The Intern, The Artist & The Internet

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By Jeff Price

There was recently a blog posting by an NPR intern stating  that she does not buy music.

What I want is one massive Spotify-like catalog of music that will sync to my phone and various home entertainment devices. With this new universal database, everyone would have convenient access to everything that has ever been recorded, and performance royalties would be distributed based on play counts (hopefully with more money going back to the artist than the present model). All I require is the ability to listen to what I want, when I want and how I want it. Is that too much to ask?”

In other words, she loves music but values the convenience of having access to it more than the music itself.

This in turn caused David Lowery, founder of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, to respond, suggesting the intern had lost her moral compass and did not properly understand the value of music nor properly support the artists that made it:

“Ultimately there are three “inconvenient” things that MUST happen for any legal service:

1.Create an account and provide a payment method (once)

2.Enter your password.

3. Pay for music

So what you are really saying is that you won’t do these three things. This is too inconvenient.  And I would guess that the most inconvenient part is….step 3.

That’s fine. But then you must live with the moral and ethical choice that you are making to not pay artists. And artists won’t be paid. And it won’t be the fault of some far away evil corporation. You “and your peers” ultimately bear this responsibility.”

This back and forth took off on the net with thousands of comments across a multitude of sites, a NY Times on-line article and discussion in the Bob Lefsetz newsletter,  some taking the side of the intern, others taking the side of David Lowery.

I agree with both the intern and David.

First the intern.

Whether artists or labels like it or not, the industry has to cater to the whims of the consumer. If consumers don’t like how they have to get music, they aren’t going to get it.  For the music consumer, at a certain point, convenience trumps the value of art. As an example, look at what happened to cassette sales when Sony introduced the Walkman.  This low sound quality piece of tape, with tiny album cover art and limited liner notes, went from 4% of the market to over 45% of recorded music sales within 18 months, because music consumers liked the convenience and features (in this case a hardware device that made music portable) more than sound quality and big album cover art.

Fortunately, this dovetailed perfectly into the existing music industry so they could monetize it the same way they monetized vinyl, and in the future, CD sales—physical things being sold on physical shelves.

This major music industry control of the distribution pipeline broke down with the advent of the Net and digital music, however, the fact that the industry must provide music to the masses via the delivery vehicle the masses prefer remains true. Want more proof?  Go buy a mini disc.

Now onto David Lowery.

I completely agree with David Lowery as well.  Artists should be properly compensated for the value of what they create.   What is “proper” is the debate and where the tension lies.

However, my issue with David’s article is not his overriding message (artists should be paid), it’s that he uses factually incorrect statements in his article that ultimately work to discredit the true overall point.  He also suggests that the traditional industry was better for artists than the new industry.

Well here’s some truth about the old industry that David somehow misses.

Previously, artists were not rolling in money. Most were not allowed into the system by the gatekeepers. Of those that were allowed on the major labels, over 98% of them failed. Yes, 98%
.

Of the 2% that succeeded, less than a half percent of those ever got paid a band royalty from the sale of recorded music.

How in the world is an artist making at least something, no matter how small, worse than 99% of the worlds’ unsigned artists making nothing and of the 1% signed, less than a half a percent of them ever making a single band royalty ever?

Finally, as much as I hate to say it, being an artist does not entitle the artist to get money. They have to earn it. And not everyone can.

Here are some specifics from David’s posting where he just gets it wrong.

David states:

“But most record contracts specify royalties and advances to artists. Advances are important to understand-a prepayment of unearned royalties. Not a debt, more like a bet. The artist only has to “repay” (or “recoup”) the advance from record sales. If there are no or insufficient record sales, the advance is written off by the record company. So it’s false to say that record companies don’t pay artists. Most of the time they not only pay artists, but they make bets on artists.  And it should go without saying that the bets will get smaller and fewer the more unrecouped advances are paid by labels.”

This is not correct.  Advances are paid to artists.  The artist uses the advance to record the masters and then assigns ownership or control to the label.  The artist does not “own” the thing he/she created.  If they do recoup, they still do not own the masters.

In addition, the majority of the advance goes into recordings, not into the artists’ pockets (with rare, rare exception).  Managers, and in some cases, lawyers, also take a % of the advance as a “fee.”

Now add to this that labels include marketing, video and tour expenses as part of an advance that needs to be recouped.

Now add to this the dubious accounting…

David States:

“Secondly, by law the record label must pay songwriters (who may also be artists) something called a “mechanical royalty” for sales of CDs or downloads of the song. This is paid regardless of whether a record is recouped or not. The rate is predetermined, and the license is compulsory.“

Not completely true.  First of all, there is a provision in record label agreements that allows mechanicals not to be paid on free goods and promotional copies.

Second, there is a reduced rate and a song cap in the agreements.

Third, many times there are multiple songwriters on one song, meaning the royalty he is describing gets split between multiple people.

Finally, there is an assumption that these royalties are actually being paid in a timely and accurate fashion (they are not).

David States:

“Also, you must consider the fact that the vast majority of artists are releasing albums independently and there is not a “real” record company.”

Someone better tell The Civil Wars that they are not a “real” record company, even with over 3 million units sold.

David States:

“The idea was the artists would make up the loss through recorded music sales.”

This line is just flat out false.  In the words of Monty Python, “it’s a dead parrot.” It was the exact opposite. Artists did not expect to make money off of the sales of their recording but via all the other income streams (gigs, merch, endorsements, etc.).

David States:

“Over the last 12 years I’ve watched revenue flowing to artists collapse.”

This is empirically false. Revenue to labels has collapsed.  Revenue to artists has gone up with more artists making more money now than at any time in history, off of the sale of pre-recorded music.

Taken a step further, a $17.98 list price CD earned a band $1.40 as a band royalty that they only got if they were recouped (over 99% of bands never recouped).

If an artist sells just two songs for $0.99 on iTunes via TuneCore, they gross $1.40.

If they sell an album for $9.99 on iTunes via TuneCore, they gross $7.00.

This is an INCREASE of over 700% in revenue to artists for recorded music sales.

David States:

“Recorded music revenue is down 64% since 1999.”

And volume is up over 10,000%

“Per capita spending on music is 47% lower than it was in 1973!!”

Yes, this appears to be true. In 1973,VCRs, DVDs and video games weren’t competing for the same dollars (remember the RIAA campaign in the 80s – ‘Music More Value For Your Money?’).

David States:

“Of the 75,000 albums released in 2010 only 2,000 sold more than 5,000 copies.”

This statistic reveals that people shifted how they consume and buy music from albums to singles (or streams). People don’t buy 8-tracks anymore, either.

David States:

“Without going into details, 10,000 albums is about the point where independent artists begin to go into the black on professional album production, marketing and promotion.”

Not true.

David States:

“And believe it or not this is where the problem with Spotify starts. The internet is full of stories from artists detailing just how little they receive from Spotify.”

Let’s go back to the heyday David is talking about. How many of those artists would have made anything?

None…

I could keep going, but it’s enough.

I agree with the point that music has value, but David needs the right ammo to fight the battle.

Critics of David’s overall point that artists should be properly compensated are able to pick apart his supporting underlying incorrect points to create a smokescreen that causes most to bypass the issue of  an artist’s compensation.

This got George Howard and me thinking about comparing how it used to be for artists with how it is today.

Take a look, let us know your thoughts.  Which is better? Or does it net out to the same with some of the levers changing?

  • pc

    One additional inconvenience of purchasing music on a phone is the limited storage capacity of a phone.  I listen to many more albums on Spotify than could possibly be stored on my phone.  Of course, I could go back to my computer every time I want to update which subset of all my songs are on my phone at any one time, but this is still far less convenient than being able to do everything from the app on the phone.

    Perhaps the NPR intern – or at least some of the people like her – would buy more music if there was a purchase-based app rather than a streaming-based app that added similar functionality.  Or is there already one that I don’t know about?

    • andymotion

      It’s called iTunes Match. It matches your songs with the ones they have one their servers, and then uploads the ones they don’t have to your locker (iCloud). You can stream, or download your songs from any of of your devices (iPad, iPhone, etc…) Google offers a similar service for Android phones, and Amazon offers one too.

      • pc

        Touche.  Okay, let’s try to get the NPR intern to use iTunes Match.

      • tunecore
        • Laurence Coward

          Dear Manager,I read the above article with a bit of concern about my situation with Tune core. I am yet to receive any money from you Company or inderect.sales from you. Can you tell me why??? Please..
          Laurence.Coward.

          • tunecore

            @Lawrence

            make sure to contact artist support with any concerns! Its our job to make certain the stores pay you the money you are owed for the sale of your music http://help.tunecore.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/72//session/L3RpbWUvMTM0MDMyMjI0NC9zaWQvb2sxT09mX2s%3D
            jeff

          • Hermajesty1

            What Jeff fails to tell you is that he is the one most likely to lose out financially if the current paradigm shifts towards a more equitable one in which artists can make more money than they do now (.01 cents per play on Spotify). Instead, he is busy writing lengthy responses debating minutae that are utterly meaningless in the scheme of the current model. Jeff charges $50 a year to keep your CD on those stores. CD Baby? One time fee. Think about that.

          • tunecore

            Hermajesty hit the nail on the head

            TuneCore charges a flat one time annual fee of $50 for distribution. No hooks, no hidden clauses. for the first time an artist knows EXACTLY what it costs for distirbution
            CD Baby on the other hand, charges an up front fee and then takes 9% of your sales money
            So tell me hermajesty – how much will you be paying CD Baby this year? You have no idea
            And god forbid you have a hit, 9% of every single digital sale goes to CD Baby
            you gig, someone buys your music on-line, you just paid CD Baby 9% of the money
            Seems to me, you’re working for them.

            Jeff

          • Hermajesty1

            Jeff, I can assure you that I do not work for CD BABY or any of the other current gate keepers. I am a recording artist who is amazed by the amount of energy you spend supporting the current model, posing as a good guy who has the backs of artists unlike those other bad boys at the big labels, you know those guys who pilfered and raped artists not so long ago. BTW, didn’t you used to work for the labels?  

            Look you know you are a business man trying to maximize your profit and hang on to what you’ve been able to establish for yourself by getting into the internet distribution business at the ground up.
            I don’t begrudge your success, but I do take exception at how hard you work to convince others that you are the single voice of reason, the artist guardian.  

            You have a lot riding on the system now, and it is your job to make sure that things do not change or shift back tot the old model. 

            Wish you much success and keep it real, don’t be a scammer.

          • tunecore

            @hermjesty

            I believe all artists should have access to distribution, not just a select few
            Further, I believe all artists should be able to keep all their copyrights and not have to give up revenue from the sale of their music for distribution. So I did something about it and started TuneCore. I created a choiche and a new model for artists.
            It appears, you believe artists should have to give up rights and revenue each time their music sells – the old model.
            If you want to use another service that has charges you an unlimited amount of money each time and each every time your music sells AND charges you an additional up-front fee that’s your choiche and right.
            However, I disagree with a model that does that to artists. I find it ethically wrong.
            I dont believe revenue from the sale of music should be taken from the artist as the price to get their music on iTunes
            If you decide that keeping your rights and getting all the money from the sale of you music for a flat annual fee is the right model for you, it would be a pleasure to serve you.
            Finally, you might find it hard to believe, but not everyone is out to screw an artist. I do what I do as I believe in it. I wanted to change the world for artists, make it better for them or, at the very least provide choiche.
            Certainly you could not be against providing artists options and choiches….
            Jeff

          • Hermajesty1

            No Jeff, I am not against artists having a choice. Choice is good as long as it is not a choice between Scylla and Charybdis. Both were not so good to poor Odysseus and neither are the choices that artists have now and take umbrage with the false dichotomy that you present. 

            The old days were bad and the new days are good. That is BS. Record companies screwed artists back then, the current model screws artists now. Period. Gate keepers made money then and they make money now.So be honest, your readership is not stupid. I doubt whether you would invest so much energy into batting for the new system if you did not have a lot riding on it (empathy and kindness won’t pay your bills or do you know something that I don’t?)The current system works well for you, wish I could say the same for the majority of artists who have made you a rich man.

          • tunecore

            @hermajesty1

            if you dont like the TuneCore model of allowing artists to keep their rights and get all the money from the sale of their music then dont use TuneCore
            you have every right to choose to give another company an unlimited amount of money each time your music sells and pay them an additional up front fee. Any artist that says you dont have that choiche is wrong
            Surely you are not going to jam your opinion down every other artists throats and tell them they cannot choose a different option?
            No one ever said the new days are good – what was said is the new days are better than the old days. If things improved by 1 millimeter its an improvement.
            I do want to point out, there is no gun at your head. You dont need to use our service. You can absolutely choose not to release your music and try to get signed to a label, give up rights, revenue etc. Whatever best works for you.
            The old system is still there if you want it.

            For me, its very simple – all artists should have access to distribution, get to keep their copyrights and get all the money from the sale of their music for a simple flat fee
            They know all their costs up front, there are no hooks and no surprises.
            how much did it cost? $49.99

            If its a fit, we are here to serve. if not, we will be here in the event you choose to use us
            jeff

          • Hermajesty1

            I am not shoving my opinion down other artists’ throats. I am pointing out that you are not the selfless, artist champion that you are trying to make yourself out to be. Nowhere in my posts have I suggested that the old model is better. I think your model is terrible as was the old model. Again, you point fingers that others distort facts but so do you. 

            If you really cared about artists, and perhaps you do, you would find some way to make sure that artists could make more money, which regardless of what you say here is simply not true.

            if you were a kind person, someone who cared about the community that has made you a lot of money, you could perhaps contribute to artists’ health insuranceor form a committee to assist artists in their struggle with substance misuse issues

            That would be noble and worthwhile, otherwiseyou sir are reflectiveof what was wrong with the industry then and what is wrong with the industry now.

          • Grcelectric

            One question jeff, and I would like you o answer this professionally, something I think you have forgotten during this thread. Of those statistics you showed us which I would add up to being about half a million in sales, how much did Tunecore make that month. 250,000 artists averaging 3 releases each is around 750k. Times that by 50 dollars is 37.5 million. Divide that by 12 and you have over 3 million in revenue per month. And that takes out all of your tie ins and up sells of other services, or the interest on artist earnings you make by keeping it in the bank for 60 days.
            You have been called out in this argument as all of us, as customers are sick of hearing you take credit for everything good in the music industry. You had no idea who Alex day was until he made the news. You earn a LOT of money from putting people on iTunes and you keep raising and raising prices. You are a multi millionaire earning from artists

          • tunecore

            Well of course we make money. We are a business. We sell a service for a fee. We had an idea to make things better for artists and rather than just complain about things on blogs, we did something about it.
            If artists dont like the service, they wont buy it – be it music lessons, a guitar etc.
            Artists buy things and spend money on things they want and need to pursue their craft and passion.
            In the old model, for the few artists let in by gatekeepers, they needed to transfer ownership of their copyrights and make no money from the sale of recorded music.
            Now all artists are let in, they keep their copyrights and they make all the money from the sale of their music.
            If you have a different idea/service, I encourage you to start your own business.
            If you dont want to keep your copyrights, dont want all the money from the sale of your music, dont want all the other money you earn as a songwriter, dont use TuneCore. If you decided at some time in the future this is what you want, we are here to serve you.
            We absolutely are going to take credit for changing the business model of the music industry – before TuneCore launched the option of artists keeping their copyrights and getting 100% of the revenue from the sale of the music did not exist.
            And Im damn proud of it.

            Jeff

          • ztarz7s

            Several observations on your remarks:
            Jeff:”Well of course we make money.”
            Les: Most content aggregators do.
            Jeff:”We sell a service for a fee.”
            Les: So do Artists. It’s called Entertainment, Art, Leisure services, what have you.
            Jeff:” We had an idea to make things better for artists… we did something about it. 
            Les: All you’ve done is offer an alternative business model to CD Baby and now, ASCAP and BMI. The stats show that 98+% of your artists earn nothing. This is, of course, the stats for other aggregators as well.
            Jeff:”In the old model, for the few artists let in by gatekeepers, they needed to transfer ownership of their copyrights and make no money from the sale of recorded music. ”
            Les: Jeff, this is a slight misstatement of the facts from those days. Most Artists took the advances, woke up and wondered why there were no royalties. I, for one, kept almost all my copyrights and seldom took advances from the Majors because I understood their BS game, almost from day one. I came from a business family and my first policy was, neither a borrower nor a lender be. As a result, I fared better in the long run than many of my peers. I also Produced and did countless sessions to supplement income because that’s where the industry was willing to pay on non compulsory services. In this regard, I admit that I’m an exception to the rule. But that doesn’t excuse others for being business careless. Dave Clark, for example, owned everything he did, and his career predated mine.
            Jeff:”Now all artists are let in,”
            Les: Many should not quit their day job although democracy, in this regard has only enabled others to further fragment Artists rights of Copyright.
            Jeff:”they keep their copyrights and they make all the money from the sale of their music.”
            Les: 98+% of artists who keep their copyrights have no value to their catalog. This is not a knock, just a statistical fact.
            Jeff:”If you have a different idea/service, I encourage you to start your own business. ”
            Les: Hey, that’s a good idea. Since the aggregators are making the money and the Artists, by a factor of 98% are not. Hey Artists, why don’t we start an Artist co-operative aggregator service. Everyone shares the costs and the rewards. Of course, this will violate the 80/20 rule of business.
            Jeff:”If you dont want to keep your copyrights, dont want all the money from the sale of your music, dont want all the other money you earn as a songwriter, dont use TuneCore.”
            Les: I do not dispute this as your business model, except you are taking a cut from the publishing program. Which appears to be similar to the CD Baby model you criticize. Your model appears more suitable for folks who move large numbers, rather than the struggling ones. BTW, CD Baby does not take our copyrights either. The fact that you couch the fee as an upfront yearly fee, still means your taking money from the sale. I don’t mind this. I just think we should call it what it is, a business model, and not try to disguise it as some altruistic endeavor, which I don’t believe you believe either.
            Jeff:”before TuneCore launched the option of artists keeping their copyrights and getting 100% of the revenue from the sale of the music did not exist.”
            Les This statement is absolute Bull S**T. I was doing this as far back as 1972. The system made it hard but it was possible. Phil Spector was doing this as far back as 1962. And he made millions this way. You are not the innovator you may claim to be. You are simply an alternative model to other aggregators. So climb down from your perch. If you want to claim this in the digital world, so be it. But that’s not what your claim states. When I start earning from you what I’ve earned from CD Baby, then I’ll get excited about your model. I had one single at CD Baby which has sold over 50,000 copies. But this is due to “brand name recognition”. It never got played on radio. It’s sole advertisement was from the CD Baby page. I never pushed it in social media. I never toured behind it. I never solicited fans. They bought it because of brand name recognition. Which is something that iTunes drives, not TuneCore or CD Baby. This speaks from direct recent, since 2006 experience. In fact, what I notice is that, if the fans recognize the tune, they’ll buy it. Sometimes in several cover versions. If they don’t know it, they’ll stream it, but seldom buy it. And that, my dear Jeff, is what’s going on out there.
            If you saw my stats at CD Baby, you’d see the proof. Of course, now that I’m at TuneCore, I can’t reach a current conclusion, what with all the Sharing going on. 

          • tunecore

            thought you might find this of value as well

            Its an article that recently ran in Forbes magazine on the artist Alex Day
            Is YouTube and Chart Sensation Alex Day the Future of Music?

            When online star Alex Day got his first two music royalty checks for nearly $200k he had a choice to make. Do I follow the path of other self-made stars like Amanda Hocking (self-published books to a major publishing deal) and buy into the system, or do I continue to blaze my own path?
            He chose the latter. He said no to the offer of “a boot on his neck” and decided to go his own way. In this decision, he embodies the musician—the artist—of the future: self-sufficient, self-funded, and self-motivated. And now, with the launch of three new singles, he’s a pioneer of a new style of releasing and distributing music.
            The whole article is here:
            http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanholiday/2012/06/12/is-youtube-and-chart-sensation-alex-day-the-future-of-music
            jeff

  • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

    Jeff – I think you are missing the point, which can best be illustrated with the stats found here: 
    http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/why-arent-more-musicians-working-professionally/

    the fact is, the internet has failed to deliver on it’s promise of building a larger and more diverse professional middle class. I love that anyone can pay you $50 a year and maybe make a few hundred dollars back – that’s why I do it, and why I love TuneCore as a valuable service.

    However, even at that, most musicians using Tunecore are doing so at a net loss when in fact, you just cover the basics of equipment cost and the time for labor to make a recording.

    Furthermore I think you would agree that the Free Culture movement has sold musicians a bill of goods, see here:
    http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/artists-know-thy-enemy/

    Maybe if Spotify paid artist fairly that would be a good start. Maybe if enterprise level companies profiting from the illegal exploitation of artists work had their ads removed they might be inclined to legal license artists works.

    I applaud you for your post on Grooveshark and know you are on the side of the artists, but I also think you need to be honest about what the actual landscape looks like for professional musicians and those who aspire to be.

    Thanks!

    • tunecore

      @zenoscillator

      I have to admit, i get confused by these comments

      The article you link to has incorrect data – its kind of made up, uses incomplete data points and of the data it does mention, it is being used in an odd way. For example, it cites a decrease in album sales as an indicator in the decline in revenue artist make
      Thats simply false. Labels make less, not artists, on pre-recorded music sales for the reason articulated in this blog posting.
      that is, compare today to yesterday

      (to quote myself)

      Previously, artists were not rolling in money. Most were not allowed into the system by the gatekeepers. Of those that were allowed on the major labels, over 98% of them failed. Yes, 98%
.
      Of the 2% that succeeded, less than a half percent of those ever got paid a band royalty from the sale of recorded music.
      How in the world is an artist making at least something, no matter how small, worse than 99% of the worlds’ unsigned artists making nothing and of the 1% signed, less than a half a percent of them ever making a single band royalty ever?
      Finally, as much as I hate to say it, being an artist does not entitle the artist to get money. They have to earn it. And not everyone can.
      Jeff

      • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

        Jeff –

        Let me start by saying (again) I am both a fan and a customer, and love what you do.

        I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree. The data is not incomplete, but you may be misunderstanding it. I understand your business is to sell a service to unsigned artists, which I think is great, and I actually use it! You are using a very narrow band to support your argument, which does not make the information present false – you’re just measuring for a different outcome.

        However, it is painfully clear that there are LESS musicians having sustainable full time professional careers today than during the label era. Sure, a lot of artists are making a few hundred dollars a year who never made any money before – I’ve given you that. But there is still a major failing as there are LESS professional full time musicians. You seem to have some grudge with labels that I don’t understand. I think your energies would be better focused on pirate sites illegally exploiting artists work and literally paying them nothing, ever.

        http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/artists-know-thy-enemy/

        To be clear,  labels do is pay the 98% that fail MORE than what the average TuneCore artist is making according to the stats I’ve read.

        http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2011/111123tunecore
        http://digitalmusicnews.com/stories/042511tunecore

        Artists signed to major labels (hell, artists signed to indie labels) usual make more than a few hundred bucks a year. So I guess $50 each from hobbyists is a good business to be in but the question I ask is, isn’t a GREAT business one that creates more full time middle class professional musicians? This isn’t a knock on you or TuneCore, as I believe you are the greatest benefactor in the fight for Artists Rights and Independence.

        Also I’m pro-choice. I support the artists choice to make the decisions that are most meaningful to them be it DIY, Indie or signing to major label. The conversation for artists rights should ALWAYS be about choice and consent.

        If you really think the stats are incomplete, I’d take it up with Digital Music News, Ted Cohen at Tag Strategic and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

        http://blog.midem.com/2009/12/breaking-through-the-noise/

        In the end you can throw stones at David Lowery if you like, but in three days a simple heartfelt post, as an artist, not only spoke to artists, it spoke FOR them!

        Such a reaction caused such mainstream media as Time, MSNBC, The New York Times and The LA Times to name a few, not only to respond but also acknowledge the inequity of the internet exploitation economy for artists. I’m not sure why you would really be opposed to that? I don’t see you and David Lowery on different teams, and I’m not sure why you do.

        Thanks.

        • tunecore

          I truly mean this.

          Thank you for using TuneCore! Without you, I would not have a career.
          And I truly have no personal bone to pick with you. Actually, I would very much like to meet you (and you can bet I am going to listen to your music after posting this!)
          I just disagree with the statistic based on the empirical data I have. Thats really it.
          This one statistic being stated is not correct.

          i posted the below on other blog postings, so forgive the repeat

          In its hey day, (1999) Warner Music was releasing 1 release a day – that’s 365 releases a year
          Of those releases, about 200 or so were of “new” artists – the rest were re-issues, compilations etc
          of the 200 or so, 98% of the artists that released failed.

          that means 196 of the 200 failed. They were dropped and their careers were over.
          4 “succeeded” – and of the 4 that succeeded, perhaps one ever made a band royalty off of the recorded sales of music
          compare that with the new industry

          There are between 15,000 – 20,000 new recorded releases by about as many artists each month. Now add in entities like CD Baby etc and the number gets much much higher.

          Most make very little. However, many many more make more than they ever have before. As one example, in 2011, there were five artists that made over $1,000,000 via TuneCore in recorded music sales. Now add in publishing income, tour income, merch income etc

          The TuneCore customer base has sold over 600,000,000 units of music and earned over $300,000,000 in the past two years

          If the definition of “full time working professional class musicians” is “Signed artists on labels”, then yes, that number is lower.

          Where I think we are disconnecting is that to me is not the proper definition.

          There are more artists creating more music today than at any point in history

          And these artists are earning more money off the sale of recorded music than at any point in history

          In one year in old industry between all the labels (indies included), you may have had around 50 – 100 artists make “real” money that sustained them for some time.

          I can list that many each month

          From a sheer numbers perspective the statistics you are quoting are just wrong

          However, it is not possible for the majority of artists to “make a living” due to the uniqueness of talent and music

          jeff

          • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

             So then just admit that you don’t care about full time professional musicians because you are selling a service to hobbyists… That’s OK. That’s your business. It’s a good business and I use it.

            BUT BE HONEST.

            the stats in the links I’m providing are valid, if you don’t think they are take it up with Salon, The Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Digital Music News and Midem where they are sourced from.

            http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/why-arent-more-musicians-working-professionally/

            I don’t know why you are so offended by the truth. You’re a good guy Jeff, and you do good work. You don’t need to lie about the business. I and other love the opportunity TuneCore provides but everyone wins – EVERYONE – when Artists Rights are respected.

            Don’t be so bold as to presume you know better for each artists than they know for themselves be it DIY, Indie or a Major Label. This is what the Pirates and the Freehadist want, to impose THEIR view of what is best for artists upon them and that has resulted in 45% LESS full time professional working musicians from 2002 to 2011 according to the BLS… Argue with them if you want, but respect musicians and be honest in the meantime.

            Respectfully – You Customer…

          • tunecore

            Correct.

            I am not going to be a gatekeeper. All artists can use the service. I do not believe its my place to decide who gets let in.
            From hobbyist, to professional and anyone in-between – we are here to serve
            I believe artists can make their own choiches. But its vital they get the information needed to allow them to make the decisions that best fit their goals
            Know your copyrights and how they work

            Understand this is a tough tough industry. Most dont make it.

            Its going to take time, and persistence.

            The world will tell you you wont make it and you will bang you head against the wall again and again before it cracks (if it ever does).
            It doesnt come easy, its a passion and the artist gets to decide if and how they pursue their dreams
            Its not that Im personally offended by the mis-information you are providing, its more that I am concerned that the wrong information in the market can harm artists.
            For example, this information you are stating could delegitimize artists that are succeeding and not signed to labels. No, not your one posting or one point. But the drum beat of that point.
            Thats what concerns me about David’s blog posting. he states things that are not true to support something that is.
            Its misinformation We need honest open and real information to reach the right conclusions.

            Jeff

    • gbsr


      However, even at that, most musicians using Tunecore are doing so at a net loss”

      thing is, if they didn’t pay 50 bucks to get their shit up on they would have been gaining nothing most likely. do you know how hard it is to get a signed record deal? do you know how hard it is to get a signed record deal that gives as a content creator some sort of freedom of choice as to what future content you should do?

      paying for services like these might make you as a content creator loose out money, but you might gain some as well. you might even gain a lot, even without a big label breathing down your neck. this gives every artist a fighting chance at the least. if you do loose out on money each year, perhaps you should make better music, then.

      • tunecore

        @gbsr

        its a bit of a lost cause arguing with some of the people here. Logic holds no weight
        jeff

  • Valuepdx

    You provide no evidence for your comments- which quite frankly are more often wrong then right! This notion that I should be able to listen to anything I want, when ever I want, and artist need to get paid well for their efforts but not by me- is completely hypocritical! Fortunately most people do pay for music, and do not STEAL IT as this young intern does. NPR should FIRE her ass!

    • Shout

      Artist can make money by the revenue of advertisement used on sites like Spotify, not only by single sales. They don’t only make money from the consumer. An artist has the potential to make even more money on streamed music that gets played often than just a one time 99cent sale.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Point5communications Will Buckley

        What are you smoking?

      • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

         really? who are these artists making more from streaming than transactional sales?

  • andymotion

    @zenoscillator I remember reading an article once about major label artists breaking after their 3rd album. The general rule was that they would break even and start making some money after the 3rd, or if they didn’t, that’s when they would say goodbye to the artist. 

    It took the Beatles almost a decade to ‘make it’. Sting had two jobs for almost a decade before he ‘made it’ with Police.

    Why would anything be any different today, just because the internet makes it easier to communicate with people?

    It takes time to build a fan base.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Point5communications Will Buckley

      Jeff the reality is as much as we want to vilify the major labels they have the resources, finances and contacts to make things happen in a big way.  Many of the most successful independent artists are where they are today because they were once signed to a major.

      The real problem, for everyone, is the consolidation in every aspect of our industry. You want traditional terrestrial radio?  Go to Clear Channel.  You wanna tour go to Live Nation.  you want to rip off your fans go to Ticketmaster and then Stub Hub. You want to practically give your music away go to Spotify.

      • tunecore

        I dont want to vilify, I want to improve things for artists

        I love music. Artists deserve to be treated better. They deserve to get paid. I got lucky, I got the chance to make things better – no matter how small the improvement, it is one.
        You are dead on – U2, Madonna etc are who they are due to their talent and the resources of the majors
        But those resources are no longer needed and the definition of success and the path to get there have changed
        There is no more MTV

        There are no more print magazines

        Commercial radio, although still relevant, is dying

        Music discovery happens in other ways

        In 2011, four “unknown” artists used TuneCore making over $1,000,000 in recorded music sales while keeping their copyrights. Then add merch, gig, sponsorship etc income on top of that. They got to do it the new way
        overall, in the past two and half years, the customer base has sold over 600,000,000 units of music earning over $300,000,000
        It is changing, and for the better.

        Jeff

        • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

           600,000,000 units of what at Fifty Cents a unit?

          • tunecore

            it varies depending on if it was a download or stream

            iTunes represents about 91% of the $300,000,000 where as Spotify represents much higher volume but a lot less revenue.
            The combined artists that use TuneCore (you included) represent about 4.5% of all digital music sales in the US. EMI is at about 7%
            This means all of you together are about 50% the size of EMI and 25% the size of Universal
            Even cooler, the market share is sifting more quickly

            At this time last year, TuneCore artists earned about $35,000,000. This year, they are currently at $70,000,000
            jeff

          • Robby

            But how MANY artists are using TuneCore vs how many artists are on these other labels? That’s what really matters.

            And I’m still waiting for the post on TuneCore artist earnings from Spotify.

          • tunecore

            there are over 250,000 artists using TuneCore.

            im not sure why that “Really matters”

            some quick stats: of the $300,000,000 earned by TuneCore customers, 91% of the revenue comes from iTunes
            Remind me again what the goal is with Spotify revenue? Im forgetting…
            jeff

          • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

             What really matters is building a sustainable living for professional musicians – which for some reason you seem to be opposed to Jeff.

            60,000 releases in 2010 sold less than 100 units – wanna guess what percentage of those releases were distributed by TuneCore versus the labels?

            “Put another way, the 60,000 new releases that sold 100 or fewer units averaged just 13.3 units per title.”
            http://bit.ly/RealMusicStats

          • tunecore

            @zonescillator

            i appreciate your thoughts and participation at this blog. And i know it must be exciting for you to have responses to your postings.
            Im not certain why you keep making things up in regards to what Im saying, it appears you just want to fight with me as opposed to have a real conversation
            TuneCore was started to help artists – allow all artists to have access to distribution while keeping their copyrights and getting 100% of the revenue from the sale of their music.
            Im thrilled, excited, astounded to have played any role in the success of any customer that uses TuneCore
            And when we realized that songwriters were not getting all their money, we built up a global pipeline to get it back to them
            I understand from your comments that you believe this does not have value. I do.
            Linking to stats is fine, disagreeing is fine as well but I am going to politely ask that you contribute comments of value.
            jeff

          • ztarz7s

            As we all are aware, Spotify doesn’t pay S**T. I believe that they are a menace to monetization for Artists. They’ve just introduced FREE mobile radio. How much do you suppose Artists and copyright holders will get from that service? So, let’s see, we boycott Spotify while all the consumers go there to get their music. I ask again, where is the monetization from this no-win scenario?

          • Valuepdx

             Give me a BREAK- You want to pretend that Tunecore is this little independent company that cares about musicians- then ok go ahead. the Truth is TuneCore is owned by a large company Guitar Center, which in turn is owned by Bain Capital – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar_Center. The fact of the matter is Tunecore is not about selling music, 98% of what is on Tunecore is crap. Tunecore is about selling dreams to young artists trying to break in. Yes they will quote the millions of sales but that is a result a few mega bands that took advantage  of their popularity and put their digital through Tunecore. I am willing to bet that 98% of the artists on Tunecore do not breakeven on the fees they pay Tunecore much less after the cost of recording their material. BTW I have no issue with what Tunecore does- after all this is a business- I have an issue with Tunecore’s holier-than-thou attitude, where as the truth is they are no different then the majors or any label that they routinely like to crap on.

          • tunecore

            i find these postings bizzare

            TuneCore is a service launched to correct a wrong.

            All artists deserve access to distribution while keeping their copyrights and getting 100% of the revenue from the sale of the music.
            Its here for those artists that think the service is a good one and fit for them. It does not promise success nor failure. It promises a service for a flat transparent fee
            Am i proud of that. Yes! very proud.

            You may not like my attitude, but really, who cares.

            You’re right, TuneCore is not about selling music, its about providing a service to our customers
            Unlike the old industry, we do not gate-keep. Its up to the artist to decide if we are a fit for them
            Am I holier than thought about fighting for artists, yes, I actually am. And if you don’t like it, it truly does not matter to me. Im going to continue to pursue my passion – making the world a better place for artists.
            In the month of April, 2012 (sales reported in June) there were 1,122 artists that made over $1,000 in music sales via TuneCore
            Thought this might be of interest to you.

            Below is exactly how much some TuneCore artist earned in April, 2012

            Each line is a different artist. An artist that made money that they would not have made in the old industry. This is how much they earned via TuneCore from the sale of their music in the digital stores we distribute to.

            Tell them this is not real and does not matter.

            $192,714.52
            $165,515.19
            $164,904.86
            $135,401.44
            $102,566.44
            $85,678.27
            $74,762.85
            $68,938.98
            $60,985.48
            $58,382.82
            $55,231.35
            $49,684.39
            $45,894.55
            $45,601.54
            $43,247.21
            $42,708.50
            $41,258.14
            $38,435.32
            $37,811.93
            $37,704.64
            $37,428.98
            $36,424.74
            $36,081.84
            $35,576.45
            $32,367.74
            $32,271.21
            $31,225.07
            $30,596.07
            $29,778.70
            $28,848.74
            $28,159.22
            $26,714.51
            $25,767.53
            $25,291.53
            $25,271.20
            $24,366.04
            $22,487.09
            $22,374.39
            $21,111.20
            $20,880.33
            $20,863.93
            $20,831.88
            $20,715.28
            $20,612.84
            $19,272.57
            $18,790.06
            $17,690.82
            $17,084.69
            $16,279.58
            $15,882.74
            $14,965.94
            $14,363.43
            $14,203.80
            $14,037.58
            $13,771.36
            $13,615.44
            $13,613.87
            $13,396.09
            $13,046.05
            $12,953.47
            $12,693.62
            $12,640.20
            $12,576.62
            $12,427.47
            $12,338.76
            $12,247.59
            $12,247.59
            $12,182.13
            $12,151.41
            $12,104.49
            $12,020.40
            $11,965.08
            $11,889.97
            $11,824.19
            $11,747.79
            $11,701.97
            $11,482.26
            $11,332.51
            $11,329.94
            $11,286.83
            $11,022.91
            $11,018.81
            $10,790.30
            $10,741.61
            $10,662.20
            $10,642.68
            $10,548.55
            $10,527.77
            $10,479.88
            $10,408.17
            $10,326.06
            $10,300.25
            $10,270.61
            $10,237.30
            $10,196.45
            $10,095.45
            $10,044.66
            $10,003.98
            $9,991.97
            $9,926.20
            $9,837.49
            $9,800.48
            $9,800.48
            $9,800.48
            $9,660.86
            $9,653.07
            $9,568.85
            $9,266.36
            $9,206.21
            $9,189.59
            $9,097.89
            $9,000.62
            $8,962.80
            $8,951.58
            $8,834.39
            $8,695.57
            $8,676.61
            $8,643.32
            $8,619.17
            $8,541.20
            $8,496.17
            $8,496.17
            $8,473.58
            $8,376.56
            $8,289.97
            $8,226.59
            $8,082.45
            $8,071.31
            $8,041.07
            $8,016.02
            $7,996.31
            $7,990.91
            $7,982.04
            $7,891.09
            $7,878.35
            $7,839.67
            $7,810.17
            $7,770.68
            $7,719.33
            $7,707.46
            $7,696.34
            $7,642.54
            $7,607.21
            $7,551.85
            $7,395.41
            $7,364.50
            $7,270.17
            $7,201.66
            $7,189.56
            $7,100.12
            $6,969.10
            $6,951.05
            $6,930.92
            $6,929.08
            $6,904.74
            $6,788.67
            $6,755.19
            $6,662.18
            $6,573.51
            $6,562.99
            $6,504.52
            $6,428.64
            $6,428.64
            $6,406.21
            $6,360.02
            $6,347.56
            $6,321.48
            $6,297.94
            $6,293.15
            $6,290.86
            $6,223.08
            $6,205.25
            $6,198.06
            $6,138.67
            $6,093.83
            $6,092.52
            $6,091.46
            $6,089.19
            $6,087.93
            $6,058.07
            $6,038.30
            $6,016.71
            $5,962.80
            $5,937.24
            $5,925.13
            $5,918.60
            $5,838.43
            $5,796.43
            $5,762.13
            $5,762.12
            $5,749.77
            $5,738.65
            $5,730.39
            $5,679.36
            $5,659.73
            $5,622.94
            $5,598.11
            $5,598.06
            $5,583.87
            $5,568.29
            $5,556.79
            $5,550.76
            $5,550.76
            $5,496.01
            $5,493.68
            $5,459.44
            $5,408.75
            $5,362.59
            $5,284.14
            $5,276.81
            $5,274.92
            $5,247.75
            $5,209.50
            $5,194.59
            $5,172.20
            $5,127.79
            $5,118.42
            $5,032.24
            $5,028.72
            $5,013.83
            $5,003.17
            $4,983.65
            $4,968.16
            $4,948.19
            $4,911.41
            $4,906.04
            $4,885.63
            $4,883.81
            $4,830.14
            $4,828.18
            $4,814.94
            $4,768.87
            $4,755.56
            $4,710.58
            $4,677.98
            $4,674.46
            $4,639.20
            $4,623.08
            $4,605.47
            $4,559.13
            $4,558.96
            $4,549.21
            $4,498.27
            $4,471.46
            $4,443.07
            $4,420.02
            $4,394.17
            $4,391.67
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,381.64
            $4,369.85
            $4,367.35
            $4,338.19
            $4,332.71
            $4,289.90
            $4,261.95
            $4,245.58
            $4,245.14
            $4,234.35
            $4,226.18
            $4,217.02
            $4,214.26
            $4,208.28
            $4,187.81
            $4,178.05
            $4,175.92
            $4,169.94
            $4,145.76
            $4,064.70
            $4,063.04
            $4,048.01
            $4,023.36
            $4,020.51
            $3,978.24
            $3,968.22
            $3,951.40
            $3,949.17
            $3,949.03
            $3,942.07
            $3,932.69
            $3,919.67
            $3,883.21
            $3,881.08
            $3,868.13
            $3,862.15
            $3,858.13
            $3,852.35
            $3,845.27
            $3,844.29
            $3,834.34
            $3,818.21
            $3,804.65
            $3,793.58
            $3,782.96
            $3,781.79
            $3,773.70
            $3,773.06
            $3,753.98
            $3,749.99
            $3,736.89
            $3,736.16
            $3,722.04
            $3,683.48
            $3,673.12
            $3,639.93
            $3,635.42
            $3,624.15
            $3,620.84
            $3,589.50
            $3,564.61
            $3,527.55
            $3,508.59
            $3,498.68
            $3,495.07
            $3,490.57
            $3,485.74
            $3,474.76
            $3,469.51
            $3,464.03
            $3,440.79
            $3,419.09
            $3,397.85
            $3,395.97
            $3,388.42
            $3,387.48
            $3,381.38
            $3,380.44
            $3,356.05
            $3,350.49
            $3,342.69
            $3,286.12
            $3,280.47
            $3,250.64
            $3,250.52
            $3,235.33
            $3,234.65
            $3,218.27
            $3,203.31
            $3,202.80
            $3,198.69
            $3,193.58
            $3,183.88
            $3,174.13
            $3,163.39
            $3,145.49
            $3,119.04
            $3,114.66
            $3,100.81
            $3,095.67
            $3,077.81
            $3,064.73
            $3,062.82
            $3,062.51
            $3,062.35
            $3,056.91
            $3,055.56
            $3,055.50
            $3,055.06
            $3,047.43
            $3,041.26
            $3,029.81
            $3,029.64
            $3,022.15
            $3,018.89
            $2,998.64
            $2,994.51
            $2,989.82
            $2,973.61
            $2,939.83
            $2,933.28
            $2,923.76
            $2,920.30
            $2,904.06
            $2,903.36
            $2,896.76
            $2,891.56
            $2,888.51
            $2,887.34
            $2,884.20
            $2,876.16
            $2,872.61
            $2,870.49
            $2,870.04
            $2,864.82
            $2,861.94
            $2,856.58
            $2,842.07
            $2,836.28
            $2,827.45
            $2,822.54
            $2,798.67
            $2,797.54
            $2,790.83
            $2,774.12
            $2,773.73
            $2,773.56
            $2,770.99
            $2,770.53
            $2,767.43
            $2,762.80
            $2,756.03
            $2,755.80
            $2,752.23
            $2,737.23
            $2,736.39
            $2,727.25
            $2,724.92
            $2,718.09
            $2,715.78
            $2,711.40
            $2,709.09
            $2,695.50
            $2,690.54
            $2,688.62
            $2,685.53
            $2,685.20
            $2,680.54
            $2,679.52
            $2,677.88
            $2,673.61
            $2,673.09
            $2,666.96
            $2,662.25
            $2,651.86
            $2,647.51
            $2,642.76
            $2,640.18
            $2,634.76
            $2,611.60
            $2,602.14
            $2,598.42
            $2,596.34
            $2,592.27
            $2,550.97
            $2,546.12
            $2,545.30
            $2,544.37
            $2,537.09
            $2,534.45
            $2,532.04
            $2,531.14
            $2,522.58
            $2,520.12
            $2,518.75
            $2,518.44
            $2,515.42
            $2,513.68
            $2,504.12
            $2,498.68
            $2,495.21
            $2,491.37
            $2,481.21
            $2,478.45
            $2,471.57
            $2,465.21
            $2,459.95
            $2,452.77
            $2,452.67
            $2,439.49
            $2,439.11
            $2,432.03
            $2,431.04
            $2,427.46
            $2,427.20
            $2,419.81
            $2,417.16
            $2,417.06
            $2,399.56
            $2,397.11
            $2,395.71
            $2,392.94
            $2,392.59
            $2,386.68
            $2,386.54
            $2,379.52
            $2,376.61
            $2,364.14
            $2,363.87
            $2,351.59
            $2,349.31
            $2,349.23
            $2,347.32
            $2,339.16
            $2,334.26
            $2,329.59
            $2,323.70
            $2,297.69
            $2,295.48
            $2,289.16
            $2,286.66
            $2,284.03
            $2,281.39
            $2,246.76
            $2,242.76
            $2,241.29
            $2,233.23
            $2,231.44
            $2,229.49
            $2,227.49
            $2,225.16
            $2,225.03
            $2,224.01
            $2,223.45
            $2,214.58
            $2,201.62
            $2,198.26
            $2,192.95
            $2,191.52
            $2,187.50
            $2,186.12
            $2,182.55
            $2,172.55
            $2,170.64
            $2,166.85
            $2,166.35
            $2,157.69
            $2,157.35
            $2,145.03
            $2,139.63
            $2,138.43
            $2,137.16
            $2,130.83
            $2,124.81
            $2,120.62
            $2,118.05
            $2,116.12
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            Jeff

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @10cdb7b0ab547d52aadfb5e69ca07185:disqus   cutting and pasting:
            c’mon guys. no offense, but you sound like petulant kids: “Jeff, why isn’t it easier? Why doesn’t your service make everything better?”TuneCore is a service. it provides a very specific tool for artists to use. no more, no less.If you feel the service doesn’t help you, don’t use it.I don’t get this idea that a service should magically make your career successful, etc. Oh wait, actually I do, it’s EXACTLY the mindset i dealt with for 20 years running a label. the artist would say, “here you go, here’s my record, it’s great, make me famous.”didn’t work for many.Best,George

          • ztarz7s

            George, It’s the artist’s ability to meaningfully monetize their efforts that is changing shifting and failing. What is Tunecore going to do about that? What can you do for the 99% to assist the long tail? What are you doing to protect the copyright interests of your clients? Ah yes, your publishing program. Where you take a cut, just like CD Baby does with downloads. Only your 10% cut on songs is more valuable than their 9% cut on downloads. Obviously, you recognize that the tunes have more monetized value than the downloads. I don’t think I’m out of line here. I’m an wise old bird when it comes to copyright. Been all about that since 1969. Just challenging you to raise your bar and do something for the 99%.Opportunity is one thing. Monetized results for more than just 1.2% are another.

          • ztarz7s

            This constitutes a win for Tunecore as an aggregator. Not a win for for the general Indie Artists population. This is why the effort to push back that Market share is being done with Ad supported piracy. Instead of bragging how your top elite has fared, why not figure out how you can bring more Artists into that elite range? It can only help your bottom line.

          • tunecore

            gotta disagree with you.

            as i stated before, TuneCore is not a hand of god that somehow anoints them with success, etc.
            Its the art, and only that art, that can do this. there is nothing TuneCore can do to make someone like or dislike a song. This is why the majors had a 98% failure rate.
            Our goal is to educate and give artists the tools to actually have a shot at autonomy.
            And some are – more than before

            and thats a good thing

            jeff

          • Robby

            Jeff - the comments by Me, ztard7s, George and many others are not attacks on TuneCore, so stop defending it. We’re just trying to get people to see the whole picture and, as artists ourselves, I think it would be in your best interest to listen to our opinions and see it from the other side.

            You’ve created a forum for artists to speak their mind, so please be respectful of the other side of the argument, even if it doesn’t fit your short-term agenda.

            Let’s be honest, the whole reason this blog exists is because TuneCore knows that blogging is one of the best SEO techniques drive, capture and engage traffic. You should be thankful for our free contributions.

          • tunecore

            @Robby

            here we goes again…

            Its odd that it never occurred to you that some people believe in what they write. Regardless of TuneCore, these are my opinions, thoughts and passions.
            There are a small handful of people out there that seem to live for the fight for the sake of fighting and will attack no matter what the model.
            You are entitled to your opinion, but I will disagree when incorrect facts are stated
            Its tough enough as it is for an artist, and when one does hit some level of success, it sickens me to read someone else attempt to tear them down, say they dont count, say they did not succeed
            Or worse, try to tell artists its better for them to go back to the old model, let the gatekeepers let a few in, give up copyrights, give up their revenue and shut up
            I would love for you to post something of value at this blog, but do understand if you choose not to
            jeff

        • http://www.facebook.com/Point5communications Will Buckley

          Jeff, I’m truly puzzled by your position throughout this discussion.  You seem to have some kind of agenda that is clouding your comments.  If you can’t agree that the music business is in shambles and you think that things are better today and if you believe Spotify is good for musicians, then frankly I don’t what to say.

          Tunecore, clearly provides a valuable service for indie artists to get online distribution, but when you say things like “You are dead on – U2, Madonna etc are who they are due to their talent and the resources of 
          the majors….But those resources are no longer needed???  I don’t get it.

          Many of your clients are struggling, they don’t have the resources to mount a major marketing campaign.  Sure, there are cases where a band like OK GO make a great video and break through, but that’s like getting a million dollars from Kickstarter.  

          But, hey I started in the record business in 1972 and it wasn’t easy then either.  Its’ a bitter pill my friend and there’s no point in sugar coating it.
          Especially, when David Lowery is bringing clarity to the situation and actually presenting some solutions.

          • tunecore

            My position is simply this

            The old industry was not a golden age.

            (Pulling from this blog posting)

            “Previously, artists were not rolling in money. Most were not allowed into the system by the gatekeepers. Of those that were allowed on the major labels, over 98% of them failed. Yes, 98%
.
            Of the 2% that succeeded, less than a half percent of those ever got paid a band royalty from the sale of recorded music.
            How in the world is an artist making at least something, no matter how small, worse than 99% of the worlds’ unsigned artists making nothing and of the 1% signed, less than a half a percent of them ever making a single band royalty ever?
            Finally, as much as I hate to say it, being an artist does not entitle the artist to get money. They have to earn it. And not everyone can.”
            Of course many of TuneCore’s customers are struggling. The majority of the world’s artist are struggling. But at least they are now “in” the industry. before they were not even “in”
            Every single month, there are over 1,000 artists earning over $1,000 in revenue from music sales via TuneCore.
            I can assure you Warner Bros. was not ever mailing out band royalty checks every month to over 1,000 artists for over $1,000
            I think the breakdown in our conversation is your assumption that Im suggesting all artists are succeeding. Quite the opposite – read this http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2011/11/blogger-criticizes-artists-for-making-money-tunecore-ceo-jeff-price-responds.html
            But yes, the resources of the majors are no longer singularly needed to achieve success

            Look at this data from July, 2011 – http://blog.tunecore.com/2011/11/tunecore-artists-music-sales-july-2011.html

            jeff

          • ztarz7s

            Gentlemen: We’re missing the trees. Several days ago, The trichordist ran an article called: “The Ad Supported Exploitation economy of Google. That excellent article, which I copied to a reference draft tells it like it is.

            “The Ad Supported Exploitation Economy of Googleby trichordistIn the screen shots below we can see how Google seems to allowAd Choices (one of its various advertising products) to be used to monetize another dubious business that rips audio from YouTube videos.  We must assume that if Google is serving ads they are not doing it for free and are likely receiving a share (probably the lion’s share) of revenue from the advertiser.”The fact that it has been taken down, as a result of all this debate, strikes a positive nerve for the new “way”. And it shows Google for what they are. Oh, I forgot, their motto is “Do No Evil”. And yet, IMHO, THIS is the heart of the current problem. Not the fans. And certainly, not the musicians. Because you can send all the DMCA takedown notices you want. And I have.I think there might be room here to focus on a way to push back the circumstances surrounding this issue, if we could all organize, with Tunecore at the helm of that Push back. Because if you really are claiming to offer universal opportunity, then you’re going to have to procreate something to turn that offer from a promise to a reality. 1.2% success rate does not constitute an opportunity for anyone but Tunecore and 4 Artists. Ideas from Jeff and George?

          • Bill_Rhodes

            Now, Thats the key. “MARKETING”. Without marketing, your music just sit there. You could have the greatest album ever but, you got to have some way to market it.

          • Robby

            Agreed Will, Jeff’s posts and comments are ALWAYS clouded by his agenda to make TuneCore look as amazing as possible instead of writting unbiased facts.

          • tunecore

            such a bizarre statement and so much cynicism

            Truth is the truth regardless of TuneCore

            I find that people tend to project onto other people things they would do
            my agenda is very simple – artists deserve to be compensated. Things need to be made better for them.
            We must have the truth out in the market to assure that the right conclusions and decisions are being reached so artists do not get further harmed.
            jeff

          • Robby

            Jeff I’m really not being cynical, you are being delusional and misleading to artists about teh state of the industry. My statement is not a bizarre statement, IT IS THE TRUTH. Read these:

            http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/meet-the-new-boss-worse-than-the-old-boss-full-post/

            http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/why-arent-more-musicians-working-professionally/

            http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/artists-know-thy-enemy/

            TuneCore is a good service, I’m on your side, I just wish you’d be more unbiased so we can all fight the right fights.

          • tunecore

            @Robby

            I think the challenge you and i have is communicating is I have actual real data that comes in daily that for reasons I cannot understand you will not take into consideration
            I love music and artists. I started TuneCore to make things better for them.
            Im just not following your position – at the bottom of this posting is over 1,000 lines showing how much 1,122 artists made on TuneCore in just April, 2012.
            What of the following points do you believe to be false:

            All artists deserve access to distribution without giving up their copyrights or revenue from the sale of their music
            All songwriters deserve the money they generate from the use, download, stream and public performance of their songs
            in the past 2.5 years, TuneCore artists sold over 600,000,000 units of music
            in the past 2.5 years, TuneCore Artists earned over $300,000,000 from the sale of the recordings of their music
            TuneCore artists earned over $70,000,000 as songwriters of the songs that were downloaded, streamed and publicly performed
            At the end of May, 2011, TuneCore Artists earned over $30,000,000 from the sale of their music.
            At the end of May, 2012, TuneCore Artists earned over $68,000,000 from the sale of their music.
            In 2011, TuneCore artists earned over $100,000,000 in Gross revenue from the sale of their music

            In 2012, TuneCore Artists are on track to earn over $175,000,000 in Gross Revenue from the sale of their music

            Currently, TuneCore artists combined represent over 4% of all US digital music sales (EMI is at 7% or so)

            More artists are making more money now off the sale and use of their music than at any point in history

            The old system had gatekeepers deciding at their discretion which artists got let in

            In the old system, over 99% of the world’s artists were never signed

            In the old system, 98% of what the major labels released failed financially, the artists were dropped and their careers were over

            In the old system, of the 2% of artists that succeeded, less than a half of a percent of them got paid a band royalty

            In the old system, artists would spend thousands of dollars to bang on the gatekeepers door in the form of demos, mailings, photocopies, gigs etc in hopes of getting let with over 99% of never given a chance

            There are no more gatekeepers deciding which artists get let in

            Net Revenue for artists from the sale of their recorded music are up by over 700%

            Net Revenue for labels from the sale of recorded music are down

            The majority of the world’s music is being created and distributed by artists outside of the traditional system

            The majority of the world’s artist in the old school industry never made enough money to have the income be their sole income

            The majority of the world’s artist in the new school industry will not make enough money to have the income be their sole income

            Every month, TuneCore pays over 1,000 artists over $1,000 from music sales

            In the month of April, 2012 (sales reported in June) there were 1,122 artists that made over $1,000 in music sales via TuneCore

            Below is exactly how much each one earned for Just April, 2012 – and no major music company ever ever paid over 1,000 artists this much money in band royalties every month.

            Each line is a different artist. An artist that made money that they would not have made in the old industry. This is how much they earned via TuneCore from the sale of their music in the digital stores we distribute to.

            $192,714.52
            $165,515.19
            $164,904.86
            $135,401.44
            $102,566.44
            $85,678.27
            $74,762.85
            $68,938.98
            $60,985.48
            $58,382.82
            $55,231.35
            $49,684.39
            $45,894.55
            $45,601.54
            $43,247.21
            $42,708.50
            $41,258.14
            $38,435.32
            $37,811.93
            $37,704.64
            $37,428.98
            $36,424.74
            $36,081.84
            $35,576.45
            $32,367.74
            $32,271.21
            $31,225.07
            $30,596.07
            $29,778.70
            $28,848.74
            $28,159.22
            $26,714.51
            $25,767.53
            $25,291.53
            $25,271.20
            $24,366.04
            $22,487.09
            $22,374.39
            $21,111.20
            $20,880.33
            $20,863.93
            $20,831.88
            $20,715.28
            $20,612.84
            $19,272.57
            $18,790.06
            $17,690.82
            $17,084.69
            $16,279.58
            $15,882.74
            $14,965.94
            $14,363.43
            $14,203.80
            $14,037.58
            $13,771.36
            $13,615.44
            $13,613.87
            $13,396.09
            $13,046.05
            $12,953.47
            $12,693.62
            $12,640.20
            $12,576.62
            $12,427.47
            $12,338.76
            $12,247.59
            $12,247.59
            $12,182.13
            $12,151.41
            $12,104.49
            $12,020.40
            $11,965.08
            $11,889.97
            $11,824.19
            $11,747.79
            $11,701.97
            $11,482.26
            $11,332.51
            $11,329.94
            $11,286.83
            $11,022.91
            $11,018.81
            $10,790.30
            $10,741.61
            $10,662.20
            $10,642.68
            $10,548.55
            $10,527.77
            $10,479.88
            $10,408.17
            $10,326.06
            $10,300.25
            $10,270.61
            $10,237.30
            $10,196.45
            $10,095.45
            $10,044.66
            $10,003.98
            $9,991.97
            $9,926.20
            $9,837.49
            $9,800.48
            $9,800.48
            $9,800.48
            $9,660.86
            $9,653.07
            $9,568.85
            $9,266.36
            $9,206.21
            $9,189.59
            $9,097.89
            $9,000.62
            $8,962.80
            $8,951.58
            $8,834.39
            $8,695.57
            $8,676.61
            $8,643.32
            $8,619.17
            $8,541.20
            $8,496.17
            $8,496.17
            $8,473.58
            $8,376.56
            $8,289.97
            $8,226.59
            $8,082.45
            $8,071.31
            $8,041.07
            $8,016.02
            $7,996.31
            $7,990.91
            $7,982.04
            $7,891.09
            $7,878.35
            $7,839.67
            $7,810.17
            $7,770.68
            $7,719.33
            $7,707.46
            $7,696.34
            $7,642.54
            $7,607.21
            $7,551.85
            $7,395.41
            $7,364.50
            $7,270.17
            $7,201.66
            $7,189.56
            $7,100.12
            $6,969.10
            $6,951.05
            $6,930.92
            $6,929.08
            $6,904.74
            $6,788.67
            $6,755.19
            $6,662.18
            $6,573.51
            $6,562.99
            $6,504.52
            $6,428.64
            $6,428.64
            $6,406.21
            $6,360.02
            $6,347.56
            $6,321.48
            $6,297.94
            $6,293.15
            $6,290.86
            $6,223.08
            $6,205.25
            $6,198.06
            $6,138.67
            $6,093.83
            $6,092.52
            $6,091.46
            $6,089.19
            $6,087.93
            $6,058.07
            $6,038.30
            $6,016.71
            $5,962.80
            $5,937.24
            $5,925.13
            $5,918.60
            $5,838.43
            $5,796.43
            $5,762.13
            $5,762.12
            $5,749.77
            $5,738.65
            $5,730.39
            $5,679.36
            $5,659.73
            $5,622.94
            $5,598.11
            $5,598.06
            $5,583.87
            $5,568.29
            $5,556.79
            $5,550.76
            $5,550.76
            $5,496.01
            $5,493.68
            $5,459.44
            $5,408.75
            $5,362.59
            $5,284.14
            $5,276.81
            $5,274.92
            $5,247.75
            $5,209.50
            $5,194.59
            $5,172.20
            $5,127.79
            $5,118.42
            $5,032.24
            $5,028.72
            $5,013.83
            $5,003.17
            $4,983.65
            $4,968.16
            $4,948.19
            $4,911.41
            $4,906.04
            $4,885.63
            $4,883.81
            $4,830.14
            $4,828.18
            $4,814.94
            $4,768.87
            $4,755.56
            $4,710.58
            $4,677.98
            $4,674.46
            $4,639.20
            $4,623.08
            $4,605.47
            $4,559.13
            $4,558.96
            $4,549.21
            $4,498.27
            $4,471.46
            $4,443.07
            $4,420.02
            $4,394.17
            $4,391.67
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,383.52
            $4,381.64
            $4,369.85
            $4,367.35
            $4,338.19
            $4,332.71
            $4,289.90
            $4,261.95
            $4,245.58
            $4,245.14
            $4,234.35
            $4,226.18
            $4,217.02
            $4,214.26
            $4,208.28
            $4,187.81
            $4,178.05
            $4,175.92
            $4,169.94
            $4,145.76
            $4,064.70
            $4,063.04
            $4,048.01
            $4,023.36
            $4,020.51
            $3,978.24
            $3,968.22
            $3,951.40
            $3,949.17
            $3,949.03
            $3,942.07
            $3,932.69
            $3,919.67
            $3,883.21
            $3,881.08
            $3,868.13
            $3,862.15
            $3,858.13
            $3,852.35
            $3,845.27
            $3,844.29
            $3,834.34
            $3,818.21
            $3,804.65
            $3,793.58
            $3,782.96
            $3,781.79
            $3,773.70
            $3,773.06
            $3,753.98
            $3,749.99
            $3,736.89
            $3,736.16
            $3,722.04
            $3,683.48
            $3,673.12
            $3,639.93
            $3,635.42
            $3,624.15
            $3,620.84
            $3,589.50
            $3,564.61
            $3,527.55
            $3,508.59
            $3,498.68
            $3,495.07
            $3,490.57
            $3,485.74
            $3,474.76
            $3,469.51
            $3,464.03
            $3,440.79
            $3,419.09
            $3,397.85
            $3,395.97
            $3,388.42
            $3,387.48
            $3,381.38
            $3,380.44
            $3,356.05
            $3,350.49
            $3,342.69
            $3,286.12
            $3,280.47
            $3,250.64
            $3,250.52
            $3,235.33
            $3,234.65
            $3,218.27
            $3,203.31
            $3,202.80
            $3,198.69
            $3,193.58
            $3,183.88
            $3,174.13
            $3,163.39
            $3,145.49
            $3,119.04
            $3,114.66
            $3,100.81
            $3,095.67
            $3,077.81
            $3,064.73
            $3,062.82
            $3,062.51
            $3,062.35
            $3,056.91
            $3,055.56
            $3,055.50
            $3,055.06
            $3,047.43
            $3,041.26
            $3,029.81
            $3,029.64
            $3,022.15
            $3,018.89
            $2,998.64
            $2,994.51
            $2,989.82
            $2,973.61
            $2,939.83
            $2,933.28
            $2,923.76
            $2,920.30
            $2,904.06
            $2,903.36
            $2,896.76
            $2,891.56
            $2,888.51
            $2,887.34
            $2,884.20
            $2,876.16
            $2,872.61
            $2,870.49
            $2,870.04
            $2,864.82
            $2,861.94
            $2,856.58
            $2,842.07
            $2,836.28
            $2,827.45
            $2,822.54
            $2,798.67
            $2,797.54
            $2,790.83
            $2,774.12
            $2,773.73
            $2,773.56
            $2,770.99
            $2,770.53
            $2,767.43
            $2,762.80
            $2,756.03
            $2,755.80
            $2,752.23
            $2,737.23
            $2,736.39
            $2,727.25
            $2,724.92
            $2,718.09
            $2,715.78
            $2,711.40
            $2,709.09
            $2,695.50
            $2,690.54
            $2,688.62
            $2,685.53
            $2,685.20
            $2,680.54
            $2,679.52
            $2,677.88
            $2,673.61
            $2,673.09
            $2,666.96
            $2,662.25
            $2,651.86
            $2,647.51
            $2,642.76
            $2,640.18
            $2,634.76
            $2,611.60
            $2,602.14
            $2,598.42
            $2,596.34
            $2,592.27
            $2,550.97
            $2,546.12
            $2,545.30
            $2,544.37
            $2,537.09
            $2,534.45
            $2,532.04
            $2,531.14
            $2,522.58
            $2,520.12
            $2,518.75
            $2,518.44
            $2,515.42
            $2,513.68
            $2,504.12
            $2,498.68
            $2,495.21
            $2,491.37
            $2,481.21
            $2,478.45
            $2,471.57
            $2,465.21
            $2,459.95
            $2,452.77
            $2,452.67
            $2,439.49
            $2,439.11
            $2,432.03
            $2,431.04
            $2,427.46
            $2,427.20
            $2,419.81
            $2,417.16
            $2,417.06
            $2,399.56
            $2,397.11
            $2,395.71
            $2,392.94
            $2,392.59
            $2,386.68
            $2,386.54
            $2,379.52
            $2,376.61
            $2,364.14
            $2,363.87
            $2,351.59
            $2,349.31
            $2,349.23
            $2,347.32
            $2,339.16
            $2,334.26
            $2,329.59
            $2,323.70
            $2,297.69
            $2,295.48
            $2,289.16
            $2,286.66
            $2,284.03
            $2,281.39
            $2,246.76
            $2,242.76
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            $2,233.23
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            $2,225.03
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            $2,214.58
            $2,201.62
            $2,198.26
            $2,192.95
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            $2,187.50
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            $2,166.85
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            $2,157.69
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            $2,145.03
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            $2,130.83
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            $1,994.94
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            $1,914.03
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            $1,830.96
            $1,827.30
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            $1,804.50
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            $1,787.90
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            $1,753.41
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            $1,736.55
            $1,733.38
            $1,733.03
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            $1,732.54
            $1,726.91
            $1,726.57
            $1,724.24
            $1,723.77
            $1,709.92
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            $1,704.20
            $1,703.38
            $1,702.36
            $1,700.65
            $1,700.21
            $1,696.35
            $1,696.08
            $1,690.40
            $1,689.04
            $1,684.65
            $1,677.16
            $1,674.22
            $1,666.42
            $1,665.85
            $1,662.58
            $1,661.84
            $1,659.52
            $1,657.48
            $1,656.05
            $1,655.18
            $1,644.10
            $1,640.96
            $1,636.38
            $1,633.62
            $1,632.08
            $1,624.16
            $1,621.54
            $1,619.18
            $1,618.18
            $1,617.06
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            $1,615.48
            $1,614.28
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            $1,601.18
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            $1,389.55
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            $1,381.09
            $1,377.26
            $1,374.67
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            $1,363.42
            $1,361.24
            $1,358.20
            $1,356.90
            $1,353.14
            $1,350.85
            $1,347.87
            $1,347.54
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          • Robby

            That’s great that you are capturing such a large part of the market. But those numbers don’t tell the whole story, not by a long shot. The only thing they tell us is that there are a VERY FEW artists making any money. Minimum wage in Ontario, where I live is $10.25. That equals about $1640/month, but there’s 4 people in your average band, so we need to hit $6,560 a month to make minimum wage. In your list that cuts it down to only 160 bands making minimum wage! And you are claiming to be one of the bigger pools of artists in the World! That’s a terrible statistic. How many artists are on TuneCore??? 10,000?

            Where is your blog post titled “Only 0.016% of TuneCore Artists Make Minimum Wage” ???

          • tunecore

            You have so so lost me on your point

            Its news that most artists wont make it?

            Robby, if you are an artist and you dont believe in yourself, throw in the towel.
            Im not certain what the news item is for you. Past, present or future most artists are not going to become huge hits.
            But at least things have changed a bit for the better

            The “average income” formula you created may be the most useless, meaningless statistic I’ve ever seen. Here’s an example as to why:
            An artist that makes $20 a year in music sales sits alone in a room. Average made per artist = $20.
            Now an artist that makes $1,000,000 a year enters the same room. Average made per artist = $500,010.
            So what did we just prove exactly? Same thing you did; nothing.

            And when you have time – you might want to read this
            http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2011/11/blogger-criticizes-artists-for-making-money-tunecore-ceo-jeff-price-responds.html
            If you want to help artists, go do something, start a business

            I did

            What have you done?

            Jeff

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @39b2dc88a0c10ce744fc1affecd24e53:disqus @facebook-1146850788:disqus c’mon guys. no offense, but you sound like petulant kids: “Jeff, why isn’t it easier? Why doesn’t your service make everything better?”

            TuneCore is a service. it provides a very specific tool for artists to use. no more, no less.

            If you feel the service doesn’t help you, don’t use it.

            I don’t get this idea that a service should magically make your career successful, etc. 

            Oh wait, actually I do, it’s EXACTLY the mindset i dealt with for 20 years running a label. the artist would say, “here you go, here’s my record, it’s great, make me famous.”

            didn’t work for many.

            Best,George

          • Robby

            @gah650:disqus @tunecore:disqus, maybe I wasn’t clear. I only take offence that the point of view of the TuneCore blogs are all too often one-sided to make it seem that the state of the industry is all roses and big paydays waiting to happen for any small artist out there. They are basically just sales pitches to get more struggling artists to sign up to their service. I’m only suggesting more unbiased posts that aren’t disguised sales pitches.

          • tunecore

            @robby

            i could not disagree with you more

            Article after article her talks about how tough it is, how most wont make it
            Hell, we even post articles about how hard it is on more trafficked websites than TuneCore’s – http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2011/11/blogger-criticizes-artists-for-making-money-tunecore-ceo-jeff-price-responds.html
            No one ever said its going to be easy, its not. This is a damn tough business for artists
            However, there is no doubt things have improved, and it seems to me that there is group of people (and I do not put you in the category) that only take pleasure in fighting for the sake of fighting
            And what frustrates me is when artists achieve success and others try to take that away from them, say it does not count, say they are not real
            jeff

        • ztarz7s

          Jeff:”n 2011, four “unknown” artists used TuneCore making over $1,000,000 in recorded music sales while keeping their copyrights.”
          Les: That’s a pathetically small number for all the “opportunity” on offer. Rather, it appears to be a repeat of the Majors’ stats you’ve mentioned. I’d be curious to know who they are, and by what marketing means they accomplished this feat.
          Jeff:”They got to do it the new way”
          Les And “they” is a tiny percentage of your clients.So while there is no dispute from me that you offer a way, most of Tunecore’s clients do not see these results. That being said, perhaps we should focus discussion on why so many of your clients fail to earn a living from music. Perhaps that dialogue would be a tad more constructive a a bit less contentious.

          • tunecore

            these comments tend to bounce around a lot

            first you’ll have someone state no one can make it without a major

            We provide examples of some that do

            then we get comments saying we are providing that info to trick people into using TuneCore
            We state most artists wont make it, its a tough business (and write lengthy public articles about it)
            Then people ignore that and move onto stating that TuneCore makes money off of artists that sell no music
            We state yes we do. We sell a service for a flat fee that is not tied into music sales – just like buying a guitar
            Then people comment that none of artists make money and we publicly list income for over a thousand artists to show they are making something
            then people comment that $1,000 a month in music sales is horrible as its not minimum wage
            We reply that we think its up to the artist to decide if $1,000 a month is failure
            and on it goes

            im not certain what the goal is here

            We are not a hand of god that somehow anoints Artist with success, etc.

            We are here to give them the tools to actually have a shot at autonomy.

            jeff

          • ztarz7s

            What is the goal here? To continue to find a way to monetize at previous levels. 

            I’ll try to give you a constructive answer. I was humming along at over $1400 just from one hit record, let alone other catalog items. Been that way for years. And combined with royalties from previous hits and session and jingle payouts, I had no complaints. But even that modest level has been decimated by file sharing due to Ad sense. And clap trap like Grooveshark, 4shared, Filestube and beemp3. I’ve sent DMCA takedown notices. Endlessly. I have an entire catalog of over 250 songs that has been “pirated” at some point or another. All by servers in foreign countries like Russia, China, and Cyprus. Sending DMCA notices takes over half my time at this point. And when I DMCA Google, what do they do? Put the complaint on Chillingeffects.org in some BS effort to bestow shame on my complaint. We have a culture that believes in entitlement. And it’s getting worse.

            As for autonomy, I’ve been licensing and controlling product since 1970. And not giving my copyrights away since 1973. And getting Major deals with that policy in place. I’ve been with CBS, RCA, Arista, MGM and others.

            For me, it’s not your autonomy opportunity that’s the problem. It’s welcome and just fine. It’s the rapidly diminishing ability to monetize that autonomy for a non-touring artist/producer that’s keeps me up nights. Because I’ve put in my time on tour. And I’m done with that phase of my life. I am, after all, 61 years old. And where I live (Colorado), unless you open for a major act, there is no money in touring. Nor do I want to be in the clothing business.Nor do I wish to go back to making Music in the Tribute Band industry. An industry that I helped invent.

            I don’t intend to suggest that you are the “hand of God”. I do suggest that something should be done, before the ability to monetize music disappears.Because copyright is under major attack by interests that have more to gain by it’s destruction, than you or I will ever gain by it’s survival.

      • tunecore

        @will

        thought you might find this of value as well

        Its an article that recently ran in Forbes magazine on the artist Alex Day
        Is YouTube and Chart Sensation Alex Day the Future of Music?

        When online star Alex Day got his first two music royalty checks for nearly $200k he had a choice to make. Do I follow the path of other self-made stars like Amanda Hocking (self-published books to a major publishing deal) and buy into the system, or do I continue to blaze my own path?
        He chose the latter. He said no to the offer of “a boot on his neck” and decided to go his own way. In this decision, he embodies the musician—the artist—of the future: self-sufficient, self-funded, and self-motivated. And now, with the launch of three new singles, he’s a pioneer of a new style of releasing and distributing music.
        The whole article is here:
        http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanholiday/2012/06/12/is-youtube-and-chart-sensation-alex-day-the-future-of-music
        jeff

      • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

        @facebook-1146850788:disqus so, so wrong.

        consolidation? you’re giving “them” too much power.

        we’ve had – largely because of Jeff/TC – the opposite of consolidation, and – increasingly – “they” are losing their grasp (arguably, the only thing the majors continue to control/the only thing you “need” them for is big time radio).

        you really want go back to a system full of intermediaries, each controlling your destiny, and taking a cut along the way?

        i prefer autonomy.

        George

    • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

       I couldn’t agree more, I’m note sure where we disagree. However the facts are that there are LESS full time professional working musicians today than a decade ago.

      http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/why-arent-more-musicians-working-professionally/

      • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

        @twitter-589548221:disqus you keep going back to this “working professional music” thing.

        could you please focus on access?

        again, i ask, would you rather the access be concentrated to a VERY small group, as opposed to unfettered access to anyone who wants it; what they do with that access is on them. as opposed to it being the provenance of the gatekeepers.

        why would anyone want that?

        George

    • tunecore

      thought you might find this of value as well

      Its an article that recently ran in Forbes magazine on the artist Alex Day
      Is YouTube and Chart Sensation Alex Day the Future of Music?

      When online star Alex Day got his first two music royalty checks for nearly $200k he had a choice to make. Do I follow the path of other self-made stars like Amanda Hocking (self-published books to a major publishing deal) and buy into the system, or do I continue to blaze my own path?
      He chose the latter. He said no to the offer of “a boot on his neck” and decided to go his own way. In this decision, he embodies the musician—the artist—of the future: self-sufficient, self-funded, and self-motivated. And now, with the launch of three new singles, he’s a pioneer of a new style of releasing and distributing music.
      The whole article is here:
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanholiday/2012/06/12/is-youtube-and-chart-sensation-alex-day-the-future-of-music
      jeff

  • Brett

    I thought David’s most valid point was that Emily, who has 11 000 songs and has paid for 11 CDs in here life – 55 songs let’s say, was not paying the artist and therefore did not value music. She openly admits she was ripping her college radio station’s music to her laptop. He was also expressing his concern about the ‘free economy’ where music is taken without the artists permission and without any transfer of money at all. I cannot agree more with him that this is not a model we should be supporting. Remember the catch phrase from a few years past “Music like Water”? 

    I agree with you that we need to embrace a new model and in the main I think it is available to all artists who wish to release their songs to the world. I’m not convinced however that services/companies such as Spotify are helpful to artists at all. The amount you received per song played is simply not commensurate with the value of the song. If the new model is streaming then we will find more artists making less from their music. 

    I also believe that something is wrong with the model when artists who are internationally known, have high levels of success in their home country (in this case Australia) are on to their third album and they still need to hold down a day job to exist. Something somewhere in the new model is not quite right. My gut feeling is that we still haven’t recovered from the free-acces that the net gives us. David’s analogy about the neighbourhood call ‘Net was spot on in this regard I feel. Just because you can take something for free without someone’s permission doesn’t mean you should. In fact in most, if not all, civilisations in the world this is actually a crime. If we can fix this ‘little’ problem then artists who work hard and deserve to will have a sustainable career in this industry. And garage band hobbyists will make a little extra coin on the side too. 

    I hope that’s not too backwards reminiscent for you.

    • tunecore

      i agree with you.

      I just wish David would not discredit the argument by using incorrect statements or data
      Thats my worry – if you are going to fight the fight, make certain you do it the best way possible. Dont state things that are not true allowing critics to pull you down or create a smoke screen
      jeff

      • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

         Haters gonna hate… can’t help that. Lowery has done more for awareness of artists rights in three days than anyone else has probably done in almost a decade. Give the guy a break for having the balls as an artists to face the “Lars” effect head on. Put on the white hat Jeff, you are selling a service to artists (like me).

        • tunecore

          you will have no louder voice than mine – artists deserve to be paid for their work. Period. End of story
          I also do believe the old model was not a good one and this one, as flawed as it is, is much better.
          jeff

          • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

             It will be better when there are more full-time professional musicns working. I know you believe in the hobbyists army Jeff, and I think that empowerment is great, but why don’t you just admit that 1) things are worse for full time professional musicians, and 2) that you don’t care that they are worse for full time professional musicians because you are selling a service to hobbyists?

          • tunecore

            I believe that all artists should have access to distribution, be able to keep their copyrights and get all the money when the music sells.
            Its interesting, TuneCore customers tend to be the more “qualified” customer – that is, the hobbyists appear to use other services and the non-hobbyists tend to use TuneCore
            We just surveyed the old and new customers and had over 1,200 responses. The majority categorized themselves as professional or working artists with a small % categorizing themselves as hobbyists
            Im not trying to prove you wrong for the sake of proving you wrong. You just dont have the data
            jeff

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @twitter-589548221:disqus how can you say this. so you want to go back to a time when there were a small handful of artists who made a bunch of money and NO ONE ELSE HAD ACCESS?!

            really.

            no one else could get in the game.

            that’s what you want?

            really?!

            George

          • Hermajesty1

            That is a rationalization. Come on Jeff, you are a knight in shining armor, change the flawed system to benefit the artist. You can do it. Scream it from the hilltops, the current system is flawed, and this is what I will do to change it. Don’t just bellow that the current system is better than the old one.

          • tunecore

            im no knight in shinning armor (but cool image!)

            Im a person that wanted to right something I saw that was wrong. So I did something about it
            And I do believe the new system is better than the old system. Read the many many blog postings on this blog to see why
            You dont have to be part of it, you truly dont

            So why not just let the rest of us do our thing and you can do yours.

            I wont yell at you if you sign with a label – thats your choiche

            jeff

          • Hermajesty1

            Again, you distort what I am saying, which is typical of individuals in the industry. I dare you to do something radical. Go ahead find a way to make more real money for artists. Lobby for them, take on Spotify, build a company that challenges Spotify and pays artist 5 cents per play instead of th measly .01. Go ahead do it. Make less money, allow artists to make more money. Work it Jeff, in a real way.

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @a26f26359f54d168030bdfe6695f26c6:disqus wait, so starting a company that in the course of less than 10 years has distributed more music more than all the labels combined, and has allowed access to musicians who heretofore had no access is not “doing something radical?”

            please stop posting here, and go away.

            George

          • Hermajesty1

            Sorry George, I will not go away. As long as you allow posts from others I will not go away, but, like I posted above, I am open to meeting in person and having an open minded conversation about something that is very meaningful to all of us. Thanks for your time George.

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @a26f26359f54d168030bdfe6695f26c6:disqus it’s really up to jeff if he allows you or anyone else to keep posting here.

            knowing Jeff, I’m sure he’ll be far more tolerant of non-value adding posts than I.

            Please read my response to you above with respect to your choices (i.e. find TC’s services valuable, and use them; or, find them lacking value, and don’t).

            This straw man argument you keep throwing out about meeting in person is frustrating.

            I suppose it’s a gesture of civility, which I appreciate, but it’s hollow.

            what would we say in person that can’t be said here.

            I’ve stated really clearly my POV. You’ve stated yours.

            OK – we disagree. that’s why there’s chocolate and vanilla.

            if you like the service, use it.

            if you don’t, don’t.

            if you find Jeff to be [fill in whatever derogatory descriptor you want], say so and move on.

            what else do you want.

            at the end of the day, as i said in my other response, no one is keeping you from – as you suggest to Jeff – finding these virtuous VCs (who you know exist) and starting your own company to compete with Jeff’s.

            I genuinely encourage you to do so.

            what you will find when you do that is that you can’t please everyone, and that – counter to conventional wisdom – the customer is not always right, and that you can not satisfy some customers, and therefore it is FAR better to “fire” those customers so that you can focus on providing value to customers who find value in your service.

            so, again, you go right ahead and keep posting  about how jeff is bad, the service is bad, etc.

            if jeff allows you to keep doing so, great. if it were me, I’d “fire” you and ban you from posting, so that I could focus on providing value to those who do value the service.

            i hope you start your own company.

            to be clear: nothing personal. you seem like a fantastic person. it’s just that what Jeff does  with his business doesn’t now and likely never will be what you want. 

            so, you have to either find another or build one yourself.

            Thanks,George

          • Hermajesty1

            Thank you for doing Jeff’s handy work and for “firing me”. Hopefully we can create something that is more beneficial to artists and that keeps them from coming to see me or running down to their local drug dealer to cop because they are not making enough money to pay their rent, support their families or sustain positive feelings for themselves. I understand that you guys are business people, I like business people. I also like business people who are more genuine and welcoming, and questioning and curious about the world they live in. 

            Which one are you? ANswer that question.

            As far as throwing down a “straw man” for encouraging you and Jeff and some of the others on here to meet in person, well… People can meet in person get a feel for each other in a way that the internet does not allow for. There is a reason why it is referred to as “virtual” reality and not “identical. 

            That being said George, I am beginning to know you the more you respond to my responses through the things that you say. Words reveal people. 

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @a26f26359f54d168030bdfe6695f26c6:disqus you’re absolutely right: words reveal people. I provided you with links to my words/videos/etc. Here they are again:
            http://www.artistshousemusic.org/node/5369/67

            here’s my personal blog:

            http://www.9giantsteps.com

            here’s my twitter:
            http://www.twitter.com/gah650
            here’s my linked in:http://www.linkedin.com/in/georgeahoward

            i am who i am.

          • Hermajesty1

            nderful. I findtheshadesmost delicious. Pleasedocontact me, perhapswecancollaborateonTHEETHICSOFTHEMUSICINDUSTRY. Havemeonasaguest l ectureer.Feelfreetocontact meinpersonthroughe-mail,andI willsharemycredentialswithoyu. 

          • Hermajesty1

            Also you say you are who you are, and I agree, you are who you are and your words reveal your character: “Go away”, “knowing Jeff, I’m sure he’ll be far more tolerant of non-value adding posts than I.”, but the most revealing in the bunch “if it were me, I’d “fire” you and ban you from posting, so that I could focus on providing value to those who do value the service.” 

            Need I say more, or were those words spoken in fury? 

            Some basic assumptions that you make are that my contributions do not add value, and that if you were in a position of authority you would end up “firing me”. I guess Jeff and you could do that and assert that you are THE MAN., but there are different kinds of authority as there are different kinds of business people.My position, in case you have not figured this out yet, is a pro-social one, concern for the community and welfare of others. I do think your efforts, as well intentioned as they may have been, fall short. Contact me and I can share with you how some of your students and others in the communities that you serve may benefit from what I and others in my field may have to offer. Why not contact me, what have you got to loose hermajesty1 at verizon.net 
            and yes, I am being genuine, if not conciliatory.

            Regards,
            John

          • Hermajesty1

            You say “You dont have to be part of it, you truly don’t. So why not just let the rest of us do our thing and you can do yours.” Well, I am doing my thing, and I am taking part in the discourse at the agora. I mean many have voices, strong opinions and it is healthy to raise issues, no?  I believe that by pointing out some of the real truths to the readership and the community, I am making a positive contribution and not colluding with the current system. If I just went about doing my thing, oblivious to your thing, I would be an enabler, wouldn’t I?
            Look I am sure you are not a bad guy, but, in your zeal and desire to make money (which is a nice gig if you can get it), you have drank the cool-aid, and, in the process, distorted a lot of facts. 

            I’d love to hang with you and take you to places where musicians live, maybe take you out on the road for 250 days out of a year in the back of a minivan with another 4 or 5 exhausted musicians struggling to survive in today’s music world. When we’re done, I would also welcome an invitation to  your abode. We could chill and drink some espresso, maybe collaborate on how to improve the lives of musicians, start a non profit providing real services to real people. Are you game?

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @a26f26359f54d168030bdfe6695f26c6:disqus stop. 
            implying that Jeff or I don’t know what it’s like to live the life of the musician is plain wrong. both of us do. it’s what drives us to try and improve the situation.if you don’t believe what TC is doing is a beneficial service, don’t use it. find another. George

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @a26f26359f54d168030bdfe6695f26c6:disqus i take issue that Jeff is “just bellow[ing].” again, and, yes, I’m copying and pasting, because I want people to see this:

            it’s pretty clear what jeff is doing and has done. I’ve had the privilege to know and work with him for nearly 20 years, and – you can believe this or not – don’t care – i’ve rarely if ever run across another person in the industry who has worked harder to provide more opportunity for artists.what’s your contribution?George

          • Hermajesty1

            Hi George,George Howard

            I have worked in the industry as a musician and as an alternative department manager for labels. I also provide harm reduction psychotherapy to artists for whom abstinence is not an option.I have encountered genuine individuals ni the industry, thoughtful, caring, involved with artists because they experience them as human beings struggling with many things in their lives. I’ve also met and worked with individuals who are narcissistic, basically antisocial, who like to paint themselves as “good guys” who, in reality, make noise and don’t give a s—, about the welfare of artists. 

            Now, as far as Jeff is concerned, I don’t know him personally although I would like to. In my opinion, he would gain more credibility, if he said, “yes, I will benefit if the new model prevails and the old model is buried”, but he has not done that. He continues to repeat the same mantra that goes something like “Musicians are better off now than they have ever been” or “I know the current model is not perfect, but it is better then the old one, so take it or leave it” (this a rationalization followed by all or nothing way of looking at things). When that fails he deletes comments from  his blog. 

            Instead he could, if he wanted to, bring together civil minded venture capitalists (they do exist) who are willing to make less money to improve the lives of musicians, care for the very people that have created a career for him, and trully give back to the community. 

            Step up to the plate Jeff, I am open to having this conversation with you, in person. hermajesty1 (at) verizon.net. And you’re invited as well George.

            Only one thing is required, honesty, openness, and concern for others. Are you game?

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @a26f26359f54d168030bdfe6695f26c6:disqus thanks for the reply, and thank you for the work that you do.

            i take issue, however, with the assumption that Jeff is somehow being disingenuous in order to – i suppose the assertion goes – better market his business.  

            I DO know Jeff, and have known him and worked closely with him for around 20 years. 

            we don’t always agree. In fact, one of the things that i value about our business and personal relationship is that we can and do disagree and still respect each other’s pov.

            that said, the implication that Jeff is somehow not being forthcoming is just wrong.

            you don’t have to believe his pov (though he does tend to support it with data), and you don’t have to believe the data (certainly, there will always be data that can counter other data).  

            All you really need to decide is whether or not the service he has created — and this I KNOW for sure: a service that was designed to help musicians gain access to a system of distribution, that prior to Jeff’s business was largely inaccessible to most — is beneficial to you or not.

            If it is, great. Use it. support it, tell others about it.

            if it’s not. don’t use it. tell others why you don’t use it, etc.

            that’s really the bottom line.

            I also take issue with the idea that Jeff is somehow not running his business the “right” way.

            you suggest in your comment that you think he should be running it another way. You state:

            “Instead he could, if he wanted to, bring together civil minded venture capitalists (they do exist) who are willing to make less money to improve the lives of musicians, care for the very people that have created a career for him, and trully [sic] give back to the community.”

            Forgive me, but this is VERY presumptuous and rude. Jeff, as all business people do, must make choices, and use business judgment. It is out of line for you to suggest that he should be financing it/running it in any other way than he has. 

            Again, I go to my points above. if you feel the service has value, use it. if not, don’t. simple.

            don’t tell him how to run his business.

            instead, start one yourself and run it precisely as you see fit.

            i KNOW Jeff would not tell you how to run yours.

            Thanks,George

          • Hermajesty1

            So, readers here is the bottom line from George and Jeff: “If it is, great. Use it. support it, tell others about it.if it’s not. don’t use it. tell others why you don’t use it, etc.” Well, we will. and there are more of us whp are willing to speak truth to money and special interests by the day.
            As far as being presumptuous, I don’t think I am and neither are others. The proof is in the pudding. Come on big guys, put your money where your collective mouths are. Or are you just enabling sociopathy? HELP ARTISTS in a real way. Care for their welfare. But you don’t really, do you? You know that there are more lamb being led to the slaughter. Money is good (after all I don’t give away my services, I would be a fool to do that), but greed (i.e. hoarding of money or structuring deals in such a way that ensures you guys make 99.9999% of what is to be made and artists say I’ll make .001% and thank you for getting f—ed) is not so good for anyone.Create value, create a world that in some way is better than the one that was given to you.Give something to your community. The musicians that you talk about are human beings. Step up and create something for them that goes beyond the .01 cent that Spotify pays. Come on you alternative guys, I thought you were the good guys.

          • Hermajesty1

            Oh and let me add, I would like to meet Jeff and you. Come, lets meet in person. Drop me an e-mail and we will do lunch. We can learn a lot about each other by just hanging, and not through this disconnected way of the internet world. 

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @a26f26359f54d168030bdfe6695f26c6:disqus 

            in response to this:
            Create value, create a world that in some way is better than the one that was given to you

            i honestly feel that Jeff (and I’ve played a VERY small role) and his team has done this and do this every day.

            my basis of comparison is the old label system (of which i was very much a part of, and which i tried at that time, and under those circumstances to do what you suggest – create value, a better world, etc.).

            some links to my work on behalf of helping artists (i co-founded and was vp/exec editor – a non-profit to help artists: http://www.artistshouse.org):

            http://www.artistshousemusic.org/node/5369/67

            i really do feel a strong commitment to trying to do what i can to help. 

            i try every day. Jeff does too.

            I’m sorry you don’t see it this way.

            all the best,

            George

          • Hermajesty1

            Lets talk value and community – in person. I have some ideas hermajesty1 at verizon.net

            Best,
            John

  • Henrikee

    It is also a consequence of the short term relationship people have with new releases these days. They want to have it available for listening for like 50 times tops and go to the next single released. Buying the single doesn’t seem like a good deal in cases like this. Of corse not everyone fits this example. For independent artists, services like Spotify increases the chance that someone who enjoyed a live performance to go listen to it afterwards without the need to buy it. And the artist gets “something” in return.

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      @c10b64c114db068235449a4ac1cb4044:disqus good point.

      Best,George

  • http://www.facebook.com/crunchysteve Steve Jay

    Music, in and of itself, has only a transitory value. It is the artist we should value. There’s no monetary value in “that was my wedding song” other than for the person who walked down the aisle to it.

    I work in a town of venues who use “paying the sound guy first” as an excuse to NOT PAY artists. “What?!” is a common reply from venue owners, “You want to be paid for doing the thing you love?!” Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. Artists create the vibe in the venue they play, they create the product that makes record labels successful and they create the party in people’s iPods. If the venues paid fairly, if the labels stopped pretending distribution costs more than the value of the records distributed and the audience stopped to think what musicians give up to give a show, they’d all stop bitching about how the music is sold, distributed and priced and they’d just say, “Oh…” and pay up.That said, I’d rather the fans got the recordings for cost price or less, directly from gigging performers who made their money touring. The whole concept of having a record label ripping off artists stems from the fallout of the end of slavery. Most labels treat artists like share croppers, keeping them living on a line of credit (the advance) and promises. If the debt isn’t paid back by sales (and creative accounting makes it impossible to do that except for the top 10%) then the artist is trapped in the Label’s terms until the debt is paid.TuneCore and iTunes allows giging artists to sell their music and make money. The only other way artists can make a quid is to only take gigs at the venues who value the artists’ contributions.So, are the fans devaluing the music, no way. It’s the labels and shonky venues who devalue music by ripping off artists. So to artists, I say, give away your music to get people to your gigs. Don’t sign with a label, don’t work for venues who only pay beer and don’t hold back your recordings. They only have a value as an advert for your live shows. End the 20th century music industry and manage yourself. Tell the labels to “f… f…FADE AWAY!” (as The Who sang.)

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      @facebook-583206143:disqus interesting points, but I believe (c) does have value.

      George

  • Htub

    Basic actuality: Do you “pay” your Dentist/Utilities provider/Cell phone service provider/ Accountant/Landlord/restaurant bill for the services they provide, at the rate THEY indicate YOU MUST pay them to ‘access’ their services? Do THAT ‘math’, and then ask yourself to “OCCUPY YOURSELF”.

    • Mark Radice

      I released this song, and CD, in 2004, when I saw it coming…”Generation Why”, as in “why pay for music you can get for free”  (the lyrics are on the page) On the CD cover is a visibly shaken “me” as I, myself, am being downloaded from the bottom up…..irony? Most people stole it, and still do…..and you? Will listen to the sample, but you won’t buy it. Not tonight. Whoever you are.  Why? Too hard. takes too long.
      http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/markradice3

  • Louis

    I’d like to talk about Lowry’s statistic that there are 25% fewer professional musicians now than there were in 2000.

    If musicians are 25% less able to form a professional class than they were 12 years ago, none of those other numbers mean anything. That’s the bottom line, as far as I’m concerned — are we selling tracks as a hobby or to make a living? Or worse, for Daniel Ek to make a living? If it’s just a fun hobby til we go to law school, that’s fine, but at least let’s define what success is.

    I hope that number isn’t true, and if you have data to refute it I’d love to hear it. Until then, all the anecdotal successes and happy talk about downloads is distraction. 

    • tunecore

      My two cents. He made it up. The evidence suggests the number of artists is up, not down
      Thank You

      Jeff Price
      http://www.TuneCore.com

      • Louis

        Number of artists, sure, I’d believe that. Number of professional artists? Number of artists making a living from their art? I have seen no evidence that this number is up.

        • tunecore

          lets start with what it was

          in the old model, 99.9% of the worlds artists were never allowed in in the first place
          of those that did get in, 98% failed

          the number of “professional” musicians appears to be pretty damn small in that world
          jeff

          • Louis

            No need for scare quotes — a professional musician is someone who makes music for a living, in practice not in theory. As small as that group may have been in the past, the claim is it’s 25% smaller now. If true this puts the lie to the claim that digital distribution has been good for musicians, as a class, financially. Nothing you’ve said is convincing me otherwise.

          • tunecore

            i was not trying to give a scare quote. I was stating a fact.

            In the old days, with rare rare rare exception, no artist could make music for a living without getting signed to one of the majors.
            Everyone started at zero.

            It was only after they got let in that they got a shot.

            And less than 99.9% of the worlds artists ever got let in.

            heres the facts:

            In its hey day, (1999) Warner Music was releasing 1 release a day – that’s 365 releases a year
            Of those releases, about 200 or so were of “new” artists – the rest were re-issues, compilations etc
            of the 200 or so, 98% of the artists that released failed.

            that means 196 of the 200 failed. They were dropped and their careers were over.
            4 “succeeded” – and of the 4 that succeeded, perhaps one ever made a band royalty off of the recorded sales of music
            compare that with the new industry

            There are between 15,000 – 20,000 new recorded releases by about as many artists each month. Now add in entities like CD Baby etc and the number gets much much higher.

            Most make very little. However, many many more make more than they ever have before. As one example, in 2011, there were five artists that made over $1,000,000 via TuneCore in recorded music sales. Now add in publishing income, tour income, merch income etc

            The TuneCore customer base has sold over 600,000,000 units of music and earned over $300,000,000 in the past two years

            If the definition of “full time working professional class musicians” is “Signed artists on labels”, then yes, that number is lower.

            Where I think we are disconnecting is that to me is not the proper definition.

            There are more artists creating more music today than at any point in history

            And these artists are earning more money off the sale of recorded music than at any point in history

            In one year in old industry between all the labels (indies included), you may have had around 50 – 100 artists make “real” money that sustained them for some time.

            I can list that many each month

            From a sheer numbers perspective the statistics you are quoting are just wrong

            However, it is not possible for the majority of artists to “make a living” due to the uniqueness of talent and music

            jeff

          • Louis

            Firstly, a scare quote is where you put something in quotes in order to imply sarcasm or that the word doesn’t represent its accepted meaning. You scare quoted “professional” musician, as if the term is subject to interpretation. I defined it for you. It is not “signed artists on labels.”

            Secondly, “from a sheer numbers perspective” — what are statistics but numbers? You keep copy pasting the same stats about major labels without addressing the original assertion, that there are fewer professional musicians now than there were 12 years ago. I don’t care how the musician in question gets paid, whether they’re independent, on a major, playing trombone on the sidewalk, etc. The assertion remains, there are 25% fewer than there were in 2000. None of what you’re saying above refutes that.

          • tunecore

            @Louis

            I did not mean to scare you with quotes.

            I disagree with you. The numbers I am quoting are real numbers. I believe them as I see them and get the data.
            These numbers indicate what you are stating is empirically wrong

            That’s really it for me

            jef

          • Louis

            That’s probably best. In the course of this thread you’ve “empirically” ignored the question, battled straw men with irrelevant numbers (irrelevant to the question at hand), and you don’t know what scare quotes are.

            I get it. David Lowery’s argument strikes at the core of the chirpy emails Tunecore sends out about how if we play our cards right and work really hard, we can find success through digital distribution.

            For some people this will be true. For the aggregate, it won’t be. For all the numbers you give out, I’ve yet to see what the median (not average) Tunecore income is. I can’t find it anywhere. I imagine that would be a very interesting number.

            Not that I blame Tunecore. The reality of digital distribution is not your fault. You profit from it, but you provide an honest service. It’s important, however, not to perpetuate illusions.

            I have no illusions about the major label system. At no point in my statements was I was defending it. I kept my focus to a very narrow question: are musicians, as a class, more or less able to make a living in music today than they were in 2000. You simply and completely failed to address this question. Zenoscillator gets it.

            If the answer is less, then it doesn’t mean the major label system was a golden age. It just means that the modern age is worse. Finding an audience is still incredibly difficult even with the internet, and if you do find one, you are less likely to make a living in music. That’s important for musicians to understand up front. It’s also important to understand who does get to make a living in this industry, and decide if you want to be a part of that (or just switch careers and become a programmer — I did).

            In the end, I love my Minders CD. Hooray for Tuesday. That was on spinart. You did good.

          • tunecore

            louis

            Love that Minders’ album!

            Yes, TuneCore gets paid a flat fee for distribution regardless of if the music sells. We do not connect our service with making money from music sales. We charge a flat fee for a service.
            The old industry worked differently – it took your copyrights and a % of the money you made when your music sold for distribution. TuneCore does not.
            TuneCore makes money off the fee for its services. If the services are not of value to our customers, then they will not buy them. Therefore, we always have to have services of value and charge prices that they believe are worth the service.
            In the event the TuneCore service is of value to you, were here to serve you.
            if not, we wish you well and will be here to help if you decide we are a fit.
            And as you stated – this is a tough tough business. Many will try, few succeed.
            Jeff

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @0be94f096dd5a6690f4f1d5572f964bd:disqus thanks for the discourse. may i ask what your suggestion/solution is/what it is you’re doing that is working that you can recommend to other artists?

            or, is it just game over in your opinions?

            George

          • tunecore

            thought you might find this of value as well

            Its an article that recently ran in Forbes magazine on the artist Alex Day
            Is YouTube and Chart Sensation Alex Day the Future of Music?

            When online star Alex Day got his first two music royalty checks for nearly $200k he had a choice to make. Do I follow the path of other self-made stars like Amanda Hocking (self-published books to a major publishing deal) and buy into the system, or do I continue to blaze my own path?
            He chose the latter. He said no to the offer of “a boot on his neck” and decided to go his own way. In this decision, he embodies the musician—the artist—of the future: self-sufficient, self-funded, and self-motivated. And now, with the launch of three new singles, he’s a pioneer of a new style of releasing and distributing music.
            The whole article is here:
            http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanholiday/2012/06/12/is-youtube-and-chart-sensation-alex-day-the-future-of-music
            jeff

          • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

             Really dude… you’re gonna copy paste the same thing into every response, why not quote a source that actually support your argument.

            Why is it so hard for you to accept the truth?

            http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/why-arent-more-musicians-working-professionally/

          • tunecore

            i dont know what else to say

            I gave you hard empirical data regarding numbers of release per month, earnings, number of artists in the market place in the old market compared to new and revenue numbers
            We even previously posted a partial list of revenue earned by our customers in one month last year, you can view it here – http://blog.tunecore.com/2011/11/tunecore-artists-music-sales-july-2011.html
            Mind you, thats one months worth of data from July of last year.

            I truly dont understand how you can say the things you are saying in light of the information I am providing.
            But in the end, I guess it doesn’t matter. You can believe there are less based on that blog posting.
            Jeff

          • tunecore

            thought you might find this of value as well

            When online star Alex Day got his first two music royalty checks for nearly $200k he had a choice to make. Do I follow the path of other self-made stars like Amanda Hocking (self-published books to a major publishing deal) and buy into the system, or do I continue to blaze my own path?

            English: Alex Day standing in front of a police box, or Tardis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
            He chose the latter. He said no to the offer of “a boot on his neck” and decided to go his own way. In this decision, he embodies the musician—the artist—of the future: self-sufficient, self-funded, and self-motivated. And now, with the launch of three new singles, he’s a pioneer of a new style of releasing and distributing music.
            The whole article is here:
            http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanholiday/2012/06/12/is-youtube-and-chart-sensation-alex-day-the-future-of-music
            jeff

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            well – now I’m copying and pasting:

            @twitter-589548221:disqus , thanks for the discourse. may i ask what your suggestion/solution is/what it is you’re doing that is working that you can recommend to other artists?

            or, is it just game over in your opinions?

            it’s pretty clear what jeff is doing and has done. I’ve had the privilege to know and work with him for nearly 20 years, and – you can believe this or not – don’t care – i’ve rarely if ever run across another person in the industry who has worked harder to provide more opportunity for artists.

            what’s your contribution?

            George

          • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

             Sorry Jeff – that 99.9% bit is lie. There were DIY and indie artists going back as least as far as the 70s. Hell, I independent distributed my own DIY records as early as 1982… The issues that Indie and DIY artists had then are nearly the same as they are now… getting enough investment and exposure to have a full time professional career. In my post below, the stats are clear that there are LESS full time working musicians today than there were a decade ago. I don’t know why you are offended by that fact, but it is a fact.

          • tunecore

            @Zeonscillator

            Im sorry, but you’re wrong. You dont have the data. I ran a label for 17 years and now TuneCore for six. I do have a perspective.
            Im not personally offended in the slightest. My issue is with wrong factual information being disseminated as it does not allow for a real conversation to occur.
            heres the facts:

            In its hey day, (1999) Warner Music was releasing 1 release a day – that’s 365 releases a year
            Of those releases, about 200 or so were of “new” artists – the rest were re-issues, compilations etc
            of the 200 or so, 98% of the artists that released failed.

            that means 196 of the 200 failed. They were dropped and their careers were over.
            4 “succeeded” – and of the 4 that succeeded, perhaps one ever made a band royalty off of the recorded sales of music
            compare that with the new industry

            There are between 15,000 – 20,000 new recorded releases by about as many artists each month. Now add in entities like CD Baby etc and the number gets much much higher.
            Most make very little. However, many many more make more than they ever have before. As one example, in 2011, there were five artists that made over $1,000,000 via TuneCore in recorded music sales. Now add in publishing income, tour income, merch income etc
            The TuneCore customer base has sold over 600,000,000 units of music and earned over $300,000,000 in the past two years

            If the definition of “full time working professional class musicians” is “Signed artists on labels”, then yes, that number is lower.

            Where I think we are disconnecting is that to me is not the proper definition.

            There are more artists creating more music today than at any point in history

            And these artists are earning more money off the sale of recorded music than at any point in history

            In one year in old industry between all the labels (indies included), you may have had around 50 – 100 artists make “real” money that sustained them for some time.

            I can list that many each month

            From a sheer numbers perspective the statistics you are quoting are just wrong

            However, it is not possible for the majority of artists to “make a living” due to the uniqueness of talent and music

            jeff

          • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

             @ Jeff, sorry you are wrong and don’t have the data and you didn’t run Warner Music Group did you? I cited my sources, why don’t you do the same. I don’t suppose you’ve heard of Soundscan?

          • tunecore

            On a side note, Soundscan does not capture most TuneCore sales data.

            No, I did not run Warner. But my label spinART was in a deal with Warner and it was distributed by them. I was literally in their offices when they were providing me the release information.
            I also received the bi-weekly new release sales books and saw the actual albums being released.
            The number of releases in the market was much lower in the 70′s and 80′s. As you move forward in time, and CDs came to the market, consolidation and some efficiencies the number of releases went up quite a bit until it hit its peak in 1999.
            Post 1999, the number of release per year via the majors began to drop. Its now at about 110 – 125 releases a year. Of those most are not new signings.
            You can look up the number of releases per year with RIAA data

            At its peak, Warner was releasing 1 release a day. spinART – my label – released 228 releases over 17 years
            you just dont have the right information, and it truly is not your fault. This stuff is not common knowledge.
            Jeff

          • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

             @ Jeff – “On a side note, Soundscan does not capture most TuneCore sales data.”

            Actually it does – you just don’t understand Soundscan. It captures the same data from Tunecore as it does from every other distributor, no exceptions.

            TuneCore releases are treated no different by Soundscan than WMG, UNI, EMI and SONY.

            If it sells, it is reported.

            http://bit.ly/RealMusicStats

          • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

             @ Jeff – “At its peak, Warner was releasing 1 release a day. spinART – my label – released 228 releases over 17 years
            you just dont have the right information, and it truly is not your fault. This stuff is not common knowledge.”

            You make a lot of assumptions. I’m an artist who has also run indie labels since 1991 – I have more data and experience than you most likely.

            That’s why I can call you on this. You can’t BS me…

          • tunecore

            this is getting tiresome

            i need to stop commenting to each one of your comments and pay more attention to some TuneCore related items
            thank you for your participation on this blog

            Jeff

          • tunecore

            im sorry, but you’re wrong

            im not trying to be mean, but you just dont have all the facts.

            Bur rather than explain it all at a technical level, may I suggest you just look at Soundscan reports against your own actual sales data and you will see they dont line up.
            jeff

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @twitter-589548221:disqus , why the rude tone? Jeff has done nothing but engage in a civil discourse with you. to rhetorically ask about soundscan as you’ve done here really made it an ad hominem argument as opposed to one about facts/issues.

            it discredits your entire pov.

            one, because it’s ad hominem.

            two, because it shows you are relying on a faulty “tool” to support your arguments. anyone who has worked in the industry knows how horribly unreliable ss is/was.

            George

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            @twitter-589548221:disqus I appreciate the dialog, but you’re just wrong here. i too ran a label for 15 years or so (one of them was rykodisc – at the time, the world’s largest indie label). as Jeff points out, you can’t conflate “signed artist” with “working artist.” the amount of money earned by artists today is vastly higher than it was in the label-era.

            I would also say that the distribution of this money is vastly wider (i.e. less concentrated amongst a very few) than it was then.

            George

        • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

           I agree Louis. The number of full time professional artists has dropped horribly over the past ten years. I think TuneCore is an amazing service to artists, but there are much bigger problems which David Lowery points out so well.

          • tunecore

            well thats simply a false statement. Linking to a blog article that is incorrect does not make it right
            heres the facts:

            In its hey day, (1999) Warner Music was releasing 1 release a day – that’s 365 releases a year
            Of those releases, about 200 or so were of “new” artists – the rest were re-issues, compilations etc
            of the 200 or so, 98% of the artists that released failed.

            that means 196 of the 200 failed. They were dropped and their careers were over.
            4 “succeeded” – and of the 4 that succeeded, perhaps one ever made a band royalty off of the recorded sales of music
            compare that with the new industry

            There are between 15,000 – 20,000 new recorded releases by about as many artists each month. Now add in entities like CD Baby etc and the number gets much much higher.
            Most make very little. However, many many more make more than they ever have before. As one example, in 2011, there were five artists that made over $1,000,000 via TuneCore in recorded music sales. Now add in publishing income, tour income, merch income etc
            The TuneCore customer base has sold over 600,000,000 units of music and earned over $300,000,000 in the past two years
            If the definition of “full time working professional class musicians” is “Signed artists on labels”, then yes, that number is lower.
            Where I think we are disconnecting is that to me is not the proper definition.

            There are more artists creating more music today than at any point in history

            And these artists are earning more money off the sale of recorded music than at any point in history

            In one year in old industry between all the labels (indies included), you may have had around 50 – 100 artists make “real” money that sustained them for some time.

            I can list that many each month

            From a sheer numbers perspective the statistics you are quoting are just wrong

            However, it is not possible for the majority of artists to “make a living” due to the uniqueness of talent and music

            jeff

          • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

             Jeff what is the source of your data, and I believe you are very confused. LESS full time professional working artists in the last 10 years no matter how you slice it. You’re anti major label rants don’t really change the facts. LESS full time professional musicians, LESS… I think it’s great that hobbyists can make a couple hundred bucks a year from their $50 tunecore investment, but that’s what it is…

          • tunecore

            the source of my data is the sales info I receive from the digital music stores on behalf of the artists, Warner Bros and standard industry statistics
            Which stat is not lining up for you?

      • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

         Jeff – he didn’t make it up, it’s from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and was reported by Salon… do you think Salon is also “making it up?”

        http://www.salon.com/2012/04/22/no_sympathy_for_the_creative_class/singleton/

        “Musical groups and artists” plummeted by 45.3 percent between August 2002 and August of 2011.”

        • tunecore

          Whats frustrating to me is you disregarding statistics straight from a source – TuneCore
          well thats simply a false statement. Linking to a blog article that is incorrect does not make it right
          heres the facts:

          In its hey day, (1999) Warner Music was releasing 1 release a day – that’s 365 releases a year
          Of those releases, about 200 or so were of “new” artists – the rest were re-issues, compilations etc
          of the 200 or so, 98% of the artists that released failed.

          that means 196 of the 200 failed. They were dropped and their careers were over.
          4 “succeeded” – and of the 4 that succeeded, perhaps one ever made a band royalty off of the recorded sales of music
          compare that with the new industry

          There are between 15,000 – 20,000 new recorded releases by about as many artists each month. Now add in entities like CD Baby etc and the number gets much much higher.
          Most make very little. However, many many more make more than they ever have before. As one example, in 2011, there were five artists that made over $1,000,000 via TuneCore in recorded music sales. Now add in publishing income, tour income, merch income etc
          The TuneCore customer base has sold over 600,000,000 units of music and earned over $300,000,000 in the past two years
          If the definition of “full time working professional class musicians” is “Signed artists on labels”, then yes, that number is lower.

          Where I think we are disconnecting is that to me is not the proper definition.

          There are more artists creating more music today than at any point in history

          And these artists are earning more money off the sale of recorded music than at any point in history

          In one year in old industry between all the labels (indies included), you may have had around 50 – 100 artists make “real” money that sustained them for some time.

          I can list that many each month

          From a sheer numbers perspective the statistics you are quoting are just wrong

          However, it is not possible for the majority of artists to “make a living” due to the uniqueness of talent and music

          jeff

          • http://twitter.com/zenoscillator zenoscillator

             Jeff – stop it. You’re making stuff up now. You keep claiming numbers that you won’t publish, but I found this which is pretty clear….

            http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-business/491725-tunecore-stats.html

            “For The Record I like the service Tunecore provides . This issue is more about realities of making money in music.

            How people use Nielsen to hurt musicians. (TuneCorner)

            We should do a little math to get to the main “spirit” of Silvermans
            argument. I am going to take numbers straight from Jeff’s post

            Top 14 selling tunecore artists sold

            6,375,000 Tracks.

            Tunecore artists overall sold ( this number would include titles from
            2007 so pushing the over all per title sales down . Thus the number
            would be LOWER than even what I am posting )

            42,000,000 Tracks . Subtract the 6,375,000 tracks that the top 14 artists that leaves you with

            35,625,000 tracks sold for the other 90,000+ new and catalog titles.

            Titles published in 2008

            90,000

            Taking out those 14 Titles

            The AVERAGE tracks sold in 2008 of every other title on tunecore was

            395 tracks sold( 39.5 total albums sold )

            for a average title gross of

            $277 dollars per year. for all but the top 14 Artists”

          • tunecore

            you are wrong in your data points and now you have moved into a really odd area of averages and link back to a gear slutz blog posting that is over two years old?
            I think you might find this article of interest as it responds to these random points you are bringing up http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2011/11/blogger-criticizes-artists-for-making-money-tunecore-ceo-jeff-price-responds.html
            To pull one small quote I wrote from it

            The “average income” formula you created may be the most useless, meaningless statistic I’ve ever seen. Here’s an example as to why:
            An artist that makes $20 a year in music sales sits alone in a room. Average made per artist = $20. Now an artist that makes $1,000,000 a year enters the same room. Average made per artist = $500,010.
            So what did we just prove exactly? Same thing you did; nothing.

            Yes, those were the number a number of years ago. In 2011, TuneCore Artists earned over $100,000,000 in Gross Music sales.
            This year they are tracking to $175,000,000

            You’re arguing without information.

            Jeff

          • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

            one thing is indisputable: the number of artists who have the opportunity to make money from music has grown exponentially.

            Best,George

  • OneWorldDestiny

    1) ‎”the convenience point” being so true… as soon as the a super-convenient hardware-software combination gets mainstream, the whole picture will change within a very short time… ; ) music is waiting for its “google+facebook+walkman+iphone+app+streaming” supermodel : ) 
    2) the future is 
    a) not “pay per music-unit”, it’s “pay the service, playlist generator, algorythms” 
    b) not download but streaming 

    1+2) not only musician have a hard time but also listeners/ fans/ audiophils: they/ we (every musician is a listener, too) now listen to -let’s say- 200 songs to find 1 we can add to our library. so listeners will pay to get the 200 number down because the 199 songs take time and hurt, and at the end they/ we have listened to music but had a bad time (discovering)!?! ; ) 

    3) “the number of professional musicians living on their music” is THE number to focus on, all other numbers and comments are secondary

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/markradice3 Mark Radice

    I released this song, and CD, in 2004, when I saw it coming…”Generation Why”, as in “why pay for music you can get for free”  (the lyrics are on the page) On the CD cover is a visibly shaken “me” as I. myself, am being downloaded from the bottom up…..irony? Most people stole it, and still do…..and you? Will listen, but you won’t buy it. Not tonight. Whoever you are.  Why? Too hard. takes too long.
    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/markradice3

  • Shout

    Well written and valid points.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Point5communications Will Buckley

      Thank you.

      • Hermajesty1

        hi Will,

        Would love to chat with you about all this. hermajesty1 at verizon.netThank you for your honesty and bravery.

  • Sonicgrif

    Sorry here is a rant about anyone who expect artists to work for free and “earn it”. As if an artist hasn’t spent more hours on their craft before creating it that they still have to “earn it” after spending years, tears, months, and hours improving it. Regarding the comment : “… as much as I hate to say it, being an artist does not entitle the artist to get money. They have to earn it. And not everyone can.”

    We are all human and make mistakes. However, you are working for someone and posting an article on Tunecore for monetary compensation. You earn your pay by showing up to work and writing this article. Otherwise how will you pay for your transportation, rent, food, clothing, education, and bills. Nothing is free when it comes to waking up in the morning and doing any work or side job. By the simple act of going to and showing up for work and CLOCKING IN you are earning your pay. It is all done under the guarantee or assumption in some cases of monetary compensation plus benefits for most.

    QUESTION: Why should an artist spend a single minute making something for the general public to enjoy permanently for FREE when the artist shows up and “clocks in” to work long days just like you do at your job?  How is the artist going to pay their recording studio and purchase his/her instruments? Can’t pay the bills on goods looks alone or with puppy dog eyes. Unfortunately there exists this new lazy collegue grad mentality that one “deserves” free everything desired and anyone asking for payment of their work is crazy… unless it is oneself / the critic complaining about others getting paid for their work. Why ask for someone to foot the bill while complaining about struggling artists who sometimes couch surf while working and developing their craft asking compensation for their 18 hour days, sweat, blood, and tears plus nail bitting stressful days searching for anything that will expand their future so they can continue to create new art for the general public (who ignorantly insists on getting in to the “concert for free” so to speak). You can’t get in to the show for free. Why should you get the music for free?

    Everything free just because non-artists deem it so is absurd and ignorantly miss the costs of living and producing art in reality outside of everyones video game existence is extremely immature. Too bad the music recording studios, mastering, music stores, and advertisers charge these artists expensive fees to promote their art which you want for free. Reality costs money. Mommy and Daddy can’t provide you freebies forever and artists are not your parents who are there to feed you and iron your clothes. Don’t be a hipocrite or else work for free everyday of your life the same way you expect artists to do so. Walk what you talk and stop making excuses for being cheap and unartistic while leeching off talented artist to download their ringtones on your phones. Be sensible and use your head to do the math. If you are able to calculate in the real world you will realize that nothing is free regardless of cyber-reality, facebook, youtube, and google. Grow up and be realistic. Artists earn merit and their keep by simply creating their art. You cannot comprehend the time and stress levels they go through just to bring it into reality for you to enjoy and criticize.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Point5communications Will Buckley

      You do realize that you ruined my posts with your reply? 

      Will Buckley:   What are you smoking?

      Shout:   Well written and valid points.

      Will Buckley:  Thank you.

    • http://twitter.com/Mecca_Lecca Jonny Leather

      I will start my own response rant with the statement that I do agree that if you make something and people enjoy it, then you deserve compensation…

      Not let’s get to the point. If you create music/art simply because you want to be paid, you don’t deserve a penny. Artists do not create because it’s their job, they create because they are artists. Because that is what they do. Because without it, there would be a deep emptiness within their soul. Ask Ian Mckay if he’d still have released music if he wasn’t able to support himself on it, and I guarantee he says yes. FM Cornog from Eat River Pipe is on Merge, yet he works at Home Depot full time. He never made enough to support himself on music, even before Napster, because he didnt tour. Did that stop him from making records? No!

      Van Gogh didn’t sell paintings when he was alive, Moondog surely didn’t make money, neither did painter Henry Darger. They just created because that’s what’s in their DNA. 

      We speak a lot about the entitled attitude of the consumers. I agree, it’s there. But the artists have a sense of entitlement too. 

      Hey everyone, I just spent a lot of time doing what I love to do, fighting my personal demons. I put it on record. Now, consume it or be damned. 

      Art is therapy. Without it, most of those who create would go insane. I’m with them. 

      For years, I photographed bands for free. Wrote about them for free. Booked shows for them, where they got paid and I took nothing.  I bought their records. Went to their shows. Bought t-shirts. 

      Now I run a small indie record label with multiple national touring bands. I’ve not taken a dime for the long hours I’ve put in helping these bands connect with booking agents, get press from reputable media outlets, and sell records. I’ve taken 0% from sales, despite putting in small donations to help get records made and released. I’m not rich. Not even close. I have a separate full time job that supports this addiction. I do this all because this is what makes my life worth living. 

      With all due respect to David Lowery. He definitely knew Vic Chesnutt and Mark Linkous better than I did, but how dare he credit their inability to make money on music as the reason that they’re no longer with us. That is some serious bullshit. Those guys had greater problems that led to what happened. They loved making music, and I guarantee that they’d still have made music if they weren’t getting paid anything. 

      If you treat your music as a product more than as an expression, you’re a lost cause. 

      The business of music is what hurts the music business. 

      Sure, there are some flaws to the model, but it’s up to the business to adjust to the needs of the consumer. If the consumer sees no value in music, then it’s up to musicians to help the see a value again, not just force a value upon it. 

      We have more than enough artists in this world. They overvalue themselves, because of a past history of being overvalued. Much of the product is a throwaway. The purpose of music is to inspire. And if you are truly inspiring people with your music, you’ll get enough in return to continue doing so. 

      sorry for the rant. I hope the discussion continues, as it’ll be progressive for all of our sides to see more clearly and be successful in the future

      • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

        @twitter-20074141:disqus beautiful post.

        If you treat your music as a product more than as an expression, you’re a lost cause. 

        music must be an external manifestation of your internal values. for those who do this well, and attract others who share the same values, there typically is a reciprocal relationship that *can* be both financially and soulfully sustainable.

        George

  • http://www.facebook.com/ReubenBrockMusic Reuben Brock

    I think we should all embrace the cloud. And we should encourage the industry and Congress to do the same. By having intellectual content only available by using a cloud service where no download is possible, then piracy becomes a lot more difficult. And file sharing becomes a thing of the past.

    No more downloads, just the users “paid for” content in their portion of the cloud. Everyone who creates content (music, movies, pictures…) has a secure path to distribute their content. This model also needs to have a 21st century approach to paying the artists so that a percentage of the fees goes to the artist as their content becomes part of someones (the consumers) cloud content list.

    I would suggest that all artists refuse to supply content to any provider that still uses “last century” mp3 or CD models. I would also suggest that some independent cloud providers jump in, just to keep all the money from going to Google and iTunes/Apple. I think the record labels should get on board with this as well, and refuse to provide any major label music/content that is not protected in a “no download” cloud based environment.

    Movie companies, are you listening.

    Artists of the world unite. Get a hold of Congress, pressure Apple and Google. Record and movie companies get on board. Let’s get where everyone can not only provide some of the most amazing content yet, but everyone gets paid so we can continue doing what we love for the people who love it….

    • ztarz7s

      This sounds like a possible idea until you read the iCloud terms of service. Because couched in there is the loss of inheritance rights:”No ConveyanceNothing in this Agreement shall be construed to convey to you any interest, title, or license in an Apple ID, email address, domain name, iChat ID, or similar resource used by you in connection with the Service.
      No Right of Survivorship
      You agree that your Account is non-transferable and that any rights to your Apple ID or Content within your Account terminate upon your death. Upon receipt of a copy of a death certificate your Account may be terminated and all Content within your Account deleted.”

      Welcome to a world where the Corporation owns you and your inheritors own nothing.

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      @facebook-100000479631682:disqus it will be interesting to see – after some more time has elapsed – if piracy does decrease as we move inexorably towards more cloud-based streaming.

      Best,George

  • http://www.facebook.com/charlie.pecot Charlie Pecot

    Are things better or worse?  I think the whole point is moot.  Trends show that current consumers do not want to pay for a file anyway; they would rather pay for access.  You are not going to change their habits simply because you don’t like them.  If you are an artist and you want to make money with your music you will have to either deal with companies who will pay you by stream/download, or sell the stream/download yourself.  I chose the latter.  I’m also a programmer and I wrote my own software.  I could probably my program, and make more money, but I’d rather focus on my music.  I also have to do all my own promotion.  It’s all DIY.  I have to accept the fact that I’m part of that 99%.  This is reality. There are an abundance of artists out there who really don’t care if they make a dime who make more money than I do.  I already have to compete with them.  If you don’t like the game, then don’t play.  

    Remember when farmers were complaining about how difficult it was for them to make a living?  Farm Aid, anyone?  I can still hear one say “My daddy owned this farm, and his daddy owned this farm before him” and I thought who cares? If you can’t make a living doing what doing get a new job.  No one owes you work simply because you chose the same profession as your father.  I wish that were true.  no, there were too many farms and too many farmers to have been sustained by the economy for various reasons. Farming is not a sacred occupation, and neither is making music.

    • ztarz7s

      I commend you on your do it yourself approach. I, for one, have made a specialty, in my career, of adapting to whatever game was afoot, at whatever time. And I’m a DIY guy. I play all the instruments myself, engineer, produce, mix, master, promote, market. I have my own successful Indie label with other Artists on there as well. As a DIY guy, I was the 25th artist at mp3. com. I was the 4th artist at Liquid Audio. I was among the pioneers of using “covers” at iTunes to break my solo career. But with those adaptations, there was enough income to justify the changes. Here, I question, with the new streaming and subscription paradigm, whether there is enough income in the current game for all but a tiny few. When Rhapsody was the main streaming paradigm, I saw that as “radio play”. But with YouTube, we now are witnessing the slow destruction of the incentive to buy. Because if you have 24/7 access to my video, why buy the record? Just a curious question?
       

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      @facebook-1103126608:disqus making a living via creation of any form of art is indeed a rare privilege.

      Best,George

  • http://www.facebook.com/charlie.pecot Charlie Pecot

    Most of the files residing on music players are encoded at 128kbs.  If all music were released through Creative Commons licenses this music would be considered free anyway.  Most CD reproduction is done at this same rate.  From one viewpoint, consumers who been paying for low res files have been ripped off.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fnarg Bill Lambert

    I’m with you on this one, Jeff.  I think the only sane approach is to listen to the 21-year old intern and find a way to cater to her wants.  I’ve never been one to follow blindly, and if the traditional music industry seems ridiculous to a person with no previous indoctrination to the system, then it probably is ridiculous by modern standards.  I sure think it is, and I was around back when fast-dubbing boomboxes were the hottest thing since neon-green ballcaps.

    There is no magic solution to the problem of selling music, but to blame it on the consumer is absolutely moronic.  I have no sympathy for David Lowery’s stance because he is labeling the user a thief.  What a great way to start a business relationship with a potential customer…  The one thing all these dinosaurs ignore is the time investment.  It’s pretty easy to find most popular music on file sharing sites, but it is often tedious and unreliable, thanks to spammers, malware, fake files, slow download speeds, obnoxious ads, and sometimes poor quality rips.  If the legitimate process is significantly easier, quicker and safer than the shady alternatives, people will pay for that convenience.  Perhaps the question should be: at what price point will the pirate decide to become a paying customer ?

    For some people, that price point is zero, meaning they will never spend a dime on you.  They are lost causes, not even worth fighting as they will always get their way.  Most people are not such freeloaders, but they might feel the price and value are not in equilibrium.  Perhaps they’d be willing to pay $5 for that album, or maybe they just want one song for 99 cents.  Since the cost of duplicating those bits is negligible (less than one penny), I say sell it at any price.  TAKE THE CLIENT’S MONEY!  If they’re offering five bucks, take it.  Five is more than zero.  Make it so affordable that they won’t bother wasting their time on file sharing sites.

    • ztarz7s

      What the 21 year old intern wants is to have as much free goods as possible with no headache to obtain those goods. What Spotify wants is to have as much content as possible, be supported by subscriptions and pay fractions of a penny for that content per stream. What Ancestry.com, Verizon and Samsung want is for fans to get their music from pirate sites and click thru on their ads. How, on God’s green Earth does that translate as a sane way to make a living, people? Am I missing something here folks?

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      @facebook-578066780:disqus 

      really good point about the “lost causes.” find customers who value your work, and WANT to support you. don’t worry about those who never will.

      Best,George

  • ItisBetterNow

    Another clear-eyed commentary, Jeff.My decades-long background in the music business includes being both in the creative end as well as in the radio and retail sides and I can co-sign on what you’ve written.Over the decades, I’ve seen artists’ careers crushed under the burden of recoupment which not only entailed dubious accounting but also ‘fun’ stuff like kickbacks etc etc.In too many cases,the record labels didn’t just say “oh well” when a release commercially failed, they refused to release the artist from their contract until the monies were recouped.
    Some, in their prime, were denied contract releases and agonizingly watched as some of their greatest work never saw the light of the day, while having to pass on offers (from eager labels,top record producers) because they couldn’t get a contract release.I saw horrifying examples like this increase as consolidation grew in both the record and radio industries.In the case of radio, more consolidation meant shrinking playlists, less mom and pop/independently-owned radio stations and less happy accident occurrences of unknown, non-priority acts having breakthrough hits.

    Being a full-time professional musician has always been a hard slog and is not for everyone.
    And in essence, I don’t expect that to change.

    But I reiterate in all my decades of experience, I have never seen anything like TuneCore.
    I guess for some to really appreciate it, they’ve had to have ‘been there’ back in the day to really see how it was. Or at the very least, to have actually read a standard record contract.

    As for the glow of the old industry’s ‘golden age”, I know too many million-selling artists bitter, in varying degrees, about the deals they signed in which they gave away their copyrights.

    • ztarz7s

      Well then, for those artists who “gave away their copyrights”, perhaps they should get aggressive and get them back! I did this with EMI music and got my first hits back. It is possible, you know. 

      • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

        @ztarz7s:disqus 

        good point.

        George

      • ItisBetterNow

         Thanks for the encouragement, I’ll pass it on!

  • http://www.roxelders.com/ TheRoxelders

    Our world is full of people who want everything for FREE, just so they can say they have more and didn’t have to pay for it. Look at the woman from Duluth, MN who was fined 1. something million dollars for having music in her possession that she DIDN”T PAY FOR. This is a prime example of how the public thinks they should just be able to get music for free without paying the artist. The big “Sharing of Music” has virtually killed the artist. I know Bands who are having to PAY clubs to get in just to be noticed!!!!!!!!!! There is a whole change in the culture because of this behavior, leaving artist nothing and doing free shows because the public thinks they don’t have to BUY the music. They can just go online and listen to it for free and the artist is out money all around. Part of this culture has been created by what I call the deperate and stupid artists and bands. If artists and bands would stop sharing and stop doing free shows and paying a clubs to get in, this whole problem could very well go away. “Artists”…Stop selling yourselves short and start selling your music. The Best thing the industry did was finally getting everything in a huge database, now its up to us, the artist to make sure we get payed for every play and search.I totally disagree with the concept of people just finding the song they like and playing it, not realizing or caring about the artist or if they get paid for the fan listening. Like musicians are just scum and don’t deserve a paycheck? We artists have to change the culture we have so ignorantly created.

    • ztarz7s

      “Part of this culture has been created by what I call the deperate and stupid artists and bands. If artists and bands would stop sharing and stop doing free shows and paying a clubs to get in, this whole problem could very well go away.”

      Absolutely true, IMHO. But you try telling that to a 19 or 20 year old who lives at home with Mom & Dad. Or a weekend warrior who makes his money from his day job.

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      @983de23b8ae8ead361603effe100a610:disqus 

      this is an important point:
      Artists”…Stop selling yourselves short and start selling your music. 

      artists have to believe that their fans want to compensate them for their work.

      Best,George

      • ztarz7s

        George, if a fan would rather tune in to Spotify than buy on iTunes, how do you suggest this sells music and helps them make a living? No sir, it’s by withholding freebies that I sold my downloads. A service has no value otherwise. When they can stream it or watch it 24/7, the incentive to buy is, somehow, muted. I did well at CD Baby because I gave NOTHING away. I switched over to Tunecore because some of CD Baby’s new Terms are objectionable to me. Then, this spring, Tunecore offered an exposure compilation and it’s terms are: give it away for exposure. No royalties. A contradiction in the Tunecore philosophy? So I remain confused, not as to your stated objective, but, perhaps, the means to achieve that objective.

  • @ThisIsRidley

    “Finally, as much as I hate to say it, being an artist does not entitle the artist to get money. They have to earn it. And not everyone can.”

    This is a ridiculous point. I’m an artist, a struggling one at that, and I don’t expect people to just ‘give me money’. But when I bear the costs, labour and time to create and record a piece of music, and then people listen to and enjoy that music, then I feel I’ve earned it. That’s exactly the debate here. They’ve consumed my product, and I expect to be paid as if it were a coffee or a croissant. It’s as simple as this. I’m 23 and I’m struggling to exist doing music – the thing I love, despite working 60+ hours a week at it. How long do I do that for? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IXWBDRby3o

    • tunecore

      could not agree more. Your music has value – both economic and social. You deserve to be paid for it. And anyone that says otherwise is just dead wrong.
      Jeff

      • ztarz7s

        Yes. But the value has been artificially reduced by the so-called “exploitation economy”. I think that is where the real problem may lie. Because, between 2005 and 2008, my music was selling and selling and selling. Sharing, piracy and the consumer’s mindset (“I deserve music for free, or by subscription, or by streaming) is killing sales. But hey, I don’t blame the fans. They were taught this by Michael Robertson starting back at mp3.com from 1998 thru their demise. And in the end, MR walked away with $11 million. Did he offer any to the Artists who put him there? Not! I had 16 #1 singles at mp3.com. Had 230,000 downloads. Earned $4700 from his majesty Michael. Nothing has changed. When iTunes removed DRM, they opened the door to piracy. Because they don’t really care. They sell iPods and iPads. Their content is really a loss leader, if you will. The emperor just bought some alternative clothes. Yes, all music has value. But the Exploitation economy sees to it that that value flows up to aggregators, not to Artists. It reminds me of Booking Agents. Hey, I even used to be one. We made money, no matter who we booked. 80/20 rule you know, Jeff. ITunes is the first aggregator in music history to take 30% of a sale for risking nothing to create that content, save storage. That is a sobering thought.

        • tunecore

          its interesting, Brick and Mortar worked very similarly to iTunes

          that is, Tower bought the CD at a wholesale price, marked it up 30% and sold it
          iTunes buys the music (song or album) at wholesale price, marks it up 30% and sells it
          Tower made money off of carrying the music even if they did not sell it – they charged the labels “co-op” money to put the CD on their shelves. The label would literally “rent” shelf space from Tower (and all other retailers) to get their releases on their shelves – usually at a cost of $1.50 – $3.00 per CD shipped.
          Brick and mortar made hundreds of millions not by selling the CDs, but by simply placing them on their shelf.
          Its more or less the same thing with a slight twist to it…

          jeff

          • ztarz7s

            What you’ve omitted, is that there are no returns in digital and iTunes WANTS everything ever recorded, regardless of quality. Their approach to content is as a loss leader for selling hardware. By making EVERYTHING available to EVERYONE, they can do this. iTunes does not make “millions” by failure to sell product. They make millions by selling access hardware.

          • tunecore

            i did not omit it, i was providing additional information as I found it interesting that Best Buy or Tower would make millions off of co-op dollars and not sell a single CD to do it.
            Apple absolutely views all media as a way to sell hardware just as the physical retailer viewed physical media as a way to make money by renting its shelf space
            jeff

        • http://paulbeard.org/wordpress paul beard

          So you would advocate bringing back DRM?

          I think they opened the door to convenience, not piracy. As long as physical media was available for the ripping, piracy wasn’t going away. But allowing people to buy something they could listen to anywhere on any device seemed to boost sales. It also got Apple out of an arms race with its own customers on someone else’s behalf.

          Maybe it’s already been mentioned as I haven’t scanned the whole thread but doesn’t this boil down to the removal of physical artifacts — a simple DRM system, a bulky hardware dongle — from the relationship between artist and audience? Dintermediation

          • ztarz7s

            You raise several points all at once.

            I feel that the absence of DRM does promote piracy with downloading.

            But here is my specific problem. My label went to an all download format back in 2006 because the expense of self marketing 30 different catalog items as CD’s was prohibitively expensive. You can’t justify pressing 30,000 copies for the demand that was not present at that level for the physical product.

            My label has sold under 1000 CD’s of physical product. But our download sales are at almost 230,000 for mp3.com back 10 years ago and 270,000 more since. So my relationship to backing the CD is nostalgic, at best. For myself, I do not tour so the scenario of t-shirts and on stage merch does not exist for me. 

            What has proven to be a great existence, is making records, releasing them digitally at very little expense and having them available for purchase 24/7, worldwide, with NO inventory, whilst owning the Masters, the songs, the publishing, etc. And then, licensing that catalog for TV and motion picture sync use.

            Which is the promise of Tunecore, fulfilled, if you will, exactly as Jeff has described it.

            This has been humming along from 2005 thru 2008. Since then, not as good. At first, I blamed the economy. Everyone does. But then, with the DMCA situation, I began to realize that the future was being threatened by forces that have nothing to do with the physical goods. Because those are pirated as well. It’s not just the downloads. You can see first run movies in Thailand before they are even rerleased in the USA. You can go over to 4shared.com or filestube.com and pick up The Beatles for $0.15. Why would the audience buy our merch or our CD’s or anything else when they can get EVERYTHING for FREE? This does not make any sense to this veteran of music economics.

            If you think I’m going to bust my butt, dragging around the US, playing hundreds of gigs for next to nothing to monetize downloads, then the economics are as upside down as the Housing industry. I’ve retired from touring. So my problem remains: how do I protect my recorded output and catalog from a system that wants the public to change it’s morality to legalize looting?

            No, what is really at stake here is the potential destruction of copyright as private property and the resulting advantage seized by forces that really don’t care who they hurt as long as it benefits themselves. And all the opportunity that Jeff and George have on offer doesn’t mean a hill of beans if that happens, however noble their good intentions.

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      @thisisridley:disqus - You’re right. It’s important to understand – and Jeff and I have spent a lot of time trying to articulate this – where your rights lie, and what related assets you have - i.e. the bundle of rights you automatically get when you create an original work (right to reproduce, etc.). this is how you make money, and there are now more and easier ways to access this.
      George

  • Marshallmitchell

    If I may be so bold to state….STOP!!! Having been in the biz for over 30 years (making money hand over fist one week and starving the next three) I have come to the conclusion…it ALL begins with….what do YOU (the writer, the artist, the label, the agent) want from music???

    If you’re looking to get rich, be famous, get drugs…booze…chicks..live the high life…this is NOT the vocation to do it (no matter what MTV says). Go into politics…it’s more lucrative. But, back on point…music is a business of emotional opinion. How can one artist sell millions of units while another (just as comparable ) artist only sells 2000? The easiest way to describe it is “They improved the taste of dog food!!” Marketing!!! Pure and simple. Big money equals big voice!

    If you want to buy a new Chevy…you PAY what they are asking. If you want to go see a movie…you PAY what the ticket costs. The music vocation has so many folks vieing for the same nickle…it’s the one who has the “powers” behind them that often succeed. (Hence the BIG labels). They are not BIG because they are lucky…they are BIG because they “do” business. WE do business (albeit on a smaller scale)….learn from the BIG BOYS (and girls).

    I’m not concerned with factual percentages of sales…(I’m more concerned with MY sales) but, I know enough about the biz to keep my head above water and know when to swim and when to tread. My method is NOT to “want”…but to concentrate on “need.” It’s a fine line we walk (as artists) in wanting to be noticed…but we realize we need to eat (and pay the bills). We work on the craft…learn the business and apply sound principles that will springboard our goals into reality. 

    Be honest with yourself…if you like the sounds…purchase them….if you make the sounds….make them worth purchasing. Best to all…..

    • tunecore

      Amen

      Thank You

      Jeff Price
      http://www.TuneCore.com

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      @1518c1f80524f93cd234450046eadb38:disqus really well stated.Thanks,

      George - 

  • http://www.youtube.com/schlagameista Schlagameista

    Perhaps more would-be-fans would pay for downloads if the artist could directly reward the buyer for his patronage.  Artists require more specific information about the buyer to engineer compelling incentives and fan experiences.

    What about a concert ticket discount or a direct invitation to a fan-to-fan introduction event?  Maybe it is something else.  Let us experiment.  Why are the distribution companies still treating their customer lists like trade secrets?  

    We, the artists, only want the identity of people who bought our stuff.  If we could talk directly to our new fans, we could better understand how to please them.

    Here is an example of a reporting infrastructure:

    (1) Every legal download or streamed performance event would be uniquely registered and logged to a real-time “consumption feed” associated with every customer.

    (2) Artists would subscribe to the feed, i.e., from iTunes, for a reasonable fee.

    (3) Artists would hire analysts to run queries over this information to understand how to provision geographic resources for an upcoming tour or to incentivize further online consumption.

    What do you think of a real-time purchase reporting infrastructure to empower artists to pursue direct marketing?  Is this something that Tunecore could help negotiate?

    • http://www.roxelders.com/ TheRoxelders

      I somewhat agree with your Ideas about Marketing Our music, though there may be some privacy issues to tend to.
      I do believe Facebook, Twitter, Google etc already have a simular marketing model in place.
      A bit confusing through all the links to marketers and of how and who is being marketed to. Like when you browse on the net for a certain product and start getting bombarded with ads directed to you because of your present and past searches for this product. I think it would work for musicians though the hiring of analysts is pushing the envelope since most bands trying to make it can’t afford to eat, let alone hiring another guy for marketing. This is where the service from tunecore comes in, directly sending fans your way through there own analysts hired for this specific service. Therefore Tunecore would have the marketing infrastruture letting and leaving the musician to do what they do best…making music.

      • http://www.youtube.com/schlagameista Schlagameista

        You misunderstand.  I am talking about a service that artists subscribe to for building their mailing list with iTunes customers and Spotify subscribers that already buy your music.  Customers can opt-out of the reporting on a per artist basis–so no privacy issues here.

        I am not talking about building another Twitter, nor Facebook.  I am not talking about services like ad choices.  I am just talking about getting raw buying information, i.e., receipts, from the music services.  The artist is owed this information.  Why is it still held captive by music distributors?  If someone buys my song, I need to know exactly who did.

        Everybody is responsible for his own risk management.  You cannot improve performance of your business without understanding your customer.  That is all I am saying.

        For example, it is in Apple’s best interest to release iTunes buying information, specific to the artist, so we can improve our marketing to our, I mean, Apple’s customers on iTunes.  I want to see the receipt or at least a unique receipt identifier that we can match up against Apple’s customer database to prove a purchase.  On the basis of this proof-of-purchase, we can provide other incentives to the customer, i.e., mobile ticketing and real-time automated billing amendments.  In this way, you could “lock synchronize” a real world event with the online sales of your new album.  We need information.

        Right now, you can’t communicate directly to your customer on iTunes and improve your understanding about what motivates him to buy.  If digital downloads are part of your business, why can’t you integrate that behavior into your comprehensive business plan?  No.  Ping is not a solution.  The artist is still made to feel as though he is a predator and this is wrong–for too many reasons.

        This “anonymous customer” situation is insanity.  Just because this is traditional practice of music retailers and distributors does not mean that it is right.

        • ztarz7s

          What motivates fans to buy my records is that they like them and want to own them. I don’t need a marketing survey to know this. I have known this to be true since 1964 when I started buying them!

          As to the modern world:Jango airplay has a great demographic analysis system for this which has pointed me in the right direction for years from the 73,000+ spins I’ve had with them. I see which songs are hits. I see which fans of other Artists like my songs and in very specific demographic percentages. I see the geography of the fans. I see the gender of the fans. I have their names, emails, ages, etc. I don’t need iTunes for this.I was, for example, surprised to find that the chief age demo for my instrumental music was 25-35 60/40 male to female. This was quite a surprise to me considering that I’m 61 years old. But given the fact that I embrace ultra modern, if not futuristic technology with my music, perhaps, it’s not too surprising. But you know,analysis is paralysis, as the saying goes.I use this bundle of information to market accordingly and from that POV, it helps considerably. But I reiterate my POINT: it is becoming rapidly impossible to monetize our marketing efforts, if every time you release a CD, it gets pirated for free, using big corporate resources to fund the illegal efforts. Stop that, and you stop the problem.

          • http://www.youtube.com/schlagameista Schlagameista

            Monetizing the marketing is a dead horse, agreed.

            So give me receipts please, so I can reach out directly to the new fans that discovered me and monetize things I can control—like producing performances and events with issues meaningful to my fans.

            Personally, I would want my favorite band to reach me directly if it was in my area, wanted my feedback, and would introduce me to my fellow fans at a local fan only event.

            The social benefit that artists can provide is to help build communities with their art. Artists must really try harder to care about what their fans need and stop being so self-centered. Exploit the reality that people are hurting and lonely.

            Honestly, cities like NYC are very lonely places. Why do you think people live on their handys?

    • ztarz7s

      I believe you may be raising issues of privacy which might be unacceptable to many fans. I doubt Apple could get consent from their Cloud subscribers for this. But, perhaps, I underestimate the pliancy of the iTunes user base. I, for one, as an iTunes user, would never consent to such a thing.

  • http://paulbeard.org/wordpress paul beard

    Something mentioned here that I have never understood. The ownership of “the copyright in this recording” seems to be with the label, always. As noted, even if the advance is recouped, the artist doesn’t get it. If you pay off yor mortgage you get the title to your house. I’m sure the “why” is because the labels like it that way. It worked for Col Tom Parker and his 50%…

    Makes me wonder if the “stickin’ it to the Man” argument, of ripping off the soulless corporation, would have less power if the artists were the public face of the music business. Thieves will be thieving, the opacity of how/if artists are paid probably tips people who might otherwise pay to let it slide.

    • ztarz7s

      Well, you’ve forgotten to mention licensing. At this point in time, the really big legacy acts, like Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Paul Simon, license their original Masters back to the labels. And Dave Clark did this as far back as 1964. These are, to be sure more the exception than the rule. Oh, The Beach Boys did this as far back as 1967 with “Smiley Smile” on their Brother Records imprint. And of course, there is Apple Records, dating back to 1968. 

      The labels have always approached the situation as: “we have all the control of the distribution so we call the terms”. This of course, shifts with pressure to keep the more successful artists happy.

      That being said, the reason I embraced having my own Indie label over the last decade, was so I could own the copyrights the way the Majors did. This has become very beneficial to me in this era of licensing for film and TV. The Internet democratized distribution system made this possible for a much lower risk than previously possible. And Jeff and George’s Tunecore setup furthers that possibility as they have described.

      As I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I fought EMI to retrieve my first hits. They relented when they were presented with irreconcilable issues that can not be revealed here. But they DID surrender the copyrights. Of course, given the current sharing climate, perhaps they figured their worth was reduced. Time will tell.

      But……the real problem now, from my POV, is that digital piracy and corporate consent to same in the form of Ad sense advertising and the financial implications of that posture are rapidly rendering effective monetization impossible, regardless of the “opportunties” that Jeff and George offer thru Tunecore’s business model. Trichordist has ran articles about this a lot lately, and the fact that they’ve been censored for this by Google raises the eyebrow even further in this poster’s mind. This is not my imagination. I have ran dozens of DMCA takedown notices to Google, and to the dozens of websites responsible for infringements. It now occupies about half my work time week to week.

      This, then raises the question of whether or not the DMCA is a really effective law. Because, buddy, let me tell you something: if websites were held liable for their content, piracy would disappear overnight.

      • http://paulbeard.org/wordpress paul beard

        Not so much forgetting as not knowing much about it. Thanks for the reply.

        So it boils down to “you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”

        • ztarz7s

          This is, perhaps, true in any business. And that does depend on two things: 
          a) Leverage
          b) knowledge

          Without a, b is impossible to implement. Without b, you don’t know that you possess a).

          My approach has been to follow the money and negotiate accordingly.

  • David6jackson

     Great article, but what I would like to see from both you and David Lowery is a list of sources for you information. Where do these numbers come from? What publications? Interviews? Public information. Source your stuff!

    • tunecore

      Sources

      RIAA
      Nielsen

      CFO Warner Music Group
      CFO Universal
      CFO EMI
      CFO Sony

      CEO UMG
      CEO Sony
      CEO WMG
      CEO EMI

      IFPI

      In addition, every two weeks, new release books were mailed to physical retail stores with “one sheets” of all the new releases. You can actually look at each and every release and then go to SoundScan and look up each releases sales number
      It has been 22 years of being in the music business. Running my own label spinART (Pixies, Echo & The Bunnymen, Apples In Stereo etc)
      This is what I do. This is what I know. This is the way it worked.

      If you dont want to do the research, I understand…

      Jeff

      • OneWorldDestiny

        i thinks davidjackson -and me- don’t doubt the data introduced by both of you. 

        still, if we have more info on the source, then we gather an idea on the differences in the data. 

        RIAA, Nielsen, Boston Cons., CEO X, CEO Y are no sources.  
        “RIAA Annual Report 2012″ is one. 
        So is f.e. “Roundletter of CEO UMG dated 2012.01.20″ 

        MusicOn : ) 

  • http://www.PassionHero.com/ Brian Shell

    Why can’t we have some kind of pay-to-listen streaming service of ANY song ever broadcast… for a monthly fee… almost like a NetFlix for music?

    There are times I’d love to listen to a song… but find out it’s so rare that it’s only available on vinyl or 78′s… for example… Hubert Law’s song “The Key” from his LP “Land of Passion” is only available on vinyl… why is this note transferred?  Similarly with a Detroit band The Almighty Strut and their hair-band song: “Cheap Thrill Looks.”  These are great songs… but not available… so wouldn’t it be nice if someone created a site for a monthly user fee that remedies this?

    Think the online Netflix/Napster/Wal-Mart of digital music cloud streaming… on a subscription basis…

    Brian Shell
    http://www.PassionHero.com
    Author of 21 eBooks and Musician with music distributed thanks to TuneCore 

    • tunecore

      this is what Spotify, Rhapsody, Mog are trying to be

      jeff

  • David Jackson

     Yes, it isn’t that I don’t want to do the research. I am do research for a living in both the academic and public worlds. As OneWorldDestiny above states, you aren’t actually backing up your claims. CEO blah, is not a source. When you make a claim like “Of those that were allowed on the major labels, over 98% of them failed. Yes, 98%
”, I want to see a study that backs up your number and legitimizes your argument and lends it proof. Same with David Allen, same with David Lowery.

    • David Jackson

       I do, not I am do.

    • tunecore

      @David

      then you need to do your own research

      the major labels do not release reports that show their failure rates

      you get this information by actually being in the business on a daily basis, watching bands get signed and dropped, looking at new release books, seeing soundscan sales on a weekly basis of new releases, speaking with retail stores to learn what CDs they will/will not stock and what the sell through rates are etc
      Speak with people in the industry…

      jeff

  • AD

    Hey Jeff, Is it true that someone was able to copyright a period of ‘silence’?

    • tunecore

      if memory serves, it was John Cage and his 4′ 33″ of silence you are referring to
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4′33″

      jeff

      • AD

        hey jeff,
        thanks for getting back to me!
        this is interesting since I have been getting conflicting answers from PRS & PPL in the UK regarding a copyright issue I have :-(
        would you be able to help please?
        kindest,
        andrew
        p.s. your lectures on youtube are brilliant thanks for sharing them! :-)

        • tunecore

          i can give it shot, what’s the question?

          jeff

  • Bigbear3

    I think you all miss the point somewhat! Capitalism is a
    culture of disintegration and dissatisfaction through the alienation of almost
    everything and the replacement of deep emotions, including joy, with instant
    gratification – thrill moments and reality TV ‘friendships’ – a quote from this artist – Mama D. 10,000 downloads!? So: Is that listen once get a little satisfaction – download something else – get a little satisfaction again…. and while someone is getting there little bit of satisfaction – the creators Aint Got No Satisfaction!!!!  I like art that is deeper and more thoughtful and think I produce that so the people that want my stuff buy it, listen to it a lot and buy more for friends. I didn’t like getting screwed then as a creator and I don’t like getting screwed now as a creator – at least with the labels they told you they were going to screw you cause that was the nature of the beast – my “fans” didn’t screw me directly!!!! As an independent I don’t like being lumped in with the corporate problems. The way radio ran was and is the problem – it’s not about music it’s about selling commercials so now the internet is about selling stuff too and us creators are the backs on which the corps ride again. People poay for the downloads of indies; don’t copy and spread them around.