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MacRumors
Nov 27, 2007, 06:49 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

Wired has a revealing article (http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/15-12/mf_morris?currentPage=all) on Universal Music Group's CEO Doug Morris and his views on the digital music industry. The article provides insight into how only an outsider like Apple could accomplish what the music industry was unwilling and unable to create -- a successful digital distribution system.

Morris's attitude is shockingly revealing as to the underlying motives of the music industry and how it has affected their decisions.
[Morris] wants to wring every dollar he can out of anyone who goes anywhere near his catalog. Morris has never accepted the digital world's ruling ethos that it's better to follow the smartest long-term strategy, even if it means near-term losses. As far as he's concerned, do that and someone, somewhere, is taking advantage of you. Morris wants to be paid now, not in some nebulous future.

It was this attitude that prevented the record labels from letting go of the CD and embracing online distribution. To be fair, however, Morris claims that nothing could have been done differently:
"There's no one in the record company that's a technologist," Morris explains. "That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"

Even now, their major efforts are not intended to satisfy any particular need or necessarily build a long term model, but instead to wrest the control they inadvertently gave to Apple with the creation of the iTunes Music Store. iTunes remains responsible for the largest portion of Universal's digital music sales.

To counter, Morris is presently involved in a making their Total Music plan (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/10/12/universal-music-free-music-plan-to-take-on-itunes/) a reality. Their plan is to offer users a "free" subscription plan for unlimited access to all their music. The plans would be subsidized by hardware vendors interested in taking a piece of the action from Apple's iPod and iTunes.

The author points out that this plan may be ignoring a strong consumer preference for flexibility and simply be trading in one proprietary format for another, but Morris doesn't appear to care:
Unfortunately, Total Music will almost certainly require some form of DRM, which in the end will perpetuate the interoperability problem. Morris likely doesn't care. He is more committed to Total Music -- or any other plan that allows protection -- than he is to a future where music can truly be played across any platform, at any time. "Our strategy is to have the people who create great music be paid properly," he says. "We need to protect the music. I know that."



Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/11/27/universal-music-groups-view-of-the-digital-world/)



arn
Nov 27, 2007, 06:52 PM
This is a very revealing article about why the music industry is the way it is. I was surprised by it.

arn

Colnagofan
Nov 27, 2007, 06:53 PM
Years ago, when CDs first came out record companies charged a lot more than they did for the same music on LP because of the higher cost of CDs. As the cost came down the prices did not. The value proposition is broken and has been for a very long time.

SciTeach
Nov 27, 2007, 06:55 PM
This is a very revealing article about why the music industry is the way it is. I was surprised by it.

arn

Agreed. It makes you wonder about how the bottom line is made in the industry and how much control they want.

Benjamindaines
Nov 27, 2007, 06:57 PM
Eh well, give it time and all these nay sayers will be retired or dead. Then we can take over!

BOOMBA
Nov 27, 2007, 06:57 PM
The guy comes across as a bit of a tool.

illw!l
Nov 27, 2007, 06:58 PM
"There's no one in the record company that's a technologist," Morris explains. "That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"

Um, call a vet? What the hell would Morris do?

neven
Nov 27, 2007, 06:59 PM
I hate to nitpick, but since this is the quote that's been going around all day...

"They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"

Let's see... I'd use my some of multi-million dollar profits to hire someone to figure it out pronto. But hey, that's just me.

His further claim that they couldn't even hire someone because they wouldn't know whom to trust is asinine as well. Does he take the same attitude with other aspects of his business? "We need to expand into the growing Southeast Asian market, but what do I know about Southeast Asia? It's like if you suddenly asked me to fix my yacht. What can I do? I can't just hire some sort of expert on Southeast Asian business - for all I know, it could be a guy from Minneapolis-St Paul!"

Um, call a vet? What the hell would Morris do?

He'd sit around for eight years and insist that the dog was fine, eventually blaming the neighbor's cat's when the dog died.

gwangung
Nov 27, 2007, 07:02 PM
Idiot. He doesn''t know his market, he doesn't understand his customers (he treats them as ENEMIES) and he doesn''t care to learn ...

Total moron. Ought to clean him out of the corporate genepool and improve the breed....

dummptyhummpty
Nov 27, 2007, 07:07 PM
What a moran. I can't wait till they get what is coming.

Fuchal
Nov 27, 2007, 07:07 PM
"There's no one in the record company that's a technologist," Morris explains. "That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"

I would hire a surgeon to operate on my dog. In the same way, if I were in the music business, I would have hired consultants to help show me what I should be doing instead of "watching my dog die right under my nose".

saxman
Nov 27, 2007, 07:11 PM
This is a good summary of the recording music industry (at least the big companies). It has been more or less their philosophy for a long, long time. Unfortunately people in charge of the big recording companies care little about the music. It is a sad commentary

shadowfax
Nov 27, 2007, 07:15 PM
Um, call a vet? What the hell would Morris do?

No, screw the vet. Are you made of money? You put old yeller down.

Unless he's making you hundreds of millions dollars per year, in which case you call a vet to perform the surgery to fix him, and then pay for another procedure to make sure he never dies.

Or, more likely for Morris, you hire an outlandish "faith healer" named "Total" to fix him. This one will work so much better than "Rhapsody," the old tribal healer.

buddhagoth
Nov 27, 2007, 07:19 PM
Years ago, when CDs first came out record companies charged a lot more than they did for the same music on LP because of the higher cost of CDs. As the cost came down the prices did not. The value proposition is broken and has been for a very long time.

CDs have never cost more to produce than LPs. Even when LPs were the standard delivery format for music their costs were relatively high. CDs have always cost a lot less but were sold for a lot more because at the time they were the latest thing.

The article cited certainly does show, though how the major label mentality still is holding on with a death grip. :)

Cordially,
BG

This is a good summary of the recording music industry (at least the big companies). It has been more or less their philosophy for a long, long time. Unfortunately people in charge of the big recording companies care little about the music. It is a sad commentary

Thank you kindly for making the distinction between the big majors and others, especially the indie players. There is no such thing as "the music industry" in that everyone involved in it thinks the same way or has the same terrible attitude as quoted in the article here.

Big recording companies mean big business where profit is the principle concern. Thank the stars for Apple and iTunes and the net that have gone such a long way to level things.

Now, who's gonna tell Universal and the like that they're totally irrelevant now? :D

Cordially,
BG

junker
Nov 27, 2007, 07:19 PM
I will try to keep this civil....

I lived in Nashville TN for many of my 37 years. You may think of it as nothing special - outside of country music, but you'd be wrong. It is a who's who of music industry business there - Sony, BMG, Warner Bros. etc etc.

I worked various jobs around music row, grew up and went to a high school with many kids of parents from Big name country music and old rock and roll bands. I feel like I got to know the industry from the inside a little bit.

From what I remember (I don't live there anymore) musicians are mostly an enjoyable bunch. Music Biz folks - absolute scum. I say this with no apologies. That said, I knew a few people who worked in lowly positions in the biz who were cool - but most at the top are shmoozing snakes - that's why they couldn't figure out any solution - too busy trying to get into your pocket or into a deal. No creativity or appreciation thereof. Simply put: managers wrangling their way into the pants of desperate acts (multi-interpretation intended).

So, this whining about not being able to "figure it out" and all this hand wringing about lost profits, in my eyes, is poetic justice to the bastards.

I wholly support and encourage artistic creativity, and I think we should too. I think that some programmer out there should devise a program whereby the bands/musicians can create a website, do secure business, play music, sell per song, show videos, have links to a tshirt distributer who'll print their shirts, buttons, whatever - one sweet all encompassing package to give the money back to the artist. Yeah, yeah I know about myspace. But there are limitations.

mp3 file sharing is here to stay. Period. Deal with it. Even Apple's DRM can be circumvented with enough patience.

And where are my cheap Cd's??? When they first came out, I was promised it would go down in the future...All I see is 19.99 cd's. No wonder Tower Records folded.

Ok, I should stop.

synth3tik
Nov 27, 2007, 07:22 PM
Fortune magazine has ranked Steve Jobs as the most powerful person in business.

I rank Doug Morris as the biggest douche in business.

k2director
Nov 27, 2007, 07:26 PM
How do these chimps get put in charge of major companies like Universal?

Apple created the legal digital music industry single-handedly. It made it easy and affordable to buy legal music, while these idiot labels had their thumbs up their ass, desperately clinging to an out-dated model.

Now they're jealous of Apple's success and leverage, and are threatening to mess up the whole industry by fragmenting it, with each label doing its own store, with different prices, and different terms, etc.

STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.

I hope Universal pays dearly for this. I'll definitely do my part to see that it does...

Di9it8
Nov 27, 2007, 07:28 PM
The guy comes across as a bit of a tool.
No wonder there are problems in the music industry if this the strategic thinking of the boss of one of the largest organisations.

rtdunham
Nov 27, 2007, 07:34 PM
as a retired journalist, i might read articles differently than many folks. at any rate, an observation or two about this news piece:

First, the Wired article is an excellent summary of the circumstances, and the story was excerpted well here.

Second, many of the most provocative quotes are quoting Wired author Seth Mnookin, NOT Morris. Mnookin may have characterized Morris' opinions accurately, but we're hearing Mnookin's take on it, not Morris' "from my mouth to your ears." The comments about wringing every dollar, and other stinging quotes, aren't Morris' words.

I'm just sayin'...

MacPhilosopher
Nov 27, 2007, 07:40 PM
I find two of his points almost hilariously stupid:

First, his analogy of the dog needing surgery is flawed. The music industry are/were the distribution specialist/owners. He seems to think they were merely the visa/mastercard portion of the industry. As the distributors (Vet) they are the ones who should have known what to do when the technology paradigm shift (dog needing surgery) really got moving.

Second, if he believes that the major music labels really care how much of a share of their money the musicians and songwriters receive, then he is delusional. History shows that the labels intentions have always been to maximize their own profits while minimizing compensation to the creative side of the industry. This is where iTunes really frightens the labels, I have friends that receive close to 2/3 of the gross .99 cents Apple charges. Digital production was the beginning of the shift, digital distribution is its crest. It is time for the industry to realize they are now just contract companies for promotion. Their share of the profits should drop in accordance. We can all rejoice in the fact that they can no longer shove Brittany Spears and Hanna Montana down our throats. The free market will finally rule. Note: I often find that executives and CEO's love to tout the power of the free market while behind the scenes they actually control and suppress that freedom to trade.

SRSound
Nov 27, 2007, 07:41 PM
I can reinforce, as someone nestled deeply in the industry, the view this article gives you of the music industry execs is spot on. They are greedy bastards who dont care about the artist or consumer; most of them are in the industry purely out of a desire to make money and that's all they care about it. While it's a disgusting situation, the next few years will bring exciting change as power exchanges hands. I look forward to it.

JAT
Nov 27, 2007, 07:49 PM
Fortune magazine has ranked Steve Jobs as the most powerful person in business.

I rank Doug Morris as the biggest douche in business.

Never heard of Jamie Kellner?

IJ Reilly
Nov 27, 2007, 07:50 PM
Now they're jealous of Apple's success and leverage, and are threatening to mess up the whole industry by fragmenting it, with each label doing its own store, with different prices, and different terms, etc.

They aren't jealous, they're scared. They're scared that they've already given away the store. And they're right to be scared. One of the truly interesting facts revealed in the article is that Apple is verging on effective control of the retail music business. The industry is not going to want to be dealing with any one retailer with as much power as Apple is gaining, so they are making their moves. No surprise there.

The other issue that should be frightening the industry silly is that they are rapidly becoming irrelevant. More and more musicians are bypassing the industry entirely and going directly to their fans. The music distribution model is changing fundamentally, and they can't really do a thing to stop it. The industry should be asking themselves what audience and purpose they will serve in ten years or so, when an entire generation of musicians and music buyers are used to not needing them at all.

MacPhilosopher
Nov 27, 2007, 07:50 PM
as a retired journalist, i might read articles differently than many folks. at any rate, an observation or two about this news piece:

First, the Wired article is an excellent summary of the circumstances, and the story was excerpted well here.

Second, many of the most provocative quotes are quoting Wired author Seth Mnookin, NOT Morris. Mnookin may have characterized Morris' opinions accurately, but we're hearing Mnookin's take on it, not Morris' "from my mouth to your ears." The comments about wringing every dollar, and other stinging quotes, aren't Morris' words.

I'm just sayin'...

Thanks...I went back and read the article. Have to disagree with you here. The quotes from the article are proper and the one that is not a direct quote from morris reads just as it should, as an opinion of the author about Morris. The other quotes read just as powerfully in context as they are in quotations in the thread. You are correct, though, in pointing us to the original to confirm the points made in the thread.

CANEHDN
Nov 27, 2007, 07:50 PM
Reading this stuff about the music industries really bothers me. I hate greedy companies.

megfilmworks
Nov 27, 2007, 07:50 PM
This is a very revealing article about why the music industry is the way it is. I was surprised by it.

arn
Morris is not the music industry. He is a dinosaur in the record industry.
His is a dying breed.
It is amazing to me how many people mix up the terms; record, recording, and music industry.
The record biz is where Morris is.
The recording biz is the studio or production house (usually owned by the recording artist) where the music is recorded.
The music business incorporates all forms of music written, performed, recorded, manufactured, downloaded or broadcast.
Apple is actually one of the largest players in the music business.

Project
Nov 27, 2007, 07:53 PM
If I was a shareholder at UMG, i'd be seriously questioning Morris' tenure.

Peace
Nov 27, 2007, 07:53 PM
Fortune magazine has ranked Steve Jobs as the most powerful person in business.

I rank Doug Morris as the biggest douche in business.

It's too bad Jobs isn't powerful enough to change the mindset of NBC/Universals web consultants.Because that's exactly where they think they're going to make all their money.Commercials..Really doesn't surprise me at all.These types will do anything for a buck.

zioxide
Nov 27, 2007, 07:54 PM
"Our strategy is to have the people who create great music be paid properly," he says. "We need to protect the music. I know that."

Yeah, except they don't. The actual artists make very little off album sales. The label (including this guy who was interviewed) are the ones who make all of the money.

Maybe they should just stop being greedy scumbags.

deejemon
Nov 27, 2007, 07:54 PM
*

IJ Reilly
Nov 27, 2007, 07:56 PM
Reading this stuff about the music industries really bothers me. I hate greedy companies.

Then you must hate all companies, because all companies are in the greed business. The only real difference is that some are smart-greedy and others are dumb-greedy. The music industry falls pretty squarely in the dumb-greedy corner if only because they have failed to think themselves out of some of the fundamental issues facing their industry.

breal8406
Nov 27, 2007, 07:59 PM
I have a textbook on the music industry that might have some interesting information about the digital music sales model. I'm on iPhone now but when I make it back to the MacBook Pro, I'll take a look and post what I find.

I do know this though. People like this guy are bastards. I got a professor whose got some interesting songs. They contacted him wanting to use one of them and asked HIM to front like $400. WTF. They want the song so why aren't THEY the ones fronting him the $400.

Ted Witcher
Nov 27, 2007, 07:59 PM
True story: I have a friend who used to be the president of a major label (this was brought up in an earlier thread where he gave me the actual data of where that $.99 goes -- you'll just have to trust I'm not lying). He recently had a conversation with a very successful artist he knows. The artist is happy that he renegotiated his deal; he is now getting a $12 million advance over however many albums they agreed to. My friend asks him if he "cleared the pipeline" -- i.e., have you made sure the label has paid all the money due on all prior projects? Turns out the label owed the guy $14 miilion. They gave him a shiny new deal worth less than that what he was owed (and which, of course, is recoupable) and were just gonna keep the $2 million -- and the artist thought he had got over. Mortified, he promptly fired his manager (who should have been on top of this) and got his money.

That's how these guys really do business.

Spades
Nov 27, 2007, 08:02 PM
The internet makes distribution of music stupidly simple. So bands just need to figure out that marketing thing for themselves and the labels can fade into history.

Anybody feeling entrepreneurial? A little marketing business designed to support artists and leave the rest to them might do well these days.

Makosuke
Nov 27, 2007, 08:03 PM
Being related to a whole bunch of musicians, I may not know much outside of articles like this about the "business" of music, but I see artists.

And really, it seems to be sort of obvious. Like many things, recorded music used to take a lot of money and investment to produce--you needed a studio to record it, and experts with fancy hardware to mix it, and big factories to produce expensive records. And then, even if you had a stack of records, you had absolutely no way of actually getting them to anybody--you needed a huge distribution channel.

Hence, the music industry (that's such a sickening term, if you really think about it) positioned itself in there--they acquired the resources, fronted the money to allow the artists to produce a recording, and then used their distribution network to put the recording into the hands of paying customers.

Of course, being an industry, "artists" to them really were no different from the studio--a resource to be acquired and then used to produce product at the lowest possible cost. They weren't doing a service for the artists, it was the other way around, and the barriers to entry were huge so there wasn't any effective competition. Sure, you could play bars, but that wasn't going to get you known anywhere outside the area.

Kinda like car manufacturers--they only need fight with each other, because it costs a fortune to start a new car company.

The system changed. First it got to the point that almost any garage band could make a functional tape, albeit not a polished one. And now, ANYBODY can now afford enough basic hardware to produce an acceptable recording, and ANYBODY can buy the software to mix and produce, and ANYBODY can make a professional-quality CD--the only real limiting factor is skill.

The only thing that the industry had left was the distribution channels. Then came the internet, and the potential for ANYBODY to distribute their music to absolutely anywhere in the world for a price that they consider fair, and almost completely removing the middle man from the profit equation.

The Big Music Companies had a chance when this happened--they could have said "Ok, we'll create a system to facilitate artists getting their music onto the internet," and then used their "expertise" to flog the best artists to increase sales. Except that's a whole hell of a lot less profitable than selling $16.99 CDs and giving only a fraction of the sales to the artist, and as explained in the article in question they weren't about to give up their cash cow.

Which was great until Apple came and did exactly what they feared. Apple was willing to become the middle man for only a reasonable little cut of the profits. Now Amazon, too, or a band can just go solo and sell (or give away) direct. And so now ANYBODY can actually distribute their music for a very small cut of the gross.

So essentially the industry labels have obsoleted themselves through greed. Pretty much they had their chance to be flexible and adapt to a changing world, and they didn't. So every single tear they shed over profit opportunities lost to their shortsightedness is as sweet as honey, so far as I'm concerned.

jayducharme
Nov 27, 2007, 08:07 PM
most of them are in the industry purely out of a desire to make money and that's all they care about it.

Something not touched on is the hypocrisy of any music company executive claiming to be upset about their artists not getting the money due them. In most cases, the executives are the ones who pocket the money that the artists should be getting. But it's good press to pretend to be fighting for your poor struggling recording artists -- the fans sympathize with them. No one sympathizes with an executive who makes an eight-figure salary.

ajhill
Nov 27, 2007, 08:16 PM
The music idiots don't get the fact that iTunes and iPods and iPhones are a media organization system. Apple wasn't hugely successful because they merely opened an online music store. They were hugely successful because they put everything together in an easy to use, well presented, elegant solution. That's why 2/3 of the world chooses to use iTunes. It is simply the most elegant way to organize your media.

Al

mdriftmeyer
Nov 27, 2007, 08:18 PM
"Our strategy is to have the people who create great music be paid properly," he says.''

Then shut up and let us talk to the creators--the artists.

mcarnes
Nov 27, 2007, 08:20 PM
What a moran. I can't wait till they get what is coming.

:p Dude, you spelled moron wrong. Doh! Now I can't resist...

http://chrisvreeland.com/moran.jpg

Stella
Nov 27, 2007, 08:26 PM
Shocking attitude. If you don't have a goal longer than short term, any business will likely fail.

hob
Nov 27, 2007, 08:27 PM
...all companies are in the greed business. The only real difference is that some are smart-greedy and others are dumb-greedy. The music industry falls pretty squarely in the dumb-greedy corner if only because they have failed to think themselves out of some of the fundamental issues facing their industry.

Totally. American corporations are required by law to maximise their profits, no?

I totally agree with you about the dumb-greedy... I just can't believe there are people about that don't get that EVERYONE is in it for the money! That includes Apple.

Did any of you see Fight Club? The job that Tyler Durden does in looking at burnt out cars. The company will put out a defective profit if it won't lose it too much money. Just think of this when you see any corporation! They are willing to do anything, say anything, be anything in order to get your money in their hands!

Mmmm... Apple :p

bellicelli
Nov 27, 2007, 08:29 PM
For a very different take on what music is about, check out:

http://kristinhersh.cashmusic.org/

Support great artists directly.

Fukui
Nov 27, 2007, 08:30 PM
This whole thing will be one for the history books, thats for sure...

<prediction>The whole "big music" industry will be gone within 20 years.</prediction>

Fukui
Nov 27, 2007, 08:32 PM
American corporations are required by law to maximise their profits, no?
Really?

SRSound
Nov 27, 2007, 08:38 PM
Something not touched on is the hypocrisy of any music company executive claiming to be upset about their artists not getting the money due them. In most cases, the executives are the ones who pocket the money that the artists should be getting. But it's good press to pretend to be fighting for your poor struggling recording artists -- the fans sympathize with them. No one sympathizes with an executive who makes an eight-figure salary.

Just like how none of the money the RIAA won in lawsuits "for" the artists never actually went to any of the artists

benspratling
Nov 27, 2007, 08:41 PM
The music companies are nothing but lazy middlemen who make lots of money sitting back and watching artists pour their soul into their work. Why does it surprise anybody that they would resist another middleman, i.e. Apple, who actually adds value to the product by making it more accessible? In the end, Apple has had to convince them that more money could be made if people didn't have to get off their fat lazy butts and drive to a store to get the music. Now that they see how it's done, they're going to say "thank you Apple, but we'd like to be the ones getting that money now." They don't care about doing honest work, so they sure won't care about giving you a better product.

By the way that company that got $100 million from Apple because they had a patent on "getting stuff to you faster than you can watch it" ought to be suing every college out there, because my roommates regularly downloaded movies faster then they could watch them with Napster over the campus network back in the day. No iTunes for that, wasn't even Quicktime. Apple didn't build the network that got you the content, and that's where the real bottle necks come in. This is like Microsoft claiming a patent on "double tapping."

drummingcraig
Nov 27, 2007, 08:42 PM
I am still reading the article and will be back later to read everyone's posts but I just read this part: (bolding mine)

In addition to the licensing deals with Yahoo and YouTube and the dollar-a-Zune deal with Microsoft, the company has had undeniable success in selling mastertones, high-quality ringtones made directly from the original song recordings. Akon, a Universal artist, holds the current all-time mastertone sales record at 11 million copies. 50 Cent, also with Universal, held the previous record with 10.5 million. Last year, while the largest portion of Universal's digital sales came from iTunes, the second-, third-, and fourth-biggest digital revenue generators were all cell phone companies.

And yet somehow people still want to point the finger of blame at Apple when they have to pay an extra 99 cents to "legally" have a ringtone for their iPhone.

I've said it before and I will say it again...Apple is not the driving force behind the ringtone charges.

Craig

grappler
Nov 27, 2007, 08:47 PM
Well, Frankly, **** Him. **** Doug Morris.

I am buying DRM-Free music on iTunes right now. And from Amazon. I will consider buying DRM-Free music from anyone who offers it.

I will not by DRM'd music from anybody.

I'll look first for a place to easily find a song conveniently professionally packaged and unencumbered for a reasonable price. That gets me a good error-free high-quality recording, correctly labeled, possibly with album art, and allows me to support something I believe in.

If I don't find that, I'll look for it on a P2P file sharing network.

elgruga
Nov 27, 2007, 08:48 PM
Just another old fat stupid rich guy too lazy to change his ways. Frickin' 'dog' analogy - call a Vet, you idiot.

I also used to work in the 'biz'; I was in the management side of things.

An average record deal back then was around 5% of the gross for the artist, AFTER you paid for recording, PR, lawyers fees, etc. etc. Yes, the artist had to cover those costs out of his 5%.
Many new bands, being a bit green and also very enthusiastic, spent so much in the studio, they never saw a penny from a number one record. True.

Cd's came in, cost of production dropped like a stone, artist share stayed the same.

Many good artists gave up, I recall, because they could not survive on the low payout.
Lots of good songs that never reached the music-loving public - and thats NOT fantasy.

Doug Morris and his ilk are responsible for the schlock that we listen to, and killing the good stuff.
He doesnt even know what good music is - 'Sweet Talking Guy' LOL! (read the article)

Now we have the 'net - and it is destroying the newspaper biz (I hope) and the music biz (I hope) and a few other useless greedy appendages .

The music biz that sells CD's will survive, but only as a niche product.

But essentially its over - and about time too.

Doesnt matter what Universal does - their day is over.

Its healthy to see change - now lets see if the 'net can give us democracy back....

MacTheSpoon
Nov 27, 2007, 08:55 PM
Ugh, these horrible record company execs. My heart goes out to all of these poor recording artists who have to deal with them.

itcheroni
Nov 27, 2007, 08:57 PM
Totally. American corporations are required by law to maximise their profits, no?


The head of a company may be liable to its shareholders but there certainly is no crime for not making profit.

cohibadad
Nov 27, 2007, 08:58 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

"Our strategy is to have the people who create great music be paid properly," he says. "We need to protect the music. I know that."

Yeah, except they don't. The actual artists make very little off album sales. The label (including this guy who was interviewed) are the ones who make all of the money.

Maybe they should just stop being greedy scumbags.

By "the people who create great music" he means himself and his cronies. To them, Apple just demonstrated that digital distribution is possible and the reward for demonstrating it is to do whatever they can to kill them off. How would you like to sit in the same room with these tools?

LethalWolfe
Nov 27, 2007, 08:59 PM
The music companies are nothing but lazy middlemen who make lots of money sitting back and watching artists pour their soul into their work.
Actually labels typically cover the costs associated to making an album (recording, marketing, distributing, music videos, touring, etc.,) and hope that they make their money back after the fact. Typically they don't, but the success of the relatively few "blockbuster" acts brings in enough cash to have the label turn a profit.


Lethal

DeaconGraves
Nov 27, 2007, 09:01 PM
Totally. American corporations are required by law to maximise their profits, no?


Maybe its my idealism shining through for a moment, but one would think that by fixing the system, a short term profits drop would result in a long term gain. Nothing illegal about that.

Instead, the dog who needed kidney surgery is slowly dying in the front yard and one would hope that this causes UMG profit's to eventually drop even lower.

ilogic
Nov 27, 2007, 09:04 PM
In the time I have used iTunes it has offered me so much for such a great price that keeps making me go back for more. The CD or some other form of online distribution that ties you neck and chain to their subscription is not for me, or for most of us now.:apple:

IJ Reilly
Nov 27, 2007, 09:07 PM
Totally. American corporations are required by law to maximise their profits, no?

I totally agree with you about the dumb-greedy... I just can't believe there are people about that don't get that EVERYONE is in it for the money! That includes Apple.

I don't know about "by law," but the stockholders certainly demand it.

The point is, those of you who are thinking up bad names to call Morris are missing the point. It's not about guys like him being greedy so-and-sos. He could be just as greedy as ever, but if he was selling you a product you wanted at a price you were willing to pay, you'd all be saying "thank you very much," and not thinking about greed at all.

The big point to be made here is that that guys like UMG's Morris are in the buggy whip industry, they just don't know it yet. It's a little sad, but I'm not planning on shedding any tears over them.

Morky
Nov 27, 2007, 09:10 PM
What a moran. I can't wait till they get what is coming.

Misspelling moron is about as bad as it gets.

JimAtLaw
Nov 27, 2007, 09:10 PM
By "the people who create great music" he means himself and his cronies. To them, Apple just demonstrated that digital distribution is possible and the reward for demonstrating it is to do whatever they can to kill them off. How would you like to sit in the same room with these tools?

Spot on. These guys are absolute scum - it is well known that they not only contract to take, but then go further and steal every penny they can from the artists by hook or by crook. Scum, and their time in the sun is fortunately ending...

inkswamp
Nov 27, 2007, 09:21 PM
On one side we have a company with a great deal of vision that wants to combine the consumer's love of technology and entertainment into something better than what was there before.

On the other side, you have a bunch of pampered, overpaid executives fighting against the inevitable changes to their comfy empire like angry dogs trying to keep whatever scraps they have left.

Gee, who to side with...? :rolleyes:

rockosmodurnlif
Nov 27, 2007, 09:27 PM
I am shocked how many people don't get the dog surgery question. It's not what you do but how you do it. The obvious answer is to get a professional to do the surgery but how do you get the professional? By what means do you measure his skill? How do you know the surgeon knows what he's talking about? And how much is the surgery worth? By that I mean compensation to the doctor.

Morris even says, "I wouldn't be able to recognize a good technology person — anyone with a good ******** story would have gotten past me." This was then qualified as willful cluelessness by the writer. Do I completely believe Morris? No, but I don't think it's willful cluelessness. I think people are forgetting what it was like when Napster came around. What does one do when the revolution is happening under one's own feet?

as a retired journalist, i might read articles differently than many folks. at any rate, an observation or two about this news piece:

First, the Wired article is an excellent summary of the circumstances, and the story was excerpted well here.

Second, many of the most provocative quotes are quoting Wired author Seth Mnookin, NOT Morris. Mnookin may have characterized Morris' opinions accurately, but we're hearing Mnookin's take on it, not Morris' "from my mouth to your ears." The comments about wringing every dollar, and other stinging quotes, aren't Morris' words.

I'm just sayin'...

I feel the article is biased against Morris from the get go. His direct quotes help me understand what he's trying to say.

The internet makes distribution of music stupidly simple. So bands just need to figure out that marketing thing for themselves and the labels can fade into history.

Anybody feeling entrepreneurial? A little marketing business designed to support artists and leave the rest to them might do well these days.

You make it sound so easy. :rolleyes: Either way here are some places you can support: CD Baby (http://cdbaby.com/) and Tunecore (http://www.tunecore.com/)

With all that said, I don't want to subscribe to music. I will subscribe to movie rentals but not music.

jz1492
Nov 27, 2007, 09:28 PM
Worse. He just found out that if he operates using this rusty butcher's knife (DRM), not only will he save his old dog, but even make it fly.

actcochise
Nov 27, 2007, 09:34 PM
Speaking as someone in the music biz, who is managing an artist that used to be signed to Universal, I have total disdain for Mr. Morris views. Were I on the board of directors of Universal, I would seek to have him replaced immediately. The insanity of suggesting that they are excused for not figuring out their own business because they aren't "technology" people is just totally revealing.

Distribution is what the majors are all about, and digital is all about distribution. It's for music distribution what Ford's Ford T was for cars. If they can't figure that out then they have no reason to exist - certainly the majors are not needed to produce great music.

Furthermore - he's not "protecting artists and their music". He's just in a totally futile way trying to protect their own control of artists and their music. How is allowing for people to access all music for a subscription fee going to help artists? No - Universal wants to sell advertising, for which they don't have to pay the artists, using artists and their music as the bait.

Here's a dinosaur going down in full view of everybody else. I feel sorrier for the Tyrannosaurus Rex than for Mr. Morris.

drummingcraig
Nov 27, 2007, 09:40 PM
Digital production was the beginning of the shift, digital distribution is its crest. It is time for the industry to realize they are now just contract companies for promotion. Their share of the profits should drop in accordance. We can all rejoice in the fact that they can no longer shove Brittany Spears and Hanna Montana down our throats. The free market will finally rule.



The other issue that should be frightening the industry silly is that they are rapidly becoming irrelevant. More and more musicians are bypassing the industry entirely and going directly to their fans. The music distribution model is changing fundamentally, and they can't really do a thing to stop it. The industry should be asking themselves what audience and purpose they will serve in ten years or so, when an entire generation of musicians and music buyers are used to not needing them at all.


And really, it seems to be sort of obvious. Like many things, recorded music used to take a lot of money and investment to produce--you needed a studio to record it, and experts with fancy hardware to mix it, and big factories to produce expensive records. And then, even if you had a stack of records, you had absolutely no way of actually getting them to anybody--you needed a huge distribution channel.

Hence, the music industry (that's such a sickening term, if you really think about it) positioned itself in there--they acquired the resources, fronted the money to allow the artists to produce a recording, and then used their distribution network to put the recording into the hands of paying customers.

*SNIP*

The system changed. First it got to the point that almost any garage band could make a functional tape, albeit not a polished one. And now, ANYBODY can now afford enough basic hardware to produce an acceptable recording, and ANYBODY can buy the software to mix and produce, and ANYBODY can make a professional-quality CD--the only real limiting factor is skill.

The only thing that the industry had left was the distribution channels. Then came the internet, and the potential for ANYBODY to distribute their music to absolutely anywhere in the world for a price that they consider fair, and almost completely removing the middle man from the profit equation.

*SNIP*

So essentially the industry labels have obsoleted themselves through greed. Pretty much they had their chance to be flexible and adapt to a changing world, and they didn't. So every single tear they shed over profit opportunities lost to their shortsightedness is as sweet as honey, so far as I'm concerned.

You all pretty much have things covered. The record companies roles in the music industry are quickly becoming minor, if not all together obsolete.

Its almost like the real estate crisis going on right now. People got greedy and ignored the fact that things would soon change. Eventually the bubble burst and a lot of folks got burned. The mega-labels were so self-consumed with consuming that they neglected to see the needle approaching the balloon.

The record companies (in their hay-day) functioned like banks...lending money to clients in return for GROSS amounts of interest. They provided capital and connections to artists who had none of either. True, it was a gamble for the record companies as not every artist succeeded. As we all know however, billions were made, and not by the artists. The "failed" artists gave them something to write off at the end of the year.

I work with a UMG artist and its amazing sometimes to see how these folks think (although the same can be said about ANY mega-label). The lack of foresight and creativity even at the "imprint label" level is astounding. And more often than not I can see the motivation being in terms of $$$ instead of artist development or even basic marketing.

So as MacPhilosopher put it, the big labels hold value primarily as promotion contractors, and once again are trying to "hold on to yesterday", ignoring their impending demise instead of trying to accept evolution and move onward.

Of course we should all be sad about this because after all, guys like Mr. Morris are "only in it for the good of the artist". :rolleyes:

Craig

color guy
Nov 27, 2007, 09:44 PM
OK, I'll jump on the pile too...
I know someone who was a secretary for a record company,
she quit because she couldn't live with what they were doing.
I remember years ago, steve miller had his company audited
to see if indeed they were losing money as they claimed. turns out they were lying. So he had them audited after each of his records came out. And EVERY TIME they tried to cheat him.
I think he was up to 14 albums by that time. Crooked and stoopid to boot.
hate to bring this up, but the "music business" has deep roots in organized crime dating back to the jukebox era when speakeasies had to pay protection money. There are several companies that were reputed to be fronts a few years ago, but
i don't know what the current situation is. I had freinds that were paid in bags of cash! I assume they have
done like the vegas folks and gone semi legit. The line today has blurred between criminal and legit business.
According to my friend, it's still common practice to keep fraudulent books and bribe media folks.
I could go on and on with the stories my music friends have told me over the years.
Hm.. maybe i'll write a book.

technocoy
Nov 27, 2007, 09:47 PM
Its really annoying with everyone trying to line up against Apple, especially after all the money they have made for the industry.

I'm actually interested to see what Apple may do when pushed to the point of threatening.

Apple has a HUGE cash reserve. I really could imagine then saying screw it and actually starting a studio to reel in the major artists that already like Apple. And then pay them more money. And then get rid of the DRM. And then put the others out of business for good.

It's already happening with services like CD baby getting the little guys on iTunes, I can see them getting the big boys on board and really doing a number.

After all, I don't think Apple is THAT concerned with profit from the store itself, this is about keeping people in the library and buying Apple products.

buddhagoth
Nov 27, 2007, 09:49 PM
" Last edited by WildCowboy : Today at 08:46 PM. Reason: post merge...please use multi-quote"

Good grief, why? Those two might not know each other and be very embarrassed to be put so close together! :rolleyes:

Cordially,
BG

David G.
Nov 27, 2007, 09:52 PM
Mr. Morris, you are a pinhead. The world thinks you're a pinhead. If you were in our position you would think of yourself as a pinhead too.

benspratling
Nov 27, 2007, 09:54 PM
I just can't believe there are people about that don't get that EVERYONE is in it for the money! That includes Apple.


I, for one, am not in it for the money.

inkswamp
Nov 27, 2007, 09:55 PM
Misspelling moron is about as bad as it gets.

I suspect the person who posted that knows how to spell "moron" but is making a reference to a notorious pic that floated around the Internets* a while back.

http://media.urbandictionary.com/image/large/moran-7512.jpg

* Yes, I know it's not plural, but I'm making a reference to George W. Bush's quote during the 2004 presidential debates. See how that works?

drummingcraig
Nov 27, 2007, 09:55 PM
I am shocked how many people don't get the dog surgery question. It's not what you do but how you do it. The obvious answer is to get a professional to do the surgery but how do you get the professional? By what means do you measure his skill? How do you know the surgeon knows what he's talking about? And how much is the surgery worth? By that I mean compensation to the doctor.

Morris even says, "I wouldn't be able to recognize a good technology person — anyone with a good ******** story would have gotten past me." This was then qualified as willful cluelessness by the writer. Do I completely believe Morris? No, but I don't think it's willful cluelessness. I think people are forgetting what it was like when Napster came around. What does one do when the revolution is happening under one's own feet?


I understood the dog surgery analogy, and I sympathize with waking up one morning and being in the midst of a revolution. However, we're talking about one of the largest (if not THE largest) music corporation in the US/World. Surely they could've found qualified tech-folks to help them cope with things.

As mentioned in the article, the big labels were too addicted to the high margins of CD sales to entertain the idea of a "new digital world" with much lower profit margins. So instead of at least attempting to learn how to perform surgery on their dog, they simply ignored the illness and watched the dog kick the bucket.

Craig

mambodancer
Nov 27, 2007, 09:56 PM
I don't know about "by law," but the stockholders certainly demand it.

The point is, those of you who are thinking up bad names to call Morris are missing the point. It's not about guys like him being greedy so-and-sos. He could be just as greedy as ever, but if he was selling you a product you wanted at a price you were willing to pay, you'd all be saying "thank you very much," and not thinking about greed at all.

The big point to be made here is that that guys like UMG's Morris are in the buggy whip industry, they just don't know it yet. It's a little sad, but I'm not planning on shedding any tears over them.

The paradigm shift in the movie and recording industry will happen (as it usually does) when the execs of his generation retire/die out and are replaced by the execs of the internet and digital age. Until then, we must be vigilant against these people trying to secure their power and ideology through legislation that will have an adverse effect on our culture.

The radio industry is the horse and buggy technology of today. Our generation will see its demise as it is replaced by internet access and services like podcasting, and on-demand, subscription based services.

Cable TV and the Motion picture industry are the horseless buggy of yesteryear for the same reasons. We, (generally speaking) want on-demand, virtually instant access to all television shows and movies no matter when they first aired or in what country they were produced. We want the ability to watch on any hardware device, unfettered by any restrictions, and when we want to watch it. We don't like being tied to a schedule so we TIVO or DVR or iTunes it. We don't like commercials and think that if you insert them into your program, then we shouldn't have to pay for your program.

Morris reminds me of some of my clients and relatives, of a certain age or generation, who seem genuinely proud of the fact that they have "resisted" computer technology. That somehow not knowing anything about using the internet is somehow a virtue. That being ignorant is bliss. They don't get it.

Here's to the next generation of CEO's and politicians that do!

inkswamp
Nov 27, 2007, 10:02 PM
Its really annoying with everyone trying to line up against Apple, especially after all the money they have made for the industry.

I'm actually interested to see what Apple may do when pushed to the point of threatening.

What makes you think they'll do anything? The corporate guys are dinosaurs and what they're doing now is ensuring that they will be left behind as technology and music move forward. They need Apple and iTunes more than Apple needs them. They aren't going to pull the indies out of iTunes anytime soon (and I suspect that's a larger chunk of iTunes sales than it may seem) nor are they going to stop the bleeding of big name bands like NIN and Radiohead who are exploring alternative distribution methods. The game is over. The music industry lost the hearts and minds of the consumer and the artists, and now their own distribution model is on the rocks. Apple needs only to continue doing what they do making music players and stores that the music biz needs very badly. Eventually, whatever is left of the music industry will figure that out.

maxrobertson
Nov 27, 2007, 10:23 PM
We live in really exciting times. I remember a few years ago, when I was really passionate about Apple, it was at the very beginning of the shift we're seeing today. Now I'm really passionate about music, and I think the same things are going to be happening. I can't wait for good music to have a fair chance again.

IJ Reilly
Nov 27, 2007, 10:26 PM
The paradigm shift in the movie and recording industry will happen (as it usually does) when the execs of his generation retire/die out and are replaced by the execs of the internet and digital age. Until then, we must be vigilant against these people trying to secure their power and ideology through legislation that will have an adverse effect on our culture.

I'd argue that it doesn't much matter who's in charge in this industry. The buggy whip industry didn't go under because their executive lacked vision, it went under because the world no longer needed buggy whips.

The question is, why do musicians, and the people who listen to them, need large record companies any longer? This industry was founded on the three-legged stool of radio, recording and promotion. With technology and the internet, all of these factors were altered fundamentally and irreversibly -- in favor of both the audience and the artist, and against the big labels.

If I were a young musician, I would not be looking for a recording contract so I could afford studio time with the hope that my record company pushed my music and got it played on the radio. I'd be recording in my home or in some small studio and putting the stuff on the 'net for people to hear, and develop my audience that way. A lot of artists do that now -- and I think a whole generation of musicians are growing up in this environment, not in the old one, where you don't get heard without a recording contract with a big label.

The old music industry model is virtually obsolete, they just don't know it yet. They probably couldn't do much about it even if they did, any more than the buggy whip makers could stop the automobile from making them obsolete.

notjustjay
Nov 27, 2007, 10:41 PM
They aren't jealous, they're scared. They're scared that they've already given away the store. And they're right to be scared. One of the truly interesting facts revealed in the article is that Apple is verging on effective control of the retail music business. The industry is not going to want to be dealing with any one retailer with as much power as Apple is gaining, so they are making their moves. No surprise there.

But Apple is making them money. The article even said, the largest portion of their digital music sales came from Apple. I can see wanting control, but seriously!

Man, I was about to declare personal bankruptcy but I found a financial planner to help me out. Now I've given him a large portion of my life savings and he's making me a killing on the stock market and mutual funds. But darn it, he's got my money. Not me. I must have that money back! I must be free to spend every penny I have on things that I think are important! Never mind that I have no clue about finances or investing. Hey, I hear these slot machine thingies can make you rich! I must not let someone else handle my money!

ViveLeLivre
Nov 27, 2007, 10:41 PM
"There's no one in the record company that's a technologist," Morris explains. "That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"

Nice strawman. The average Joe knows nothing about surgery, and Morris is paid very well to know his market and sell music.

Hemorrhaging profits to digital downloads? Hire some analysts who understand that market!

harperska
Nov 27, 2007, 10:44 PM
Apple has a HUGE cash reserve. I really could imagine then saying screw it and actually starting a studio to reel in the major artists that already like Apple. And then pay them more money. And then get rid of the DRM. And then put the others out of business for good.

It's already happening with services like CD baby getting the little guys on iTunes, I can see them getting the big boys on board and really doing a number.

After all, I don't think Apple is THAT concerned with profit from the store itself, this is about keeping people in the library and buying Apple products.

And after the Apple v. Apple settlement, Apple (computer) is now legally able to do exactly this. Who knows what the future will hold.

LethalWolfe
Nov 27, 2007, 10:55 PM
According to my friend, it's still common practice to keep fraudulent books and bribe media folks.

"Creative accounting" and paying people for good press aren't things only present in the music industry and will still be around after the majors are gone.

If I were a young musician, I would not be looking for a recording contract so I could afford studio time with the hope that my record company pushed my music and got it played on the radio. I'd be recording in my home or in some small studio and putting the stuff on the 'net for people to hear, and develop my audience that way. A lot of artists do that now -- and I think a whole generation of musicians are growing up in this environment, not in the old one, where you don't get heard without a recording contract with a big label.
You can make a record on the cheap in your home but so can millions of other people. How do you stick out from the crowd and get noticed? How do you get people to your web site? How do you convince people to pay for your music? How do long can you work two full time jobs (a day job to pay rent and a night job creating music, playing gigs, and trying to get yourself noticed on the 'net)?

The video world is in a similar boat, but facing a bit bigger challenge because of the increased "overhead" of video (more people involved, more gear, not as easy to download/stream, etc.,). I mean, YouTube gets over 60 thousands new pieces of media a day so w/o factoring in luck how do you get noticed? The creators of the indie flick Four Eyed Monster pretty much became the poster children for generating grass roots, internet buzz for their movie but in the end they still couldn't monetize on the buzz they built.

Currently building a viable, repeatable business model for monetizing creative works on the WWW is still a sticky wicket. We'll get their eventually, but people with money and connections (be it labels, studios, or private investors) will always have a place in the food chain. It might not be as big a place as it once was, but it'll still be there, IMO.


Lethal

IJ Reilly
Nov 27, 2007, 11:04 PM
You can make a record on the cheap in your home but so can millions of other people. How do you stick out from the crowd and get noticed? How do you get people to your web site? How do you convince people to pay for your music? How do long can you work two full time jobs (a day job to pay rent and a night job creating music, playing gigs, and trying to get yourself noticed on the 'net)?

Since when is music the road to riches for more than a handful? The same goes for acting. I know quite a number of wonderful actors. They all dream of making it big some day, but all of them have day jobs. They do it because they love the art -- which in the end, is the only good reason to do it.

The sad fact is, even of the artists who do score recording contracts, few see anything more than their first advance, and this includes many fine artists who just don't fit into the record company's marketing plans, or quickly fall out of them when they don't hit it big right out of the gate. The internet allows these people an opportunity to cut out the middle man and meet the audience directly. So what if millions do? I don't see any downside to that!

xnu
Nov 27, 2007, 11:08 PM
In the spirit of the season, this guy is a fruitcake.

bluedevil14
Nov 27, 2007, 11:22 PM
i'd like free music, but i'm guessing the hardware companies would have to pay a HUGE amount to subsidize it or Universal will lose a ton of money, and we all know how they LOVE their short term money

748s
Nov 27, 2007, 11:40 PM
This is an excellent move by universal.
It will hasten the exodus of artists from record Co's.
More artists selling via iTunes or direct digital downloads.
Are those executives that stoopid?

drummingcraig
Nov 27, 2007, 11:45 PM
You can make a record on the cheap in your home but so can millions of other people. How do you stick out from the crowd and get noticed? How do you get people to your web site? How do you convince people to pay for your music? How do long can you work two full time jobs (a day job to pay rent and a night job creating music, playing gigs, and trying to get yourself noticed on the 'net)?

*SNIP*

Currently building a viable, repeatable business model for monetizing creative works on the WWW is still a sticky wicket. We'll get their eventually, but people with money and connections (be it labels, studios, or private investors) will always have a place in the food chain. It might not be as big a place as it once was, but it'll still be there, IMO.


Lethal

IMO, from a musical standpoint one cannot succeed financially if their music exists solely on the "WWW". The internet is only one piece (albeit a large one) of a bigger puzzle which must include live performances and marketing/management in the real world.

So you are correct to a point in stating that people with connections and money will have a place in the food chain. However I feel that it is MUCH easier for artists to succeed with grass roots style self-promotion. Its also important to point out that radio play is almost a non-factor (unless you're talking about indie stations) as the majority of commercial stations are only spinning the same 20-30 songs from the the most "popular" artists...err...excuse me, "entertainers". ;) So this is another strike against the majors as even a contract with them cannot guarantee airplay.

Craig

rockosmodurnlif
Nov 27, 2007, 11:54 PM
I understood the dog surgery analogy, and I sympathize with waking up one morning and being in the midst of a revolution. However, we're talking about one of the largest (if not THE largest) music corporation in the US/World. Surely they could've found qualified tech-folks to help them cope with things.

As mentioned in the article, the big labels were too addicted to the high margins of CD sales to entertain the idea of a "new digital world" with much lower profit margins. So instead of at least attempting to learn how to perform surgery on their dog, they simply ignored the illness and watched the dog kick the bucket.

Craig

People also seem to have forgotten about the myriad of digital music stores that existed that iTunes outlasted, thanks to the iPod and it's own limited DRM requirements. Like each record company had their own or came together or something like that. People also seem to have forgotten about the myriad of "digital" companies that went bottoms up around the beginning of the new millennium run by "qualified tech-folks".

It's easy to stand here seven years later and say they should've done this or that. Damn the record company for trying to make as much money as possible! What? Is this being said by the same crowd who cheer everytime AAPL stock goes up? When Apple sets a record for profits in a quarter or some such? If I was a shareholder in Universal Music Group, I'd want the highest possible profits too. I don't understand people who say they shouldn't have tried to protect the CD. Who knew the mp3 was going to be what it is? Given that it's a proprietary technology to boot. Wasn't OGG/Vorbis out at the same time? Apple pushed AAC and what's still dominant? The mp3.

People say the record companies were short-sighted. They went with what was proven, what worked and tried to hold back the fire sale. When I was in a band and heard about Napster I swore not to use it. Free music? I thought Napster users were stealing another form of revenue from the artists (in addition to touring and merch and such). Then I compromised my principles and opened my eyes to whole new genres of music.

Apple took the risk on digital music and was rewarded. But now everybody wants a piece of the pie, that's how the world works. I welcome Universal trying something new. Maybe soon enough I'll be able to get digital albums for $5 without going to something like allofmp3.

TurboSC
Nov 28, 2007, 12:35 AM
Idiot. He doesn''t know his market, he doesn't understand his customers (he treats them as ENEMIES) and he doesn''t care to learn ...

Total moron. Ought to clean him out of the corporate genepool and improve the breed....

lol for real... he just openly admitted that he doesn't know his own target market. Man, this is horrible, makes you wonder what else in this world is run poorly / inefficiently... thank god there's the Internet / Open Source.

ErikGrim
Nov 28, 2007, 12:38 AM
He'd sit around for eight years and insist that the dog was fine, eventually blaming the neighbor's cat's when the dog died.

You sir, are a scholar and a genius.

drummingcraig
Nov 28, 2007, 12:42 AM
People also seem to have forgotten about the myriad of digital music stores that existed that iTunes outlasted, thanks to the iPod and it's own limited DRM requirements. Like each record company had their own or came together or something like that. People also seem to have forgotten about the myriad of "digital" companies that went bottoms up around the beginning of the new millennium run by "qualified tech-folks".

By "qualified tech-folks" I didn't mean "someone who knows all the answers". I meant that I don't want to hear Mr. Morris' blubbering "whoa is me, we were completely helpless" speech. I wasn't there so I don't pretend to know what transpired in UMG's headquarters during the early days of the digital revolution, but based on this article one can surmise that any ideas of album's selling for only $9-10 were quickly tossed out the window.

It's easy to stand here seven years later and say they should've done this or that. Damn the record company for trying to make as much money as possible! What? Is this being said by the same crowd who cheer everytime AAPL stock goes up? When Apple sets a record for profits in a quarter or some such? If I was a shareholder in Universal Music Group, I'd want the highest possible profits too.

I honestly don't think this is a totally fair comparison. Yes, UMG is a business and as such their mission is to make money. However mega-labels are notorious for making vast amounts of money often at the expense (and swindling) of their artists (the very essence of their own existence). So it should be no surprise to you that people tend to get a little "sensitive" about their ethics and business practices.

When Apple posts a record gain one would like to think they they didn't step on too many people in the process. I would also like to think that the world which Apple functions in is a little bit more honest then that in which most record labels exist. We all have our own morals, but I for one (of course being biased as a musician) would rather own stock in a corp. which achieves great financial gain through more legitimate means.

Also, if I was a shareholder of UMG I would say that a balance between financial gain and longterm stability would be a plus. I wouldn't be opposed to a short term loss if it meant a better future.

I don't understand people who say they shouldn't have tried to protect the CD. Who knew the mp3 was going to be what it is? Given that it's a proprietary technology to boot. Wasn't OGG/Vorbis out at the same time? Apple pushed AAC and what's still dominant? The mp3.

People say the record companies were short-sighted. They went with what was proven, what worked and tried to hold back the fire sale. When I was in a band and heard about Napster I swore not to use it. Free music? I thought Napster users were stealing another form of revenue from the artists (in addition to touring and merch and such). Then I compromised my principles and opened my eyes to whole new genres of music.

First off, I never said that they shouldn't have protected the CD. It obviously hasn't vanished and I suspect will be with us for a while longer. But here's the rub: People have been ripping tapes and CDs for years without much noise from anyone. All the while, folks continued to buy new albums and set records for CD sales. Now with mp3's, record companies are so worried about their bottom line and DRM that they have polarized people towards one digital format or another, which IMO furthers pirating. I don't think the "fire sale" you speak of would have amounted to much if companies like UMG had just bitten the bullet and said, "OK, you can buy a full quality album on CD for $17.99 -or- you can buy a lower quality mp3 version online (free of DRM) for $9.99. Their margins would've shrank of course, but certainly not by anymore than they have.

My whole point is that this took place when record companies were making record profits on very high margins and their inability to evolve had more to do with "fat belly" stubbornness rather than technical impotence.

Craig

gifford
Nov 28, 2007, 01:22 AM
haha!LOL im sure someone must have quoted this already as i havent read the comments but...
"They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"

Well i would personaly pay someone who 'did' know what to do obviously! how dumb can you get!
I would have called the vet. maybe they should have asked a consultant.

markfc
Nov 28, 2007, 01:58 AM
Is it time for Apple to start their own Record Label?

Apple Music has a nice ring to it!

Darkroom
Nov 28, 2007, 02:36 AM
man, that Morris guy is such a douchebag...


It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?

well, for starters you could stop being a cheap b*tch and, i don't know, HIRE SOMEONE to do it? call me crazy...


Our strategy is to have the people who create great music be paid properly


no, your strategy is to have old fat white men in suits, like yourself, sitting in a board room scratching their heads to get as much money from people who create great music as they can.

rockosmodurnlif
Nov 28, 2007, 02:36 AM
By "qualified tech-folks" I didn't mean "someone who knows all the answers". I meant that I don't want to hear Mr. Morris' blubbering "whoa is me, we were completely helpless" speech. I wasn't there so I don't pretend to know what transpired in UMG's headquarters during the early days of the digital revolution, but based on this article one can surmise that any ideas of album's selling for only $9-10 were quickly tossed out the window.

I'll agree


I honestly don't think this is a totally fair comparison. Yes, UMG is a business and as such their mission is to make money. However mega-labels are notorious for making vast amounts of money often at the expense (and swindling) of their artists (the very essence of their own existence). So it should be no surprise to you that people tend to get a little "sensitive" about their ethics and business practices.

When Apple posts a record gain one would like to think they they didn't step on too many people in the process. I would also like to think that the world which Apple functions in is a little bit more honest then that in which most record labels exist. We all have our own morals, but I for one (of course being biased as a musician) would rather own stock in a corp. which achieves great financial gain through more legitimate means.

"One would like to think ..."

But that is why you don't own stock in UMG. Other people do. Why is my comparison unfair? Because you like Apple and think they are more ethical?


Also, if I was a shareholder of UMG I would say that a balance between financial gain and longterm stability would be a plus. I wouldn't be opposed to a short term loss if it meant a better future.

Yes. I agree. But what if short term becomes long term? Are you willing to take that risk?


First off, I never said that they shouldn't have protected the CD. It obviously hasn't vanished and I suspect will be with us for a while longer. But here's the rub: People have been ripping tapes and CDs for years without much noise from anyone. All the while, folks continued to buy new albums and set records for CD sales. Now with mp3's, record companies are so worried about their bottom line and DRM that they have polarized people towards one digital format or another, which IMO furthers pirating. I don't think the "fire sale" you speak of would have amounted to much if companies like UMG had just bitten the bullet and said, "OK, you can buy a full quality album on CD for $17.99 -or- you can buy a lower quality mp3 version online (free of DRM) for $9.99. Their margins would've shrank of course, but certainly not by anymore than they have.

My whole point is that this took place when record companies were making record profits on very high margins and their inability to evolve had more to do with "fat belly" stubbornness rather than technical impotence.

Craig

Are you saying CD/tape copying is the same as mp3 downloading? The two are so different it doesn't make sense to put them in the same sentence. That's what I mean by people forgetting what it was like before Napster.

But you still haven't addressed my point. You restated yours. New technology is a risk. The record companies did eventually try to work with the technology using all sorts of DRM trying to prevent pirating. I don't agree with DRM but I understand it. Let's not forget pirating had the jump on legitimate sales of digital files. $10 for an lossy format or I can get the same lossy format for free and its DRM free. Free is a hard price to fight. Like I said, mp3 was not embraced by the music industry, it was thrust upon them.

But they did try to work with digital downloads and they got it wrong over and over and then iTunes got it right. After iTunes set the price point (and the iPod started to sell) the market started to work. iTunes wasn't the first digital music store and I don't think it's the best either. If eMusic had the selection of iTunes ... but that's another topic for another day.

csimmons
Nov 28, 2007, 03:34 AM
But you still haven't addressed my point. You restated yours. New technology is a risk. The record companies did eventually try to work with the technology using all sorts of DRM trying to prevent pirating. I don't agree with DRM but I understand it. Let's not forget pirating had the jump on legitimate sales of digital files. $10 for an lossy format or I can get the same lossy format for free and its DRM free. Free is a hard price to fight. Like I said, mp3 was not embraced by the music industry, it was thrust upon them.

But they did try to work with digital downloads and they got it wrong over and over and then iTunes got it right. After iTunes set the price point (and the iPod started to sell) the market started to work. iTunes wasn't the first digital music store and I don't think it's the best either. If eMusic had the selection of iTunes ... but that's another topic for another day.

The main point that you and other pro music industry people still fail to address is why Napster and similar services back then, Bit Torrent sites and now (for the past 5 years) the iTunes store were so successful: the unreasonable pricing of CD's since their inception. CD's are WAY TOO EXPENSIVE. The pricing of CD's is of course not the only reason for the rise of file sharing, but if you look at the success of the iTS, then it's clear that pricing is the main reason.

Jermain Dupri recently wrote a blog at the Huffington Post website where he said "the customer gets what they want too much, and that hurts the artist". Dupri and Morris are prime examples of why the music industry as we know it are pretty much doomed. The sooner artists can get their music directly to the fans and truly start to get paid for their efforts, instead of being raped by the labels, the better.

bartelby
Nov 28, 2007, 03:37 AM
This is a very revealing article about why the music industry is the way it is. I was surprised by it.

arn

Were you really surprised or was is sarcasm?

Me? I'm not surprised by any of it!

iPie
Nov 28, 2007, 03:47 AM
I thought that the article nicely shows how outsiders can break into new markets and shake things up; Apple in this case. There is absolutely nothing new about "insiders" being blind to changing industry dynamics.

I just don't understand how one can criticize Morris and praise Jobs on:

1. Short Term Profits: look at the damned iPhone.
2. Closed systems and DRM - no need for comments...

What is so bad about copying good business models? It just leads to further innovation and (we hope) lower prices for consumers. It should keep Apple on their toes if they want to continue to be leaders.

Blue Velvet
Nov 28, 2007, 03:51 AM
CD's are WAY TOO EXPENSIVE.

I'm with Doug Morris on this. When a coffee costs a couple of bucks, how much should a CD cost?

bartelby
Nov 28, 2007, 03:59 AM
I'm with Doug Morris on this. When a coffee costs a couple of bucks, how much should a CD cost?

The cost of CDs is very subjective though.
I've paid £30 for one cd (6 tracks) and thought it was great value because every track is bloody awesome. I've also paid £7 for a cd (14 tracks) and thought is was a bit crap as there were only 2 good tracks on it and they were both released as singles. I bought the album because the singles were good.

calculus
Nov 28, 2007, 04:13 AM
Do people really think that CDs are too expensive? They are cheaper now than they have ever been.

pavelbure
Nov 28, 2007, 04:28 AM
why is this on page 1 of a MACrumors site ?

bartelby
Nov 28, 2007, 04:30 AM
why is this on page 1 of a MACrumors site ?

Possibly because of the potential impact on iTunes Store and Apple...

xJulianx
Nov 28, 2007, 04:50 AM
as a retired journalist, i might read articles differently than many folks. at any rate, an observation or two about this news piece:

First, the Wired article is an excellent summary of the circumstances, and the story was excerpted well here.

Second, many of the most provocative quotes are quoting Wired author Seth Mnookin, NOT Morris. Mnookin may have characterized Morris' opinions accurately, but we're hearing Mnookin's take on it, not Morris' "from my mouth to your ears." The comments about wringing every dollar, and other stinging quotes, aren't Morris' words.

I'm just sayin'...

I'm going to quote this for other people to read again. I'm not on Morris' side, I just think this was a very good point.

Eraserhead
Nov 28, 2007, 04:50 AM
Do people really think that CDs are too expensive? They are cheaper now than they have ever been.

£5 seems like a fair price to me, if 50% rather than 5% of the sale price went to the artist.

takao
Nov 28, 2007, 04:51 AM
I'm with Doug Morris on this. When a coffee costs a couple of bucks, how much should a CD cost?

if i can buy 4 hollywood blockbuster films from last year for 24 bucks or a 6 DVD box with a season of a TV show for 20 bucks why are music cds still costing 18 bucks for a new release and sometimes even 16 bucks years after release

i simply don't get why the film industry (who are by no means saints in the terms of greediness) is fine with retailers selling their movies for 5-6 bucks and the music industry can't get over it that people simply aren't willing to spend that much for music anymore

i bought what ? 13 dvds the last 2 week ... for 64 bucks ...

Schtumple
Nov 28, 2007, 04:52 AM
shock horror, big record label guy doesn't care about the little people and just wants your money...

hagjohn
Nov 28, 2007, 06:01 AM
If I was a shareholder at UMG, i'd be seriously questioning Morris' tenure.

No you wouldn't. You would want someone who can protect their brand and the money it can bring in.

twoodcc
Nov 28, 2007, 06:13 AM
they seem to be all crooks to me :rolleyes:

DaveTheGrey
Nov 28, 2007, 06:16 AM
I think the big four won't rule the music business for ever.

http://www.tunecore.com is a good start to show them what the future might bring.

psxndc
Nov 28, 2007, 06:20 AM
What a moran. ...

Completely OT, but this type of comment cracks me up every time I see it. "What a moran" - classic.

Sorry, but there is no requirement "by law" to maximize profits. Just about anything a director or officer did would be protected under the business judgment rule absent gross negligence or malfeasance.

Blue Velvet
Nov 28, 2007, 07:04 AM
£5 seems like a fair price to me, if 50% rather than 5% of the sale price went to the artist.


Making, marketing and distributing music professionally is impossible on that model. If you think that producing, releasing and promoting an album over a period of months or years should sell for the cost of less than 2 pints, you're in cloud cuckoo-land. You can't even pick up a new paperback for that amount of money, which costs far less to produce.

ewinemiller
Nov 28, 2007, 07:17 AM
Years ago, when CDs first came out record companies charged a lot more than they did for the same music on LP because of the higher cost of CDs. As the cost came down the prices did not. The value proposition is broken and has been for a very long time.

I see people say this all the time and it's simply not true. I was paying $18 a CD in college. I haven't payed more than $12 in years and most of the time it's about $10. When you factor in inflation, that gets even better. I found an online inflation calculator. It says from 86 to 06, that $18 went to $32.51. The calculator didn't go to 07 yet. So in 86 dollars, I'm paying 1/3rd the price I was paying for CDs 20 years ago.

If you want to talk about value, that's probably dependent on what you listen to.

if i can buy 4 hollywood blockbuster films from last year for 24 bucks or a 6 DVD box with a season of a TV show for 20 bucks why are music cds still costing 18 bucks for a new release and sometimes even 16 bucks years after release

Where are you buying CDs? I haven't seen prices like that for a decade.

garyhoare
Nov 28, 2007, 07:30 AM
Yes? Then sell the music however you want.


No? Then it might as well not exist.


Apple sells iPods. The music store is just a convenience for iPod owners.

rockosmodurnlif
Nov 28, 2007, 07:31 AM
The main point that you and other pro music industry people still fail to address is why Napster and similar services back then, Bit Torrent sites and now (for the past 5 years) the iTunes store were so successful: the unreasonable pricing of CD's since their inception. CD's are WAY TOO EXPENSIVE. The pricing of CD's is of course not the only reason for the rise of file sharing, but if you look at the success of the iTS, then it's clear that pricing is the main reason.

Jermain Dupri recently wrote a blog at the Huffington Post website where he said "the customer gets what they want too much, and that hurts the artist". Dupri and Morris are prime examples of why the music industry as we know it are pretty much doomed. The sooner artists can get their music directly to the fans and truly start to get paid for their efforts, instead of being raped by the labels, the better.

Did you read my post? I clearly remember saying something equivalent to free is a hard price to fight. Napster and Torrents are so successful because they're free and open all the time. iTunes is successful because it pretty much set the price point, $0.99 for a song, $9.99 for an album and because like Napster or a Torrent, at 3 in the morning I can still get a Bjork album if I suddenly go on a Bjork kick. But iTunes isn't going to overtake Torrent downloads unless all the major non-invite Bit Torrent sites go offline because free is a hard price to fight. So yes pricing is very significant.

color guy
Nov 28, 2007, 07:34 AM
The other problem for the music business, and this was brought up in an
earlier post, is the the reduced barriers to creating a digital product.
For better or worse, music has become a common commodity.
when they acted as the gatekeepers, they had more control of the quantity
and quality of works released. Promotion was coordinated at the root level.
they could turn the spigot up or down to manipulate the market. I think this
is the legacy mindset behind the variable pricing they wanted.
I love the one price model myself, more elegant in it;s simplicity, and somehow more democratic.
I think the big problem for these guys is the inability to hide the money.
There is just no way to game the system. they have become extraneous.
we can see the man behind the curtain now.

PlaceofDis
Nov 28, 2007, 07:37 AM
its not surprising. a lot has to change to make everything work better than it currently is. with any hope other labels are trying and will become the norm.

Cintos
Nov 28, 2007, 07:40 AM
"It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"

No, screw the vet. Are you made of money? You put old yeller down.

Or, more likely for Morris, you hire an outlandish "faith healer" named "Total" to fix him. This one will work so much better than "Rhapsody," the old tribal healer.

Sorry, ol yeller, but I agree. Morris did respond differently, since he wants to "put Apple down" he hired some competitive assassins:

Total Music ... would be subsidized by hardware vendors interested in taking a piece of the action from Apple's iPod and iTunes..

Yea, real good business model.

Yixian
Nov 28, 2007, 07:41 AM
I swear to god, record label CEOs are the worst businessmen in the world. Nobody is going to buy this Total Music crap, people want to find a song they want, buy it, listen to it on whatever they like, and be done with it.

It's been like this since the creation of recorded sound, why? Because it WORKS, it's what we WANT. Just give us what we want and quit trying to derail Apple for the sake of it.

Parky
Nov 28, 2007, 07:46 AM
I see people say this all the time and it's simply not true. I was paying $18 a CD in college. I haven't payed more than $12 in years and most of the time it's about $10. When you factor in inflation, that gets even better. I found an online inflation calculator. It says from 86 to 06, that $18 went to $32.51. The calculator didn't go to 07 yet. So in 86 dollars, I'm paying 1/3rd the price I was paying for CDs 20 years ago.

If you want to talk about value, that's probably dependent on what you listen to.



Where are you buying CDs? I haven't seen prices like that for a decade.


In the UK new CD's sell for around £8-10 ($16-$20), these are reduced promotional prices that are offered by supermarkets, Amazon, etc.

In the normal music stores you will pay more, up to £14 ($28) for a non chart recent album.

These prices have fallen over time, but not as much as they should have.

takao
Nov 28, 2007, 07:51 AM
Where are you buying CDs? I haven't seen prices like that for a decade.

well for new releases 15,90 to 17,90 isn't something unheard of here (euro zone)

sure many cds are 9,90 or 12,90 ... but compared to DVD still more on average ... and prices drop slower

abbot
Nov 28, 2007, 07:51 AM
Idiot. He doesn''t know his market, he doesn't understand his customers (he treats them as ENEMIES) and he doesn''t care to learn ...

Total moron. Ought to clean him out of the corporate genepool and improve the breed....


You are more insightful than the writer in wired even! I was at Universal back in 2000 when all these opportunities opened up. Understanding or caring for the user or his needs where as irrelevant in their strategy then as it is now. It is only about making the fastest buck possible.

What is unforgivable is that nothing's changed in 7 years. So if Morris's old boss (Bronfman) now sees the light and Morris doesn't, what does that tell you?

bartelby
Nov 28, 2007, 07:53 AM
In the UK new CD's sell for around £8-10 ($16-$20), these are reduced promotional prices that are offered by supermarkets, Amazon, etc.

In the normal music stores you will pay more, up to £14 ($28) for a non chart recent album.

These prices have fallen over time, but not as much as they should have.

HMV still have stuff at £15.99 and up, and that's for a single disc album!!

dextertangocci
Nov 28, 2007, 08:05 AM
I feel like pirating all my music when I hear what money hungry morons these record company execs are. But I don't want to take money away from the artists.

yoyon8
Nov 28, 2007, 08:10 AM
With the creation of Zune, the Squeezer. M$ is offering Music Labels not only better commission, but also offering to subside labels by offering a share of all of their sold players.

"The plans would be subsidized by hardware vendors interested in taking a piece of the action from Apple's iPod and iTunes."

Bill's people has stated they don't mind loosing money for a long time. They sure will be willing to subsidize Morris

junker
Nov 28, 2007, 08:16 AM
[QUOTE=ewinemiller;4551421]I see people say this all the time and it's simply not true. I was paying $18 a CD in college. I haven't payed more than $12 in years and most of the time it's about $10. When you factor in inflation, that gets even better. I found an online inflation calculator. It says from 86 to 06, that $18 went to $32.51. The calculator didn't go to 07 yet. So in 86 dollars, I'm paying 1/3rd the price I was paying for CDs 20 years ago.


I knew someone would try the "adjusted for inflation" argument sooner or later... the biggest problem I have with this argument is that the value of the todays dollar (terrible) and taking in consideration that the (inflation adjusted) average hourly wage has (since 1972) actually gone down, makes for twisted situation for buyer.

I am not a economics mastermind, nor am I employed in Tech (Art trades mostly) but I know that the 10 dollars an hour someone might make now,(don't condemn it too quickly, I would imagine that the majority of the target cd buying market is in payscale range, ie: high school college, post college) is much worse value to buy that CD than it was 15 years ago in 1992.

I think once you start figuring in the growing cost of living, the low dollar value, stagnant wage growth (in non tech areas) you might start to wonder why they dont come down in price.... although I just realized my own counterpoint - they could argue exactly this point for having not lowering any further... damn.

mustang_dvs
Nov 28, 2007, 08:21 AM
I have yet to see any evidence that anyone at Vivdendi/Universal/NBC can tell their asses from their elbows, including the "young" execs.

yoyon8
Nov 28, 2007, 08:22 AM
I think once you start figuring in the growing cost of living, the low dollar value, stagnant wage growth (in non tech areas) you might start to wonder why they dont come down in price.... although I just realized my own counterpoint - they could argue exactly this point for having not lowering any further... damn.[/QUOTE]

Agree

ilogic
Nov 28, 2007, 08:41 AM
In all the years I've heard music there has always been complaints from artist towards the whole record making business. And by complaints I mean frustration and resent. Just saying that understanding how artist feel about the big wigs gives us an even clearer picture of music industry.

evilbert420
Nov 28, 2007, 10:05 AM
The "best" record contracts give the artist roughly $40,000 for every 250,000 records sold. A "normal" record contract gives the artist around $4,000. This is after the record company picks up the tab for the recording, producing, etc. but still. There's roughly 4 million in gross profits NOT going to the artist when the records are purchased.

Every time they say it takes money away from the artist I wince... they're lying and every bit as bad as politicians. The artists are suffering with the record companies in control.

elistan
Nov 28, 2007, 10:05 AM
I wholly support and encourage artistic creativity, and I think we should too. I think that some programmer out there should devise a program whereby the bands/musicians can create a website, do secure business, play music, sell per song, show videos, have links to a tshirt distributer who'll print their shirts, buttons, whatever - one sweet all encompassing package to give the money back to the artist. Yeah, yeah I know about myspace. But there are limitations.


CD Baby, baby! http://cdbaby.com/ I have no person experience, but a friend plays in a band (http://cdbaby.com/cd/tarnished) that used them, and only had good things to say. It's mostly about distribution, not promotion. Promotion is something the major record companies do very, very well. I'm not sure if there's a proper replacement of them for that aspect of the business...

gwangung
Nov 28, 2007, 10:18 AM
Did you read my post? I clearly remember saying something equivalent to free is a hard price to fight. Napster and Torrents are so successful because they're free and open all the time. iTunes is successful because it pretty much set the price point, $0.99 for a song, $9.99 for an album and because like Napster or a Torrent, at 3 in the morning I can still get a Bjork album if I suddenly go on a Bjork kick. But iTunes isn't going to overtake Torrent downloads unless all the major non-invite Bit Torrent sites go offline because free is a hard price to fight. So yes pricing is very significant.

Yes, free is a hard price to fight. So don't fight, use it.

I'm looking at some of the free content models in other industries such as book publishing and web comics. There are dozens of examples where releasing NEW material for free actually made the sales of their paid products go UP. (In one case, almost entirely wiping out their debt).

I dont understand why lessons from THOSE current examples can't be used in the music industry.

IJ Reilly
Nov 28, 2007, 10:23 AM
The "best" record contracts give the artist roughly $40,000 for every 250,000 records sold. A "normal" record contract gives the artist around $4,000. This is after the record company picks up the tab for the recording, producing, etc. but still. There's roughly 4 million in gross profits NOT going to the artist when the records are purchased.

Every time they say it takes money away from the artist I wince... they're lying and every bit as bad as politicians. The artists are suffering with the record companies in control.

This is why I say, most artists are better off without a recording contract with a major label. If they can get their fans to pay them even $2 for an album downloaded directly from the artist, they are ahead in the game. The promotional abilities of the industry are highly overrated IMO. They may be able to squeeze more sales out of the big acts, but more often than not, they promise far more than they deliver to the smaller and newer ones. The good news is that the recording industry is no longer in control, they just haven't read the memo yet. The artists can reach their audiences directly now.

Avatar74
Nov 28, 2007, 10:25 AM
I will try to keep this civil....

I lived in Nashville TN for many of my 37 years. You may think of it as nothing special - outside of country music, but you'd be wrong. It is a who's who of music industry business there - Sony, BMG, Warner Bros. etc etc.

I worked various jobs around music row, grew up and went to a high school with many kids of parents from Big name country music and old rock and roll bands. I feel like I got to know the industry from the inside a little bit.

From what I remember (I don't live there anymore) musicians are mostly an enjoyable bunch. Music Biz folks - absolute scum. I say this with no apologies. That said, I knew a few people who worked in lowly positions in the biz who were cool - but most at the top are shmoozing snakes - that's why they couldn't figure out any solution - too busy trying to get into your pocket or into a deal. No creativity or appreciation thereof. Simply put: managers wrangling their way into the pants of desperate acts (multi-interpretation intended).

So, this whining about not being able to "figure it out" and all this hand wringing about lost profits, in my eyes, is poetic justice to the bastards.

I wholly support and encourage artistic creativity, and I think we should too. I think that some programmer out there should devise a program whereby the bands/musicians can create a website, do secure business, play music, sell per song, show videos, have links to a tshirt distributer who'll print their shirts, buttons, whatever - one sweet all encompassing package to give the money back to the artist. Yeah, yeah I know about myspace. But there are limitations.

mp3 file sharing is here to stay. Period. Deal with it. Even Apple's DRM can be circumvented with enough patience.

And where are my cheap Cd's??? When they first came out, I was promised it would go down in the future...All I see is 19.99 cd's. No wonder Tower Records folded.

Ok, I should stop.

Well said. I think I know a mortgage broker or two who should read this post... :)


The "best" record contracts give the artist roughly $40,000 for every 250,000 records sold. A "normal" record contract gives the artist around $4,000. This is after the record company picks up the tab for the recording, producing, etc. but still. There's roughly 4 million in gross profits NOT going to the artist when the records are purchased.

Every time they say it takes money away from the artist I wince... they're lying and every bit as bad as politicians. The artists are suffering with the record companies in control.

Fewer than 85% of major label artists alone sell enough albums to break even on their recording advance (Source: Krasilovsky, M. William and Sidney Shemel. This Business of Music. 2nd. Ed. Billboard Publishing: 1990.)

Given that, my advice is to not sign up with a label. If you sell one album by yourself on the internet at $10, you've just made more mone than the vast majority of major label artists... since you keep not 7-16% but 100% of gross margin.

SFC Archer
Nov 28, 2007, 10:42 AM
This article is also over on iLounge and it gets worse.

It totally amazes me about the attitude of these people! Mr. Morris & Mr. Dupri...you DID NOT make iTunes...The Fans and Artists did, as they also made you and universal. We, the fans make or break you and iTunes...without us you are nothin!

I am sick and tired of the TRASH that is put on CD's and paying $15.00 for it. With iTunes I don't get ripped off with a song I like and want to purchase in "support of the artist..not you"! I only buy "Greatest Hits" CD's now because of the trash that record labels throw together on CD's...you hurt the fans and the artists with this model. I also will NOT go to 15 different web sites to find a song. I go to iTunes to do "one stop" shopping and purchase the "song" and format that I want to listen to.

My advice to "YOU" Mr. Morris & Mr. Dupri is quit your whinin and cryin...start producing what the fans want or "YOU" will soon be holding a sign on the street corner..."Will sing/dance for Food" because "WE" the fans will make or break you...not iTunes!

granex
Nov 28, 2007, 11:15 AM
Totally. American corporations are required by law to maximise their profits, no?

They are required to maximize shareholder value. This may or may not be achieved by maximizing short term profits. Most of the recent increase in Apple shareholder value, for example, came on the announcement of the iPhone, which is based on years of investment in RD and other expenditures oriented around building hype around Apple products.

It seems clear to me that continuing to balk at a reasonable long term distribution strategy is undermining shareholder value in music companies. People should clearly be getting out of these stocks.

mozmac
Nov 28, 2007, 11:24 AM
What an ignorant fool.

Eraserhead
Nov 28, 2007, 11:53 AM
Making, marketing and distributing music professionally is impossible on that model. If you think that producing, releasing and promoting an album over a period of months or years should sell for the cost of less than 2 pints, you're in cloud cuckoo-land. You can't even pick up a new paperback for that amount of money, which costs far less to produce.

£5 is how much "the classics" are on Amazon, and new releases are £7 to £8. So they can certainly make money at that price.

In terms of production an album should be cheaper than a TV Show as you need far less people to make it. But in terms of sale price an album is more expensive, on iTunes its 5x more.

Especially given the lower distribution cost of electronic vs making a CD, £5 should be attainable, or at least you should be able to get close.

inkling23
Nov 28, 2007, 12:04 PM
"...control they inadvertently gave to Apple with the creation of the iTunes Music Store"

It seems the music industry did a lot of things they'd like to say was inadvertent. Courtney Love, crazy as she is sometimes, was right to lash out at the record labels a few years ago. I hope many more artists follow Radiohead's lead by going independent (i.e., label-free) and put an end to grossly excessive major label greed. Music will never go away, but its current system is starting to. As much as I love the experience of buying a CD with a nice package design, long live iTunes, you ungrateful finger-pointing record labels. :)

seashellz2
Nov 28, 2007, 12:58 PM
There as a lawsuit several years ago regarding record company price fixing, which they lost-and were ordered to compensate the consumer, and lower their prices.
They sent anyone who signed up as a plaintiff in the class-action suit punch-out copies of 'Roy Rogers and Trigger sing best of country western'
or 'Rosemary Clooney sings love songs'
But the price of CDs never came down.
New titles still cost $16-18.
-----------------------------
The studios and record companies had better get over themselves, quickly. They are being left behind and are too stupid to see it. iTunes/iPod are firmly entrenched in the kids minds as THE one-stop shopping site for entertainment media-all the fragmented music services are a last gasp by all the movie/music companies and will fall by the wayside one by one.

Same goes with MS and their "Zoon"

KingYaba
Nov 28, 2007, 01:07 PM
Total moron. Ought to clean him out of the corporate genepool and improve the breed....

Sounds like something Boortz would say. :cool:

LethalWolfe
Nov 28, 2007, 01:54 PM
Since when is music the road to riches for more than a handful?
There are a number of bands and artists that make a living playing music outside of the limelight just like their are a bunch of people in the video/film world making a living outside the Hollywood system. There is a "middle class" if you will.


The same goes for acting. I know quite a number of wonderful actors. They all dream of making it big some day, but all of them have day jobs. They do it because they love the art -- which in the end, is the only good reason to do it.
So does that mean if you love doing something you shouldn't expect to get paid a reasonable wage for dong it? I guess all those famous Renaissance painters were just greedy hacks because their works were commissioned by the rich and powerful...

Dreaming of making it, and having the resolve, determination, and luck, to make are very different things. If all you want is an outlet for a hobby, the 'net is perfect. If you want to actually make a living doing it, the 'net is far from perfect right now. If I'm working on a TV show that's typically a 12hr day, 6 days a week commitment for 3-4 months. That doesn't leave much time for a 9-5er to pay the rent.


The sad fact is, even of the artists who do score recording contracts, few see anything more than their first advance, and this includes many fine artists who just don't fit into the record company's marketing plans, or quickly fall out of them when they don't hit it big right out of the gate.
I don't think anyone is arguing that point, but the 'net is not the "If you build it, they will come" content creator paradise some people think it is.

The internet allows these people an opportunity to cut out the middle man and meet the audience directly. So what if millions do? I don't see any downside to that!
Ummm... the downside is pretty obvious. Your music gets lost in a sea of millions of other people's music. You can very easily spend more time and money letting people know that your music exists than you did actually creating it and after you let them know it exists you still have to find a way for it to generate income. For a band like Radio Head (that's already rich and famous) doing directly to the internet is easy because they already have a huge fan base, but for "unknown" bands its a big, up hill fight.

I'm far from an expert, but I've spent the better part of the last year reading everything I can get my hands on about how "little guys" can leverage new media and the internet to their advantage and create a business model to sell their own creations and the answer is still pretty much lurking out in the mist somewhere. People are confident it exists, but no one has found it yet.

This is why I say, most artists are better off without a recording contract with a major label. If they can get their fans to pay them even $2 for an album downloaded directly from the artist, they are ahead in the game. The promotional abilities of the industry are highly overrated IMO.
And that is a huge "if". That's like a "if I could just figure out to make a lot of money I'd be rich" sized "if." ;)
Like I said, putting stuff on the internet is easy. Letting the masses know your stuff is on the internet is hard. Getting a portion of the masses to pay for your stuff is even harder.

The artists can reach their audiences directly now.
The artists have been able to reach their audiences directly now for years and I've been hearing how bands are gonna start selling music directly from their websites and skip the labels for nearly a decade but so far most of what I've heard is crickets.

I'm not saying things are changing, 'cause they are. All I'm saying is that people w/money will always have a place at the table because they'll always be people w/ideas that don't have the funds to make them a reality.


Lethal

JAT
Nov 28, 2007, 01:59 PM
Morris is not the music industry. He is a dinosaur in the record industry.
His is a dying breed.
It is amazing to me how many people mix up the terms; record, recording, and music industry.
Pretty sure most people don't actually mix these up.

The record biz is where Morris is.
And? Considering the big players like UMG, Sony, control the recording, the selling, the distribution and the artists themselves...you are pidgeonholing Morris into a small niche that is an incomplete comment by far.

The recording biz is the studio or production house (usually owned by the recording artist) where the music is recorded.
Only the top artists, or those who have never been under the thumb of the big studios. Even someone as popular and prolific as Prince had to legally change his name to get out from under the studio he was with. And still, the same company does this part, too. It's still Universal, from top to bottom.

The music business incorporates all forms of music written, performed, recorded, manufactured, downloaded or broadcast.
Apple is actually one of the largest players in the music business.
Now it sounds like you're contradicting yourself. I'm not really sure what you are saying here. And Apple is only involved (so far) in the distribution/selling side.

studiomusic
Nov 28, 2007, 02:06 PM
CD Baby, baby! http://cdbaby.com/ I have no person experience, but a friend plays in a band (http://cdbaby.com/cd/tarnished) that used them, and only had good things to say. It's mostly about distribution, not promotion. Promotion is something the major record companies do very, very well. I'm not sure if there's a proper replacement of them for that aspect of the business...

Yes, Derek at CD baby gets it. Best place for indies ever!

Blue Velvet
Nov 28, 2007, 02:09 PM
£5 is how much "the classics" are on Amazon, and new releases are £7 to £8. So they can certainly make money at that price.

In terms of production an album should be cheaper than a TV Show as you need far less people to make it. But in terms of sale price an album is more expensive, on iTunes its 5x more.

Especially given the lower distribution cost of electronic vs making a CD, £5 should be attainable, or at least you should be able to get close.



Those £5 albums have made millions already over to cover all costs associated with their initial investment, and they'd never sell at full price to today's audience.

Not all new releases are that cheap at all... only popular stuff.

TV shows are sold on the basis of advertising if they're not created by public broadcasting... do you have any idea what a first-run series costs to buy for a broadcaster and how much they charge for 30 second spots to go around it? Music CDs to be interspersed with unskippable embedded audio advertising or albums bought to by Coca-Cola... there's your £5 CD. It's not a comparable model in the slightest.

£8-12 is perfectly reasonable for an album that you can get a lifetime's of listening pleasure out of if you buy wisely; the cost of a new paperback. Far cheaper than a new release computer game, it's the cost of going to see a movie in London, the price of a return tube ticket in Zone 1, the price of three McDonalds meals... I honestly can't see what you're quibbling about or where your priorities are.

seashellz2
Nov 28, 2007, 02:24 PM
there is one thing to be looked at- we are overwhelmed these days by flash-in-the-pan artists. You can now go out and buy your dog with kidney problems a synthasizer, and in a day, he can churn out a two cord song-which gets distributed by a major or an indie company. And some people will buy it. Fragmentation of the market-
The bar which determines true talent is now only one inch above the ground.
And peoples tastes and expectations in music are in the same position.
One more reason why music sales are falling-there is little of merit out there to buy-that really excites people. And also a lot of junk ie Brittany Spears.
Garage band music has its bad side also.
ANYONE with no talent can create music these days without even taking an instrument lesson or music theory class.
This also costs the music industry dearly.

LethalWolfe
Nov 28, 2007, 02:24 PM
I honestly can't see what you're quibbling about or where your priorities are.

Because it's on a shiny, plastic disc that you can buy blank for like 10 cents. Sometimes people have a hard time seeing beyond the delivery medium. I wonder what some people here think about paintings? I mean, $50 or $60 worth of canvas and paint goes for hundreds or thousands of dollars... what's up w/that?:rolleyes:


Lethal

takao
Nov 28, 2007, 02:49 PM
Because it's on a shiny, plastic disc that you can buy blank for like 10 cents. Sometimes people have a hard time seeing beyond the delivery medium. I wonder what some people here think about paintings? I mean, $50 or $60 worth of canvas and paint goes for hundreds or thousands of dollars... what's up w/that?:rolleyes:


the difference is that those paintings aren't made by 10.000s per hour like CDs ;)

and of course can TV series be comapred to music... music intersected by lenghty advertising ? that's called radio

gwangung
Nov 28, 2007, 02:51 PM
I'm far from an expert, but I've spent the better part of the last year reading everything I can get my hands on about how "little guys" can leverage new media and the internet to their advantage and create a business model to sell their own creations and the answer is still pretty much lurking out in the mist somewhere. People are confident it exists, but no one has found it yet.


Lethal

Too true.

And, really....think of it this way...people with talent are ALWAYS gonna get run over by people with money, organization AND talent. If you go by yourself, you're, almost by definition, going up against people who know more than you do about marketing and distribution. Your chance is to team up with other people so you can hire somebody good in marketing or hope the big boys stay stupid.

I think big organizations will always play a role in music. I think the trick is to create and control one of your own, and not get controlled by one...

IJ Reilly
Nov 28, 2007, 02:57 PM
So does that mean if you love doing something you shouldn't expect to get paid a reasonable wage for dong it? I guess all those famous Renaissance painters were just greedy hacks because their works were commissioned by the rich and powerful...

The problem with art has always been the same. It's never really been a "reasonable wage" occupation. As for Renaissance painters, you only hear about the ones who had patrons, not about the many more who did not.

Dreaming of making it, and having the resolve, determination, and luck, to make are very different things. If all you want is an outlet for a hobby, the 'net is perfect. If you want to actually make a living doing it, the 'net is far from perfect right now. If I'm working on a TV show that's typically a 12hr day, 6 days a week commitment for 3-4 months. That doesn't leave much time for a 9-5er to pay the rent.

But again, who promised that music (or any art) would make anyone a good living?

I don't think anyone is arguing that point, but the 'net is not the "If you build it, they will come" content creator paradise some people think it is.

I never suggested that it was a paradise, but I do think it breaks the old model upon which the music industry was based, and I think that's a good thing overall.

Ummm... the downside is pretty obvious. Your music gets lost in a sea of millions of other people's music. You can very easily spend more time and money letting people know that your music exists than you did actually creating it and after you let them know it exists you still have to find a way for it to generate income. For a band like Radio Head (that's already rich and famous) doing directly to the internet is easy because they already have a huge fan base, but for "unknown" bands its a big, up hill fight.

So what? Seriously, not everyone is going to find a mass following, and why should they? As if a record company is going to be much help anyway? The record stores and the radio stations are littered with the detritus of acts abandoned by their labels when the audience they found wasn't large enough to justify a promotional budget. Sure, independent artists will have to be creative to find an audience, but I don't see how this is any worse than the old system, when the artist had virtually no control over their promotion (or lack thereof).

I'm far from an expert, but I've spent the better part of the last year reading everything I can get my hands on about how "little guys" can leverage new media and the internet to their advantage and create a business model to sell their own creations and the answer is still pretty much lurking out in the mist somewhere. People are confident it exists, but no one has found it yet.

And that is a huge "if". That's like a "if I could just figure out to make a lot of money I'd be rich" sized "if." ;)
Like I said, putting stuff on the internet is easy. Letting the masses know your stuff is on the internet is hard. Getting a portion of the masses to pay for your stuff is even harder.

The artists have been able to reach their audiences directly now for years and I've been hearing how bands are gonna start selling music directly from their websites and skip the labels for nearly a decade but so far most of what I've heard is crickets.

I'm not saying things are changing, 'cause they are. All I'm saying is that people w/money will always have a place at the table because they'll always be people w/ideas that don't have the funds to make them a reality.

I don't know, I've managed to discover several bands I'd never heard about before, just by poking around, by following links -- you know, the way we all access information on the internet. Pandora turned me on to a few names I'd never heard before. Now I buy their stuff.

A perfect system? Hardly, but certainly no worse than having record company execs act as the artistic gatekeepers. I think we can easily see how that worked out.

LethalWolfe
Nov 28, 2007, 02:58 PM
the difference is that those paintings aren't made by 10.000s per hour like CDs ;)
Oh, but now we are talking volume and margins and other economic type things that people don't want to think about when they'd rather just blurt out random prices of what they think things should cost even though they don't know about the given industry to understand all the costs involved w/creating and getting that piece of work out to market.

;)

Lethal

rockosmodurnlif
Nov 28, 2007, 02:58 PM
Yes, free is a hard price to fight. So don't fight, use it.

I'm looking at some of the free content models in other industries such as book publishing and web comics. There are dozens of examples where releasing NEW material for free actually made the sales of their paid products go UP. (In one case, almost entirely wiping out their debt).

I dont understand why lessons from THOSE current examples can't be used in the music industry.

Yea. I know some examples of what you're talking about in the print industry. But that's a huge shift in thinking. Free = profit? Maybe that just sounds radical to me.

gwangung
Nov 28, 2007, 03:01 PM
Yea. I know some examples of what you're talking about in the print industry. But that's a huge shift in thinking. Free = profit? Maybe that just sounds radical to me.

Tell me about it. Before I found out about Baen and the Foglios, I was pretty dubious. But...damn, real world experience has to trump ideology....If free stuff makes you more money, then you HAVE to look into it and not just cling to your old models.

rtdunham
Nov 28, 2007, 03:15 PM
Thanks...I went back and read the article. Have to disagree with you here. The quotes from the article are proper and the one that is not a direct quote from morris reads just as it should, as an opinion of the author about Morris. The other quotes read just as powerfully in context as they are in quotations in the thread. You are correct, though, in pointing us to the original to confirm the points made in the thread.

sigh. I guess i didn't make myself clear. I had no problem with macrumors' use of the source material: i thought it was a good presentation of the Wired article. MR exercised good journalism in its presentation.

But i'll stand by my assertion that although there are one or two astounding quotes attributed (correctly) to morris, most of the dramatic quotes in the MR piece are correctly attributed not to morris but to the wired author. There's a big difference between a direct quote of morris speaking, and a direct quote of an article/writer presenting what it/he says morris thinks. I thought some readers might not distinguish correctly between the two, thereby assuming wrongly that some of the most outrageous statements were directly from morris. That concern is reinforced by the fact that my own post wasn't clear enuff to successfully present my case! The Wired writer might well be correct in the ways he characterizes Morris' thinking. But as readers we need to be aware of the difference, and ask ourselves, "is this quote the exact words of Morris? Or the exact words of the author telling us what he believes Morris thinks?" peace.

Eraserhead
Nov 28, 2007, 03:20 PM
Those £5 albums have made millions already over to cover all costs associated with their initial investment, and they'd never sell at full price to today's audience.

Well they are better than todays stuff for a start :p.


£8-12 is perfectly reasonable for an album that you can get a lifetime's of listening pleasure out of if you buy wisely; the cost of a new paperback. Far cheaper than a new release computer game, it's the cost of going to see a movie in London, the price of a return tube ticket in Zone 1, the price of three McDonalds meals... I honestly can't see what you're quibbling about or where your priorities are.

You've made a good point. But remember than London is expensive, so £8 - £12 in London is more like £6 to £9 outside the capital ;).

TV shows are sold on the basis of advertising if they're not created by public broadcasting... do you have any idea what a first-run series costs to buy for a broadcaster and how much they charge for 30 second spots to go around it?

The advertising is high, however I was thinking about sales on iTunes, I can't believe they'd make a loss if they only sold through iTunes.

EDIT: Anyhow this argument is silly.

LethalWolfe
Nov 28, 2007, 03:58 PM
IJ,

I had another quote-for-quote response but I deleted it 'cause I get the feeling we could just go round and round kinda like I've seen you do w/people who don't have the same experience/expertise in land management and planning that you have.;)

Instead I will just offer up this short hypothetical question.

IJ, I'm a filmmaker wanting to make a micro-budget movie that will cost about $250,000 for post and production. How do I raise the $250k to make the movie and how do I use the internet to get a profitable return on my movie?


Again, I'm not saying things aren't going to change. I'm not saying I don't want things to change. I'm saying, as someone actively looking into ways to monetize new media and the internet so I don't have to be under the thumb of studio or private investor, things are very, very, very uncertain and much more speculation than fact right now. For a few years now the low budget crowd has been "internet, internet, internet" but once they actually get to the internet they stop, scratch their heads, and mumble, "Huh... this is harder and more expensive than we thought..."


Lethal

pubwvj
Nov 28, 2007, 04:00 PM
What Mr. Morris doesn't get is that we consumers already own virtually all the good music on cassette tape, CD or via eMusic, iTunes, etc. There is almost no point to his greedy, money grubbing grab for power. We don't need his music.

He isn't a producer of music. His company isn't a producer. The artists are the producers. He and his company have just been ripping off the consumers and the artists for decades. Now there is a better way - artists are direct marketing to consumers through the net. More power to them. Time to cut out (the throat of) the middleman.

There are many musicians who did see the new way. There was also eMusic long before iTunes. Morris and his ilk are a dinosaurs and losers - he just hasn't seen the meteor yet. Probably never will.

calculus
Nov 28, 2007, 04:05 PM
£8-12 is perfectly reasonable for an album that you can get a lifetime's of listening pleasure out of if you buy wisely; the cost of a new paperback. Far cheaper than a new release computer game, it's the cost of going to see a movie in London, the price of a return tube ticket in Zone 1, the price of three McDonalds meals... I honestly can't see what you're quibbling about or where your priorities are.

Absolutely correct. I am someone who buys way too many CDs and I think that current prices are pretty reasonable.

takao
Nov 28, 2007, 04:06 PM
Oh, but now we are talking volume and margins and other economic type things that people don't want to think about when they'd rather just blurt out random prices of what they think things should cost even though they don't know about the given industry to understand all the costs involved w/creating and getting that piece of work out to market.


well the last time my regard for the music industry giants went down was when i get to know somebody who works in a sony cd/dvd pressing factory .. needless to say some of the stuff happening at such company is flat out ridiculous ...
like when customers come over to look at the factory before signing contracts they switch the machines to "always display green lights" because "there are never errors at a sony pressing facility" .. so if a machine locks up (which happens frequently) no alarm goes of while visiting
not only that but all the dozens of huge garbage bins get rolled into the cellar since "there is no garbage produced at a sony factory"
and of course all the workers have also to stay in the break room since "everything works automatic at a sony pressing plant"

they should visit during normal operation when they are throwing away thousands of miss-produced or excess amounts of disks ... every day

mjones4th
Nov 28, 2007, 04:40 PM
Hi I haven't read through this thread but I did want to make one observation.

Morris is quoted as saying:

"There's no one in the record company that's a technologist," Morris explains. "That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"

This statement has a lot of problems. I'll start from the top.

A long time ago, record companies produced records. That meant that they found raw (or polished) talent, polished the act up, hired some outstanding backing musicians and put this guy or gal in the studio. So the recording engineers, mastering engineers, etc. were essentially employees of the record companies. More like contract employees, hired to do a specific task (record a specific record).

These people can be defined as technologists. It is their job to put to use technology to produce the product that the record companies distribute. (As an aside, every modern engineer has known for the past several years how to make a good sounding mp3. And there are now many many many engineers employed because of the fact that they can do that.)

So anyway, at some point the focus of the major record labels shifted from that of a company in the business of making music to a company in the business of distributing music. They stopped developing talent, and did not set up a channel for that task to be outsourced. They began to court 'hits'. Sustainable sales; musicians connecting to their fanbase; producing quality music for people to relate to, and all the other ideals of the record company model went out the window. They began to narrow the target audience of the music that they would market, in effect, marginalizing most of the customer base that had sustained them through the last 40 years. At the same time, they bought up their distributors, and muscled the outlets (all the Sam Goodys of the world) into submission. Additionally, they created a situation where the artists themselves became responsible for producing the music. Or in other words, they created a situation where the megastudio model, the model upon which 50-60 years of american musical history was built, was no longer viable (because an artist will choose a studio with a lower rate, because at the end of the day, recording/mixing/mastering costs come out of the artist's pocket). They put their technologists out of business.

Just in case you missed it: They put their technologists out of business.

In essence they stopped being record companies and became manufacturing and distribution companies.

Now, being a distribution company that in essence distributes the product that they produce, they found themselves in a position where they no longer needed to innovate. People bought CDs, profits were high, and everybody was happy.

Enter Napster. The mp3 codec essentially overnight became the preferred format for illegal distribution. Its lossy (but still sounds acceptable), which means that file sizes for encoded music are only 10% of the original.

Now on to Mr. Morris.

The record company employs no technologists. He is correct. They essentially put them out of business as part of their transition to becoming manufacturing and distribution companies.

The record companies didn't know what to do. ********. And that's the other half of the point. If they couldn't figure out that the number two rule in business is 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' (number one is profit at all costs) then they deserved what they got.

Sorry if I've covered ground that others already have, I haven't read the post.

Mark

IJ Reilly
Nov 28, 2007, 04:47 PM
IJ, I'm a filmmaker wanting to make a micro-budget movie that will cost about $250,000 for post and production. How do I raise the $250k to make the movie and how do I use the internet to get a profitable return on my movie?

I dunno. I know almost exactly nothing about filmmaking. Films, it seems to me though are a rather different kettle of fish. If as you say, even a "micro-budget" films cost a quarter of a million bucks, then this is a pretty big barrier to independent filmmaking from word go. Am I wrong? Also, the venues for films not screened in theaters or on TV are pretty limited currently. Music is quite different (again, correct me if I'm wrong) in that the musician is more likely to be able to self-finance recording, and hundreds of millions of us are now carrying the venue around in our pockets.

Again, I'm not saying things aren't going to change. I'm not saying I don't want things to change. I'm saying, as someone actively looking into ways to monetize new media and the internet so I don't have to be under the thumb of studio or private investor, things are very, very, very uncertain and much more speculation than fact right now. For a few years now the low budget crowd has been "internet, internet, internet" but once they actually get to the internet they stop, scratch their heads, and mumble, "Huh... this is harder and more expensive than we thought..."

Yeah, I hear you. I'm not saying all the pieces are in place now, but I see them falling into place pretty quickly over the next few years. My main point is that the music industry is wedded to an antique model. I see them trying to extract as much money out of it now as possible, knowing as they must in their heart of hearts that they are doomed. Not doomed as in going bankrupt left and right tomorrow, but doomed as in seeing their market shrink steadily as the new media creation and delivery methods take hold.

msandersen
Nov 28, 2007, 07:06 PM
...We can all rejoice in the fact that they can no longer shove Brittany Spears and Hanna Montana down our throats...
Hmm, now you've got me thinking bad thoughts... like if it was the other way around, would we be rejoicing then? :D

macidiot
Nov 28, 2007, 07:51 PM
This is a very revealing article about why the music industry is the way it is. I was surprised by it.

arn

Morris' attitude comes as no surprise to me at all. Then again, I have first hand knowledge of Universal and its attitude towards technology.

Simply put, CD sales was the golden goose, as pointed out in the article. Additionally, technology was generally viewed like xerox copier maintenance. Or, one step above janitorial. Most didn't understand technology like computers, therefore, they hated it.

Also interesting is that Morris seems to be a perfect example of the Peter Principle in action. That, combined with his overtly Luddite attitude, is a recipe for disaster.

Frankly, they blew it. He can make all the excuses he wants, but competent people were available to him. He just chose to ignore them.

The future as I see it: DRM-free digital music and complete Balkanization of music.

Their worst nightmare.

Dazzler
Nov 28, 2007, 10:39 PM
This whole "we're not technologists" etc etc / dog surgery argument rings very hollow.

I seem to recall Bill Gates effectively taking "18 months" to take a wander around the Internet before committing Microsoft to internet related development. This was triggered by the success of Netscape, I believe.

Now, technologist or not, it doesn't take a genius to look at the initial success of the iTunes Music Store (how long has it been around now - 5 years?). Surely after you've sold a million, ten million etc songs by this new distribution method - and raked in cash from a previously non-existent revenue stream - any sane businessman would sit back and go "Hmm... there might be something in this" and do something as early as possible?

By there stage, there would have to be consultants, technologists etc etc available. There's no more risk to this kind of consultation than there is to any other, and you'd chose a consultant along similar lines, such as previous experience, customer referrals etc.

Hindsight might be 20/20, but it certainly doesn't take a Bill Gates to realise that the internet would have a significant influence on the future distribution of music.

Just my 2 cents, and I hope I made some sense.

Mike Teezie
Nov 29, 2007, 02:10 AM
Those £5 albums have made millions already over to cover all costs associated with their initial investment, and they'd never sell at full price to today's audience.

Not all new releases are that cheap at all... only popular stuff.

TV shows are sold on the basis of advertising if they're not created by public broadcasting... do you have any idea what a first-run series costs to buy for a broadcaster and how much they charge for 30 second spots to go around it? Music CDs to be interspersed with unskippable embedded audio advertising or albums bought to by Coca-Cola... there's your £5 CD. It's not a comparable model in the slightest.

£8-12 is perfectly reasonable for an album that you can get a lifetime's of listening pleasure out of if you buy wisely; the cost of a new paperback. Far cheaper than a new release computer game, it's the cost of going to see a movie in London, the price of a return tube ticket in Zone 1, the price of three McDonalds meals... I honestly can't see what you're quibbling about or where your priorities are.

BV, I agree with you completely. Sure, CD's are cheap these days. But the countless hours of studio time it took to record that album sure weren't. Neither were the engineers that recorded it. To your point - how could I quantify the impact my favorite albums have had on me? What would they be worth monetarily? More than a couple of cups of Starbucks, without a doubt.

People expect something to be free that costs so much money/energy/talent to crate. It's terribly unfortunate.

To go a bit further, it's always kind of baffled me when people blame the record labels for there only being one good song on an album of fourteen tracks. That's not the label's fault - it's the band's fault. I don't understand it, but then again I've never in my life been a single track type fella - I always buy albums.

That's not to say that I've never been disappointed in the exact same situation. Of course I have. The difference is, I'm dissapointed the band couldn't/didn't' write an album's worth of material. The label the band is on never crosses my mind.

Great article though. I'm certainly no fan of the labels. The standard issue recording/distribution contracts have been rape-fests for the artists for years. It's insane how completely oblivious these guys are.

Even weirder, Steve Jobs is holding a lot of the cards with retail music, and will soon probably have the fight of his lifetime to keep holding them.

LethalWolfe
Nov 29, 2007, 02:19 AM
I dunno. I know almost exactly nothing about filmmaking. Films, it seems to me though are a rather different kettle of fish.
Movies are definitely a bigger kettle of fish, but both kettles are being turned upside down by the lowering cost of hardware & software and the rise of the internet and broadband. To butcher a phrase, as goes music, so goes movies/tv. I tend to talk about movies/tv more because that's my area but there are enough parallels that I feel comfortable that I can talk about the music industry and not say anything that's way out in left field.


Music is quite different (again, correct me if I'm wrong) in that the musician is more likely to be able to self-finance recording, and hundreds of millions of us are now carrying the venue around in our pockets.
It's easier to make an album in that you don't need as much equipment, as many people, but to make an album that doesn't sound like it was homemade still takes more money and experience than people realize until they start the process. It's kinda like the $499 Dell computers. Yeah, you can buy a computer for $499, but it most likely it won't do what you need it to do w/o another $500 in upgrades. If you want to just make music, movies, photographs, or whatever as a hobby or as an "amateur professional" then not getting any/very much, return on your investment into gear, software, and your time spent isn't a very big deal. But if you want to do it for a living you'll be investing even more in gear, software, and time and getting a return then becomes very important 'cause if you don't get a return you don't eat. And currently the 'net just isn't very good at generating income for content creators, especially if you are a cash strapped "unknown" in a sea of cash strapped unknowns. YouTube alone averages 65k new videos every day. Even if 99% of it is crap that's still a lot of crap for the viewer to sift thru to hopefully stumble upon your stuff. Marketing, letting the world know about your album/movie/painting, is really the biggest key to success, and the cost for that hasn't really scaled down. For a typical album marketing costs (and I'm including music videos) can easily soar past the cost of actually recording the album. You can cross your fingers and hope to go viral, but you'd probably have better odds winning the Power Ball.



Yeah, I hear you. I'm not saying all the pieces are in place now, but I see them falling into place pretty quickly over the next few years. My main point is that the music industry is wedded to an antique model. I see them trying to extract as much money out of it now as possible, knowing as they must in their heart of hearts that they are doomed. Not doomed as in going bankrupt left and right tomorrow, but doomed as in seeing their market shrink steadily as the new media creation and delivery methods take hold.
I agree, and I think one of the reasons they are slow to change is the old dudes in charge are just biding their time until they get their golden parachutes and are leaving the mess for the next group of execs to figure out.

I've managed to discover several bands I'd never heard about before, just by poking around, by following links -- you know, the way we all access information on the internet. Pandora turned me on to a few names I'd never heard before. Now I buy their stuff.
I meant to comment on this earlier, but I forgot to. How many of the bands weren't signed to labels and were "going their own way" only on the internet? I've found many, many bands via the internet, but they've all been on labels (big and small), had CDs in stores, etc.,.


Lethal

goddylla
Nov 29, 2007, 02:35 AM
With the advent of the digital music distribution market, headed by Apple, these music companies have all but eliminated the cost of manufacturing and shipping (not a small victory by any measure of the word in these times of fossil fuel scaricity) their product.
I completely fail to see their sense of loss, however, their attachment to a static economic golden egg laying goose is readily evident and serves only cement the appropriateness of their demise.

vale4606
Nov 29, 2007, 07:27 AM
"If you had Coca-Cola coming through the faucet in your kitchen, how much would you be willing to pay for Coca-Cola? There you go," he says. "That's what happened to the record business."

If I can buy a device that lets me get all the free music I want indefinitely, how much do you think I'd be willing to pay for music? There you go.

Music essentially becomes worthless under Total Music. P2P or Total Music, whats the difference again?

I wonder how JayZ and Jermaine Dupri feel about their music being totally worthless? Bet those singles sales on iTunes start looking pretty good.

takao
Nov 29, 2007, 07:49 AM
Music essentially becomes worthless under Total Music. P2P or Total Music, whats the difference again?

I wonder how JayZ and Jermaine Dupri feel about their music being totally worthless? Bet those singles sales on iTunes start looking pretty good.

which of course makes the whole discussion here more ironic by people who are defending current CD prices ... after all as far as i understood it you buy a media player and then can listen to all music available through total music ...
that for sure makes songs/music a lot less worth than they would be compared to 5 bucks cds

mjones4th
Nov 29, 2007, 08:55 AM
To go a bit further, it's always kind of baffled me when people blame the record labels for there only being one good song on an album of fourteen tracks. That's not the label's fault - it's the band's fault. I don't understand it, but then again I've never in my life been a single track type fella - I always buy albums.

That is a misunderstanding. Unless an artist is of Mariah Carey/Celine Dion/Garth Brooks caliber, chances are they signed over creative control of their projects when they spilled ink on their contract. The record labels have the final say as to what songs make the final project. There are many many cases of projects not seeing the light because the label was uncomfortable releasing them. And my gut feeling is not that the projects were subpar (because this has happened to some of my favorite artists - srtists I'm confident would put out a quality product, because they have in the past), but that there was a creative clash, wherein the label demanded more marketable music. I've also seen several careers undone due to the fact that the artist complied and 'market'ized his/her project, thereby losing his/her established fanbase or failing to establish one.

The second portion of this is that the labels no longer develop talent. In a talent development vacuum, who is groomed to make timeless songs?

The record industry needs a union. As of right now, their labor practices far exceed abuse.

bartelby
Nov 29, 2007, 09:00 AM
That is a misunderstanding. Unless an artist is of Mariah Carey/Celine Dion/Garth Brooks caliber,

Caliber or marketablility? ;)

But what you say is true. In larger labels the recording artist has very little control over the content. There are time where labels hold good tracks for later albums and then user filler tracks to make up numbers.

horvatic
Nov 29, 2007, 09:19 AM
:) I'm just simply amazed at how stupid Morris and all the CEO's of all the record labels really are. They just don't get it at all. Records and CD's are old school and won't get them the business that they once did. His new old plan won't work either. Subscriptions or renting music failed long ago and has been proven time and time again as NOT the right answer. People still want to own there music and want to buy individual songs too. And on top of that don't want any kind of DRM. Morris and company are going to find there new old plan failing like all there stupid plans before them and there profits falling again.

Will they ever learn and get a clue? :apple:

mjones4th
Nov 29, 2007, 09:32 AM
Caliber or marketablility? ;)

In the label's view, they are one in the same...

mjones4th
Nov 29, 2007, 10:18 AM
Morris said:

"People never really understand what's happening to the artists. All the sharing of the music, right? Is it correct that people share their music, fill up these devices with music they haven't paid for? "

What a CROCK! He and others like him are directly responsible for what is happening to the artist. Wow. And he tries to pass the blame to illegal file sharers. What a load of bull...

"Our strategy is to have the people who create great music be paid properly," he says.

Baloney.

IJ Reilly
Nov 29, 2007, 10:26 AM
I meant to comment on this earlier, but I forgot to. How many of the bands weren't signed to labels and were "going their own way" only on the internet? I've found many, many bands via the internet, but they've all been on labels (big and small), had CDs in stores, etc.,.

I couldn't tell you. This band (http://www.theharveygirls.com/) appears to have only one CD out, on a small indie label. The rest of their catalog is available for download on their web site. I can't remember how I blundered into them, but I'm sure I never would have in a Virgin Megastore.

Sleyn
Nov 29, 2007, 10:27 AM
Throughout civilized history the vast majority of art has been commisioned and presided over by some of the most ruthless, tyranical, self interested bastards to ever walk the face of the planet and their respective institutions. Thankfully today we live in more cultured times. Wait....

Nevermind.

gwangung
Nov 29, 2007, 11:31 AM
I couldn't tell you. This band (http://www.theharveygirls.com/) appears to have only one CD out, on a small indie label. The rest of their catalog is available for download on their web site. I can't remember how I blundered into them, but I'm sure I never would have in a Virgin Megastore.

Heh. EVERYBODY has a marketing plan that depends on people "blundering into them." :D

However, to make money, you generally have to have something better than that...

jettredmont
Nov 29, 2007, 02:54 PM
Actually labels typically cover the costs associated to making an album (recording, marketing, distributing, music videos, touring, etc.,) and hope that they make their money back after the fact. Typically they don't, but the success of the relatively few "blockbuster" acts brings in enough cash to have the label turn a profit.


"Typically they don't" ... Well, it all depends on whose accounting you are using.

What is the cost of the studio to record in? Well, in a free market it isn't very high at all. In record-label-land, that's a major investment that the artist will pay back (plus interest) when/if they make a dime. What is the cost of the label-employed producer? Again, if this were a free market the "cost" associated with his services would likely be significantly less than what the label charges the artist for this.

Labels operate like the old mines and factories: you must buy work-related goods from the company store (because We Can't Guarantee the Quality of Goods Bought Elsewhere!), and since they set the "prices" at the company store they can guarantee that everything is always half off (the price that no one would ever pay). Still, such companies often made killings in their company stores.

Case in point: The Simpsons (TV show, but TV studios operate very similarly to record labels) has never made a profit, by TV studio math. Still, one hell of a lot of people have made one hell of a lot of money off it, and the responsible studio has been able to employ its executive staff at exorbitant salaries and with audacious perks the whole time. But these aren't profits, of course. You pay taxes and royalties on profits.

LethalWolfe
Nov 29, 2007, 03:11 PM
"Typically they don't" ... Well, it all depends on whose accounting you are using.
I was using accounts in the real world, as opposed to the accounting magicians in Hollywood that can, on paper, make it look like one of the top grossing films of all time (Spider-man) never turned a profit. ;)


Lethal

jettredmont
Nov 29, 2007, 03:59 PM
"Creative accounting" and paying people for good press aren't things only present in the music industry and will still be around after the majors are gone.


You can make a record on the cheap in your home but so can millions of other people. How do you stick out from the crowd and get noticed? How do you get people to your web site? How do you convince people to pay for your music? How do long can you work two full time jobs (a day job to pay rent and a night job creating music, playing gigs, and trying to get yourself noticed on the 'net)?


How do you make your music stand out? Well, maybe you would start with having some talent. After that, you hire a PR agency. There is ZERO reason that the label system should be the only PR avenue available to you. The entire rest of the world uses PR agents which are not linked to the production studio and the CD pressing factory, and which do not claim ownership of your product as payment for their services!


The video world is in a similar boat, but facing a bit bigger challenge because of the increased "overhead" of video (more people involved, more gear, not as easy to download/stream, etc.,). I mean, YouTube gets over 60 thousands new pieces of media a day so w/o factoring in luck how do you get noticed? The creators of the indie flick Four Eyed Monster pretty much became the poster children for generating grass roots, internet buzz for their movie but in the end they still couldn't monetize on the buzz they built.

Currently building a viable, repeatable business model for monetizing creative works on the WWW is still a sticky wicket. We'll get their eventually, but people with money and connections (be it labels, studios, or private investors) will always have a place in the food chain. It might not be as big a place as it once was, but it'll still be there, IMO.


I agree that money will always play a part. However, the "studio system" is a brittle beast wrapped around yesterday's technology, which couldn't have existed before that technology and need not exist given today's technology. It will not last, in its current form, another 10 years. Who knows. We went from something like 10,000 years with people writing and performing music without labels to manage their recordings, and the artists were relatively well taken care of (maybe a few less jets and solid-gold grills for the top end, but music did get written and performed). Maybe once the labels collapse under their own weight the steady-state of the industry will veer a little more towards its historical average rather than the bubble of the last 60 years?

mjones4th
Nov 29, 2007, 04:17 PM
Well lets be careful now about this.

What the labels do is pay for recording through the artist's up-front money, which is always 100% recoupable via royalty deductions. It is still a risk to the label, as lethal wolfe stated, but they are able to shoulder this risk by keeping a few celine dions around.

But the bit about the company store doesn't hold up any more (go back to my first post on p7). It used to, but no longer. Now since the artist has to recordig money in his bank account, the responsibility now falls on him to find a good recording facility. The problem is, since this decision affects the artist's bottom line, he is motivated to find a cheap studio. Thus the death of the megastudio model, and the rise of the bedroom studio (along with tech advances of course...).

Now remember, this up-front money serves not only as the artist's recording budget, (and increasingly nowadays, his production budget - his means to hire producers - yes the labels are getting out of that game too...) but also serves to pay his living expenses for the next 12-18 months, until the record shows a profit.

Now I won't go too deep in, but it typically takes a gold (and in the case of a really bad contract - a platinum) record for the artist to fully recoup the label.Now that's 500,000 records, @ roughly $8 a pop. Four million dollars. This money repays the record label for its marketing funds, pays a couple salaries, etc. The artist gets somewhere between 10c (a nobody) to a dollar (ms. dion) per. But of course the artist gets nothing until his advance is recouped. So you can quickly imagine a scenario where an artist gets a $100,000 bonus, spends 30k on recording/production, the other 70k on image maintenance for the next year, only sells 400,000 records (you're a smashing success in my book if you sell four hundred thousand of anything...) and ends up broke.

So let's not extend the label too much sympathy because they have already made upwards of $1m profit on those 400,000 units. While the artist is stuck with the advance he received a year ago.

Now add that to the labels now forcing artists to give up other revenue streams (like publishing). And they start to resemble those old corporations in another area: strongarm labor relations tactics.

mjones4th
Nov 29, 2007, 04:25 PM
I agree that money will always play a part. However, the "studio system" is a brittle beast wrapped around yesterday's technology, which couldn't have existed before that technology and need not exist given today's technology. It will not last, in its current form, another 10 years. Who knows.

The fall of the studio system is not due to its outdatedness. Its due to record companies' tightwaddedness, and their blind tendency to bite the hands that feed them in the interest of profits.

The decline of the major studio parallels the decline of good music. And that is no coincidence.

The fact you miss is that resident in each of these huge studios was a dozen or more sets of golden ears. The engineers. With the death of the studio, the engineer as a profession goes too. Yeah fine you can build better faster cheaper devices to obsolete-ize the studio, plugins to replace hardware effects, 128 track studios on a low-end Dell, etc.; but you can't replace those ears.

eddiebrock
Nov 29, 2007, 04:31 PM
Where are you buying CDs? I haven't seen prices like that for a decade.

Best buy, tons of cds that are years old are selling for 15-18 bucks.

LethalWolfe
Nov 29, 2007, 05:05 PM
How do you make your music stand out? Well, maybe you would start with having some talent. After that, you hire a PR agency. There is ZERO reason that the label system should be the only PR avenue available to you. The entire rest of the world uses PR agents which are not linked to the production studio and the CD pressing factory, and which do not claim ownership of your product as payment for their services!
Again, it comes down to money. If you have enough money you can pay your own way for everything, but most people don't which is where the studio/label/private investor comes in. If writers had deep enough pockets they wouldn't need the studios but they don't so they do.

I agree that money will always play a part. However, the "studio system" is a brittle beast wrapped around yesterday's technology, which couldn't have existed before that technology and need not exist given today's technology. It will not last, in its current form, another 10 years. Who knows. We went from something like 10,000 years with people writing and performing music without labels to manage their recordings, and the artists were relatively well taken care of (maybe a few less jets and solid-gold grills for the top end, but music did get written and performed). Maybe once the labels collapse under their own weight the steady-state of the industry will veer a little more towards its historical average rather than the bubble of the last 60 years?
Am I the only one that finds it funny that you talk about studio's being out dated then follow up w/a supporting analogy about the middle ages? ;)
Personally, I'm not pinning for the days when only a select few had access to the arts and everyone else was pretty much illiterate, working as a serf, and dead by 40. Also, recorded music isn't much older than record labels.

The label/studio system we know today will eventually go away only to be replaced by a new label/studio system that is more instep w/the technology and the times.

Let's say Apple opens the gates and lets anyone sell songs through iTunes. Okay, now there are millions of people selling their songs via iTunes and 99% of it is like the god awful trash typically found on YouTube. How do you rise above the garbage heap? First off, have a professional quality sound to your music (which costs money). Second, advertise so people are aware of your album (which costs money). Third, having a music video goes pretty much hand in hand w/having an album these days (there goes more money). Fourth, go on tour and earn fans the old fashion way (yup, this costs money too). Not to mention you still need money to cover all of your living exepnses. Where does all of that cash come from?


Lethal

gwangung
Nov 29, 2007, 05:21 PM
How do you make your music stand out? Well, maybe you would start with having some talent. After that, you hire a PR agency.

No, you don't.

PR != Marketing.

That kind of thinking is why big organizations will eat the lunch of small shops when it comes to mass distribution. Marketing, distrbution, audience development are all separate from PR. Making your art is never just a matter of hiring a PR firm---if it was, you'd find more successes....

What will find mass success in the new Internet age is going to take on a lot of the characteristics of the old companies. They;re going to be smarter and more artist friendly, but that's because they'll HAVE to be.

Squozen
Nov 29, 2007, 09:39 PM
Apologies if this has been linked already:

http://hijinksensue.com/2007/11/29/robots-are-everywhere-and-they-eat-old-peoples-medicine-for-fuel/

czachorski
Nov 29, 2007, 09:54 PM
Apologies if this has been linked already:

http://hijinksensue.com/2007/11/29/robots-are-everywhere-and-they-eat-old-peoples-medicine-for-fuel/

Great comic.

Sometime bad ideas just need to die. Literally. The biz won't change until these dinosaurs pass away. Take them, and the dinosaurs in congress passing laws in the digital age that they don't understand, and the dinosaur judges interpreting laws in the digital age that they don't understand, and fast forward 20-30 years to when they have all passed away, and those of us in the know, raised in the digital age take over. That's the ultimate deadline on all this BS.

IJ Reilly
Nov 29, 2007, 11:50 PM
Let's say Apple opens the gates and lets anyone sell songs through iTunes. Okay, now there are millions of people selling their songs via iTunes and 99% of it is like the god awful trash typically found on YouTube. How do you rise above the garbage heap? First off, have a professional quality sound to your music (which costs money). Second, advertise so people are aware of your album (which costs money). Third, having a music video goes pretty much hand in hand w/having an album these days (there goes more money). Fourth, go on tour and earn fans the old fashion way (yup, this costs money too). Not to mention you still need money to cover all of your living exepnses. Where does all of that cash come from?

You make it sound like more people having access is a bad thing.

gwangung
Nov 30, 2007, 12:37 AM
You make it sound like more people having access is a bad thing.

No, he's grounded. I don't think people are really giving much thought on how art and commerce is actually going to work in real life.

IJ Reilly
Nov 30, 2007, 01:03 AM
No, he's grounded. I don't think people are really giving much thought on how art and commerce is actually going to work in real life.

Maybe the problem is commerce part of art. Maybe some of us have given more thought to this issue than is given credit.

LethalWolfe
Nov 30, 2007, 01:19 AM
You make it sound like more people having access is a bad thing.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I'm saying it brings up a different set of challenges for content creators right now and isn't necessarily the great boon for them that it initially appears to be. It's like when I talk to kids in college who are thinking about moving to LA and I tell them about all the things that can happen out here (both good and bad). I'm not being frank to discourage them, I'm doing it so they know what they can expect in trying to make a living in the City of Angels. Again, everything I've posted is from my perspective as a "little guy" in the entertainment industry who wants to leverage the internet and "new media" to his advantage.

15 years ago the high cost of entry (expensive, purpose built equipment, etc.,) was what kept many people from recording their own albums or making their own films. If you had a studio recorded demo or a short film then that typically meant you were resourceful, and determined, enough to wheel 'n deal to get what you needed. That was like one of the first "weed out" challenges of the industry, if you will. Now w/the cost of entry so much lower, anyone can have a demo or a short film. It's no longer a hurdle, but a given. The old cliché in Hollywood is that everyone has a script, the new cliché is that everyone has a movie (shot on an inexpensive DV camera, mostly out of focus, w/no attention to audio quality, no thought regarding lighting, horrible acting, and quite possibly an even worse script). So now the challenge isn't "how do I afford to make a my own movie" but "how do I afford to make my own movie that will stand out from the pack and actually get noticed." The "weed out" challenge is still there, it's just taken on a different form.


Lethal

jayducharme
Dec 1, 2007, 09:37 AM
15 years ago the high cost of entry (expensive, purpose built equipment, etc.,) was what kept many people from recording their own albums or making their own films. If you had a studio recorded demo or a short film then that typically meant you were resourceful, and determined, enough to wheel 'n deal to get what you needed.

Absolutely. When I was "breaking into the industry" twenty years ago, my only resources based on my finances were borrowed mics and a cassette 4-track tape deck. I learned how to work within my limitations and produce something that sounded the way I heard it in my head. It took a lot of practice, determination and time.

Now with the proliferation of programs like Garage Band, recording artists have unparalleled freedom to swiftly create any sound they can imagine. That 4-track machine cost me close to $500. For about that price now, I could buy a Mac Mini and that (along with a mic and mixer) would be my entire studio.

I'm amazed when I see how far the technology has come and the unlimited creativity it allows artists. But the irony is that I feel I no longer have anything to say musically. So I no longer record anything. What made great music 150 years ago is still true today: the best art is inspired and skillfully crafted. Now that the technology is in the hands of so many, naturally there will be lots of poorly crafted art flooding the scene, people who have nothing to say (and don't mind saying it). But I can accept that if it helps just a few more people create great art.

I just judged a music competition for a local Boys & Girls Club. They used Garage Band to create short pieces reflecting urban life. Some of the pieces (created by kids ranging in age from 9 to 18) were amazing. Years ago, that opportunity would have been out of reach; the kids would have had to go to a recording studio.

So I'll gladly take the good with the bad. We'll still be listening to the good stuff thirty years from now.

Peace
Dec 1, 2007, 11:38 AM
I just noticed this morning all NBC shows are gone from iTunes .Me thinks this battle has really heated up.

IJ Reilly
Dec 1, 2007, 12:13 PM
I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I'm saying it brings up a different set of challenges for content creators right now and isn't necessarily the great boon for them that it initially appears to be. It's like when I talk to kids in college who are thinking about moving to LA and I tell them about all the things that can happen out here (both good and bad). I'm not being frank to discourage them, I'm doing it so they know what they can expect in trying to make a living in the City of Angels. Again, everything I've posted is from my perspective as a "little guy" in the entertainment industry who wants to leverage the internet and "new media" to his advantage.

Sure. I think we're all speculating to a degree, not knowing how the chips will fall in the end. Assuming there is an "end" of course -- the technological influence on art is continual and accelerating, and what we find to be true today probably won't be tomorrow. I guess the specific part of your argument I was objecting to was the "99% trash" aspect. I mean, isn't 99% of what we already find on iTMS today classifiable as trash, at least to the ear of any given beholder? (Sturgeon's Law comes to mind.) Expanding the pool of people who can create and market their very own "trash" doesn't seem to create any problems that I can detect. In the end, we should be our own taste-makers. And I often think we've lost track of what art should be first and foremost: a form of personal expression and communication. If the commerce cart always gets put before the expression horse, we can't really expect to get much art, can we?

LethalWolfe
Dec 1, 2007, 04:48 PM
Sure. I think we're all speculating to a degree, not knowing how the chips will fall in the end. Assuming there is an "end" of course -- the technological influence on art is continual and accelerating, and what we find to be true today probably won't be tomorrow. I guess the specific part of your argument I was objecting to was the "99% trash" aspect. I mean, isn't 99% of what we already find on iTMS today classifiable as trash, at least to the ear of any given beholder? (Sturgeon's Law comes to mind.)
Agreed. Great movies/books/songs/TV shows/bars/resturants/programs stand out because they are relatively rare. I'm not afraid of "newbs diluting the talent pool" or anything like that, I'm just trying to share what I know and help clear up misconceptions people might have about the current state of internet/new media distribution.

Expanding the pool of people who can create and market their very own "trash" doesn't seem to create any problems that I can detect. In the end, we should be our own taste-makers.
I'm not saying people shouldn't make their own art and put it up on the web. What I am saying is that people who make their own art and put it up on the web expecting others to just stumble upon it and it buy it up are being very unrealistic. Like I said, years ago the cost of entry was the biggest hurdle for new comers and today the sheer number of new comers is the biggest hurdle for new comers. Different obstacle, similar effect. I'm not telling people not to join the party. I'm just saying don't run near the pool 'cause I don't want to see anyone slip and get hurt.

And I often think we've lost track of what art should be first and foremost: a form of personal expression and communication. If the commerce cart always gets put before the expression horse, we can't really expect to get much art, can we?
Yes there is a balance, but making the art you want to make and making money aren't mutually exclusive things. If you want to paint, write, compose, or in my case edit, as a profession you need to find away to make enough money to support yourself. I mean, Stephen King stopped teaching high school once his books started selling and Einstein stopped working at the patent office once he was able to support himself with science. As the saying goes, "I don't make movies to make money. I make money to make movies." And if I can make my money to make my movies by making movies I'll be happy as a pig in *****. I know people back in Indiana that are content doing the typical 9-5 thing and making movies as a hobby and if that's their dream, great. But that's not for me. I can't do what I love part time and be content w/it.


Lethal