies do it on their dime.

But they are venture capitalists who typically extract a very lopsided deal out of starry eyed performers. Yes if the records never sell, tickets to shows don't sell, the labels risk not recouping their costs, but when the money does roll in, they get all of theirs back first, before they pay the musicians under contract. The labels also make the artists sign over copyright to the material.

A more realistic view of the record labels is that they use the high costs to enter the music industry as economic barrier to entry into the market to leverage these lopsided deals.

Now I will point to several places where people who have been in the business for a long enough time that the stars in their eyes are gone and no longer blind them to what the record labels have done to them.

Courtney Love on the RIAA, Napster, and Lots of Other Stuff

Which leads to a much more elaborate elucidation of what the music industry is really up to than I ever would have expected from Courtney Love, but perhaps it is only her public persona.

Courtney Love does the math - The controversial singer takes on record label profits, Napster and "sucka VCs."

Here is what Ms. Love has to say about the music industry:

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

Last November, a Congressional aide named Mitch Glazier, with the support of the RIAA, added a "technical amendment" to a bill that defined recorded music as "works for hire" under the 1978 Copyright Act.

He did this after all the hearings on the bill were over. By the time artists found out about the change, it was too late. The bill was on its way to the White House for the president's signature.

That subtle change in copyright law will add billions of dollars to record company bank accounts over the next few years -- billions of dollars that rightfully should have been paid to artists. A "work for hire" is now owned in perpetuity by the record company.

Under the 1978 Copyright Act, artists could reclaim the copyrights on their work after 35 years. If you wrote and recorded "Everybody Hurts," you at least got it back to as a family legacy after 35 years. But now, because of this corrupt little pisher, "Everybody Hurts" never gets returned to your family, and can now be sold to the highest bidder.

Over the years record companies have tried to put "work for hire" provisions in their contracts, and Mr. Glazier claims that the "work for hire" only "codified" a standard industry practice. But copyright laws didn't identify sound recordings as being eligible to be called "works for hire," so those contracts didn't mean anything. Until now.

Writing and recording "Hey Jude" is now the same thing as writing an English textbook, writing standardized tests, translating a novel from one language to another or making a map. These are the types of things addressed in the "work for hire" act. And writing a standardized test is a work for hire. Not making a record.

So an assistant substantially altered a major law when he only had the authority to make spelling corrections. That's not what I learned about how government works in my high school civics class.

Three months later, the RIAA hired Mr. Glazier to become its top lobbyist at a salary that was obviously much greater than the one he had as the spelling corrector guy.

The RIAA tries to argue that this change was necessary because of a provision in the bill that musicians supported. That provision prevents anyone from registering a famous person's name as a Web address without that person's permission. That's great. I own my name, and should be able to do what I want with my name.

But the bill also created an exception that allows a company to take a person's name for a Web address if they create a work for hire. Which means a record company would be allowed to own your Web site when you record your "work for hire" album. Like I said: Sharecropping.

Although I've never met any one at a record company who "believed in the Internet," they've all been trying to cover their asses by securing everyone's digital rights. Not that they know what to do with them. Go to a major label-owned band site. Give me a dollar for every time you see an annoying "under construction" sign. I used to pester Geffen (when it was a label) to do a better job. I was totally ignored for two years, until I got my band name back. The Goo Goo Dolls are struggling to gain control of their domain name from Warner Bros., who claim they own the name because they set up a shitty promotional Web site for the band.

Orrin Hatch, songwriter and Republican senator from Utah, seems to be the only person in Washington with a progressive view of copyright law. One lobbyist says that there's no one in the House with a similar view and that "this would have never happened if Sonny Bono was still alive."

By the way, which bill do you think the recording industry used for this amendment?

The Record Company Redefinition Act? No. The Music Copyright Act? No. The Work for Hire Authorship Act? No.

How about the Satellite Home Viewing Act of 1999?

Stealing our copyright reversions in the dead of night while no one was looking, and with no hearings held, is piracy.

It's piracy when the RIAA lobbies to change the bankruptcy law to make it more difficult for musicians to declare bankruptcy. Some musicians have declared bankruptcy to free themselves from truly evil contracts. TLC declared bankruptcy after they received less than 2 percent of the $175 million earned by their CD sales. That was about 40 times less than the profit that was divided among their management, production and record companies.

Toni Braxton also declared bankruptcy in 1998. She sold $188 million worth of CDs, but she was broke because of a terrible recording contract that paid her less than 35 cents per album. Bankruptcy can be an artist's only defense against a truly horrible deal and the RIAA wants to take it away.

Artists want to believe that we can make lots of money if we're successful. But there are hundreds of stories about artists in their 60s and 70s who are broke because they never made a dime from their hit records. And real success is still a long shot for a new artist today. Of the 32,000 new releases each year, only 250 sell more than 10,000 copies. And less than 30 go platinum.

The four major record corporations fund the RIAA. These companies are rich and obviously well-represented. Recording artists and musicians don't really have the money to compete. The 273,000 working musicians in America make about $30,000 a year. Only 15 percent of American Federation of Musicians members work steadily in music.

But the music industry is a $40 billion-a-year business. One-third of that revenue comes from the United States. The annual sales of cassettes, CDs and video are larger than the gross national product of 80 countries. Americans have more CD players, radios and VCRs than we have bathtubs.

Story after story gets told about artists -- some of them in their 60s and 70s, some of them authors of huge successful songs that we all enjoy, use and sing -- living in total poverty, never having been paid anything. Not even having access to a union or to basic health care. Artists who have generated billions of dollars for an industry die broke and un-cared for.

And they're not actors or participators. They're the rightful owners, originators and performers of original compositions.

This is piracy.​

Continued
 
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stratman

stratman

Audioholic Ninja
An alternative to record company financing are big, cash-rich retailers like Wal Mart and Best Buy. The Eagles just made an exclusive deal with Wal Mart and Tom Petty with Best Buy, instead of getting record companies and their "strings-attached" policies to move your music, established musicians are realizing that these retailers can also finance tours and distribution, it looks like a new business model is forming in regards to these practices. It seems that in light of net downloads, Radiohead's rebellion and it's apparent success record companies are trying very hard to convince anyone that will listen that they're relevant when technology and the market is proving otherwise.
 
DavidW

DavidW

Audioholics Contributing Writer
Continued

I don't have a link to any of Frank Zappa's opinions handy, the best place may be 'The Real Frank Zappa Book' where Frank airs all of his dissatisfactions and that he has had to sue more than one record company over the years for the creative accounting that they did to hide actual record sales to minimize royalty payments.

Franks troubles include a practice called "The Pressing Plant Overrun" where the artist is told a certain number of albums will be run for sale, but the plant is instructed to make more than that. The overrun is moved out and put into the market without the artists knowledge.

And of course the record company knows nothing about it, these extra copies never existed, so of course there should be no royalty payments on records that never existed and therefore could never have been sold.

Robert Fripp's Discipline Global Mobile site also has interesting insights about the recording industry practices, follow the link, the quote I have included here is at the bottom of the page.

Copyright Statement (1994)

The phonographic copyright in these performances is operated by Discipline Global Mobile on behalf of the artist and compositor, with whom it resides, contrary to common practice in the record industry. Discipline accepts no reason for artists to assign the copyright interests in their work to either record company or management by virtue of a "common practice" which was always questionable, often improper, and is now indefensible.

Members of the public not familiar with the norm, might not know this common practice: the artist pays to record the album, generally on an advance provided by the record company. This advance is then recouped from artist royalties (which are subject to limitations in accordance with "company policy") and the album is owned by the record company. The record company owns the artist's work, for which the artist paid. If the record company, or owner of the company, sells the catalogue or the company itself, the artist receives nothing for their work, even though the artist paid for it to be made.

The copyrights of the compositions rest with the performer and post-performance compositor. Crimson Music recognises no valid or ethical reason to assign them to publisher or manager as an inevitable, necessary or useful part of the business of collecting publishing royalties.

The artists affirm their moral rights to be acknowledged the authors of these works, subject always to the operation of grace.

Let us sadly acknowledge, in the spirit of preparing the future and repairing the past, that the publishing industry and music industry has often and repeatedly failed to treat its artists honourably, equitably and with common decency. There are too many instances of abuse, exploitation and the betrayal of trust for us to view this world with equanimity, confidence or ease.

Actions from the past which we now view with regret, including our own, may yet be addressed: they are reparable, they are forgivable; they are not excusable, they are not acceptable. To do otherwise is to place ourselves outside the natural circle of healing. This is truly terrifying.

Cynicism and bitterness are natural, reasonable and likely responses for anyone, whether performer or audient, who knows a close relationship with those who control money flows within the music industry; music can be a gate to Paradise, but cynicism holds us at the threshold.​

I hope for Sia's sake, the stars in her eyes have not blinded her like so many and she worked out a better deal than what most other musicians actually have, but I doubt it.

Its hard not to be overwhelmed when someone promises to make you a star and hands you what seems like a lot of money at the time to go make a record.

The record labels have used the psychological source of that glazed over look to their advantage for many years.
 
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davidtwotrees

davidtwotrees

Audioholic General
I support the artist, not your right to free music.

While that was a surprisingly eloquent speech by Ms. Love(reminiscint of Marilyn Manson's soliloquy in M. Moore's Bowling for Columbine...) she did repeatedly say that downloading a musician's music without their permission was stealing. Bottom line. All the other hand wrenching wrangling is smoke. Have musicians been been exploited by the man? You betcha. Sad to say that most people, in one form or another, are being exploited by the man.

I will ask Sia about her copyrights.........but she gave me the impression that she loves her job, travels the globe, and is secure for a number of years to come because of the recording industry-without which she would be raising dogs in Australia and singing in bars on weekends for $50 a night.......

THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT FOR THE RIAA OR THE MUSIC COMPANIES.
I just feel strongly that people who download for free might be sticking it to the man, but are really sticking it to the artist. I support the artist first and foremost. If you have a system where my $15 per cd goes to the artist 100%, I am behind that idea wholeheartedly.
 
Fastnbulbous

Fastnbulbous

Audioholic
my 'system'

This system is good for anyone near urban areas where artists regularly tour. For example, I downloaded Patrick Wolf's The Magic Position earlier in the year. I decided it's one of my favorites this year, and I bought a ticket to see him when he came through town last month. Awesome show by the way. Artists always have a booth at shows where they sell t-shirts and CDs. They get the highest percentage of the profits when you buy that way.

There's a few bands where I know I'll want the album no matter what. I picked up Witchcraft's The Alchemist unheard at a local shop called Metal Haven. I'm seeing them at the Double Door on the 24th. I like them so much I'll probably buy a t-shirt to support 'em more. If you don't get to see bands live much, indie artists often sell albums on their web sites.

I paid nothing for my Radiohead download. Why should I pay twice for the album, once for crappy 160 kbps MP3s, and again for the CD? It's a good album, so I'll buy the CD when it comes out. I sample hundreds of albums a year via downloads (and occasional promos when I write reviews), and then I buy my favorites, around 50-60 a year, plus another 50 older albums and reissues. Works for me.
 
C

chrisw1

Enthusiast
I know this will probably never happen, but I would like to see the breakdown of number of orders/price paid for those that preordered the album vs. those that downloaded the album after the relatively low bitrate was announced.

I would guess that more was paid per album download when the bitrate was assumed to be high. It also makes me wonder how much more money could have been made if the audio quality was better.
 
DavidW

DavidW

Audioholics Contributing Writer
THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT FOR THE RIAA OR THE MUSIC COMPANIES.
I just feel strongly that people who download for free might be sticking it to the man, but are really sticking it to the artist. I support the artist first and foremost. If you have a system where my $15 per cd goes to the artist 100%, I am behind that idea wholeheartedly.
The original article had nothing to do with endorsing unauthorized downloading in any fashion.

It was an article about an alternative business model for musicians that does not involve middlemen. Middlemen who manage to make far more money than the artists whose interests they supposedly represent.

As to illegal downloading, under normal recording contracts and the man, he makes more money than the artist from the record sales, illegal down loaders do stick it to the man, but the artist is hurt collaterally because the contracts make sure the record label gets its money out before the artist.

As Ms. Love points out repeatedly, as well as Mr. Fripp, the record labels are the real thieves. But the horde of lawyers and lobbyists that they can afford on their dubiously gotten income allows them to manipulate laws to legalize the theft from artists as well as increase its scope.

Sia may well be happy, many are that are in the system, but that does not make the system any more fair or just. It will be interesting to see if she maintains that happiness through her career as she sees more of what the 'business' is and how little of it is actually hers.

Everyone, but the man, gets it stuck to them by the man. But once in a while, the downtrodden need to pipe up when the opportunity exists to level the field with the man.

Radiohead are showing one way to go about it.
 
davidtwotrees

davidtwotrees

Audioholic General
Excellent points, all David. Keep up the great articles!
Any thoughts on why Radiohead isn't selling the cd?
I'm not interested in a download.
Especially one of ipod quality.
And the $60 discbox with vinyl and a cd really is not interesting at all.
I think Radiohead's idea is very interesting, and I give them credit for trying something, anything, to get out of this quagmire, and help artists realize thier full potential and earning power. Reflecting a bit, I don't think most musicians will turn into saavy business people-you are always gonna need managers, bean counters, legal advise and helpers.........fascinating topic......
Little OT, but I currently post on Sia's message board and the place is alive with kids and all kinds of new and wonderful music. Most of it by young people who use the internet to get recognized. Until I met Sia my musical life was in the toilet. I was sick of the classic rock of my youth. Freebird gets old after the 500th time. Smiles. Many people my age think rap and hip hop are all that is out there. That is soooo far from the truth. I hope everyone figures this out and musician's can make an honest living plying thier craft..........
 
Rock&Roll Ninja

Rock&Roll Ninja

Audioholic Field Marshall
The moral of the story: If you are a musician, legally procure your own label before you start producing works for hire.
 
DavidW

DavidW

Audioholics Contributing Writer
Excellent points, all David. Keep up the great articles!
Any thoughts on why Radiohead isn't selling the cd?
I'm not interested in a download.
Especially one of ipod quality.
And the $60 discbox with vinyl and a cd really is not interesting at all.
I think Radiohead's idea is very interesting, and I give them credit for trying something, anything, to get out of this quagmire, and help artists realize thier full potential and earning power. Reflecting a bit, I don't think most musicians will turn into saavy business people-you are always gonna need managers, bean counters, legal advise and helpers.........fascinating topic......
Little OT, but I currently post on Sia's message board and the place is alive with kids and all kinds of new and wonderful music. Most of it by young people who use the internet to get recognized. Until I met Sia my musical life was in the toilet. I was sick of the classic rock of my youth. Freebird gets old after the 500th time. Smiles. Many people my age think rap and hip hop are all that is out there. That is soooo far from the truth. I hope everyone figures this out and musician's can make an honest living plying thier craft..........
Actually they are going to have a traditional CD release some time next year.

My understanding is that they are trying to line up a record company to manufacture and distribute the disks, I believe its someone they dealt with previously in England.

Unlike a recording contract, I am quite sure they will not turn over copyrights to the music, just use them for logistics.

There is still good music out there, sometimes it pops up on the majors, but rarely as they are too interested in easy money with formula artists. Most of the time, it is guys who work with small indie labels or they start their own.

There are lots of technology savvy young kids who use social networks and other web based methods to grow an audience, but there are still old guys making good music, and they have joined the savvy young kids, started their own labels and use the internet.

One of my current favorites is 'Nine Horses' which is the latest venture by former Japan frontman David Sylvian. The work is acoustic Jazz meets avant garde electronica.

Samples of the album tracks are available at his label site Samadhisound.

Follow the link if you wish, I would be curious to know what you think, it may not be your cup of tea but appreciation of the artistic quality does not have to equal like. Enjoy.
 
davidtwotrees

davidtwotrees

Audioholic General
Perfect fusion of old jazz and new electronika!

Thanks David. I am listening to Zero 7, Portishead, Goldfrapp, among others. My love of surround sound has led me to Patricia Barber and Tierney Sutton.
I did like Sia's early work with Crisp, although the music is not available commercially, it would seem. That was called acid jazz, I think.
The musicanship in David Sylvian's work is excellent. I don't like disjointed jazz with out of synch rythyms and sharps and flats all over the place. Sylvian's work has rythym and pace, and just a touch of electronika to give it an edge without sounding to coumputery and digital. In the taste category, I rarely find a male vocalist to my taste these days. In my youth female vocalists were a rarity in popular music......then they exploded on the scene in the nineties and I was like "ahhhh" female vocals really stir my soul.....Not sure if it is a sexual thing, or that I have always been attracted to midrange and higher notes on my stereos over the years..........Jose Gonzalez is a current male vocalist I like. Saw him live with Zero 7 and he was riveting. He came out solo with his guitar as an opener and then played with them too. Great review for him recently in Stereophile. I like their reviews as they also review the "sonics" of a release............
 
davidtwotrees

davidtwotrees

Audioholic General
Oh, ps...

Not to thump the downloaders again, but in the car today I was thinking....they didn't release the cd solo as then it would be posted and downloaded immediatly for free, at a higher bit rate than the actual website offering! Hence defeating the whole purpose of the experiment...
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
Tom Petty absolutley loathes the recording industry

An alternative to record company financing are big, cash-rich retailers like Wal Mart and Best Buy. The Eagles just made an exclusive deal with Wal Mart and Tom Petty with Best Buy, instead of getting record companies and their "strings-attached" policies to move your music, established musicians are realizing that these retailers can also finance tours and distribution, it looks like a new business model is forming in regards to these practices. It seems that in light of net downloads, Radiohead's rebellion and it's apparent success record companies are trying very hard to convince anyone that will listen that they're relevant when technology and the market is proving otherwise.
His 2nd last album was all about the greediness of the industry and his disgust for it.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
Does this practise hold true for the indie producers as well?

The article was not biased for down loaders, but rather it is decidedly critical of the music business and the record labels.

I am familiar with Sia.

If you do speak with here again, ask her if she owns her music, the stuff published by her label.

I would be most amazed if she does in fact still hold the copyrights to any of her works as part of her record deal.

Yes record companies play a part, they sponsor and promote new bands and musicians that don't have the capital to produce and distribute records and front a tour on their own. And up front, the record companies do it on their dime.

But they are venture capitalists who typically extract a very lopsided deal out of starry eyed performers. Yes if the records never sell, tickets to shows don't sell, the labels risk not recouping their costs, but when the money does roll in, they get all of theirs back first, before they pay the musicians under contract. The labels also make the artists sign over copyright to the material.

A more realistic view of the record labels is that they use the high costs to enter the music industry as economic barrier to entry into the market to leverage these lopsided deals.

Now I will point to several places where people who have been in the business for a long enough time that the stars in their eyes are gone and no longer blind them to what the record labels have done to them.

Courtney Love on the RIAA, Napster, and Lots of Other Stuff

Which leads to a much more elaborate elucidation of what the music industry is really up to than I ever would have expected from Courtney Love, but perhaps it is only her public persona.

Courtney Love does the math - The controversial singer takes on record label profits, Napster and "sucka VCs."

Here is what Ms. Love has to say about the music industry:

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

Last November, a Congressional aide named Mitch Glazier, with the support of the RIAA, added a "technical amendment" to a bill that defined recorded music as "works for hire" under the 1978 Copyright Act.

He did this after all the hearings on the bill were over. By the time artists found out about the change, it was too late. The bill was on its way to the White House for the president's signature.

That subtle change in copyright law will add billions of dollars to record company bank accounts over the next few years -- billions of dollars that rightfully should have been paid to artists. A "work for hire" is now owned in perpetuity by the record company.

Under the 1978 Copyright Act, artists could reclaim the copyrights on their work after 35 years. If you wrote and recorded "Everybody Hurts," you at least got it back to as a family legacy after 35 years. But now, because of this corrupt little pisher, "Everybody Hurts" never gets returned to your family, and can now be sold to the highest bidder.

Over the years record companies have tried to put "work for hire" provisions in their contracts, and Mr. Glazier claims that the "work for hire" only "codified" a standard industry practice. But copyright laws didn't identify sound recordings as being eligible to be called "works for hire," so those contracts didn't mean anything. Until now.

Writing and recording "Hey Jude" is now the same thing as writing an English textbook, writing standardized tests, translating a novel from one language to another or making a map. These are the types of things addressed in the "work for hire" act. And writing a standardized test is a work for hire. Not making a record.

So an assistant substantially altered a major law when he only had the authority to make spelling corrections. That's not what I learned about how government works in my high school civics class.

Three months later, the RIAA hired Mr. Glazier to become its top lobbyist at a salary that was obviously much greater than the one he had as the spelling corrector guy.

The RIAA tries to argue that this change was necessary because of a provision in the bill that musicians supported. That provision prevents anyone from registering a famous person's name as a Web address without that person's permission. That's great. I own my name, and should be able to do what I want with my name.

But the bill also created an exception that allows a company to take a person's name for a Web address if they create a work for hire. Which means a record company would be allowed to own your Web site when you record your "work for hire" album. Like I said: Sharecropping.

Although I've never met any one at a record company who "believed in the Internet," they've all been trying to cover their asses by securing everyone's digital rights. Not that they know what to do with them. Go to a major label-owned band site. Give me a dollar for every time you see an annoying "under construction" sign. I used to pester Geffen (when it was a label) to do a better job. I was totally ignored for two years, until I got my band name back. The Goo Goo Dolls are struggling to gain control of their domain name from Warner Bros., who claim they own the name because they set up a shitty promotional Web site for the band.

Orrin Hatch, songwriter and Republican senator from Utah, seems to be the only person in Washington with a progressive view of copyright law. One lobbyist says that there's no one in the House with a similar view and that "this would have never happened if Sonny Bono was still alive."

By the way, which bill do you think the recording industry used for this amendment?

The Record Company Redefinition Act? No. The Music Copyright Act? No. The Work for Hire Authorship Act? No.

How about the Satellite Home Viewing Act of 1999?

Stealing our copyright reversions in the dead of night while no one was looking, and with no hearings held, is piracy.

It's piracy when the RIAA lobbies to change the bankruptcy law to make it more difficult for musicians to declare bankruptcy. Some musicians have declared bankruptcy to free themselves from truly evil contracts. TLC declared bankruptcy after they received less than 2 percent of the $175 million earned by their CD sales. That was about 40 times less than the profit that was divided among their management, production and record companies.

Toni Braxton also declared bankruptcy in 1998. She sold $188 million worth of CDs, but she was broke because of a terrible recording contract that paid her less than 35 cents per album. Bankruptcy can be an artist's only defense against a truly horrible deal and the RIAA wants to take it away.

Artists want to believe that we can make lots of money if we're successful. But there are hundreds of stories about artists in their 60s and 70s who are broke because they never made a dime from their hit records. And real success is still a long shot for a new artist today. Of the 32,000 new releases each year, only 250 sell more than 10,000 copies. And less than 30 go platinum.

The four major record corporations fund the RIAA. These companies are rich and obviously well-represented. Recording artists and musicians don't really have the money to compete. The 273,000 working musicians in America make about $30,000 a year. Only 15 percent of American Federation of Musicians members work steadily in music.

But the music industry is a $40 billion-a-year business. One-third of that revenue comes from the United States. The annual sales of cassettes, CDs and video are larger than the gross national product of 80 countries. Americans have more CD players, radios and VCRs than we have bathtubs.

Story after story gets told about artists -- some of them in their 60s and 70s, some of them authors of huge successful songs that we all enjoy, use and sing -- living in total poverty, never having been paid anything. Not even having access to a union or to basic health care. Artists who have generated billions of dollars for an industry die broke and un-cared for.

And they're not actors or participators. They're the rightful owners, originators and performers of original compositions.

This is piracy.​

Continued
Its my perception that the indie movement is growing in size. I don't know how much ground they gained on the major labels. Whats your take on the indie scene?
 
Rock&Roll Ninja

Rock&Roll Ninja

Audioholic Field Marshall
Its my perception that the indie movement is growing in size. I don't know how much ground they gained on the major labels. Whats your take on the indie scene?
Billboard™ tracking of indie musicians is spotty at best. XM, Sirius, and Clearchannel™ (the primary company behind broadcast FM radio) rarely, if ever, will give airtime to indie music. Mtv™ does not play indie music videos (that I've ever seen). Rolling Stone™ won't give a full article to an indie release (not that they do many album reviews anymore).

So while more artists may sign to indie labels, you the consumer won't hear about them unless you browse indie music websites, print media, or live in a major city that also has an independently owned & operated radio station that will also play indie label music (good luck with that).
 
stratman

stratman

Audioholic Ninja
As time passes, the net will play an ever bigger part of how music is obtained, published and regulated, we stand at the cusp of a shift in business models, consumer purchasing pattern change and artists' adoption of an emerging market model. Be assured that the attorneys, corporations and all concerned are just waiting to implement more control over consumer's preferences, rights and artist's wishes. Will the net break the record label's choke? Probably not. One thing is certain, the music industry complex is resilient and has deep pockets, it will ride out this wave of consumer "no confidence" mindset. It will be ready when everyone jumps on board the virtual market place along with their attorneys and marketers. The bright spot will be that indies will co-exist, producing better quality music away from the mainstream and hopefully the better talent will gravitate in their direction. Don't rule out Best Buy or Wal Mart as possible contenders in the future of the music industry, both in financing and distribution.
 
Fastnbulbous

Fastnbulbous

Audioholic
Mtv™ does not play indie music videos (that I've ever seen). Rolling Stone™ won't give a full article to an indie release (not that they do many album reviews anymore).

So while more artists may sign to indie labels, you the consumer won't hear about them unless you browse indie music websites, print media, or live in a major city that also has an independently owned & operated radio station that will also play indie label music (good luck with that).
MTV doesn't play videos much, but they do feature mostly indie artists on Subterranean on Sunday nights at midnight. Rolling Stone has just as many reviews as they ever did, and indie artists (for example, Santogold, Puscifer, Les Savy Fav, Beirut, Pipettes, etc.) are included. Not that anyone relies on Rolling Stone to find new music anymore (though David Fricke does have good taste). People with a clue go to discussion boards, music blogs, Last fm, Rhapsody, etc.
 

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