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At the moment for artists, the music industry seems to be similar to that of higher education. It doesn't matter how much money you spend(and get in debt for), or how much work you put in, there is no guarantee you'll get anything out of it in the end.
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Sigh, these long long drawn out "back in the day" posts are one reason I turned off from the Pho list. There is only so much you can dig up from the past, re-summarizing the "way it was before" in 5000 words and then kicking in a 140 character conclusion at the end. The crux of Jeff's article (and for that matter, his entire marketing theme while at Tunecore) is artists should be paid for their "work" and that labels and mostly everyone else in the industry (expect Tunecore) takes advantage of the "poor helpless innocents." While I don't disagree with the latter, artists have to decide what side of the fence they are on. Either they want to create and play and money is unimportant (or it would be nice to be able to make something along the way) or, they are in it to make money and be famous. If artists want the latter, then join the queue of every other businessman/woman, startup, entrepreneur out there in every industry around the world and prepare to roll your sleeves up to get creative, and dirty. If I create a new widget and pay for a lawyer to set up my business (see above where the poor artist has to pay for a lawyer) and then I finance from my own pocket the prototype, then pitch it to buyers or manufacturers, and then hope some mass retailer like Walmart picks it up then I've spent money and time as well. I don't expect a retailer or distributor to buy it or give me millions in advances, why? because I know how normal business works and I certainly don't feel "entitled" to a free and easy ride where no one rips me off or steals my idea. That's business. And for all you "well music is not a product, its not a tangible thing" well same for if I started up a web service. I don't sit there and cry if no one buys it or if I have to spend 500$ on lawyers fees and $1000's on webservers, You get on with it, you have a dream and you hope that everything falls into place. Oh and the whole "piracy thing?" Well come and sit on the software couch and let me tell you something about software piracy. But you know what, if you create a great product, at the right price, most customers will pay you for it. Also, compare to good old web designers who sweat and toll away only to be screwed over by the client (a good 30% of the time) What the above scenarios don't have is a Jeff Price saying "hey, all entrepreneurs, I'm your savior, everyone else are rip off merchants and scammers." In other words, TuneCores entire marketing angle was based around a bait and switch. It's easy to use "everyone else are crooks come and join our group hug" when you're surrounded by a community of bands and artists who play the victim all the time. The sense of entitlement of some of today's musicians is disgusting compared to the fact that many of them make absolutely no effort to think like business people (oh sorry, they're "artists" and therefore have an excuse)even with the simplest economics marketing, selling and buying. I've worked with bands who can't even be bothered to spend money on some decent band photos or others who upload their music onto streaming services like Spotify and then bitch and complain about it cannibalizing their iTunes sales. Well Jesus, its no different to me selling my product into a specialty store and then wondering why those sales plummet after I blow the same product out in Walmart for 99 cents. Yes this blog is about the music industry and mostly read by the music industry but can we all please please move on from "the good old days." And Jeff, no disrespect to you, as you've provided the Pho list with some good discussions over the years, but its time to move onto your next project which I hope won't come with the same manifesto from TuneCore. After a while, its easy to look like the "old school music industry guy" who's always talking about the past and just ends up looking like he's taking the helpless young music generation for a ride.
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Sep 19, 2012