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Old 28-07-2008, 10:26:54   #1
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"Death Of The Record Industry"

An interesting guest blog on Iain Dale's Diary about the future of the record industry:

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Finally, after 25 years of self-harm, the music industry has succeeded in taking its own life.
Seppuku was finally achieved with news that The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the music industry’s enforcement arm, is to join with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in issuing warning letters to thousands of customers whose computers contain illegally downloaded albums and songs.

The industry premise is simple: if you download songs without paying up then the artist and the label which invested in them get nothing, thus you are stealing and hurting the industry. Andy Burnham was straight in to back the move, citing the need to “protect artists”. It’s rubbish though; the real villains are elsewhere.

As a teenager I and everyone I knew would tape music from the radio shows like the late John Peel’s, hoping to hear new things we might like. This was equally illegal (remember those great “Home Taping Is Killing Music” warnings the BPI’s forerunner used to issue?). Did it kill the industry in the 80s and 90s? Not a bit. Artists I came to love at the time: The Cult, Billy Bragg, The Smiths and, as the adverts used to say, many, many more, all came to my attention through tapes like this. Having discovered I liked them I thirsted for more, and I went out and bought their records.

One of those bands whose records I bought after getting a tape from a friend called themselves Pop Will Eat Itself. True prophets from Birmingham, as it turned out. In the 80 and 90s music was about broadcasting yourself. If you were a “goth”, and loved The Cure and The Sisters Of Mercy, you dressed accordingly. Other kids knew your likes, and to some degree your view of the world, your values and what mattered to you just from seeing you.

The music you listened to reflected and reinforced this. It was like belonging to a clan. The same went for metal heads, skinheads, new romantics, grungers, hippies and a thousand other clans.
The commercial spin-off of this was that kids expanded their tastes, and thus spending, as they grew older because their music was rooted in something which grew with them. But the record industry couldn’t help itself. In the 90s it decided that paying money to drunken and difficult bands was a mug’s game, and investing in expensive A&R to find good acts was equally stupid.

Instead it started producing endless dance acts and boy bands. In the short term it worked – a “DJ” needs only some technical kit and a pile of someone else’s records to produce an album. Boy Bands, short on talent, do as they’re told for fear of being sacked. And it sold records, including to a new audience, the newly-financially-empowered under-14s. But when the 14 year olds were 18 year olds they simply stopped buying records altogether. Perhaps the odd Christmas No1, or “Now That’s What I Call Music! 3894”, but nothing else. Why? Because they had no musical identity. S-Club 7 and East17 meant nothing to them after they grew up. The music they listened to as kids didn’t lead them anywhere, or to anything new. The internet is the new John Peel, the new underground scene. It is through building a presence amongst file-sharers, and on social networking sites, that the acts of tomorrow break through from the underground to the commercial mainstream – not because they’re on iTunes, but because kids love the sense of discovery, of finding something others don’t know, of being first.

File-sharing should have been the industry’s salvation. I own dozens of records I came to via file-sharing friends. I suspect 80% of the records I have bought in the last five years can be traced back to file-sharing. Almost all of my friends have done similar things – file-shared to find new things amongst on-line communities of like-minded people, and then bought records as a result.

Sure, one or two people out there will “steal” everything and never part with a penny, but they’re a tiny minority and they have always existed (your friend with the 1,000 self-recorded tapes, remember him?). The industry, and the BPI, though, insist they should be able to deliver dross and expect people to buy it blind. I’m 37, and I’m still buying records and loving new things. I’m already a 20+ year customer for the industry. What of today’s 17-year-olds? There are only so many X-Factor winner albums one can buy in 20 years.

The reality is that the music scene survives, just, beneath this cloying blanket of commercial greed and risk aversion, with the odd band breaking through to the clean air above. Within a decade, though, the industry will be gone as we have known it, and the talent it uncovered, and the lifelong joy it bought people as a result, will have gone with it.

Blues legend says that the great Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil at a deserted Mississippi crossroads in return for his success. The next Robert Johnson will get there to find the offer rescinded – Satan is gorged on the souls of an entire industry.
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Old 28-07-2008, 10:42:23   #2
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Jeezus christus I've never heard so much old fogey bullshit in all my life. He is wrong on just about every point!
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Old 28-07-2008, 10:43:08   #3
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I don't think he's saying anything new, or anything that hasn't been said many times before, and he's not really offering any solutions.

The smart record companies are looking for ways to make money out of the internet or other alternative revenue streams.

Good blog here (which might have been posted here before, dunno) about EMI hiring an ex google man to look into online revenue.

http://www.pampelmoose.com/mspeaks/2...ents-the-wheel
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Old 28-07-2008, 10:55:54   #4
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As a teenager I and everyone I knew would tape music from the radio shows like Zackenblitzattacke ...
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Old 28-07-2008, 11:09:44   #5
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http://www.goodcopybadcopy.net/

Is a well-researched documentary about the future of the entertainment industry. Well worth downloading and watching, I think.
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Old 28-07-2008, 14:59:08   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scabrous Birdseed
Jeezus christus I've never heard so much old fogey bullshit in all my life. He is wrong on just about every point!
It has a ring of truth to me. Certainly my spending on CDs and gigs increased dramatically when I starting sampling music on Napster...
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Old 28-07-2008, 16:03:14   #7
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ditto. but then there are like 3 festivals every weekend these days, so live music revenues must be much more.

plus the record industry needed a wake up call for some of its poor practices. e.g. i was reading one of emi's improvements was simply cutting down the number of albums it printed. saved them a shit load in wasted unsold copies.

and merchandising is much more slick and pervasive these days, with ringtones, etc. then you've got revenues through so many adverts using cool bands

possibly everything i've said is covered in scabby's link, i don't know, and i'm no expert, but those things are all just a sign of a different business, not a crippled one
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Old 28-07-2008, 16:06:11   #8
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Although there also seem to be 2 festivals a week going bust, so maybe the demand isn't quite there.
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Old 28-07-2008, 16:16:31   #9
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happy mediums and all that

either way, this bit:

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The reality is that the music scene survives, just, beneath this cloying blanket of commercial greed and risk aversion, with the odd band breaking through to the clean air above. Within a decade, though, the industry will be gone as we have known it, and the talent it uncovered, and the lifelong joy it bought people as a result, will have gone with it.
is clearly bollocks
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i check my hair at the elevator mirror and the highlight of my day when I say hi to a girl who's opposite of the elevator door at my floor. the one i went out with.
after that, it's the same old fucking thing all over again.
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Old 28-07-2008, 16:21:29   #10
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Yes.
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Old 28-07-2008, 16:54:28   #11
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The bit about no more subcultures is bollocks too. I think there are more of them now than when I was a kid.
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Old 28-07-2008, 16:57:07   #12
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Kind of hard to give a crap about the record labels when stuff like this happens all too frequently:

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DETROIT (Billboard) - Lyle Lovett says he has "never made a dime" from album sales during his two-decade career, and hopes to rectify that situation when his contract expires.

The eclectic country singer has two more albums on his deal with Curb/Universal, his home since 1985, and figures the horizons are wide open.

"The possibilities are very exciting, I think," Lovett told Billboard.com. "I've never made a dime from a record sale in the history of my record deal. I've been very happy with my sales, and certainly my audience has been very supportive. I make a living going out and playing shows."

Lovett, 50, has sold 4.6 million albums in the United States since 1991, the year when SoundScan sales data were introduced. His most recent release, "It's Not Big It's Large," has sold about 145,000 copies since debuting at a career-best No. 18 on the Billboard 200 last September, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

"Records are very powerful promotional tools to go out and be able to play on the road, but you do have to think about it as a way of sustaining itself at some point. I'm very excited about being able to do some of that on my own, maybe," Lovett said.

He did not, however, rule out another label deal.

"Certainly if a major label is interested in working with me after these next two records and is able to come up with a strategy that does engage some of the new technology in a way that can benefit everybody, I'd be very interested in that."
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Old 04-08-2008, 23:44:39   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by C.G.B. Spender
As a teenager I and everyone I knew would tape music from the radio shows like Zackenblitzattacke ...
It's YOUR fault then - and bastards like you. You created boy bands.
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