I have a lot of friends in the movie and theater industry. I’m always amazed how their unions protect them. Musicians have basically been hung out to try. We have been experimented on by technology companies. Yes ok I love tech and that I can listen to any song I want anytime, anywhere. I love how I can be my own distribution and promotion company. Still there are some who take advantage of us and the streaming services are guilty of that. This week Pink Floyd wrote an opinion piece for USA Today I think you should read (link).
“Internet radio companies are trying to trick artists into supporting their own pay cut…. Sounds good. Who wouldn’t want to be “part of a conversation”? Who doesn’t support Internet radio? What scrooge would refuse to sign such a positive, pro-music statement? Of course, this letter doesn’t say anything about an 85% artist pay cut.” – Pink Floyd
If you were ever wondering as an musician if your maximizing your revenue The Future of Music site lists 42 ways you can make green. They also explain some of the differences between royalties and publishing. Take a look at the list here: link
“If you’re a musician or composer, you probably have a basic sense of the ways you can make money. Some revenue streams are simple to understand, like playing shows, or selling CDs or t-shirts. But there are many, many more ways that musicians can earn money from their compositions, performances, sound recordings, brand, or knowledge of the craft. We list 40 of them… So if you hear Patsy Cline singing “Crazy” which was written by Willie Nelson, Willie created the musical composition when he wrote down the notes and lyrics. Patsy created the sound recording when she performed Willie’s song, and it was captured on tape. As you browse the list, it’s important to keep these distinctions in mind since there are many times when different parts of the creative team are paid differently.” – futureofmusic.org
Just watch the first few minutes of this to see Billy Preston dance! Believe it or not I can dance like that. I’m not kidding. I don’t have the yellow outfit though. Keep on watching it’s worth it.
“This documentary explores the reason why so few companies currently control the music played on the radio and for sale at retail stores, and whether corporations really have the power to silence musical innovation.” – talenthouselive.com
Last night I attended the WordPress NYC Meetup Group at NYU Poly. The theme of the evening was ecommerce. I wanted to see if there was a good solution if you wanted to skip iTunes, Beatport and Amazon. There were three presentations covering the popular WordPress solutions: WP-eCommerce, Shopp and Ecwid. A representative for each product showed off what the products could do. Next, the WordPress Meetup Group broke into three parts everyone following whatever product they liked best into a separate room.
WP-eCommerce and Shopp were similar but I thought Shopp was cleaner and the develeper really knew his stuff so I followed him into the Shopp room. Ecwid was the only product with a monthly subsciption and it was based and hosted your files in Russia. I actually won a rafle for a free year of Ecwid but I still skipped past it. I’m sure it could be a great product but the entire idea of my night out was to find a free or pay once self contained solution.
Years ago I ran an online store script off my own website called the Easybe shop. Shopp is far simplier and more powerful to use. You can sell digital goods quite easily. Download links expire and are encoded so your source url is never revealed. You can send out coupon codes. You can sell physical goods. You can sell digital and physical goods within the same product using variables (such as a CD or MP3 download). You store lives on your Wordpres site within a link but there are sidebar widgets or shortcodes to put any product or product category into any WordPress post (nice!). There are options to host your files on your own server or if you’re a huge site you can use Amazon S3. There are language plug-ins and much more. The price seems very reasonable to me at $55. The only time you pay more is when there are full version point upgrades.
Because Shopp is a full store not specifically an mp3 store it doesn’t have a built in audio player but you can use SoundCloud embeds or a Wordpres plug-in like Audioplayer for your sample clips. I really liked what I saw and I’m going to set up a sample shop here on this site over the weekend. I still think you should have your stuff available for sale on iTunes, Amazon and Beatport. However, why not have a one click away store where no one get a cut of your action?
“Shopp seamlessly integrates into your WordPress website from administration to your online store’s shopping experience. It looks and works like it was meant to be part of WordPress all along. And Shopp plays well with other plugins by adhering to the WordPress plugin development guidelines.” – shopplugin.net
What’s worse than fake plastic grass that sits in a landfill for eternity? Worse than corn syrup capsules disguised as beans? Worse than room temperature hard boiled eggs? Easter albums! You know how Christmas music is just plain awesome? You know how it makes you feel warm and fuzzy and happy? Well Easter music is the exact opposite. I’m going to guess that almost 99% of Easter music was created because some large label exec thought it could bring in some dollars. Want an example of what I mean? Check out an album on iTunes called Easter Bunny Hits by Big Eye Music. Look at what track 17 is! Is this a sick joke? An Easterized version of Who Let the Dogs Out! Are you afraid yet? Oh and check the released date: 2009! Wow.
Appetite For Self-Destruction is a great new book by Steve Knopper about the crash of the music industry. NPR (National Public Radio) has a 38 minute interview with Mr. Knopper and it’s a must listen for any musician. The interview, which aired on NPR’s superb show Fresh Air was posted yesterday so it’s a fresh look back at all the simultaneous ways the record industry blew it. Greed, laughable negotiations with Apple and CD-R manufacturers, and top level execs not listening to their younger underlings yelling “Napster is the future!” are just some of the things that contributed to this spectacular crash. As a musician it maybe painful to listen to because this was once a valid livelihood but it’s time to re-tool the workshop and produce a different product.
“In the sub-sub-genre of books about rock music and the industry, I rank this right up there with classics like “Hit Men” and “The Death of Rhythm and Blues.” We think in terms of “industry,” but through his deftly drawn portraits of industry leaders, Knopper helps us see clearly how we got to here from there: simple bad decision making and a blatant refusal to consider, first, that the world had changed and then a stunning lack of curiosity about how it had changed. Highly recommended. Enjoy!” – Patricia Romanowski, Amazon.com (book review)
The interview is online so head over and listen now: click here
Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age (Hardcover) is available at Amazon for $17.16: click here
It’s hard to be writing in any publication concerning audio and not comment about this week’s events. Radiohead shocked the industry by announcing it’s new album In Rainbows was available to download for any price you think it’s worth (including free). They also let us know they are no longer bound contractually by EMI. They broke another convention by not giving radio stations a single to hype before the album release.
Besides paying (if you so choose) for the digital download super fans can purchase a box set for Â£40 that contains a CD, 2x 12″ vinyl and a bonus CD with some photos and artwork. Interestingly, the NYTimes.com reports: “And Radiohead plans to release â€œIn Rainbowsâ€ as an old-fashioned CD no later than January, though it has not determined if it will return to a major label to do so.”.
It seems like Radiohead has made a smart move and covered all their bases. They look like heroes for dropping EMI and giving their music away for free. They also did it first and such are receiving lots of attention. They have a plan to make some money and even a fall back to the traditional CD on a major label if things don’t work out.
Trent Reznor, Jamiroquai and Oasis all said they have similar plans. Somewhat related Madonna turned down an offer from Warner Music Group to go with concert promoter Live Nation Inc.