Originally Posted by Jeff Price
With P2P, "pirating" of music etc, you have a vehicle that allows mass distribution and discovery - for the bands from the "old" days, I view this not as a mechanism that is going to impede their success, but one that allows them to get known.
Does this make them better off than being unknown and no one stealing and/or listening to their music, I think so. I think it is a better problem to be known and have thousands of people stealing your music then to be unknown and have no one stealing your music.
With popularity comes the opportunity for income streams - for example, merchandise, gig income, copyright royalties, master use placement, endorsements and yes, even money from the sale of music.
And this is the way it's always been. Artists have always had to deal with not receiving revenue commensurate to the work they put into a project. It's only how
they experience that that changes, and the strategies that allow them to take advantage of a situation that changes.
For the first time, cost-free distribution is possible. Anyone can get their music out there (monetizing it is another question). I know of electronic music artists who take advantage of P2P services and strategically title their works so it gets downloaded by people looking for obscure works by similar (but much better known) artists. Instant exposure to tens of thousands of new customers. While "old business model" folks debate what mp3 piracy is or isn't, and how it's killing music or not killing music (which is an ontologically unanswerable question, by the way, since we don't really know what "music being killed" looks like, sounds like, or entails), other artists have found a way to capitalize on this phenomenon.
Obviously it won't work as a permanent solution for all artists in all contexts. But then again, there never has been a stable financially rewarded production/distribution system that has worked favorably for the majority of artists regardless of context.