How the Artist Became the Enemy of the Music Industry

By Jeff Price

In the 80’s when I was in high school, smoked clove cigarettes and looked like a bad reproduction of Robert Smith, musicians were larger than life.  They were a persona, a style, a representation of what I was and how I wanted people to see me.  I connected with them and they represented me.

I would spend hours listening to 7” singles and cassettes, reading fanzines, scouring the shelves of a record store to discover that next artist that might mean something to me and, as importantly, that no one else knew. The more obscure, self-released or “indie” the artist or label the better.


And the RIAA agreed.  Music was special and the artists that created it were valued. Thou shalt covet the musician and fan.  And the enemy?  VHS movies and video games vying for my money and attention. The RIAA embarked on a campaign to frame music, and the artists that created it, as more important and of a higher cultural value then these other newcomers.  I remember buying The English Beat’s “Special Beat Service” vinyl album with a big circular sticker on it stating in all caps, “Music, More Value for Your Money”.   And I actually agreed with the RIAA.  The VHS of Buckaroo Bonzai and the new Mario Bros. Nintendo game cartridge would come and go, but the song “I Confess” would forever hold a place in my heart.

The lines were drawn. The RIAA worked hard, even spent money to define music, artists and their fans as belonging to a higher cultural status that had more value than those of movies and video games.

More competition showed up for my “entertainment dollars” until new technology shifted the enemy from those competing with the music industry to those stealing from it. The problem got much larger than the episode of What’s Happening!! when Rerun is at the Doobie Brothers concert with a tape recorder under his jacket (forward to 3:30 to re-live the stinging moment). Cassette recordings of albums were being mass produced and handed out or sold, CD burners chugged out crappy illegal copies of albums, smaller handheld recording devices allowed live shows to be more easily recorded and bootlegged. The enemy changed and grew in numbers.

Along came the Internet and MP3 compression technology as well as a new breed of technogeeks converting the huge song files on CDs to smaller ones and sending them around via the Internet. As net access via dial-up morphed to DSL and cable, the 25 minutes it used to take to download just one song changed to just minutes (or faster). Hard drives got bigger, computer sound cards and speakers improved, broadband net access became cheaper; it began to swirl out of control. Then Napster arrived: the first peer to peer filing, with the ability to scale in an unprecedented way allowing tens of millions of people to get their hands on music at the (double) click of a button. It quickly became the music industry’s public enemy number one.

And Napster was the event that triggered some in the industry to slowly lose their minds and creep towards insanity.  Some in the industry began to move their cross hairs from Napster to ISP services and they kept going, looking to find someone, something (or anyone) to blame for the looming changes in control and revenue.  Publicly and privately the industry attacked just about everything – retail stores, radio, press, the internet, computers, MTV, YouTube, MP3.com, instant messaging, CD burners, eMusic, Soundscan, independent promoters, all technology, but they could not slow it down. New enemies had to be found. Reason flew out the window and they went after the very thing that kept them alive, the music fan.

The RIAA, with the backing of its label members, started suing the very people that paid their salaries and made them money.  Get grandma, get the high school student, get the college kids, take them all down.  Sue them, scare them, serve them up legal notices, force them to settle in the hope that a message would go out to the world and stop their behavior.  Use fear and intimidation to get the genie back in the bottle.  Don’t bother to explain copyright or the value of it, scare the crap out of them.

But this too did not work.  The shift accelerated. Someone must be blamed.  This MUST be someone else’s fault – panic ensued.

Public service announcements were launched featuring major label artists stating that downloading music via peer to peer services was stealing, but there was no real educational campaign embarked on to truly, honestly explain the situation. Where was the new campaign of “Music, More Value for the Money”, the “Music is Special”, the “We love our Music Fans”, the, “Wow This is Awesome, There are More and More People Listening to Music Now so Lets Figure Out How to Take Advantage of This Great Opportunity” campaigns?

The industry started to crumble faster as the media and distribution outlets opened to everyone:

eMusic launched creating the first on-line digital music store with unlimited shelf space and inventory.

MySpace took off, every band, signed or not, could now have a fan webpage.

YouTube exploded, anyone could now make a music video and let potentially tens of millions of people see it.

iTunes launched, the iPod came out and music fans loved it. Everything could be available to buy and would never be out of stock.

TuneCore launched, every musician now had access to have his or her music distributed and be on the shelf to be bought.

And some in the old school industry lost their minds, completely. They searched for new people or companies to attack, but they had already blamed them all.  With no targets left, in a last moment of desperation, these few weary disillusioned out-of-touch with reality souls attacked the only thing that was left, the artist.  The very creators of the music, who were needed to fuel the machine they built, became the problem.

The artist was now the enemy.

In their minds, it was these other artists’ fault that the music they wanted to sell was not selling. These other artists just made too much music, and all this music confuses people, makes music fans not like music, makes them throw their hands up in the air and say, “There is just too much choice, I need someone else to tell me what I like. I can’t deal with other people suggesting bands and songs to me that are not working for record labels or radio stations.”

Sitting board members of the RIAA, A2IM and SoundExchange went on campaigns and made public statements to the press that “these” artists, these evil bad artists, were to blame!  It was these non-sanctioned artists hurting album sales and revenue for the labels.  They are the reason why the music industry is failing.  We did not let them in, but here they are making and recording music.  These artists are “crap”. These artists “clutter” the world with their non-sanctioned, non-approved songs. These artists are not “developed” and are failing, taking us all down with them. Through their magical ways, these artists stop the sales of “good” music.  The problem is THESE artists. They have to be stopped.  We must force them all back into the old model where the RIAA member record labels get to decide who gets to put music on the shelves of iTunes, Amazon and other stores.

To make matters worse, these “crap” musicians actually record music without first checking with us.  It’s bad enough it’s on their own hard drives, how dare they put it on Apple’s to be found or bought if searched for.  Radiohead, Justin Bieber, Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, The Black Eyes Peas, Jay-Z are being hurt by these “other” artists having their music available for people to buy on iTunes.  And whose idea was it in the first place to let them have a MySpace or Facebook page or upload a video to YouTube! Berklee School of Music, how dare you teach these artists anything without first getting our approval to let them in.

A last desperate witch-hunt started.  Some other old guard industry professionals started hammering in on these foul, evil, who-the-hell-do-you-think-you-are artists – it’s your fault!  You are now the enemy.  It bubbled up and became a drumbeat to the point where other musicians in legendary bands even began to echo the sentiment.

You’re all crap.  You are the problem.

Instead of embracing this new world – a world where more music is being created, distributed, bought, sold, shared and listened to by more people and more musicians than at any point in history – the RIAA, A2IM, SoundExchange complacently sit silent as their board members, and in one last desperate attempt, attack the creators of music.

But it did not work.  2010 was the year of the artist with more artists selling more music now than at any point in history. And now as these few old school guard sit and ramble insanely about how music is killing music, after they have attacked and blamed everything and everyone for the shift in power and loss of control, there is only one more thing left for them to blame…themselves.

  • http://spaceplayermusic.com Joe Maurone

    To quote the immortal 2112, “it doesn’t fit the plan!”

  • http://www.toykult.com tom

    word 😀

  • http://kelleemaize.com kellee maize

    very well said. there’s a market for everything. if you can get 500 fans, you can get 500,000 fans. it’s all about releasing music that your 500 fans love, and continue to love … and treating every new fan like gold.

  • NightTrainPete

    Spot on Jeff. History will hold the right ones accountable for the fall of the first mass music industry structure (pre 2000). They just sat out on technology and didn’t embrace the inevitable change. But it most definitely is an exciting time to be in the middle of the development of the next structure. With empowering tools focused on the artist and the fan. Now, you just need to USE those tools. :)

  • Deep Jackson

    I LOVE IT! WELL SAID, WELL SAID!

  • Souneik

    Never better said. As with anything, change is what happens. You can embrace it or let it trample you. Instead of suing grandmom they should have shifted there attention towards the infinite possibilities associated with the digital boom. Even now, like you stated, the energy is spent pointing fingers when it could have been….drum roll…shifted towards other new innovative methods! Hope for picking yourselves up is tossed out when your stuck in your old ways. Sigh..whatever. I say that’s what they get for screwing the artist from the getgo.

  • http://www.myspace.com/theimperious1 The Imperious 1

    Fantastic article. There are a lot of old people in the music industry who just need to die and get out of the way of progress. Starting with the RIAA, of course.

  • http://www.myspace.com/patrickhurdmusic Patrick

    ‘Nuff said.

  • http://www.zamcheck.net norm zamcheck

    I have a long memory and remember when labels ruled the universe. Contrary to what some would like you to think, it was a corrupt, cynical world and no musical Eden.
    My pet peeve is that the technogeeks make all the loot now, and most of the artists starve. Even so, there’s no doubt there are infinitely more possibilities to reach an audience now, as opposed to then, when a few fat cats controlled access to a career. Thanks TC for carrying this & other smart/useful columns.

  • http://www.john4music.com John

    Great piece! Being a 41-year-old musician that is now coming into my own, I LOVE the fact that I can do it all without having to beg some corporate clown for money or a contract. There are so many great unknown, indie artists that have more talent in a practice track than today’s (and many of yesterday’s) performer. Keep it real, keep it indie!

  • http://www.starcreekrecords.com Luanne Hunt

    This is a very good article and makes some excellent points, most of which I agree with.
    However, much of the Indie music truly is sub-par to the solo artists and bands from days gone by. Without a great producer behind one’s music, it’s very hard to create a magical, hit record that resonates with the masses. It astonishes me that these wanna-be artists don’t understand that.
    When recorded music was exclusive and created by people who really knew what they were doing (i.e. Phil Ramone, George Martin), it was far better. And the Internet distribution channels that are open to everyone, in my opinion, has contributed greatly to its decline.
    Thanks for the opportunity to voice my opinion.

  • http://www.waneenterprises.com Bruse Wane

    Great article people are looking for alternatives because of the crap being shoved down their ears as well.

  • http://www.haloblaze.com Haloblaze

    Love the article. I’m one of those crappy Tunecore aritsts, and reading this makes it more fun to stick it to the man! Sorry I learned how to bypass ‘getting signed’ in order to make my music available to 10million people – even if I only have sold 10.

  • Moe

    Hi, my name is Moe, artist name is MOE MONEY. This is very interesting, truthful and perfectly well-said and written. I appreciate what you have proven. This is something that I been trying to explain to people for a very long time. Because I am a unsigned artist myself, and there is a very legit reason why i DO NOT want to get signed by any of these lame Industry Record Labels. MUSIC IS MORE THAN MONEY. (Moe Money)
    Thank You!

  • Dude

    Death to DISNEY! They are why music stinks, way to dominating. Concerts resemble shows in Las Vegas, and Disneyland performances. Who cares about the music as long as we put on a good show with lots of lights and explosions, a ton of dancers gyrating around. What a joke. I’m sorry but Justin B can’t sing, can’t play an instrument, trhe only reason he’s populazr is marketing, disney marketing. Too bad the tweeners don’t realize that their brains are being manipulated by a byun Lady Gaga is, well, I’m not sure what she is. All the songs they put out sond the same. Taylor Swift is good song writer but azaftger a couple songs thwey all sound the same. Don’t even get me started on Rap or Hip Hop etc. If you call it music it should be musical, you know, like have a melody! This is Disco all over again. The music industry as we have known it is over, RIP, via con dios…

  • http://www.iTunes.com tomas nicholas

    not to mention, I made $41.00 this year up against 5,000,000 other pc musicians!

  • http://www.bit.ly/9HYEsF Sue

    This is an excellent article. The fact is that being an independent, self produced artist or band doesn’t make the music any better or any worse than that of a signed musician or band that is part of “the system”. There’s crap on both sides, and talent too. And past that, what makes music good or enjoyable to an individual is and always will be subjective. The big music industry people will eventually have to stop being crybabies, and suck it up that there’s more way more competition for music consumers’ attention. And it’s up to unsigned musicians to use the new opportunities we have before us to our best advantage. Because whatever happens, it’s not going back to the old ways. “We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far….”

  • http://www.reverberation.com/tslproductions A.K. Da Ghost Ryder

    Lol. Fuck the industry the line in the story where its says how dare our music sit next to major label artist? At some point the labels told those same artist they were not good enough to make it. Read a article last month about how many more label acts even produce income for them a staggering 2%. So that mean that 98% of their acts earn less than 98% of Indie Artist, Holla

  • http://www.tablazines.com Tablazines

    Great article.
    Jeff.. If I wanted to reprint this article in my magazine (Free – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hoodgrown-magazine/id402102897?mt=8 )
    What steps would I need to take? Please let me know.

  • http://moontagu.org.uk Erle Montaigue

    Great article Jeff! I am of the “old Guard” having been in it since 1967! (Now 61) However, myself and band (my kids) have embraced the modern and left the old. We are now doing things in the “music industry” that we could never have done pre-2000.

  • Dan lawless

    Absolutely amazing.

  • Dan lawless

    Absolutely amazing.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/karmaradio KarmaRadio

    Greetings~
    GREED plus the 7 Deadly Sins, Jealous Haters and The Music Media pounding into the public’s face creating the worship of False Idols all aided the Fall.
    Now, everyone’s a Star.
    Freedom of Speech
    http://www.KarmaRadioNetwork.com
    A Pro Royalty Paying Media Network
    3 years growing strong

  • D. A.

    Great article, absolutely true.

  • stevelambert1@mac.com

    Badly written and ill conceived article penned by someone who has probably never made a red cent from music, and when I mean red cent I mean a real living, where you can actually pay bills and get your kids through school. I personally liked, not everything, but most things about the old model – we had gatekeepers back then, qualified editors and journalists that could actually string a coherent thoughts together to make readable thought provoking sentences. The music business is now sadly buried under a pile of snot nosed amateurs who think a Myspace “following” is a springboard to stardom. It isn’t. You can’t democratize talent, and that’s what bothers this writer. Talent, in his mind must therefore be eliminated. What a piss poor article.

  • http://mapanare.us Patrick

    I stopped putting out music sometime ago…was on a little label. Recently when I told a former big label employee that music was in a golden age now he just rejected it…The LABELS are not making money! How can there be good music? Then he talked more about the old days….Nice guy. Smart guy. But not getting it.

  • http://mm.com mm…

    Well…

  • http://www.jerryandtatiana.com/poprock.html Jerry Chiappetta, Jr.

    Yes, well said. One must roll with the Changing Times…hence my latest CD “JERRY CHIAPPETTA, JR., CHANGING TIMES”. Rock on Brothers!
    http://www.jerryandtatiana.com/poprock.html

  • http://profile.typepad.com/wickerrecords Wickerrecords

    It wasn’t too long ago that you could walk into your local radio station, do a quick on-air interview, and play the record. As the industry is changing, why and how do the majors still control the terrestrial radio stations? Maybe that’s the reason internet radio is doing so well. The doors are always open, welcoming all who enter.

  • http://www.davepatten.typepad.com/ Dave

    Well, the music machine that is forcing Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber type music down the throats of the public is dying. It can’t support the industry overhead. Someone smart is going to start grabbing the “up and comers” who have established fan bases and then blow them up to larger audiences. This could become another golden age where the good music comes to the top, instead of the top forcing product down to the consumer.

  • http://CBIMusic.com Tom Hughes

    The Majors or the old school industry are fraught with worry because they can no longer brainwash or bamboozle the fan the consumer that only the music they release with the artists of their choices – is the only music to buy. The music society today is a free society like emancipation – lets get about our liberties – been a long time coming. We wanna-be whatever got bank accounts too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/russtewart.celeb r.s.

    Whether or not an artist and/or his/her music is considered “Crap” is relative, and purely opinion of the listener.
    Some of the commercial-name artists that were mentioned who were supposedly “hurt” by the “other artists” (referred to as “crap” artists) could be the “crap artists” themselves, in the opinion of some fans, and some of the “under-developed” artists (that are referred to as the “crap” artists that are “the enemy”) could be, in the opinions of some fans, considered the better artists that are being hurt by some of the commercial artists that were named here.
    Whether or not an artist is considered commercial, or under-developed, has no bearing on the potential quality of what he/she creates.
    Nobody can point a finger at an exact “enemy” at this point in time. The music industry as we knew it, is all too far gone. It melted down to the point of no return.
    What I see to be a huge problem, (and a real enemy to many an artists success, and eventually is contributing to the industry meltdown, is this:
    While there are lots of good music venues left, and lots of potential work left, there is the lack of live music venues, quality ones, with open-minded booking staff, who are willing to dare to be a little more different than they are being, as they, in their small-minded and myopic ways, lacking vision, refuse the talented lesser-known artists, but book the same old familiar bands over and over, whether or not they are ‘good’..and in rare instances when they actually do book the lesser-known, even if the small-name artist would put on a better show than the commercial-name band, usually, they are unwilling to compensate them fairly, if at all, for their work, while they are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to bring in the name band, even if the big name’s show disappoints.
    there are lots of talented artists that are not getting enough work, and lots of over-rated bands that are getting all the shows hogged for themselves, from the few live venues left.
    also, there are lots of otherwise potentially “good” booking agents that are unwilling to put some of these under-employed artists on their roster, just because they are lesser-known, even though they may be equally or greater-talented and more deserving of the work some of the over-rated bands are getting all for themselves, and there are lots of phony, predatory “booking agents” who prey on the under-employed artists and hurt them further, while the successful commercial artists are the only ones that are getting the work that could be spread around for the other lesser-known, but equally-talented and equally-deserving artists…and this drags the economy down, and these under-employed artists, some who are music fans, cannot go out and buy music themselves, and do their part to support the music industry, adding to the implosion of the record industry.
    The work is out there, it just needs to be spread around and shared so the less fortunate can have a piece of the pie too, and keep the American Dream alive for all of us.

  • http://www.soundclick.com/gangbangsters gangbangsters

    music is art and should be treated as such. labels are just mad that more people are realizing that the “product” they’ve been shoving down peoples’ throats are crap and now music listeners actually have a chance to listen to what they want, as opposed to what the labels decide. i say good riddance to the major labels, they’re the ones that ruined themselves and now you can see how they’re just trying to cling on and survive by suing the very people paying their paychecks.

  • KODIAC C.E.O. Black On Track Productions

    ITUNES IS A BLESSING FROM HAVEN, IT GIVE THE ARTIST A CHANCE TO NETWORK WITHOUT KISSING THE BACKSIDE OF PEOPLE LIKE RIAA. THERE”S ALOT OF COUNTRY’S LIKE CUBA WHO STILL CAN”T BUY U.S.A MUSIC ON C.D’S TECHNOGEEKS, HELP THIRD WORLD COUNTRY’S GET THE LATIES JUMP ON GETTING DOUWN LOADS . ALSO ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE’S ALOT MUSIC OUT THERE ON THE RADIO THAT SUCKS. MUCH LOVE FOR THE THIRD WORLD COUNTRY’S WHO NOW CAN GET THERE HANDS ON SOME U.S.A. ARTIST MUSIC TO REACH AUDIENCE WORLD WIDE.

  • http://www.computermusicproduction.com Computer Music Production

    Why do you need “gatekeepers” to tell you what talent is? I’d rather decide for myself. The old music business may be dying, but it’s not because of unsigned artists with Myspace pages. It’s because Record labels failed to recognize the technological and cultural tidal wave that was coming and desperately tried to cling to their old ways, while the world passed them by. Now we’re witnessing the rise of the musical middle class who aren’t so much concerned about stardom as they are being able to scratch out enough dough to support their artistic passions and maybe supplement their income with the hopes of growing organically to the point where they can earn a “real living” from their music. If they can appeal to and grow a receptive fan base through social network marketing and other means, more power to them and their fans.
    Just like bloggers are a threat to mainstream news outlets, indie musicians are a threat to the old and dying, corporate controlled music business. I’ve had enough of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber for a while……

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0148c75df04e970c Greg

    Record companies used to sign artists to labels for the life insurance money, then kill the artists to collect the insurance.
    To me the Internet falls under the existing “jukebox” royalty (as it is a giant juke box). Tax DSL and divide the money up to publishers and writers based on analytics already available
    “Rip, a remixers manifesto”, best documentary on intellectual property and our current laws. A must see for anyone who owns a copyright or patent

  • http://thalyricalsage.com/ Milton

    Great article. Barriers are being broking, change is constant, control is dissipating… and they (RIAA and affilates) are pissed. This article motivated me. These days artist are really tired of getting screwed and controlled, and some are very comfortible with a small fan base anyway. Music is not a business, it wasn’t designed for business, it is a lifestyle, it is how we (musicians) live. I’m “all-a-board” – another small victory for freedom over control.

  • M

    Your worst enemy is the one who pretends to help you and yet he is with the ‘enemy’trying to hurt you and helping their best selling artists.You pay, those artists get the money and you leave without any penny.You become poorer and they with the ‘enemy’become filthy rich.

  • jim

    I love the article but until there is an even playing field at radio, it will be hard to compete with the sales the machine can generate. The lock that majors still have on music directors at the P1, P2, and P3 stations is still in place. So, yes we can sell our product on line as easily as Universal but only about 2% of the songs on major radio come from a non major distributed company. In a perfect world the best songs would be played for all to hear. The music industry is far from perfect so money and favors still determines what we hear. I’m hoping radio will correct itself like distribution did

  • http://www.myspace.com/motarock Julian

    The dying words of the the Hegemony: “It’s your fault”!
    Musicians that survive and thrive will be those that are making good music, and the labels that survive will be those that find artists, produce and promote them -in a “fiscally fair” manner.
    The Technocrats got caught with their pants down, and if they want to be competitive in this new market they are going to have to earn their pay-checks. The reason that musicians deserve royalties is that they work hard and long at their craft -with little or no money-sometimes for many years.
    This is a good time for musicians because it’s never been so easy to record and to promote our material. labels still have a place but there’s no doubt that the gravy train just stopped at reality station.
    Viva la Revolution! Long live the Ker-ching! 😛

  • http://www.oliviolin.com oliviolin@hotmail.com

    Great Article. I as an artist can sometimes feel like i should feel ashamed for producing more music and looking to get it out there. and this article so eloquently explains why.
    thanks

  • http://www.youtube.com/anjelicasbaby Paul Leishman

    Nice article. It’s not about music it’s about money, power and control to ensure future profits. It’s all irrational rubbish. There has always been good and bad music throughout history and there always will be. The music industry is a mere blip on the scale of human and musical evolution. Nothing is to blame for any of this. It’s just accumulated technological progress which at present is not working in favour of the old totalitarian style of the major labels. Industries come and go and they are pretty ignorant and naive to believe otherwise. I’ve no idea what the future will be for the major labels, maybe the market will swing back in their favour with some subtle change or development. However, what I am sure of is no matter what rhetoric is used things will stay about the same as has been the case for most artists. i.e. as a percentage only a few will make a good living from their music but the vast majority will end up with losses if they took a hard look at the costs verses their return on investment. I don’t need to be a statistician to work that out. Just follow the money of a company’s balance sheet which is involved in the music industry to see who the next major player will be. We may feel we have more control but that is not profit. I know there is more to music than this. However, it’s about the money, power and control, cashe, being special people LOL and all that. Now the old companies can’t control the supply and demand of music their status is being eroded. This is further impaired by the fact that they cannot as easily increase the value of their products by creating the myth of stardom. It’s kind of like all of us getting up in the morning only to find we all have a vast supply of gold in our back yards ready to dig up. Something is only as valuable as what someone is prepared to pay for it at any one moment in time. Music is no exception to this.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/soshush1 So Shush

    The recording industry is in decline because they sold the things that music came on…vinyl, CDs, etc … the things that people don’t need anymore. It’s as simple as that … no things to sell … no recorded music industry … no HMV, etc.
    There’ll still be professional entertainers putting on a show … but recording original music will be done for the love of it or as the flyer for the gig.
    Blaming unsigned artists is so palpably silly as to be hardly worth paying attention to.

  • http://www.zepedabros.com Rafael

    Excelente articulo, felicidades

  • Joel

    People got tired of spending $17-20 for an album that had one or just two good songs. You can download the one song off the weak album and save some money. In the late 80’s early 90’s the music industry started marketing to the younger demographic, so songs no longer had substance so in essence they killed themselves because people were fed up with artists/labels putting out crap albums. They were the 1950’s GM brass of the music industry arrogant (they’ll buy what we give them.)

  • http://www.genesisianmusc.cm Genesis Ian

    well said my friend ‘s a brave new world!!! Accept t god artist or not it’s up to the fans and it’s non of our beezwax any ways what anone thinks. e happ fr the artist they work as hard if not harder than anyone else!!!

  • http://www.digitaltrackproductions.com Rick Savage

    Good stuff!

  • http://www.myspace.com/hoopsongs Gary Hoopengardner

    I think… therefore I am, I think.
    We, you and I created this situation and now is time to recreate. Recreate to a change and ignore the stuff.
    The crap. I started back when rock first started to roll. The primal urge of the beat, the rhythm and watching women or the teen age girls move. It’s all about rock n roll the business man is a way to use the creative energy to produce a product. Energy of greed.
    It’s only Rock n Roll.

  • Steve

    Wow. I cannot believe what I’m reading from you and your cronies these days. But I shouldn’t be suprised: your motive is the same as the definitely-not-perfect music machine: money, not music. Read this: music is art expressed by gifted people. Nothing more, nothing less.
    Why be mad at the greedy RIAA when you care about the same thing as they do? Mammon. Here’s the deal: there is plenty, and I mean plenty of honest work and honest money to be made in the music business FOR TRUE MUSICIANS. NO artist needs to play these types of games until they reach the top 1% of the top 10%. An artist needs to survive neither on the greed of the top of the industry nor the blame game that you are selling. They’re both hype.
    An artist needs to sell their craft locally, then regionally and create an ever-widening circle. If they are attempting a ‘look, me too’ status on a regional or national stage when they’re not even ready or qualified to produce a quality product, then they deserve the no sales and whatever form of rejection they get. Don’t blame the greedy CEOs and the slime that produces the top artists when it’s plain to see that your only motivation is to steal their business. You’re no better than they are.
    Just wait. You believe your business model is good for the times. Well, it definitely is in the right place at the right time. But wait until you’re eyeball deep in a world of wannabe artists and let’s see how long you still profess a democratic worldview for music distribution. Like stevelambert1@mac.com says, the industy now is getting flooded with amateurs at every turn that have no clue of what they’re doing. There’s no place in this world for anything other than serving your neighbor, and that means focusing on how and what you serve and not ONLY focusing on the dollar you’re making. The music industry is a great place for families to survive and make a living. Don’t tear them apart, support them in this rough time.

  • barney villaona

    best advice i heard in a while.
    Hopefully i can apply this

  • http://www.chancius.com Chancius

    This was the most realistic and down to earth response I read here (although I did enjoy what a lot had to comment).
    The reason things are SO confusing for everyone right now is that even though there have been major changes involving the industry, it’s the big companies who are still clinging to the power they have. They’ve lost a lot of revenue from illegal downloading that they can’t stop, so they’re doing what they can control which is marketing fewer artists with deals that benefit the label more, keeping a strangle hold on radio with payola tactics, and continuing a monopoly on concert events with Clear Channel and Ticketmaster. I and many others don’t like it, but what are you going to do? They’re just business men trying to keep on making money… and money is their bottom line.
    As for crap independent musicians… I’m an indie artist who loves old and new music alike. I’ve played in subways for years making a small living on tips and cd sales. If I was really no good I wouldn’t have made enough to survive or had so many people stop and say such wonderful things. I’ve played in bars and clubs where there was no one there or to a packed audience. I’ve had my music accepted and played on radio stations and Internet stations. Here I am though, an unsigned, struggling artist.
    From what I can gather from researching and my own experience, unless an artist gets backing from a label with lots of money for marketing and developement (and connections) then you might as well be a drop of rain in a bucket of water. A single drop will make a few soft ripples, but you need a strong down poor to get a steady affect. That single drop is every unsigned artist out there and the down poor are the major labels….

  • http://www.echous.net E

    I guess I have a 14 yr history as an “indie artist” (working with small labels to completely indie). 2010 was the worst year I can think of for sales and real interest in my music…and I know I am not the only one…just food for thought.
    I could sell way more albums with less in the yr 2000 than I can after perfecting my work and craft for over 10 yrs after ( a label won’t touch the kind of music I do anymore…first because it’s too left of center apparently, and second because nothing really sells much anyway ). I am not sure what it means, but this article is a direct example of two sides having a battle of good vs evil for their own psychological amusement with themselves. Both sides are somewhat corrupted in my opinion…the riaa and the glut of musicians that do not have the gaul to value their own work beyond a myspace page. I hear from plenty of “journalists” (quotes for websites:-D lol) who can’t keep up with it all. Nothing actually sticks out and leads people forward- most of it get’s smashed to pieces or more likely, completely ignored…
    …it’s a marketer’s game these days- not an artist’s. That is for sure…
    -E

  • http://leefoxrox.blogspot.com/ Lee Fox

    Hmmm…
    I guess I kinda missed the part where the ‘old guard’ has been attacking unsigned artists for existing and diluting the market.
    That pretty much made the last half of the article rather lacking for me.
    *shrugs*

  • http://leefoxrox.blogspot.com/ Lee Fox

    Oh, and I dug the clove cigarette, Robert Smith references.
    *grins*

  • The Lantern

    Jeff Price on TuneCore… inaccurate, misleading, and divisive to attract attention. Comment by Steve in response on TuneCore pointing out Jeff’s agenda… priceless.

  • http://www.ofnrstudios.com OFNR

    First off, GREAT ARTICLE!!!
    This is why when Limewire shut down and pundits were saying that it would hurt internet piracy, or even more laughable, stop it all together, I laughed. RIAA, and Soundexchange, primarily, make the good portion of royalties from an artist. If you want a finger to point at whose responsible for hurting the industry, you need look no further then, THE INDUSTRY!

  • http://harrybroker.net/crystalclear/ aquablauw

    How about, the enemy started his/her own record company, releases and accept his/her own songs, for immediate realease, worldwide? Well, I did, and the concept works. Signed me on a rock group from China on my label. Google, CrystalClearProduction and aquablauw, all over the world, you’ll see!
    http://harrybroker.net/crystalclear/
    http://myspace.com/harrybroker
    http://reverbnation.com/aquablauw

  • Avi I

    Great article, but I was slightly offended for lumping Radiohead with Justin Bieber. How dare you! Bands like Radiohead have rejected the old model of the music industry and have learned to cohabitate with the new environment. They should be applauded. As far ad emerging artists go, sites like myspace are both a blessing and a curse. They can offer exposure at the price of a diluted market. Fundamentally, good music is good music and people that listen to shite will always listen to shite. Just shut up and create!

  • Jules Mercado

    I think the problem is that there are too many artists doing music. The Labels put out the music that they like which with their power they can force the comsumers to like through radio and advertisements.
    There are over 100,000 artist trying to get notice. So if a Label won’t help them then their only choice is the internet. With the internet now people have choices of what they want to hear. They don’t want to spend money on what the label wants them to hear anymore. In time there won’t be anymore labels. The internet will be incharge of the music. Then we will all have choices of what we want to hear and not be forced by what the radio stations only want us to hear.

  • http://www.computermusicproduction.com Computer Music Production

    “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson

  • young jonii

    nicely written..

  • R.Ten

    HATERSSSS!!! I say get your money indies just like how the majors are I dont care if its a couple dollars ! Regaudless of what this piece of CRAP article saids I felt this was very judgemetal and soul crushing to the independant world who been told they couldn’t make it I bet plenty of people felt like giving up after reading this. Whoever wrote it probably getting tipped off by one of those brownnose soul selling butt kissing punks. To all artists indies and majors I don’t care if people say your music wack somebody else out there going to like it and want it ..Listeners or costumers that loves music are going threw a lot out there and maybe aint got the 14.99 to spend on a album thats 9 outta ten TRASH with maybe two hot songs and the rest just good beats WATERED DOWN TRASH ! Maybe people wanna spend their money wisely and download the mp3 and not buy the album. Industry artists are making money off mp3s too just like they making money off retail albums … Whats the crying for if they the only ones getting all the exposure and radio play while all the other good artists without a deal got to take a bigger risk or suffer.. The last time I check the industry aint got the money to invest in artist development so they going after the big buzz artists turning them super mainstream … So can you blame artists good/bad for taking the indie route, if they shit is trash to whoever listening to it, they just won’t buy it then ?

  • Mrs. Tudor

    Right on Jeff. As someone who spent the biggest portion of my career working at majors, I saw right before my eyes the insanity which is doing the same thing ad infinitum and expecting different results.
    It saddened me when 2004 marked the largest single downsizing of a major. Me and 2,999 lucky souls hit the pavement trying to figure out what to do with what we knew. Most of my friends work in other businesses these days, and those still in the major or indie sector are as paranoid and nervous as ever.
    I don’t pretend to have the answer, but the day I became aware of tunecore, I knew someone was on the right path.
    Keep the faith and godspeed in your work.
    drt

  • http://profile.typepad.com/d1349779476 Apps 55753818692 1349779476 26067df66b1889a3682384ee2ed0e774

    THIS IS Gooood! I LOVE this article. It is true that Labels and Publishers need to get a grip and out of OLD SCHOOL THINKING and into caring more for the artist who was born with a love to write, compose, create and/or, perform; who often works tirelessly by demand to please our insatiable appetite for being entertained!
    WRM

  • malibu55

    The only thing this brilliant article is missing is, while the old model faced crisis with the advent of p2p, major key agents of the new economy made gigantic fortune out of it. Demand for music, good or bad, has never depleted. It was just a matter of re-chanelizing money from one end to the other, in order to make both ends happy without blaming or suing anybody. But it should have taken bold political courage to accomplish, worldwide. It is never too late though.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/d1349779476 Apps 55753818692 1349779476 26067df66b1889a3682384ee2ed0e774

    Yes, but it is difficult to contact the operations managers for submissions and some require physical CD’s. Way outdated! I think those are old school thinking, and just want to feel special. Keeping control. Like placing a trophy on the shelf. When a simple e-mail reply with file download is all that is needed to add a catalog to their digital system for radio play. This saves the artist (performer/band/label/writer/composer, etc..) a TON of money. These artists can save on CD production cost, postage, packaging, time… etc.. We are suppose to go GREEN, right? NOT for the OLD SCHOOL! The Artist, Composer, Writer, Label and/or Publisher already did all the time consuming footwork for them. I am so very glad that we have smart new tech savvy artists and station owners! Really, all’s a Radio Operation Manager needs to do is listen to the product submitted, and either accept the genre’ to place in their digital database/catalog and schedule it to play on air, or, not. Simple as that. If it becomes Red Hot, they can gather more info.. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget to pay the digital performance royalties for the plays ;]

  • fatcat executive raking in the dough

    All the hyperbole aside,
    the REAL truth is that since the 1980’s (and late 70’s to a lesser extent) the “oh so wise cigar chompers” that head up the major record labels figured out that they could maximize their profits by concentrating on the largest demographic…. (this is the basis for standard practice for capitalistic marketing and business).
    Who in their right mind would feel sorry for these companies… THEY DID IT TO THEMSELVES! No one was holding a gun to their heads forcing them to do ANYTHING. Deal with it, things change… that’s the way of the world… there’s always going to be shit artists… doesn’t matter if they’re rich or poor… What myself and others resent is the large amounts of cash that is being spent by companies to convince us that an artist isn’t shit…. It’s pretty hard to tolerate, unless you’re a soulless corporate coward……
    this demographic prefers easily digestible nursery rhyme melodies set to a 4/4 beat with lyrics mirroring their own personal experiences…
    The record companies figured, “why should we take a chance on something when we know exactly what the largest portion of our audience wants?” They didn’t want to ruin a good thing for themselves… as a result they have followed this trend up until today and what you see before you (toilet sales) is the result…. They’ve been mortified to take any chances for years, that’s why they “create” some tarted up pop star every few years… they know that females comprise at least 51% of the population and younger females are very active music buyers, so they decided to market to them solely, since they’re the largest demographic and it’s very easy to predict what their tastes are and provide a “product” that they will swoon over… Doesn’t it make you angry that some 13 year old is the arbiter for your artistic and cultural world?
    Essentially, they sold themselves over for a short-sided business plan, put all their eggs in one basket…. I’m NOT going to feel sorry for these people, they had the keys to the kingdom, which is more than any of us will ever get….
    All the music produced by major labels today is never “loved” it is “liked” or “okay… I guess”, If you don’t believe me, ask any random 20 people what they think about your pop star of choice…..
    I’m not even sure that capitalism or any form of governance either economic or legislative can be applied to any kind of art with good results…. History seems to tell us that art and commerce are not compatible with one another; at least not for very long anyway…

  • Jay Lewis

    Fact of the matter is: A ton of this self released music is not very good! I’m all for indie music but come on, at least study and have some foundation to build on. There’s alot more to making music than creating some sampled beat. And spitting out some mindless lyric. Compare your stuff to the Big Boys. If it competes. COOL! If not. Then make it better. Strait Up! Word…

  • http://profile.typepad.com/charlesjtan Charlesjtan

    Steve. I think you might be a tad tough on the article and what Jeff might be trying to say. I must say tho, Jeff doesn’t write like an objective journalist here and why would he? He has his vested interests. But to completely see it as pure competition against the labels would be missing what he is trying to say. It’s true, what you say about the lack of talent and amateurs flooding the market. But I think we need to give the market a little more benefit of doubt and more credibility. To think that a few gatekeepers hold the oracle right to decide what consumers like or don’t is really an old adage and I agree with Jeff on that. The market will determine what’s good or not. Labels never have 100% success rate at the artists they put out. So many fail at debut and some fizzled out after one hit. It’s so easy to find these stories. Labels test out their product before launch with the budget for it. The great thing where we’re at with music and technology is that it levels the ground for musicians or ‘wannabes’ to explore and ‘practice’ and test out their product. This is the low budget end of what labels are essentially doing. And consumers are not stupid. They can tell what’s quality made-in-china to an inferior product made-in-expensive-land. For trying out, some of these ‘amateurs’ will take some time to realise, perhaps after a long time, that music isn’t really their thing. They’ll move on without the sign of a flood. And some will surprisingly go from crap to absolute gold dust. Who are we or anyone for that matter, to decide who is good enough at any given point. That said, I also think the gatekeepers don’t just edit on a talent level – we all know what else makes up the perfect major label artist. Thing is, no one is really here to fight the major labels. They still put out some phenomenal stuff. We can’t fight them. We don’t need to. What Jeff is offering here is Hope for all us ‘wannabes’ – to practice, get good at what we wanna do or eventually discover for ourselves, it may not be what we’re made for. Everyone starts off as a wannabe. Wouldn’t we all rather have a shot at the dream and fail trying, than get told by suits and a cold office that we’re never good enough and so be snubbed, grow bitter and add fuel to live a sad, broken dreamlife? Hope is a better option. And I think we might be more on the same page than we know.

  • rob

    As an independent artist, I loved that people
    were illegally downloading my music. It may
    sound strange, because I didn’t make any money,
    but I loved the fact that people were hearing my music,
    I would watch how many times one of my songs was downloaded.
    I even put my own music up on napster to share after that.
    I had many Music artist friends that were so afraid of losing
    their music, and only wanted to sell it, that no one ever found them.
    You got to make yourself easy to find, and easy to
    buy from.

  • http://www.soundclick.com/pinecats charlie pinedog

    History proves that all things cycle. Today’s situation? This too shall come to pass. In the end, live music will always prevail and young people who have the energy to support it will dictate the future. Old folks, who’s “old road is rapidly aging”, need to “get out of the new one if they can’t lend a hand…for the times, they are a changin'” Dylan nailed it over 40 years ago.
    Excellent article.
    Pinedog

  • http://www.myspace.com/simonthunder JT Thunder

    Blah Blah Blah…
    Yeah stop riding the coattails of Simon Thunder prophetic blogs for the past 3 years. Lame and shameless. Try to be more original and reference the artist with credit you are taking copyroghted ideas from. Jeez. You folks are the same as labels i protest from within the industry! -JT Thunder
    Greetings from Grammy Voting Member/Dolphinboy Music BMI Published Writer/5 Octave Singer E1-G6/New Indie Celeb Music Performing Actor & Artist! – Simon Dylan ian Xander Thunder :0) Have a nice day! Enjoy! Cheers! Please feel free to view biography at http://www.sonicbids.com/simonthunderoxygendetonation , http://www.myspace.com/simonthunder http://www.simonthunder.net , http://www.twitter.com/simonthunder

  • http://www.myspace.com/simonthunder JT Thunder

    Blah Blah Blah…
    Yeah. Stop riding the coattails of Simon Thunder prophetic blogs for the past 3 years. Lame and shameless. Try to be more original and reference the artist with credit you are taking copyroghted ideas from, especially since my use of your service from within the industry brings you credibility! Jeez. You folks are the same as labels I protest from within the industry! -JT Thunder
    Greetings from Grammy Voting Member/Dolphinboy Music BMI Published Writer/5 Octave Singer E1-G6/New Indie Celeb Music Performing Actor & Artist! – Simon Dylan ian Xander Thunder :0) Have a nice day! Enjoy! Cheers! Please feel free to view biography at http://www.sonicbids.com/simonthunderoxygendetonation , http://www.myspace.com/simonthunder http://www.simonthunder.net , http://www.twitter.com/simonthunder

  • http://www.myspace.com/simonthunder JT Thunder

    In January 2011 “Live in Nyc the Legend begins”! Simon Thunder 5 Octave E1-G6 Singer, Writer, Music Performer. New music due out in spring and summer of 2011. -Cheers! JT Thunder courtesy of Unsigned & Defiantly Independent Records / Ante-Diluvian Entertainment!!!! Stay Tuned for the pending lawsuit to be filed against Katy Perry/Capitol Records/Snoop Dogg/Intersope-Universal for copyright theft infringement of the Simon Thunder 2008 California Girl song which was accepted into the 51st Grammy Awards as a submission for possible nomination.

  • dvon

    There are a lot of us old G’s (guys and gals) who never had a chance to put our music out. If you didn’t have a Recording Contract you didn’t have a chance. The phrase “keep your day job” was very popular.
    The Record Labels stumped and rolled all over us (aspiring Artists). Even signing many of us to bogus contracts which prevented us from marketing our music while at the same time stealing our songs for other well know Artist or selling them to publishing companies. In reality they Record Lables (small and large) had no intention of marketing our music! I know, I have 3 top ten hits, that my name will never be associated with. Ask Denver Stone.
    The Gods of the Record Industry chose and made their Stars (cash cows). And this whether they could sing or play(had talent) or not(“Milli Vanilli” comes to mind). And of course they all had to be sexy and always younger and younger until music sounded like crap and lyrics were mostly to vulgar or immature to enjoy.
    To this end I say Bad Music Shoved down our throats is the real enemy. Fans wanted good music. The Record Labels destroyed their own product by losing sight of what music and art really is. Instead,they produce garbage on a Major Scale with an underlining message to influence and control soceity. Music is Art which makes and reflects culture along with other visual aids. The culture we live in is a result of this. Take a look around and see if you like what you see. No one can choose for me what I would like! Good Music is Timeless!
    Those who know, know that it is better not to be signed to a Major Record Label. There bottom line is money and not the artist or the art he/she creates. They will change you and your music and make you unrecognisable to even yourself. Then theirs the devil worship which is not compatible with a believer of the Most High.
    That being said, I’m 54 years old and my music is as young fresh and funky as it has always been. I’m not just a push button musician. I’ve spent years perfecting my guitar presentation and gift. I’m as thrilled as a kid in a candy store with all of the hi-tech innovations with which to explore and create your music (that means, I push buttons too).
    I say to all other musicians, songwriters, artist, etc…, irregardless of age, if you’re still alive, your dream is still alive, go for it! I have signed up with tunecore and My album will be coming to itunes and other venues and outlets soon! My fan’s can’t wait! This is a fantastic Article by someone who truly understands transition. Oh yeah, Record Lables Suck!!!

  • from east,far east

    Very good article.Thank you!We need to hear or see the artists and vote for them somehow.

  • dvon

    Good to hear it from a real insider!
    I bet you had more to say, but, you just didn’t say it. Be Blessed!

  • dvon

    Fatcat you’re right! It doesn’t make sense for a 13 year old to be the arbiter and role model for an artistic and cultural world. What do they know about the blues, life, pain, paying a bill much less love at that age!
    Although, some may say there are a few exceptions. A child is still being exploited. Michael Jackson’s missed childhood is a good example. Non-the-less, we have a long way to go. Perhaps, along the way Major Record Lables will become extinct!

  • dvon12000

    Well said!!!

  • dvon

    good advice

  • dvon

    I like that statement,”creating the myth of stardom.”

  • http://www.heftelstudios.com Kawika

    Very, very well said!! I couldn’t agree more!!

  • Musician

    The author rants and rants and rants and forgets himself to rant on.
    In the end it is what it is. The QUALITY of music is getting down more and more, the quantity is getting up. With the result, that more and more music may be sold, but the single artist – let alone complete bands – cannot make al living. Not to mention the other people (recording engineers, promoters, label managers, trainees etc.) that do good work, but cannot be paid anymore, since a lot of the music is passed free of cost.
    New technology hin or her. The “fan” must be brought back to the state of mind where he is willing by heart to pay for the music he wants to listen. And looking on piracy only as the last chance to get the music (but with a bad taste in his mouth). At the moment it seems to go the other way round. Meaning: the artist has to justify why he/she wants to be paid for a song-download. THAT is the real pity.

  • Musician

    When you listen to music on MySpace and thelikes, most of that is crap. It’s like that.
    And guess why? Because the “musicians” are hitting record as soon as they are able to play two chords on their instruments.
    It’s like the bloggers you mentionend. The vast majority is only narcisstic and likes to see their written word in the internet and feel like independant underminers of the establishment. Nothing wrong with a broad diversity of opinion, that’s more than right. But it’S not about the quantity, it’s about quality, and for good or top quality you need mentors or as said some kind of “gatekeepers” (for example producers in the music world) that tell you how to improve your quality.
    Where’s the point of 100.000 recordings that all don’t get the attention of the listeners simply because they are produced that bad, that you get ear cancer listening to it? That’s pintless even if the contents would be worth to listen to.
    So again: it’s not about the quantity which seems to be the focus for most of today’s people, the quality is what matters. And that needs good talent AND good production, that costs – right – money, because you need good people and good studios to get the most out of the music.

  • Musician

    “The market will determine what’s good or not. ”

    OK, Then it will be the likes of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Aguilera, etc.
    All of those, I think, you did NOT have in mind, when you said that above line …!?

  • http://www.zealey.co.uk John Zealey

    Great article. Totally agree with every point.
    It does feel like one massive witch hunt. The next step will be to make it illegal to trade second hand CD’s….
    Or maybe they will stop us talking/tweeting about music we like that doesn’t come under the banner of a record company or collection house…..
    Or maybe they will find some way to own the rights of individual notes…
    Or maybe the whole business will implode due to the music industries inability to keep up and accept the future. I’m pretty certain it aint albums as we know it.
    I blame the invention of the wax cylinder!
    😉

  • Ellen

    The issue isn’t black and white. There is some truth on both sides. But if wealth is defined as opportunity, then an independent artist has more of it than ever before. There has NEVER been a better time to create and market indie music in a way that feels whole and right, where the music is the way the artist wants it to be. Artists don’t have to be prostitutes to any large corporation, or be exploited.
    The music of an indie artist can’t be changed by someone else, or bought by a major label and then shelved where it will never be heard, EVER. The Label owns the copyright when you sign a contract with them and they can decide never to produce the song or album at all. Or, they can say they are going to promote you and they are scheduling a world tour for you and then you never hear from them again even after you signed with them. They can say, we don’t want to promote this band but lets analyze the band’s style and since we now own their songs, lets have another band play those songs as their “signature”, and we’ll promote them instead. The major labels can eat you up and spit you out without batting an eye or having a moral tinge of feeling. They can do anything they want with the music you signed over to them. They can also promo you of course, but you are just a machine to them, a machine that makes songs for them until you wear out or lose popularity.
    When you go indie, musicians and bands can be sure their music will be played. If it is enjoyed by even one other person, they can be happy they made it. If it puts food on the table, then they have learned how to market and distribute as well as create, or they found a person or company who can do that for them. Many successful artists have just stuck to their music, without compromise for many years. There is an element of duration involved in success for many – especially if they are doing something avant garde, something outside the box. There is nothing wrong with making music for 20 years and putting out 15 albums for people to enjoy and taking the slow but sure road to success. Just keep making music. No matter what.
    There has never been more opportunity for an indie artist than now, between the Internet, the computer software for composing music, recording, mixing etc. and the many ways to make, and distribute your music. There’s a hot new version of Logic Studio that was just released by Apple two months ago. Also Reaon/Record Duo came out very recently, and computer hardware and software is so good now. It is possible to handle big files and upload and download quickly. We are at the height of possibility here. Right now. Jeff is right. Its our time. The Year(s) of the Musician has begun. As we all keep making music on our own terms, Warner just got a new chief who was mumbling something about new business models.It will be interesting to see what they come up with. Its a great day to be an indie band or solo artist.
    As with all things in this world, the true wealth lies with individuals creating things. Without artists there is no vitality in the world. Its time to cherish our artists and musicians everywhere. And we artists are finally free from what is crumbling and dying around us. Its a breath of fresh air.

  • jan

    Well, its a deep subject. Music is life. It makes people happy to play it and to hear it.
    Everyone starts somewhere and few are great artists the moment they pick up an instrument. Practice is essential. Passion is essential. You get better over time – like a good wine.
    Maybe the question is this: knowing you are going to get better and better, when is the right time to make a record that you are certain you won’t look back on in 5 years and cringe. Generally musicians evolve as they keep playing their music. Most creators looks back and no longer like what they created several years ago. So the question for the indie artist is: does this recording you are about to make represent you well. It’s always a good idea to put out your very best work because it is how others will see you. Are you ready to make a record? is a better question than should you be playing music. Of course you should play music. Even seasoned professionals must ask themselves if what they are about to produce is really good and represents them well sometimes.
    As always its about asking the right questions that lead to discovery. Its not a good idea for an artist to compare themselves to someone else to see if they are OK. There will always be people who are better and not as good on someones scale of value. It is so subjective. Bottom line for the listener: keep an open mind and explore new music all the time. For the artist: don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You are unique. Experiment. Be playful. And have fun with the music. If you have something to say, and you think it must be said, make that song.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/robertholsman Robertholsman

    Brilliant. Thank you so much for writing this. I have been attempting to write something similar, but you have done it better and more eloquently than I have been able to. My current band turned down a record “deal” in order to take advantage of being able to sell our music through every means available thanks to modern technology placing all musicians on an equal footing when it comes to opportunities, and now the idea of signing to a label and being indebted to them seems like a huge step backwards – any deal would have to be pretty amazing to make me reconsider. Music IS an art, but the time when it constituted the sort of elite commodity that could only be sold with the RIAA’s approval is at an end. Some artists, who rely on record company advances in order to live, are going to suffer. But thousands of artists who would have gone unnoticed because they weren’t the flavour of the month depending on the record companies ideas of what the market needed, now have an opportunity to gain expposure. And ultimately, its down to the listeners, and NOT record companies, to decide what they like, and what to support.

  • Fakto

    Blessed.

  • http://www.sierradonnaentlive.ning.com DJ FEMMIE

    Music is a feeling and that is all it is – if DJS would stop playing those crappy records and stop playing the same song over and over all day long and radio stations posting about your pro rates – the labels charge the artists for everything and the only one making any real dough are the owners of the these stations and websites that charge artists for everything; opportunities to perform adnauseum I could go on and on.
    DJs and artists make the labels and the websites be successful and we get 2cents a quarter for our efforts. Without the artists there would be no myspace or reverb – the labels go after the djs when you remix a song usually your song is better than the original – I am sick of being ripped off followed around and frankly cheated for my creativity.
    The worst part the ones that are really making money will never help anyone else become profitable. A sad and self centered business – the music business.
    Most of the artists nominated for the grammy’s are platinum already and notice the same people year after year WINNING – there is no justice in the music industry. I am excited they are finally shooting themselves in the foot.
    Don’t be mad at Beiber or Ga Ga – the djs and A&R put them there and the DJs that play the same music over and over all day long are responsible for creating these little monsters. I am a GA GA fan but a lot of the people out there need to take a vacation go back to writing great lyrics and music that makes sense.

  • G

    Thats actually a good point. With more indie artists producing their own records in their bedrooms and with limited production and or songwriting skills, there is definitely alot more substandard music being released.It takes a great producer, great songwriter, great sound engineer, great musicianship and a good studio to produce quality music. I’m 35 and I grew up in the 80’s. I am also a music producer and artist.I have definitely noticed a difference in the quality of songs,musicianship and production in todays music compared to that of the past. To side track a little,I’ve had enough of the RnB and hip hop influence that is found in most pop music today. This has been going on since the 90’s and it has to stop its gone on too long and I don’t particularly enjoy that style or influence. In my opinion it has dominated the mainstream for too long and has changed pop music. If you think of the 80’s there were alot of excellent songs with alot of variations in style and sound. Now everything has that hip hop or Rnb flavour to it and its all beat and bass driven. Lets get back to writing good songs again with melody and sensitivity and developing our musical abilities to once again become great musicians rather than relying on technology to make music for us.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/proudlove Paul Proudlove

    go to itunes or your online music vender listen a bit maybe purchase what you like or dont ( electronic sausage) there wasnt that easy its not evil natural selection paul proudlove for E.S. you decide thanks

  • Rhyan Rocking Rolling Rudman

    It is the music revolution………To hell with music executives dictating who gets heard……Long live technology. one more thing RIP BOB MARLEY

  • http://punkvert.tv candi’s flipped

    damn, i loved those cassttes and fanzines too. illegally making compilation tapes for all my friends and enjoying the MUSIC!!!
    considering how most of those major labels have seriously dodgy goings on with their profits…funding military research and making guidance missile systems, well, hey!!! it’s even better that the money these days goes to the people it should go to …artists and not the corporations.

  • DanyL

    Excellent et tellement vrai!
    Qu’ils aillent se faire pendre tous ces monarques des majors, tous ces ptres qui se prennent pour des dieux parce qu’ils ont le pouvoir de signer des artistes et décider qui va faire l’objet d’une campagne publicitaire ou non. Combien d’artistes ont perdu espoir et certains même se sont suicidés à cause de ces narcisses des majors.
    L’avantage maintenant, est que chaque artiste a ses chances et surtout peut rêver d’une gloire éphémère ou non.
    C’est comme si maintenant on disait: vous avez tous le droit de jouer à la loterie, alors qu’avant seulement certains élus avaient le droit d’y jouer….merci de m’avoir lu.

  • http://cubafusion.com cubafusion

    Kodiac,you have no doubt great intentions thinking of third world countries but in many countries the reality for the fans and even the musicians is that there’s not many ways to access music,not only made in US,and ultimately something that they can’t afford so easily. In Cuba ,not only you cannot buy new ‘American’ music from the stores but you wouldn’t have access to itunes or similar to buy…Even Cuban music original CD’s is a luxury only for foreign tourists…and yes there’s a cheaper black market ‘stealing’ from the big labels,but still out of reach for the majority…So the fans and the musicians are being hurt there too and not only by the big labels,but that’s another story you should search about…But your campaign is fair and you should keep going. Not many people including artists take time to think about it,because,at the same time it really looks unreal in a modern tech world like this.

  • EA

    Maybe if the major labels and major publishers would open their doors and listen to all the musical and songwriting talent that is out there, they just might find the best talent that they can filter through and control what is getting out to the public. They try to make it impossible for talent to get heard by them, so this talent has to find another way to go public, the internet is now providing that way, much to the sorrow of Nashville, New York and L A.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com James Bedu Graham

    I agree entirely with all the comments above.THE download and upstreaming of Music online has Undermined the Old models of Distribution.
    It is Unfortunate the Old Labels and Establishments did not see the emergence of DIGTAL ELEMENTS IT IS UNFORTUNATE THEY DID ALLY WITH THE TREND OF THE FUTURE.
    ONCE THE INTERNET STARTED TO HAVE A MASS APPEAL WITH THE THE INITIAL CONNECTIONS AVAILABLE IN LIBRARIES COMMUNITY AND SCHOOL CENTRES
    I TUNES MP3 MYSPACE AND THE AMAZING LEANING OF THE HARDWARE OF THE CELL PHONE COMMERCIAL BUSINESS HAD MET ITS DOOM THUS LOSING ITS OLD EDGE OF STYLE.
    THE MAJOR LABELS ARE STILL VERY IMPORTANT FOR THEY HAVE EXPERIENCE IN THE MUSIC BIZ.
    SO EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE OLD ROLE IS UNDERMINED.
    THE OLD MAJORS CAN STILL MOVE ARTISTS BECAUSE OF THEIR CONNECTIONS WITH RADIO AND TELEVISION WHICH MOVED MUSIC THROUGH RECORDINGS AND MUSIC VIDEOS.
    THEY MUST FIND THE FORMULA TO REGAIN THEIR OLD POSITION OF IMPORTANCE.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com James Bedu Graham

    I AGREE TOTALLY WITH THE ISSUES ABOVE.
    THE WEB HAS CHANGED THE MUSIC FOREST OF FORTIFIED MUSIC LABELS.THERE ARE NOW A FEW TREES LEFT.
    DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION IS THE ANSWER.THERE IS NO WAY TO CHANGE THE CLOCK OF PROGRESS AND TECHNOLOGY.
    EVERY DECADE PUTS US TO THE ADVENT OF GREAT FORTUNE AND ISSUES.

  • http://www.computermusicproduction.com Computer Music Production

    Well of course it’s not about quantity. I never said it was. But I don’t need “gatekeepers” to tell me what is quality or talent. If your music is shit, no one will like it and no one will listen and it falls to the bottom of the heap. Simple survival of the fittest. If you DO have the skills and talent to produce something that appeals to some niche, then you’re no longer beholden to some small group of “gatekeepers” who can decide what is quality and what is talent.

  • http://chrisruen.com Chris Ruen

    So, the hero in this epic tale is… you?
    I appreciate (and agree with) much of what you say here Jeff, but this strikes me as a rather transparent attempt to set yourself up as the only true friend of the DIY artist and transform that good favor into new Tunecore accounts. Yes, the labels are trying to make money off artists. So are you. You stand to benefit from building the myth that an affordable distro deal is all that stands in the way between a bedroom artist and their sustainable career. It’s easy to beat up on labels after the past decade and they deserve it to some degree. But let’s not pretend that the promotional and creative support that labels provide is any less important now than it was a few years ago. They provide real service, though that service is obviously evolving from what it was in 1998. Labels contribute as much or more than anyone to the musical landscape and require money to do so, so be careful whom you demonize if you consider yourself a music lover. Would you have ever found that English Beat album (which I also love) if they were a DIY Tunecore artist, one of thousands or tens of thousands? Without gatekeepers, we have little chance to sift out the good from the not as good. I know that isn’t what people want to hear, but it’s an obvious truth. The goal shouldn’t be to get rid of all gatekeepers, but to support better ones. Ultimately, you do that with your dollar.
    Your incentive is to get new accounts, correct? Not to profit from the sale itself (artist gets 100 percent royalty). In other words, you very much have a vested interest in quantity over quality. Whether the more talented and creative artists among us have an actual shot at building a career (and having the resources to share their talent) is inconsequential to your model. I’m sure I’m oversimplifying, but this analysis seems basically true in the context of your post. I admire you for what you’ve built with Tunecore and it is certainly a great opportunity for artists with few resources. I wish you and the artists that use your service the greatest success. I’m sure you could spit back a few remarkable success stories, too. But let’s try to keep things in perspective. I think you’re knowingly selling some false hope here, better known as snake oil.

  • http://myspace.com/jenniferandbill BBBBill

    Wow! I didn’t even know this was happening. I’m a crap artist myself and Tunecore customer. Fight the power!
    Love.
    BTW, there just isn’t enough label music worth buying. Layering and compression doesn’t make good music, it just makes mediocre music sound slick. Lots of things are slick and they are not all good if you know what I mean.
    Oh well, “Everybody love everybody”…go Tropics!

  • http://www.youtube.com/djschoolcraftmusic Schoolcraft

    Lesser-known artists hurt the artists who are more popular? REALLY?
    Jason DeRulo sampled “Hide And Seek” by Imogen Heap in his track “Whatcha Say”.
    Pitbull sampled “75 Brazil Street” by Nicola Fasano in his track “Calle Ocho/I Know You Want Me”.
    Pitbull sampled “Push The Feeling On” by The Nightcrawlers in his track “Hotel Room Service”.
    Pitbull sampled “Cream” by Fredrico Franchi in his track “Krazy”.
    Ke$ha’s entire sound comes from an artist named Uffie; an example of how badly Uffie has been ripped off can be heard in Justice ft. Uffie – “The Party”.
    Kanye West sampled “Avril 14th” by Aphex Twin in his track “Blame Game”.
    Kanye West sampled “Woods” by Bon Iver in his track “Lost In The World”.
    Kanye West sampled “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn & John in his track creatively named “Young Folks”.
    Coldplay sampled “Computer Love” by Kraftwerk in their track “Talk”.
    Owl City’s sound is very strongly based off of the sound of The Postal Service and Boards Of Canada.
    The Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Kesha, Katy Perry, and other artists who make what many would define as “techno” music (the actual term is house) have designed the sound of their beats after the sound of modern house music, which for a very long time was very underground and unknown. Artists who design this type of music include Wolfgang Gartner, Jack Beats, Boys Noize, and Adam K & Soha.
    How can major labels say that less well-known artists are ruining music if their music is, nowadays, very much based off of the same artists they critisize?

  • http://www.youtube.com/djschoolcraftmusic Schoolcraft

    Agreed with what you said about remixing- I made a remix of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” recently, and put it up on Soundcloud, and posted a novel saying that I didn’t own any of the rights to the song or anything, and EMI owns the rights. It was just a bootleg remix created by a Katy Perry fan. I offered free downloads. However, it was taken off and my Soundcloud account was suspended. Is there something wrong with being musically inspired by another song and expressing myself through it? Has EMI forgotten what music is in the first place?

  • Bmaniphesto

    I don’t know much about the “business” side of the industry, but I do know about the music side. As a Tunecore in the Digital age, like I assume many of you are commenting here, I have found so many vast opportunities via the internet and music sites to get my music out there, and while sales of my first album have yet to do anything special, who cares! I can say that I created the music myself, have met alot of cool people because of it, and if the industry wants to keep us out of the party, then we sneak in through our own terms! Our music will take off if is destined too, and like anything else it requires hard work, love of the craft and of course fans who love our art, but just to say we have created something meaningful and have the means to do the releasing of our songs via Tunecore speaks volumes in itself. Good luck this year to all the artists, and lets make 2011 the year that the unknowns make their voices heard!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/maritamburo Mari Tamburo

    True, the majority of the current music market is flooded with product, some good and some not so good – from mainstream AND independents. But people will buy what they want, for whatever reasons they want. That is not news.
    What is saddest to me is, instead of investing in cultivating music talent, the majority of the “industry” is investing in “branding” well known artists/ pretty faces on products that will only clutter our homes and end up in landfills – all to feed their money marketing machine. As a result, those at the “top” stay there, and many artists who are not “sanctioned” by the majors struggle to build their audiences. There IS good music out there. How to find it is the current challenge. It is OUR task as listeners and lovers of music, to discover music that moves us, spread the word about and support these artists directly. (That is, if we want them to continue to make music.)
    There are many artists, both independent and signed to major labels, who would say that the music “industry” has, for many years, been the enemy – concerned with money or image more than music, squelching the creative vision of the artist, etc.
    As an independent artist, I welcome and embrace the changes that allow me to connect directly with the people who want to support my own musical efforts ( especially given that, for years I’ve been told “You’re a great singer, but you aren’t commercial enough” “you’re too old” “not tall enough” etc., to “make it.” http://marimack.bandcamp.com )
    That said, it saddens me to witness the demise of some aspects of the traditional “old school” music industry model – such as our historic recording studios. Those of us who were around in the “old days,” fortunate enough to experience making music in real time, in a professional recording studio setting, appreciate the value of high quality recording – what it adds to the musical experience – for the creator AND the listener.
    Mari
    http://www.plantstudios.org

  • Luc Thibodeau

    Very interesting article, about evolution of the music industry. And i like what .M.Jeff is saying here. How can someone or they say that the artist they’re there own enemy.I don’t know much about it and I’m not a known artist, but I ‘dd like to comment on this article. I do write songs and interpret them myself. I do invest fair amount of money to get my music recorded with real musiciens and sometimes electronics as well, with the best recording studio there is here. And I wanted to distribute it to the Christian community, since I write mostly Christian songs. And the best way to do it was to registered myself with tunecore. Instead of making my own cd’s which I used to do which is time consuming and prety expensives after a while. So yes I do see this way of distribution very useful. I will not be a millionaire with my own songs and it is not my expectation out of it goal. But when somebody liked my song and ask me, if I made an album it is much easier to tell that person to go on Itunes or any other distributor to go and pay .99 cents and enjoy the tune. So yes for a crap artist, I like this way of being known even though i wont make it big. Thank you.
    Luc

  • Martin Bladon (MPB)

    How arrogant the old school industry still is, I do not believe that the masses want the few to tell them what to listen to anymore. Sure there is almost endless choice now. All that means is that every single human being in this world now has access to the type of music THEY want to listen to, every single musician, no matter who they are, gets a voice and a way of bringing their music to the world. I love and embrace the new world because now every form of music can be heard, not just the music a handful of executives in a board room decide what is heard. Bravo change, Bravo fans, Bravo musicians.

  • poochtee

    So the fact is that everything has changed and nothing has changed. Regional band live music is no longer supported by The Youngers as it is all available for downloads or cheaper to use DeeJays with a laptop full-o-tunes. This detracts from where any real artist should be honing thier chops: In front of warm bodies not by displaying prowess with technology. Those that do support the regional live music tend to be The Oldster’s who seem to never cease enjoying the hackneyed 70’s and 80’s AOR music that would keep any sane youth from attending.
    There needn’t be a winner or looser. Artists didn’t always become wealthy from recording. Check out The Rolling Stone’s royalties from the late ’60’s-early ’70’s when they made most of thier best music. Yes, somebody was making plenty of money but it wasn’t the Stones. They earned it from needing to continue to impress concert attendees that they were “The Greatest R & R group in the World”. Genuine hard work. And concerts that had not become ridiculosly over-produced extravaganzas with dancers, manipulated vocals and multi-faceted video monitors.
    In the mean time what’s changed about the actual quality of the music? (No, not the production skill but the originality, writing skills and craftsmanship of the tune). For the most part, it has only become worse.
    You are all being sold out by the “Industry” only because nothing has changed and it is accepted. We somehow continue to listen to the same music as our parents and continously believe that it was discovered by only us. We style like we are told, we rebel in the most typical of fashions just as expected and have a smaller selection of drugs to chose from (but way more blue jeans!)to show off our originality.
    Somebody has a finger on the button but it is not the RIAA or even The Republicans. It is our willingness to keep re-living the childhood of our parents all the while proving our differences by making shoes, blue jeans, pop, alt, indie music (or pick any other “hip” industry capitalizing where best interest lies in slightly tweaking the Status Quo).
    Who says anybody’s supposed to get rich with recorder music? There’s hardly been anything NEW in 40 years. And if the next generation can somehow be as clever a group of marketers as the last few, things will stay that way way with the exception of technology which has always made things change whether we like it or not.

  • Carissa

    That’s what happens, you don’t let people in…they make their own way ; ) Kudos tunecore!

  • http://myspace.com/yngve Simon

    Sorry
    but if you are an artist and you have time to talk about the decline of the music industry and labels and stuff… then you aren’t working hard enough. If you don’t work and gig and gig and gig and rehearse and rehearse and rehearse and write and write and write and keep on keeping on again and again and again you are never going to build enough of a following to reach critical mass and become self-sustaining. Never mind the music industry. Your industry is what is going to make you happen or not.
    And if you are in the music industry, lamenting the decline going on around you then you aren’t working hard enough for your artists. How dare you take the money for their hard work and not put back at least the same in sweat equity. You were entrusted with the golden grail of artistry and have sacrificed it to the gods of X-Factor and American Idol. By all means blame every man and his dog for your failings but remember – a good detective always spots that the same individual was at the scene of the crime and soon puts 2 and 2 together. If the industry is crumbling and you are in the industry then it’s your responsibility to bring it back to your life.
    As for me? I’m on my day off from gigging and gigging and gigging. If the industry doesn’t “find” me and “break” me I don’t care – long as I get to keep touching people with my music…

  • http://renelabre.com Rene Labre

    The trick to being a successful indie is to make a good living doing what you love to do.My first comment was censored by tunecore because of my reflections on american broadcast radio.That is a closed shop,you need a major label deal to be there.So for one thing let’s stop writing three minute songs and expand our horizons.And if you really want to blow it out you have got to come up with a hit song,then all of the talking stops and the listening begins.That is what showbiz is all about my friends.You have to turn in a good trick that you do not mind doing over and over again for your audience, who are the people that pay your bills.

  • http://myspace.com/meetsevenz Piyush

    Very well said !

  • Len

    The major labels are done.

  • http://www.moozi.cc Power To The Artist!

    The only thing the majors can offer nowadays which most indie artists will struggle with is effective marketing on an international scale. Once some bright spark finds a way to offer that at an affordable price to the masses then the old music industry will be dead in the water.

  • http://www.myspace.com/larsruetschi larsretschi@yahoo.com

    Very nice article !!
    Music is something pure and saint ! The major companies have no limits, are corrupted and sell all the values and artists souls for making more money. i found “jewels” in the internet, people which are pure and innocent and not “used” by the companies and just do their “thing” not coloured or distorted by some producers. Of course there is also crap, but i think the listener is major enough to decide, select and choose on his own, for this we dont need some “majors”. as they dont sell just good music anyway. I want to see lady gaga as a independent in the internet lol. This is crap for me, superficial and manipulating. But the music industry is dieing already anyway :) I saw some indepenmdent artists here in europe who really blow me away..10 times better than many commercial shit…
    Peace, Lars

  • Joe

    What a load of self-obsessed tosh

  • http://profile.typepad.com/rpiatek Richard Piatek

    There are good points in the previous comments on both sides. I have bought records at music stores starting around 1960. Buying records I really enjoy! Some were timeless, some were crap. Over the years I have always filtered what music I would purchase from the major labels.
    To be honest, if i heard an indie tune I liked, I would probably never listen to it again let alone buy it. Simply for the fact that there is so much out there and not enough time to dwell on each good one lest theres a better one out there. Sort of like watching a pretty good vid on youtube. I’ll watch it once. Why waste time watching it again, when I can happen upon a better one.
    If the music industry is worried, then they should find,develop and sign great indie talent and not put so much effort in synthesizing Disney like talent for the masses. (They may be trying to do the latter now, but it’s not as easy as you may think)
    Label artists are a cog in the bigger wheel of artistry and talent. These include sound/recording engineers,producers,etc.
    I think this helps to make some lasting and memorable tunes that I would waste my time listening to again and again.

  • http://www.down2earthband.com mattymarz@mac.com

    I couldn’t agree more bro.
    Keep the faith
    Peace
    Mattymarz

  • http://potterzclay.com Michael Casali

    so THATs it! I am the problem! Oh no!

  • http://www.itunes.com/kathrynkjburnett kathrynkjburnett

    The music on myspace is good. I used to be able to steal a song if I had to learn it for a gig, then they changed the format. Then I found a way to get the songs off of You Tube….and they changed that sharing capability. So now I have to record everything into garage band from You Tube. I FEEL THE INDUSTRY OWES ME SOMETHING. I’m tired of giving all my tracks for samples. The companies have stolen them since the 1990’s. That’s why I steal. All the music is great except for the music I don’t like. If the companies decide to sue me for this message, then I will sue them back. Music attorneys are too expensive if you are the plaintiff. I just have one question….how to write a “good’ song? What defines good? The artistis getting signed make a little echo phrase after each sentence. Is this how I should write my new songs?

  • http://www.itunes.com/cokeyg Cokey G

    Very good!
    http://www.itunes.com/cokeyg
    lets go for 30,000+ downloads this year

  • http://joanpi.virb.com JOANPi

    Everything evolves, at this era year by year it goes and will continue to go faster and faster. Whoever is not open-minded to see the big picture, catch up the new “wave” asks for the difficult way to learn the new method. There are pros and cons that maybe could hurt both the industry and artists at the moment, you need to see what model works fast and keep it, drop, change etc. but The industry must (is?) be happy right now,its profound there is so much “hunger” from people to listen ‘new’ music every second than before. There was, is and always be “room” for music (and money for business side). In the end “crap” and gold are always easy to differ from each another.

  • http://www.jaysmoove.com jay smoove

    Make great music, and then u will get great results… there is no excuses. marketing and promotion is key, stop complaining about sales, communicate with your audience like a human being, not money…keep God 1st. one love

  • http://awakeawake.bandcamp.com Awake! Awake! Band

    Fantastic story! It’ll be hilarious to read in history books in a few years. My band Awake! Awake! made it’s first album in a bedroom. We sold it to our friends and then put it up for free download. It allowed our music to reach a few thousand people. That wouldn’t have happened in the 80’s. The way to win a competition is not to talk trash about other competitors, but to make or do something better than anyone else. Then again artists shouldn’t be competing against each other anyway. Other artists are your partners in crime, not the enemy. Anyway, we’re excited to be small business owners and though we may never make $600,000 a year we’ll know we didn’t have to stab and cheat our way through to keep it going. http://AwakeAwake.bandcamp.com

  • http://profile.typepad.com/loopstreet Loopstreet

    I agree with the article, that the changes in the record industry have been amazing, but as an independent I still don’t make a living from my work because there are still obstacles preventing us from appearing on TV, in major motion pictures, and mainstream radio broadcasts. There is still media control monopoly preventing us from afford-ably prospering.
    I love music, I have a degree in music, I have created and performed all my life, and I am encouraged to keep pursuing all my dreams no matter what!
    Loop Street Music Publishing, Touch Independent Records
    hppt://www.nimbitmusic.com/mbsproductions/

  • http://www.MichaelLeeRocks.com Michael Lee

    Right on, G! That’s exactly the type of music I’m putting out…a bit of a throwback to real Rock, melodic and pure. It’s time to start another Revolution!
    Keep it ROCKIN!

  • http://mariajackson27.blogspot.com/ Maria Jackson

    wow…I enjoyed this read

  • Jason M

    I honestly don’t buy the argument presented in this article about when “the artist” becomes to blame. And I would definitely agree with the poster earlier who mentioned that the heyday of big labels was not the rose-tinted window that it’s being currently perceived as. If anything, the music industry is in retrograde back to the ‘singles’ market of 40 years ago. Downside: harder to make money, especially if you’re lazy or somewhat lacking in talent (or both). Upside: complete artistic control (which works for making money as long as the artist doesn’t suck / is highly motivated…notice a theme here) Also in complete agreement that the work of masterful production is becoming vastly under-appreciated by said independent artists. Although if you look at what is currently selling, it’s still major label-big industry. They ain’t gone, folks…they’re just playing a different game. And yes, they’re learning. You think Bruno Mars is a mistake? You have ANY idea how much $$ Atlantic records put into him this year? Guess how many Grammy nominations that record is up for..?
    just sayin’ :)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/cooldub Cool Dub

    So very Right..I thought this country was free. Artistry
    is freedom….did they tell Picasso not to paint..

  • kitty

    well said, John.
    What they fear is Talent… what they should do instead is to offer the good “new” singers and musicians really great contracts:)))

  • frband@yahoo.com

    Indie music is NOT subpar! There are some absolutely insane artists that blow out of the water everything and anything that has ever been recorded by major labels. History proves over and over again that the music is never judged by the quality of its production. Some of the music I enjoy the most are a poor quality live recordings you never heard of. More choices = more chances of finding something you will really like. Power to the Indies!

  • http://muiscismylife.com One of millions

    A friend of mine is a head shot photographer in NYC,
    and he makes his living off the dreams of others. 99.9%
    of the 1000’s of actors who they shoot, will never become famous
    enough to earn a living from it. Tunecore, a great service(not being sarcastic),
    basically does the same thing. There are thousands, and thousands of want to
    be music artists. Tunecore takes a small amount of money from each, and they make
    a great living from it. A very small % of the artists really make any money(not tunecors fault), and Tunecore’s
    goal is to convince as many “music artists” as possible to put out a single, or MP3 album.
    Tunecore has become the “man”. I think the concept is brilliant. Am I happy Tunecore gave me the opportunity to give them my money to put out my independent CD, yes I am.
    But I also understand who will make the big money. It’s Just in a different way.

  • http://renelabre.com Rene Labre

    It is a time of great panic for some of the old guard of the music industry as well as a time if disillusion for many in the new school.You really have to understand what being a successful indie artist is.If you think it is being a major star you are wrong about that.That is a mastery of a whole different game.A game of tremendous highs and lows.Gravity is a cruel mistress and whatever goes up has got to come down.The wonderful press that built you up is now poised to tear you down.You were great copy when you were rising and now you are great copy as you are falling.A successful indie artist is one making a sustainable living doing what one loves to do.And it requires more work and dedication than you ever dreamed of.You have got to want to succeed.The situation of an indie out of the blue selling 250,000 copies of a song (and I congratulate you) and then the RIAA going “oh that is just crap,they are an invalid and underdeveloped artist-sub-prime,” so then why did 250,000 people download and purchase the song? You cannot argue with success.renelabre.com

  • jaysunstar

    I understand your point. But Luanne has a good point too. I have been to sound engineering school and I have spent many years studying the art of producing and recording music. I could never get my music to sound on record the way I heard it in my head. The fact is, unless I learn from a person that knows the science of tracking, producing, mixing and mastering, my music will always fall short of the vision I have for it. As a result, I have concluded that I must get an internship to study under the great producers of our time by landing an internship in a one of the few remaining live studios.
    This is a conclusion that has come out of years of frustration as a self-produced artist. So to say that Indie music is NOT subpar is a bit dismissive. I have been one of those Indie artists that is tired of making what I feel are ‘subpar’ recordings and I have chosen to learn from the great producers this ‘black art’ of recording music.
    And contrary to what you believe, most of my favorite bands happened to be either produced or mixed by the top ten int the industry. It took me a few years to recognize that the REAL talent these days lies in the hands of the people behind the glass and less and less on the artist themselves.
    And when you DO meet a genuinely great artist, they rarely have the intense technical skill to understand how to properly capture the emotion on tape. It takes a lifetime to master the art of recording and it is just as must a talent as the toe songwriting and performance. Please don’t underplay the value of a great producer or sound engineer.
    All the best records ever recorded came from a team of extremely talented people. The team is often comprised of individuals that at one point or another, worked under the major labels and have a deep understanding of how to make good music. They may have gone Indie later on out of frustration, but you don’t get to that level of expertise on your own.
    You have to learn from the masters first. Just like kung fu.

  • Quentin

    Power to the artist

  • http://profile.typepad.com/keithmakesmusic Keithmakesmusic

    Many posts exist on this page. I read as many as I could, then had to stop. I only have so much time to spend on reading opinions, and at a certain point become numb to the repetition and poor grammar. Is the din of the internet music marketplace any different? Not really.

  • http://www.renelabre.com Rene Labre

    Let all indies consider this,the postion of the RIAA and how THEY feel about it,and why they do.Their view of a serious recording artist is somebody like Neil Diamond.An artist fully developed and producable.A major session with the cream of the crop studio muscians performing.The highest level of producer,enginer and production facility.And that artist is one who is knowing they are going to foot the bill for everything before they ever see even one penny that is theirs.Down to the potato chips the band was eating which is charged back to you at 25 bucks a bag.They are going to defend these artists as they well should.As they would have an obligation to I would think.And you,Mr.Freddy Nobody has recorded a song at your home studio that has become a viral hit on the net.Freddy’s agent is now William Morris.And so Freddy quit his day job.

  • jos

    that aint the whole truth, like all the artist he mentioned, don’t have a real say, it’s who owns them thats complaining, because they not getting all the money, from the robots they created, to love who they put out there anymore. plus now these 4 major labells, have to pay out to the inderpendant artist royalties.They part own these companies especially the ones he mentioned, prs so on, so on, so of course they going to complain in the past all the money was theres and when it comes to stealing tracks there the worst all they do is recycle songs, past hits every major artist under there labels, hip hop, to pop, and rock has gone over stolen songs, check it out for yourself. And back in the old days recording was not that great too i have live recordings its the message behide what that narrator is trying to say that’s important most have lost touch with that side of the music IAM A INDERPENDANT ARTIST PROUD AND I WILL CARRY ON NAP.T
    THE MOVEMENT PURSUERS

  • http://www.tatoetryinc.webs.com Tim Moore

    I totally agree with you – rock and roll shifted into country music about the middle of the rap/crap advertise myself reign. I have really been noticing this scourge. It’s a shame. But it’s not just going to go away – it will evolve and change into something even more perverse. This is why the independent artist should keep going – to create new genres and continue in pushing the boundaries of the common folk idea of creativity. It is limitless, study its structure, then build your own. It is the intelligent thing to do.
    I also agree on the point that quality suffers – whether in the performance, recording, mixing, or mastering stage; I’ve released a few with warts, nothing is ever going to be perfect from a single person team.
    I’ve gone on to long.

  • http://www.tatoetryinc.webs.com Tim Moore

    WOW. I really understand your frustration and disappointment with trying to get your recordings to sound like what you hear. I can settle for something near most of the time because it will jog my memory. I would really like to try to help you resolve this without having to go and get your lips all brown. Shoot me an email. trecords0@yahoo.com

  • http://www.tatoetryinc.webs.com Tim Moore

    Yeah, but your fans are not gold, they are your family. I think this may be another subject all together – Fan Treatment or something, but if someone loves your music so much that they are willing to give you an hour or two of their earnings for it: that’s priceless. They should be treated like family. If I choose to brighten someones day with an understanding that someone else may feel the same way, then why call them nothing less than family?

  • http://www.tatoetryinc.webs.com Tim Moore

    Rush is a perfect example. I adore how you revealed so much information in so few words. Peart would be proud.
    But yeah – Make a few records with the big boys, learn their techniques, and start your own SRO label.

  • http://www.tatoetryinc.webs.com Tim Moore

    In my utopia I don’t belong to the major labels or the indie labels. I belong to myself. I create what I like to listen to and if someone else likes it, then so be it. I have created my own genres in music and in writing. I have self published 9 books and 6 albums. All have imperfections and add to their personalities.
    What gets me is that the big acts don’t capitalize on all they can. Just for starters they could market loop cds of individual tracks (CLEAN and DRY).
    There’s all kinds of ways to do the same thing.
    I’ve just spent a good two hours reading only these comments and then I thought: How many people outside of this insulated forum are actually think about this topic? Exactly.
    It’s so easy to get sucked into thinking something is important when it really isn’t in the larger picture. Just keep doing what you’re doing; I’m going to. By the way: I hold all copyrights to my material. No one else does, so if I make a boneheaded decision it’s all on me. I’m comfortable with that.
    Another point: sometimes I have to compromise. This is not a bad thing. You don’t have to use this tool all of the time to the point that you give up. I don’t like the fact that I have to settle for my material to be sold through Amazon instead of it being in all of the Wal-Marts in the world. I would love to have that chance just to see what I could accomplish with that opportunity, but who wouldn’t.
    Tim Moore.

  • http://keyinfoblog.wordpress.com Key

    Very nice and interesting article, I wonder what will happen next to the music industry.

  • ls

    good article. and yep, thats the way it is these days. we just gotta exceopt it, cause if you dont, your gonna lose it!!

  • http://reverbnation.com/aquablauw Harry Broker

    Yep, how about us starting our own record label? Thanks to worldwide digital distribution, through TuneCore! Being my own A&R Executive and owner of CrystalClearRecords, signed on my first alternative rock band out of the Republic of China. http://myspace.com/harrybroker.

    • music guy

      Boy I hope you sure know what your doing, because a Lot of independent labels aren’t doing to well. It’s hard to sell music that no one will buy, they all want it for free, unless you are willing to cater to the age group of 14 to 25. Can you afford a lot of advertising on TV or maybe on city buses, etc. is it going to be good quality recorded music with a real professionally designed cover? Can you produce enough Cd’s to cover orders? It’s one thing to talk big and another to fill the order Mr A&R executive! I’m betting you are all talk! The main thing to keep in mind is that you are fighting the free music mentality and the fact that the age group that you will be catering to buys very little music if any!

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  • music guy

    A fair article, but a bit overboard. yes anyone has an allergic reaction to something that gives them a run for there money, but i think it comes down to dollars an sense. labels have always had the professional ability to know whose music is worthy for distribution and whose music is not. What it comes down to, for me that is, is the fact that any amateur band or musician can put there music up on the internet. This was not the case before the internet! You had to prove that you had what it takes before the labels would even touch you and that kept the music pure. If you had what it took to be on a label, good musicianship and good song writing skills, then most likely they would sign you up! They are music professionals you know, otherwise we would not be still hearing the great sounds that there artists put out on the radio, these day’s, now would we! it’s kind of hard to promote great deserving artists when the labels have to compete with people fishing through poorly recorded music that clutters the internet. It’s definitely a fact that most musicians do not have the slightest clue as how to promote there music. labels do though and they know exactly how to mold artists into something that’s going to not only benefit the labels, but the artists to. that’s why old artists are still producing great sounds on there own these day’s. what i think the labels were mainly concerned about, was the stealing or pirating of there music on this new fangled thing called the internet. $2.4 billion dollars were lost because of stealing on the internet and a he(* of a lot of jobs were lost, but of course that;s of no concern to you, right, because I noticed that you never addressed that in your blowing off steam comment! You wanna know why labels don’t distribute the type of music that most artists produce, it’s because about 85% of music sale come from the age bracket of 14 to 25! Back in the early day’s the same pretty much applied, but the maturity was different and the artists them had to produce good quality music, the situation was much different. trust me, if there were a market for a lot of the quality music that is produced now day’s by artists, the labels would jump on that. Labels are businesses and there bread and butter is selling music and that’s what it really amounts to. As far as the internet goes, in my opinion every artist producing music out there is pretty much screwed if they think that they are going to make any money off there music, because the mentality since the internets beginning has been “Free music we want” What’s going to happen is, those artists like myself are going to stop producing music and then where will all the music mooches be then? i hear and read it all the time. I don’t plan on producing any more Cd’s because I’m not making any money, you know, the thing that everyone needs! Yes we deserve to be paid for the hard work of producing music that to many seem to think is no problem. I suggest that they try it themselves and get there eyes opened for once!