Is File sharing killing Music or is it something else?
so the RIAA blames file sharing for low revenues...
a lot of folks blame the record labels for lack of good artists.. as well as bad business practices (giving a band 30k or more in debt and if the album flops then its forgivable debt).
and in an article in wired mag it mentioned that a lot of "fun" money that teenagers and kids used to spend on music is going to other entertainment , like video games, computers, cell phones etc etc...
also how does the perceived value of music has changed with iTunes and Illegal file sharing?
before an album price range was 16-18 bucks, now its 10 and for a lot of kids should be free cause u have limewire. why pay they say.
and not to mention that a CD costs 15-18 bucks on the street but a DVD of a $300 million budget movie costs the same. (even after they recoup from theatre sales)
no value added to the cd..not better sound quality, no 5.1 , blue ray and super DVd but thats not taking off.
and tied to that,
the value of music now that digital technology has enable artists to produce thier own
music without big studios... and/or gear getting cheaper. also pro tools/plugins etc.
Sales are up. Independent musicians are selling more than ever before. Why?
I have a problem with questions that start by assuming that everything is going to hell.
It's like the old "have you stopped beating your wife?" question. Neither yes nor no will be correct, because the question assumes something wrong.
So first, I have to clear something up:
Sales are WAY up for the independents.
Independent musicians are doing better than ever before.
While the Eminem and Beyoncé sales fall, the independents are selling more than ever.
It's a wonderful spreading-out of sales. Less at the top, more at the bottom.
But the news only tells you about the falling sales of the majors, because those are the easier ones to track. So by only reporting the easy half of the story, they've got the story all wrong, which leads to people believing it, then making assumptions based on it.
Now, if you were to ask me, "Sales are up. Independent musicians are selling more than ever before. Why do you think that is?" - we could have a more accurate discussion.
But I can't answer, "Is file sharing killing music?" - because music is more alive and well than ever.
well said, I totally agree. Most of us here and elsewhere are not 'at the top' and not 'major sellers' so I often wondered why everybody is so concerned with the 'shocking news' the majors spread around.
But it's like with all things, be it work, health care, safety, etc As soon as the 'big earners' need to cut back even the tiniest bit it's immedeately 'spread down' to the average person. 'We didn't do so well this years', maybe some idiotic buisness decisions resulted in a huge de-valuing of stock sor whatever.....but it's you as common employee that will have to pay for it.
That's just the way it is and I'm certainly aware that it's easier to bitch than to offer solutions (read jobs and better pay) for any business or problems in general.
But nevertheless it's REALLY important to be aware of what's really going on and in this way your post was very illuminating.
You can't answer the question.....
'"Is file sharing killing music?" - because music is more alive and well than ever.'
So because independent music is doing better, Majors sales are off for the 6th straight year.....almost to a 50% loss of sales in 6 years. Thats 1/2 the sales. The trend is headed downward, and will not stop until someone does something about the problem.
There are always a few exceptions to the rule, and with a few breakthrough indie artists, we are seeing a better representation of what is in the marketplace. This is because of the birth of the Mbox (home studio) and cheap CD pressing, not to mention Myspace and sites like yours that offer indies an easy way to get their CD's to the marketplace. The same thing happened with SubPop, Fat Wreckords, Roadrunner and Epitaph when they had a few srtists breakthough into the mainstream.....now bands need with smaller labels can make a dent.
So you may think that nothing is wrong, but eventually the new "model" will fail. Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?
I'm very skeptical. The reports we heard (was it from you, elsewhere?) about Snocap's total sales figures make me think that yes things are going to hell.
Music isn't dead. Music is alive and well. More people are making more music than ever before, and it's getting heard.
The only thing that changes is how a business model or industry function as things change in the way people buy, sell, steal, make and listen to music. And that question is just too darn big to discuss here.
A short answer: maybe the OLD way of conducting the music industry, with its expectations of certain profit margins, ROIs and cashflow, is "dying" (I'd have to argue even that, but you have to start somewhere). Even if it is, one model's "death" is a new model's "opportunity."
Don't forget this has happened before: how the publishing industry (scores printed on paper) trembled when phonorecord delivery appeared! The publishers are hardly out of business, despite more than a century after Edison. Just a thought.
There's been a huge drop in the value of music, but not in the financial sense.
It's just not something we value within our lives. It's rare that people listen to music as a primary activity. I think for most people it's sonic wallpaper as they commute.
There are other uses, but when was the last time you listened to music at it was 100% of what you were doing at the moment?
Do you mean that sales are WAY up because of things like iTunes and CDBaby whereby there is simply a lot more independent music being released and thus the total gross sales of independent music are up? Or do you mean that the average independent label is selling more albums now than they were pre-download era.
I truly agree: music more than being alive is everywhere, and so we can see people that didn't use to listen music on the road/street/commuting with a portable player. I still buy CDs, and encode them to MP3 with lame, but if sites like iTunes, Amazon MP3, or even Jamendo or Magnatune exist, is for selling (good) music. And, as we have recently seen, the last Radiohead album which was solely sold on the Internet has been a success...
What do you think?
Yes, better than ever
In 1997, there was no company that would sell your CD online, so I had to do it myself. That's how CD Baby accidently started.
My only sales were at live shows, or going through individual consignment shops, etc. Only people in my area could buy my music, unless they really wanted to mail me a check and wait a couple weeks.
Now only 10 years later, everyone all around the world is buying music online.
At CD Baby, we sell about 2000 albums a day, and about 1000 a day are people "just browsing", buying music they hadn't heard of a few minutes before.
30% of our orders are from overseas. People in Brazil buying $200 of music from artists in Cincinatti and Charlotte. People in the Japan that place huge $500 orders every week from otherwise-unknown artists. It's amazing!
And yes, most musicians I talk to who have been doing this over 10 years feel that they're doing better now than ever. That they have better reach than ever. That they're on a more level playing-field than ever. People are more willing than ever to find and buy independent music online.
We pay over $200,000 to our musician clients every Monday night.
Last Monday's weekly payout was over $2.1 MILLION dollars, just for the week's sales from cdbaby.com, iTunes, and others combined. All of that going directly to independent musicians. No labels. No distributors.
If you ever feel that nobody is buying music anymore, come hang out here for a day.
If some of your friends at labels aren't doing as well as they were before, I don't know what to say, because the buying environment is better than it's ever been.
People love musicians and many are glad to pay
They say that 40% paid, and 60% didn't.
People moan saying, "Oh 60% didn't pay a thing!"
I think the opposite : Radiohead said, "You don't have to pay", and 40% of the public paid anyway, even though they didn't have to.
People love musicians and many are glad to pay, even if they don't have to. They want to. Especially for indepdendent music where they know their money is actually going directly to the artists, instead of the RIAA.
I never thought "pay-what-you-want", I always thought "pay-if-you-want".
By the way, thanks for all you do for the indies! Your site is absolutely a cornerstone for the independent music revolution. We all appreciate your business so much.
An agreement has been reached in France between record companies,Internet providers and the government .
Illegal downloaders will first be warned then their account will be suspended and eventually cancelled if they continue .
I don't know if it's a solution but something has to be done and I think the providers have the key .
They're starting to move, mainly because they want to sell online content (movies for ex) . They've taken advantage of file sharing to sell internet access and now they want to capitalize and file sharing suddenly is not as interesting .
I wanted to throw in my $0.02 here.
Some quick stats: over 50% of spinART Records (my former label) album sales for the past three years occurred in iTunes US.
Digital sales are NOT some small % of the market place.
This year alone TuneCore customers - which is a VERY small % of all music creators - will sell (or stream for revenue) over 10 million songs.
between TuneCore, CD Baby and Nimbit you are looking at between 30 - 40 million songs generating DIRECT revenue for tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of ARTISTS.
This represent approximately $18,000,000 to $22,000,000 in FOUND revenue. Without companies like TuneCore, CD Baby and Nimbit this revenue would not have existed.
On a quick side not, the RIAA states in large letters on its homepage that:
" RIAA members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the US"
I believe this to be dead wrong. I suspect that over 99% of the users of TuneCore, CD Baby and Nimbit are NOT RIAA members.
I now believe they RIAA represents LESS than 10% of all those that create manufacture and/or distribute approximately all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the US.
And this is due to the disintermediation the internet has provided.
What's fascinating is the way this has all happened. For the past 100 years the music industry has been through an unique period of time; the DISTRIBUTION of music set the rules and structure around how to have a career as a musician. In particular, record labels were the single entity firmly in control of every aspect of the industry – from determining which artist were going to have access and under what deal terms, to the recording process, packaging, marketing and promotion and distribution of the music as a “product”
The majority of the music in the world was being primarily released, distributed and controlled by just 4 to 6 “major labels”
Then the perfect storm hit - MP3 compression technology, the internet, proliferation of broadband, the original Napster educating the population of the world on what it meant to download a music file, eMusic launching the first on-line music store and then Apple launching the iTunes music store in conjunction with the introduction of the iPod etc
Despite the loss of control over distribution, music creation and access to the media outlets that marketed and promoted music, the old model of still persisted – artists still needed to go through the “label” to gain access, and only a limited number were let in under deal terms set by the labels.
Then companies like TuneCore built and launched a new music industry model - a model built on “servicing” the arist as opposed to “exploiting” them that provided universal access to worldwide distribution, reporting, marketing and promotion to help all artists succeed and everything changed. A tidal wave of music and artist were unleashed. The results have been stunning.
For the first time in the history of the music industry the stranglehold created by access to distribution has been removed – EVERY artist now has access to worldwide distribution while keeping all their rights and getting all the money from the sale of their music.
There is discussion suggesting that now that music can be gotten for free, artists will not be able to make a living
Some thoughts about that: back in the "old" days, before MP3s and broadband, there were millions of bands that made music, no one knew them, no one heard them and there was no mass media vehicle with open access to all to allow them even the remotest possibility to be discovered.
These bands could not make a living or succeed as there was no easy, accessible and inexpensive way for them to get known or heard.
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.
Keep in mind that music is a form of entertainment - albeit a very special emotional one. It's not food, shelter or clothing but we all need it and we all want it. Before the Net we listened to music on the radio (and suffered through advertisements to hear it).
TV works the same way, we get to watch the content on TV and in return we see commercials that pay for the costs associated with bringing the "content" to the public - aside from suffering through SUV and drug commercials - for the most part a structure I am willing to partake in.
Music is also a form of media. The idea of people having access to it in the same model as TV makes some sense. How will it all shake out remains to be seen, but I fundamentally believe that music has so much power and impact that there is a model out there that will allow it to continue to generate revenue even with pirating.
The question is, how does you harness the possibilities that Net provides - unlimited inventory that replicates on demand, unlimited shelf space so everything can be in stock, and websites that NEED traffic to be of any value with music being a main traffic driver.
And keep in mind, its not just music - it's all media, books, newspapers, movies, video shorts, TV shows, comics etc that are going to have to figure it out
I think it is incorrect to assume that if channels for downloading music 'illegally' without paying were removed that those who indulged in such practices would go to the store and buy the same music.
So yes there is a legal argument to be made that downloading/filesharing is 'stealing'. However it's quite another thing to suppose that such activities are destroying music sales to the extent that some might have us believe.
The success of online music retail (eg iTunes) would strongly suggest that there is a new type of market opening up. Different medium, different distribution channels, different market factors, different politics, an quite possibly a different (read: larger) customer/fan base.
While I may have reservations over the quality of the product (the ubiquitous 128kbps MP3!) I also can't wait to see what happens next!
Had a argument yesterday with people who are parents : they say they don't give money to their kids for records . They tell them "dowload for free" .
A lot of people have come to assume music was free . If they risk their connection they might think otherwise .
I really think illegal downloads are the heart of the problem . There's a direct link between the numbers of dsl connection market shares and music sales going down .
When the law against piracy in France was announced alot of people reacted saying " the net firms are gonna regret it , if we can't dowload for free we don't need high speed internet connection" .
Every week here in the UK, at least one of the national newspapers is giving away a free full classic album, compilation album or major film.
When people see music and film given away free in this manner so often, it just adds to the presumption that obtaining it for free by other means, must also be ok.
Record and film companies moan on one hand about illegal downloading - but they then shoot themselves in the foot by giving it away with the other hand.
They need to go back to basics and attach a real, achievable and also believable value to music and film.
There is no question in my mind that filesharing has a lot to answer for.
I polled friends of mine randomly and asked 'em how many had recently bought a C.D.. None had, and all are adamant music fans.
It's as simple as , somebody mentions a new band and you think "Oh cool, I must Bittorrent that tonight when I get home."
It is pointless to argue about whether it is stealing or not when pretty much everybody is doing it. There are only two categories of people I ever hear of that dont do it:
(1) People involved in Music who see it as stealing.
(2) Record geeks, who just love the look of that C.D./L.P on the shelf, and as a result are not interested in owning a 'mere file'.
Even myself, I walked into a record store the other day (to buy a cover for my iPod) and I remember thinking how quaint it was to go physically walk to a shop in order to buy a plastic disk (which may or may not be in stock), and then pay up to 40 dollars for some fancy "remastered with extra liner notes" album I could download in less than 20 minutes at home for nothing.
We are going to have to think of new ways to make money from music: Recordings now are not as desirable a product as once they were, because they can be gotten for free. It is pointless to argue that it is stealing (even though, of course, it is), as everybody is doing it now anyway.
First off: Thanks to the fine reps from these companies that are guesting the forum here. Your contributions are simply invaluable.
On to the black heart of this particularly dark matter:
If an artist ELECTS to give a piece of his art away, that is their own prerogative. I have no problem with this.
We do all realize this, right?
This is not what I want my entire life's work, my inspiration, my driving force, my reason for existing on this planet to become.
So, shut it down. Turn off the supply. Tag songs, follow the trails. Warn filesharers once, then pull their access and prosecute them. Same with content providers. Prosecute the sites. Break down their doors, arrest the employees, confiscate the servers. At the very least, make it a little more difficult. A little less easy. A little riskier.
Make it ILLEGAL.
Perhaps a few more (or a whole lot more) soccer moms need to be arrested before popular opinion shifts back to (what is obviously) common sense regarding acknowledged theft. We ARE discussing THEFT. I imagine if mommy and daddy are fined a few thousand dollars for juniors DL habit, they might revisit their own personal views on the rights and wrongs of this subject. If this were to take place, how long would it take for global "popular opinion" and/or perception to experience a major paradigm shift? Not long.
Simple questions, folks: Exactly what part of stealing is open to debate? It's "okay because everyone does it"? Why do we have laws? Why are laws enforced? Is this an anarchy?
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.
But, it has to be a nationwide task force in the top 25-50 markets and there would need to be 5000-10,000 parents arrested and booked in one or two days to really make an impact, I believe...You always hear about the college kid who gets slapped with a $25,000 lawsuit or something, but everyone knows that the risk of getting caught is so low, that its old news 15 minutes later..
If you hit 10,000 parents in a day or two, and actually ARREST them instead of serving a lawsuit, then I think the statement would be quite effective and force people to think about hitting that "download now" button.
Manpower for this type of enforcement would be a major problem though...A law enforcement operation of this magnitude would certainly require hundreds, if not a few thousand police officers and investigators...But, if you whack these parents with a $5000 fine per occurrence, even plea bargaining it to a single count at $5000 per clip would more than pay for the manpower neccesary here...This could easily be a self-funding and nationwide task force...
This industry needs it...
I'm from Paris and I'd like to know the CEO of CDBaby and the other great guy from TuneCore give their opinion on the law that is going to be voted in France.
France is well known to have the best High Speed internet music and video broadcast platforms ever. Free and Orange are getting th big part of the cake, but they're really competitive and reliable nowadays.
Keep in mind that France is one of Europ's best media pirate's heaven. Note that I didn't say the worst ^^.
Cheer up.. it's only life.
Hmmm. let's see ... Stealing IS Illegal, ok!? I know, but the P2P file sharing isn't the primary or sole motive to the "Music Industries" "fall". Just think this:"I won't buy a CD just for a song" - the kid says - "I'll download it and hear it whole if i like it ill buy it". (Here in Puerto Rico we go to a music store with pride to buy a cd, cd's, LP's and cassettes, we value music that much) BTW aren't you the one's that opposed to the CD revolution stating that:"44.1khz (really 22.05khz) is trash compared to the LP? Not enough "fidelity" or "feeling" to the "real sound"?. But guess what the same that occurred with the CD Revolution is happenin with the MP3 and download revolution. so think a little before repeating history. abduction
With that said Think for a second who really is responsible for the music leaking illegaly to the internet: the artists, the engineers, the producers, the asistants (all the variations of them), in factconfoosed, analize the chain the songs have to pass before getting to a CD and end up on the internet 3 before the cd release. Just my $.02kfhkh
So again, maybe File-sharing, like traditional advertising, leads to INCREMENTAL revenue that you wouldn't have otherwise received.
Do you think it will ever catch on??
I can't agree with a lot of the above statements about music becoming devalued. People are listening to more music than ever before and people are experimenting much more with the kind of music that they are prepared to listen to.
There is also a return to live music which ten years ago (at least in the UK) looked like it was on its way out. The pendulum has swung back to the 'playing' musician from the 'programming' musician.
While its true that one workstream in music - the traditional band, a&r, producer, publicist chain - is struggling, to say all that all music is struggling is untrue.