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Artists: Labels need YOU --- NOT the other way around Modular Synthesizers
Old 5th April 2010
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffmo View Post
Ummm....I respectfully disagree. I think that all the expenses of the project should be pooled and recouped from record one. I understand your point about the purse strings. I simple think the TALENT strings are due equal consideration.
Well that's exactly what does happen. The recording expenses are recouped from the artist loan and the marketing expenses from the market share. It's not a single entity project - that's he issue I guess. If you do a 50/50 license deal with a label {which I've also done} then you the artist burdens the product costs.
Old 5th April 2010
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyfan View Post
I would speculate that it takes a group of musicians and a manager or someone who can negotiate ticket sells, bookings, etc. themselves to really make a mark and take a business risk. The manager is the last member of the band, simply they are a production and business team tyring to do something, trying to be successful on their own.

They don't go through a label, they don't have day jobs, there is no back up plan, they live and breath music and tour so much that they make a splash and eventually get fairly well known. Maybe one day get on tour with a big band, and do it themselves.... t-shirts, cd's, records, whatever.

Sometimes no food, housing, money.... But if they strike it big, it's huge for them because they're no middle men or labels.

But with the net and Youtube, artist now can create what they want in their own homes..... music with videos and a web based identity to sell music and t-shirts or whatever. Throw in the occasional small tour and it sounds quite nice for a lowkey way to make a living. Fame and the hustle seems so over rated when you really just want to make a living being a musician and enjoying life without a bunch of serpents around.

Who knows? Hell, I got a day job so I don't get headaches thinking about all this stuff.
It's a nice ideal - but it isn't going to happen. Even just getting a nation aware of an act costs money..... lots of it!!
Old 5th April 2010
  #63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Douaire View Post
I figure setting up the band as a small business and running it as such could eventually (assuming we get enough people to like us) turn into a self sufficient way to make a living. We all have day jobs for now to keep funding the business, play out as often as we can, and for recording we've taken the cheapest route possible - track at my house in my studio, send it out to get mixed by a good friend with real outboard gear. In the process of it all now, hopefully this all turns out well! We have a mastering guy lined up too.
One thing you have to consider, and it's one of the big reasons that entrepreneurs go to VCs despite the fact that they know they are swimming with the sharks, is that they have the depth of resources that you can afford to make a mistake. If you are bootstrapping, you often can't afford to make a mistake, because you don't have the finanical resources to recover. And the odds of not making a significant mistake at some point if you haven't already done it many times and learned all the ropes, can be not so great in your favor. And of course the VCs, though they are sharks, don't want you to fail because they lose their investment, so they will provide you with help. You do have to be careful because that help may be telling you what's best for them, not what's best for you, but still it can be very valuable.

If you go out on your own, and something goes wrong, an album tanks and doesn't sell at all for whatever reason (the public is fickle), would you have the means to weather that? It can be tough when you are living on a shoestring budget.
Old 5th April 2010
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Albini View Post
Glad to hear what you think, guy who did a Hooters record. Feel free to quote a passage where I promote myself.

thanks, guy who makes everyone sound like Shellac
Old 5th April 2010
  #65
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ironbelly's Avatar
 

ooo it's a producer mini-war. heh. (what does shellac actually sound like?)
Old 5th April 2010
  #66
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Xrocker's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scud133 View Post
that's a great point, and it's really frustrating. how do you deal with people who have no sense of self-worth, and will stoop to the lowest levels to try to gain an edge?

Have them Rap.
Old 6th April 2010
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Albini View Post
...I'd agree If by "plenty" you mean either the 0.5 - 1% of major label artists of superstar caliber able to negotiate from a position of strength, or bands with independent means licensing their occasional records. ...
Plenty includes artists who got a master lease deal as complete unknowns. This includes, off the top of my head, the Miracles (who also had a buyback clause in their contract with Chess that enabled Smokey and Berry Gordy to launch Motown after "Shop Around" became a hit on Chess.) The Rolling Stones, Elton John and, no doubt, many others.

The oldest hustle in the music business is a lawyer or manager (who are in it for a percentage of the advance) telling an artist that they need to "get as big an advance as you possibly can because it's the last money they will ever see from a record label." Parroting and perpetuating this kind of nonsense to musicians is not serving them at all.
Old 6th April 2010
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by populardemand View Post
In reality, every 20k in non-discounted album sales makes $100k. That is the current model given today's retail album prices. So, 100k in non-discounted album sales will make $500k.
Ok, even more to the point that it isn't a million bucks.

We currently get 7.30 in a 14.99 title. Which is where I took m number. that of course does not take progams regarding free goods or aother marketing programs into account. The number will vary.

Then again, in this climate so do the numbers for production and promotion. I would not assume that the old numbers are all that viable anymore.

This is a generally productive conversation.
Old 6th April 2010
  #69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffmo View Post
Ok, even more to the point that it isn't a million bucks.

We currently get 7.30 in a 14.99 title. Which is where I took m number. that of course does not take progams regarding free goods or aother marketing programs into account. The number will vary.

Then again, in this climate so do the numbers for production and promotion. I would not assume that the old numbers are all that viable anymore.

This is a generally productive conversation.
These days, given that anyone who actually does buy a CD probably buys it online, does anyone pay $14.99 for a CD anymore? They are more around $10 to $12 on places like Amazon it seems.
Old 6th April 2010
  #70
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman View Post
where?
when?

actually they were 'enslaved' to one for of patronage or another... or they borderline starved or worked other jobs


the "mountain of debt" to record companies is a meaningless paper debt.
no one ever PAYS IT BACK if they don't make money

exactly right on the "mountains of debt". Owing a big label tons of money you know you will never pay back is actually a great feeling.
Old 6th April 2010
  #71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
These days, given that anyone who actually does buy a CD probably buys it online, does anyone pay $14.99 for a CD anymore? They are more around $10 to $12 on places like Amazon it seems.
Universal Announces Plan to Lower CD Prices to $10 or Less : Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily
Old 6th April 2010
  #72
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Plenty includes artists who got a master lease deal as complete unknowns. This includes, off the top of my head, the Miracles (who also had a buyback clause in their contract with Chess that enabled Smokey and Berry Gordy to launch Motown after "Shop Around" became a hit on Chess.) The Rolling Stones, Elton John and, no doubt, many others.
So, you're referring to some artists in the 1960s before the music business as we know it existed. Anybody from the last 40 years or so come to mind?
Old 6th April 2010
  #73
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
The oldest hustle in the music business is a lawyer or manager (who are in it for a percentage of the advance) telling an artist that they need to "get as big an advance as you possibly can because it's the last money they will ever see from a record label." Parroting and perpetuating this kind of nonsense to musicians is not serving them at all.
I agree wholeheartedly with this. If you've read the essay then you'd know that I identify using recoupable advances as a principle funding tool as the fundamental problem with the system.
Old 6th April 2010
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman View Post
thanks, guy who makes everyone sound like Shellac
A quarter century ago called. She said write when you find work.
Old 6th April 2010
  #75
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narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Albini View Post
I agree wholeheartedly with this. If you've read the essay then you'd know that I identify using recoupable advances as a principle funding tool as the fundamental problem with the system.
The only problem is that all recoup should be on the same basis.... problem is marketing, production and artist recording are three separate accounts and might as well be three separate businesses. I would always have liked to have seen a margin based recoup with a % allocated to each sector.... but you're never going to get the sector that spent $1million to agree to a similar rate payof to those who took less than a fifth of that.

The problem most people have round here is assuming that the artist should get all rights over and above everybody else - when in reality a product of a band and songs is MUCH more than the artist.
Old 6th April 2010
  #76
Lives for gear
If you are in the band business...which I call the music business, its pretty immaterial at this point. THAT record business doesn't exist much any more.

Whatever the record, big budgets these days seem confined to R and B pop some rap. When you have producers commanding 25k and up for tracks they probably spit out in an evening in their personal studio, and bands having a hard time getting 25k to do the whole CD, you know its pretty skewed.

Whatever anyone thinks, i think the future is a lot closer to Albini's vision than WWittman's. Perhaps the TLAs and CLs will continue to get paid by majors to turn whatever x group turns in from the 50k home studio the band put together with their advance, but more often than not I see I see a landscape of 20k CDs raising private funding to hire the myriad of promotion people who have hung out their shingle since being let go by those same majors.

Look...music gets made because the passion dictates it, like it always have. The MUSIC was going to get made no matter what the future for it looks like it. Because THAT is what we do. We make music.

Depending on your market, you can do a lot with 15k to build a record, if the record has the goods and the artist inspires passion. My current project has attracted 8k in private funding from fans that love the artist. Making up the rest is not impossible. Additionally, the press generated by the excellent PR firm we hired has increase touring revenue by 150 percent, some of which we earmark to the promotion. By following the radio and other promo we hope to cover most of the east coast for gigs, and setup the artist for the next CD. Sell 5k VDs will essentially mean we have moved the artist up an entire class of venue and tripled the fan base for essentially no outlay. If we continue we will either break something, or at the very least develop a solid NRBQ style mid level touring act. Which can still make money.

Granted, its not THAT easy at all. And some markets, commercial R and B and rap in particular, it might be impossible. But blues bands, jam bands, bluegrass, gospel, alt rock and other more organic genre I think are ripe to be taken over by this kind of approach.

My highly devalued .02.
Old 6th April 2010
  #77
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i'm with mr albini on that, independent financing is always the way to go in any other industry if at all possible, and look at the dance industry, it works in a way the guitar band industry (for want of a better expression) doesnt

major labels today are really in effect glorified marketting companies anyway.

also in other manufacturing industries the per unit cost is arrived at by the manufacturer simply factoring the per-unit cost & profit o/h which is recouped from the manufacturing payment.

what doesnt happen is the manufacturer saying "ok 50 bucks per unit on a run of 100k units, but you pay the tooling, raw material costs etc on top of the per unit price"

that's the daft unrequired bit. I absolutely object to the label adding THEIR costs to MY flipping account.
Old 6th April 2010
  #78
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narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7161 View Post
i'm with mr albini on that, independent financing is always the way to go in any other industry if at all possible, and look at the dance industry, it works in a way the guitar band industry (for want of a better expression) doesnt

major labels today are really in effect glorified marketting companies anyway.

also in other manufacturing industries the per unit cost is arrived at by the manufacturer simply factoring the per-unit cost & profit o/h which is recouped from the manufacturing payment.

what doesnt happen is the manufacturer saying "ok 50 bucks per unit on a run of 100k units, but you pay the tooling, raw material costs etc on top of the per unit price"

that's the daft unrequired bit. I absolutely object to the label adding THEIR costs to MY flipping account.
No. major labels are exactly marketing companies. Which is exactly what they need to be!!

You do pay those costs on any licensed IP - so "Star Wars mugs" for example. Labels work with licensed IP. A band agrees to transfer their IP to the label for "the term" (never life by the way).

The "dance" industry - doesn't make money at all. Keeps people in business but no profits in it. There IS still money in many other areas..... just bnot pop!! Mind you - pop is now a loss leader for selling other products (phone vcotes anyone )
Old 6th April 2010
  #79
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narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffmo View Post
If you are in the band business...which I call the music business, its pretty immaterial at this point. THAT record business doesn't exist much any more.

Whatever the record, big budgets these days seem confined to R and B pop some rap. When you have producers commanding 25k and up for tracks they probably spit out in an evening in their personal studio, and bands having a hard time getting 25k to do the whole CD, you know its pretty skewed.

Whatever anyone thinks, i think the future is a lot closer to Albini's vision than WWittman's. Perhaps the TLAs and CLs will continue to get paid by majors to turn whatever x group turns in from the 50k **** studio the band put together with their advance, but more often than not I see I see a landscape of 20k CDs raising private funding to hire the myriad of promotion people who have hung out their shingle since being let go by those same majors.

Look...music gets made because the passion dictates it, like it always have. The MUSIC was going to get made no matter what the future for it looks like it. Because THAT is what we do. We make music.

Depending on your market, you can do a lot with 15k to build a record, if the record has the goods and the artist inspires passion. My current project has attracted 8k in private funding from fans that love the artist. Making up the rest is not impossible. Additionally, the press generated by the excellent PR firm we hired has increase touring revenue by 150 percent, some of which we earmark to the promotion. By following the radio and other promo we ***e to cover most of the east coast for gigs, and setup the artist for the next CD. Sell 5k VDs will essentially mean we have moved the artist up an entire class of venue and tripled the fan base for essentially no outlay. If we continue we will either break something, or at the very least develop a solid NRBQ style mid level touring act. Which can still make money.

Granted, its not THAT easy at all. And some markets, commercial R and B and rap in particular, it might be impossible. But blues bands, jam bands, bluegrass, gospel, alt rock and other more organic genre I think are ripe to be taken over by this kind of approach.

My highly devalued .02.
Good post - although I'm not taken by sir Albini's take on running a business.... sounds like a way to bin $15k if you ask me!! I'll keep doing it my way heh
Old 6th April 2010
  #80
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wel, there are a lot of things that can be done indy with small budgets, but for mainstream, you need the monsterous machine that labels created to break trough.

I don't do that stuff my own, i'll rather stay in the underground and do what i like on my own way. I did release some stuff in the past, witch did break even on very small vinyl pressings. I'm now talking to some ppl to do webreleases of new stuff of me, but that guy is into distribution and promotion. He counts on the artists to deliver the finished product, and will release it trough his sources if he likes it and sees money in it. He doesn't interfer with the production of the content in any way.

And this shows what direction the buissiness (at least for indy music) is going. Artists do the production (in industrial way of the word) of the content, and labels focus only on the distribution and marketing of the content they see as 'sellable'. It's also how local 3th world scenes like the jamaican dancehall scene work. They make music mainly in little ghetto studio's, and the music that scores on a soundsystem gets a decent official release, the rest stays in the demo circuit and because of the very low overhead, they don't really care. Most artists also earn money trough special custom dj remixes of their songs called dubplates, and recording fees they get from producers (wich are rather small, somewhere between 50$ for talented starters to 1K$ for big artists), not trough copyrights.

A lot of local underground labels here in belgium work already that way, with profit for the label and the artists. But it's all digital distribution (wich means for webstores, phones, enbedded streaming content on websites, ...), no cd's and certainly no vinyl (it's just way to expensive for these modern times). But this means that the revenues of those sales need to be divided different than the big major labels do cause the production costs are now for the artists account.

In my case, i do mainly electronic music myself, and only need sometimes a vocal or a guitar or horns part or so. Wich can be done in decent quality in smalls but well tought off and well build homestudio's. In my case, i have actually access to a few for free or almost nothing, cause i've build them for other artists to record themselves and they are very happy with it. They are also mostly my session musicians and i often mix their self recorded stuff in my little mixing/living room on my ITB setup. Some of that is already released and popular in their scene and did make a decent profit.

But most rock guys are still in the past, and want to have the big studio's for a month to record and experiment. That requires big budgets, wich are seldom in this buissiness in this time and that is why a lot of big old school studio's are closing down right now...

Off course there will be a small niche market for physical carriers, but i doubt that will be cd's, it will probally be vinyl and maybe a high resolution digital format on something like dvd or blueray. But both will be for collectors who wants to pay the price for this carrier and the player for it (they exist, i'm one of them who still buy a lot of vinyl)
Old 6th April 2010
  #81
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7161's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
No. major labels are exactly marketing companies. Which is exactly what they need to be!!

You do pay those costs on any licensed IP - so "Star Wars mugs" for example. Labels work with licensed IP. A band agrees to transfer their IP to the label for "the term" (never life by the way).

The "dance" industry - doesn't make money at all. Keeps people in business but no profits in it. There IS still money in many other areas..... just bnot pop!! Mind you - pop is now a loss leader for selling other products (phone vcotes anyone )


perhaps yopu misunderstand me. i mean simply one doesnt go to china to get manufacturing and the factory insists you pay THEIR costs (not entirely specified either)

the factory delivers a per-unit cost. That's that. you can negotiate that if you like, or if possible; but the point is they do not charge a per-unit fee PLUS their costs on top additionaly.

so as a bit of IP, musicians differ from other creators of IP in the physical world.

it's different if i invent a better toothbrush or whatever.
Old 6th April 2010
  #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
Good post - although I'm not taken by sir Albini's take on running a business.... sounds like a way to bin $15k if you ask me!! I'll keep doing it my way heh
Well...the details of how to run it are up to the individual. As to the majors, I totally agree that what they do best is market on a mass level. The fact that they have left the artist developement business is the best thing that has happened in years. Itamazes me that for years I have heard everyone bitch about major label A and R, but they are afraid to fill the void now that it is largely gone.

IMHOP anyone on this board should realize that they need to devote SOME time and energy to developing artists they have a long term relationship with. In effect, to become your own A and R.

As the market for selling studio time contracts the opportunities in production and publishing will increase. I feel that the way to survive will be to have a couple of things that generate money you don't have to work a session today for.
Old 6th April 2010
  #83
Thought I'd chime in with my two cents here, the OP is pretty hostile imo, but I know that there are record labels that screw people around so what can you do.

I recently started a very small and independent electronic music label. The numbers are pretty grim if you are in the 'label' business to make money.

After distributor and online stores get their cut, we're left with a very small amount per download, probably in the neighbourhood of $0.60 or less. Then our artist gets their share, which leaves us with about $0.25 per song. And that's without taking into account costs like marketing, mastering, etc.

We bust our asses promoting, negotiating, updating websites etc etc and we're basically doing it for free. We've put our own personal savings into this business because it's something we want to do, and we're quite aware that we may never see the money again.

We're very up front with our artists in letting them know there's not a lot of cash in this. What we hope is that by releasing their music they build a reputation and get gigs, where they can really make some money for themselves.

So yes, we need our artists, but I think they need us too. We do the work they don't want to (or can't) do so that they can focus on making music. We communicate frequently, we're open and honest, and we just want to release great music and help artists out.

I think painting all "labels" with the same money-sucking brush is ridiculous.

Look at Matador records - they were putting out Joe Strummer's work, losing money, and kept at it. Why? Because they're a good label that supports good music. Not everybody is trying to steal your art.
Old 6th April 2010
  #84
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Labels need marketable talent, but they are failing to shake the trees for
something fresh and new.

The syndication of radio/TV has also caused a dramatic downturn in the discovery of exciting new talent.

I'm old enough to remember when local DJ's and A&R peeps would be out in the clubs either scouting new talent or helping to promote a new discovery.

Unfortunately, the saturation of wannabes makes it difficult to weed through
the hopeful to find something truly inspired, but the labels also need to get out of the office and do some old fashioned scouting.

There's an over abundance of highly talented performers, but honestly very
few really fresh writers.

I would be attempting to put the two together.

Take the guys who can actually play and put them with some serious writing talent.
Old 6th April 2010
  #85
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Albini View Post
So, you're referring to some artists in the 1960s before the music business as we know it existed. Anybody from the last 40 years or so come to mind?
U2 has a lease deal. Plenty of other people do.

Steve, the idea that there has ever been some kind of a "standard" recording contract is total B.S.
Old 6th April 2010
  #86
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7161 View Post
perhaps yopu misunderstand me. i mean simply one doesnt go to china to get manufacturing and the factory insists you pay THEIR costs (not entirely specified either)

the factory delivers a per-unit cost. That's that. you can negotiate that if you like, or if possible; but the point is they do not charge a per-unit fee PLUS their costs on top additionaly.

so as a bit of IP, musicians differ from other creators of IP in the physical world.

it's different if i invent a better toothbrush or whatever.
That's not really a remotely viable comparison. The factory in China is nothing like the label. It takes no risk and gets paid for the work it does. If the factory in China was not making you pay up front and asking to be paid by revenues from the product sales if it should ever occur, then I guarantee you that they'd be very interested in making sure that they get theirs first.
Old 6th April 2010
  #87
Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
Take the guys who can actually play and put them with some serious writing talent.
It seems to me tha tthe good writing talent are the ones who would be running for the hills fastest. They lose the most in a world of downloading.
Old 6th April 2010
  #88
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This is a heated issue because the music industry is undergoing a major overhaul. Business models and options are changing. The middle men, who used to seem crucial to a young band's career, are becoming less important. Bands have less members now (often as little as 2 or 3, or even just 1), and are taking on tasks they used to find impossible. These tasks are promotion, booking, recording and distribution. Now, and in the future, only wealthy artists will hire specialists for those tasks. Now, bands/artists are becoming jacks of all trades with bigtime enthusiasm, and this means a shrinking opportunity for those task specialists.
Old 6th April 2010
  #89
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zapsmith9 View Post
This is a heated issue because the music industry is undergoing a major overhaul. Business models and options are changing. The middle men, who used to seem crucial to a young band's career, are becoming less important. Bands have less members now (often as little as 2 or 3, or even just 1), and are taking on tasks they used to find impossible. These tasks are promotion, booking, recording and distribution. Now, and in the future, only wealthy artists will hire specialists for those tasks. Now, bands/artists are becoming jacks of all trades with bigtime enthusiasm, and this means a shrinking opportunity for those task specialists.
all the artist doing it for themselves "aint happening"....
Old 6th April 2010
  #90
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What about that female grammy winner for best home recording ? It doesn't matter though, the model of artists doing it all or mainly themselves is in it's infancy. Give it 10+ years, and that's ALL there will be. All the previous parasites trying to get their hooks in gullible young bands/artists will be totally ignored. Gone will be the days of artists getting a puny % of sales, and gone will be the days of label slavery and severe debt.
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