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DrewChowen
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The game has changed, the Old Guard (rep'd by the RIAA, labels, and "establishment" entertainment companies) still has enough cash in their coffers to buy DC influence and whine about "piracy" (to the tune of how many millions paid to lobbyists.) Who's the pirate here, the kid who can't find media the labels put out of circulation or the scoundrel who buys off the legislators to rig the system so they can reclaim their gatekeeper status? The funny thing is that all kinds of "unsigned" entertainers are finding paying customers in numbers I've never seen before - it just looks really different. Look at crowdsourced funding for music and video projects... (I happen to know of six bands in my city alone that have raised more money in the last six months than they EVER would have made from a label in their first year or two under contract!) In many cases it's replaced the "pre-sale" model. People WILL and DO pay for media they believe in, something they believe has value. Perhaps the real "piracy" is that major media companies have been playing their customers as suckers for so long - charging top dollar for crap - that their customers have beat them at their own game; the customer feels no need to pay for what has zero value.
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Mr. McBain, name-call me all you'd like... who at "Majors" is doing extremely well? Sales are in the tank - when you can chart within the top 25 of sales leaders and be selling less than 20,000 units a week - that doesn't bode well for "Majors." When the failure rate of acts released keeps creeping further north of 90% (and your roster's sales can't be sustained by the one or two superstars left in your stable) - "extremely well" is fantasy and denial being told to stockholders and yourself. As far as "musicians that are hurting" - yes, many musicians who still bank on validation and handouts from labels, they're hurting. Musicians (such as myself) who watch for opportunity and keep themselves prepared to take advantage of changes - our music careers are on a positve trend. As far as "new musicians," I'm not sure who you're referring to. Are they like "new college grads" whose expectations of job placement aren't tempered by the realities of the market - well, that's life. I routinely cross paths with many "new musicians" who might meet that description here in Minneapolis, and it usually takes three to five years for them to find their feet... As far as being "an idiot" you can call me what you like, but this idiot is making a living as a professional musician, studio owner, songwriter, and consultant of sorts. My colleagues and clients might disagree strongly with your "you are a an idiot" position.
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Whenever I see or hear discussions like this, where a party takes a polar side of the argument "internet good for music/internet bad for music" I have to laugh. While I understand that there are consequences/reactions to change and all parties need to have knowledge and understanding of what change is doing, it's counterproductive to look back and claim the best days are behind you. I love when the old guard laments the "good ol' days," it just exposes those on their way to extinction. What would make this discussion the most valuable information available would be if the rearview mirror perspective was countered with the attitude of "here's where we are, here's where we think the opportunities are going forward." While I agree that on a basic level of understanding of the economic principle of scarcity/supply as it relates to value, we have to recognize that how we measure "value" with a new generation is different than the traditional financial measure. It will take time for people who seek to earn a financial return for their musical efforts to recognize the new opportunities that surround them. (And how they figure that out will be as individualized as the solutions they create.) Where music used to be the "scarcity" that created value, I strongly believe that experiences (live performances, events, cyber-listening, etc) are where the new paradigm has tremendous immediate opportunity. Artists and those wanting to participate in the commerce of music need to refocus along those lines to engage right now.
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in addition to "working" musician - I work in tech biz too (w/ a video game developer)
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Who was the audience for the email? I hate to paint with a broad stroke about Nashville, but if I had a $10 bill for every NashVegas egoist that approached me blathering on and on about how important or significant they were - I could pay cash for a new car. I've never seen more pissing matches about who in the room was more significant than around a pile of Nashvillians... More times than not they've only demonstrated their irrelevance, taking credit for luck and then screwing the pooch their next 5 endeavors. Country and CCM circles in particular are full of these blowhards. The funny thing is watching how ignorant and aspiring artists gravitate to these big mouths and then turn cynical and bitter when nothing transpires. The caption at the bottom of the graphic should be "We Break New Artists In Two, We Get Lucky Every 5 Years." This looks to be yet another entry in the "I'M SOOO IMPORTANT, U CAN KISS MY A$$" chronicles. All that being said, in 15 years of trying to avoid NashVegas and still getting tangled up every other year, I've met literally THREE people who weren't so self-absorbed that they actually get things done. One engineer, one musician/producer, one attorney. They rock and get things done and would rather talk to you about fishing, their kids, or how some show they're not involved with rocked their world than their accolades.
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I've been heavily involved in an app series (that's still just touching the tip of the iceberg) - combining an interactive music experience ("deeper than stereo") and an all-ages avatar-style video game... www.jamdance.com has the details - our current 2 offerings were loved by Apple, and we weren't really doing much other than floating trial balloons to see what would click. Our 3rd character in the series is near completion and will blow the doors off these first 2 offerings. I'm a HUGE advocate of using mobile platforms as a complement to the other "products" musicians and artists offer. I'm also a huge advocate of taking listeners & fans into the next phase of listening experience - give them choices that allow significant personalization and the ability to share that experience with others. Mobile allows you to get into a new paradigm - someone is going to fill it, artists better get their crap together or someone else will hold the future.
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Myspace was like the Microsoft of online music experiences: never really worked 100%, clumsy buggy interface, not as smooth an offering as it could have been but it was so widely used everyone just put up with it like it was gravity. What blows me away is how slowly they're dying... The myspace experience has really deteriorated in the last six months, complicated navigation makes it difficult to see the info myspace used to be very quick at. Why myspace hasn't closed up shop is a wonder to me... how long do you put up with losses? I still have to (cringe) audition bands and artists from their myspace profiles everyday for work - but I told my agent to redirect all inquiries for my work and my band's work directly to our websites long ago...
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I came into doing work with JamParty almost by accident, but if you asked me for any advice to songwriters/musicians/publishers looking for placements in video games, I'd tell you the following: 1) Have all of your publishing details ready to roll, the process for placements moves fast and we'd rather work with artists that can close their deals quickly than artists who drag their feet on details. 2) Be open to all kinds of editing, mashing-up, and various changes. If you want a placement, then take the opportunity as it comes. 3) My opinion - the future of gaming is all about what I call "zero translation": games or apps that are easy to pick up and play and are monetized on a micro-transaction basis. If I didn't have my current opportunity I'd be searching out firms that already have their developers credentials in place, and are writing apps or small social games.
Toggle Commented Apr 18, 2011 on How To Get Your Music Into Video Games at hypebot
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I've got a real opportunity right now, the music-based video game I've been working very closely with, JamParty, is always open for compelling submissions... Look up www.jamparty.com/artist-inquiry for more info. Or goto: www.jamparty.com just to get your homework started.
Toggle Commented Apr 18, 2011 on How To Get Your Music Into Video Games at hypebot
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Could Crist be any more obvious in his use of cue-cards or a teleprompter? If I had suspicions, I'd say this apology is pretty insincere at best.
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really? I don't think that would be a smart move for either entity. What does myspace offer Facebook that Facebook doesn't already do or already do better? someone just needs to turn the light out over at myspace...
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Of the musicians I know that are working full time as musicians, it's definitely a combo platter of gigs with different bands. From my experience, the "respect" for working musicians who turn to doing cover bands is changing. The band I play covers with is busy and paid and in demand, AND we see many of our colleagues who stick to their original projects showing up at our regular "house shows" requesting to do cameos with us, etc. I don't think we're disrespected by those who've seen us, on the contrary - some of the best up and coming talent in our community regularly shows up. An agent who handles some really good original bands (some with national exposure and small label deals) complained to me a month ago that his top act has asked him to start booking cover shows for them (and he claims he has no clue about that side of the booking biz.) Why? They're tired of being broke and in debt, they see that cover shows can supplement their income more consistently than exclusively doing one-set-original gigs. "Respect" doesn't directly translate to dollars. If you have so-called "respect" but can't fund your music projects, can't do the things necessary to stay in front of audiences, your "respect" lives in anonymity.
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this headline should read "Will Major Record Labels Be A Hobby in 5-10 Months?" I laugh at McCrea, clearly egos are taking a beating. Boo hoo, stars and their star machine are going to have to work a little. (I've had my share of experiences with record labels - from what I've seen I'm surprised they've managed to keep the lights on as long as they have...) The model is changing, but I'm coming into contact every week with increasing numbers of artists that are not only surviving - they're expanding their operations. You just have to be resourceful, curious, diversified, and open to opportunities. And oh yeah - you're gonna have to live within your means... The boat floats if you don't overload it.
Toggle Commented Mar 5, 2011 on Will Music Be A Hobby in 5-10 Years? at hypebot
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I can't tell you what I make annually - just don't think that would be smart - but I can tell you this... It's taken me 6 years to get back to what I was making in 2002-2003 as a full-time on call musician/audio-engineer for a company whose annual budget ran about $12 million a year. But in 2010 I transitioned back to full time music. I have a wife and four children, I live in a second-ring suburb of a top-20 market in the US. My income makes up 75% of our total household income. I have a child in an expensive private college who's done a great job landing scholarships. I pay for health insurance for my family. I think we're fairly average, even though we live a little leaner than many of our neighbors. I've managed to piece together a living from a number of sources: live shows, licensing, and work in my studio. I play 3-5 times a week, I have a job writing and selecting music for a software developer, and I've got a number of songs tied up in television licensing. The biggest mistake most musicians make is putting all of their eggs in one basket. You can't make money doing one thing, you have to have your hands in several endeavors and be patient. Oh yeah - leave your ego at the door, I have a friend whose cover/tribute-band is making $15k - $22k PER SHOW this year, and they're turning down shows... but that financial resource can finance your "original project" quite nicely.
Toggle Commented Mar 4, 2011 on Will Music Be A Hobby in 5-10 Years? at hypebot
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myspace is a good example of priority screwup. They tried to monetize too quickly with advertising. Meanwhile their code was prone to hacks and bot'ing, not enough "conduct controls" to prevent over-promotion/over-"friend'ing", and their interface was both too simple and complicated at the same time... Maybe they're a product of success too early. Obviously Facebook has done a much better job and serves as a potential example of how some models do a better job at "business" by not being overtly commercial until you have a handle on your core competency.
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I dissected Stoute's full page tantrum in a note on my FB profile (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150103637748791) and I'm going to link this update back to it as well. The conclusion of my FB note states the following: "Why is Stoute crying about the Grammys? Why can't he craft a statement that doesn't sound like a whiny high schooler who lost the student election? Is he really this ignorant? My guess is that he's not stupid, but he thinks YOU ARE." If Stoute did fork over $40k for this (and we never really know who gets breaks or who writes the checks - it is the entertainment biz) it demonstrates that the Old Guard can still waste money on bad judgement. A lot of money... I'll pose another theory, call me a conspiracy nut, but I'll guess Stoute calculates he can land more business by whining the case for bruised superstar egos. In that case $40k might be just a drop in the bucket considering the percentage he keeps from a potential Bieber or Eminem deal.
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A good friend of mine with major label experience wanted to introduce this very model three years ago via an "eBay meets myspace" style of site. Kind of a pyramid "liking" strategy where shared "likes" aggregate points, points aggregate to bigger items to share (concert tix, merch, etc) or dollars... People with a lot of points become brandleaders in their geographical market... but people want/need/only act upon simple, and iTunes is simple to transact. Can't hate Apple for knowing their audience and creating a product that delivers...
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Should will.i.am be considered a credible source? Yes, he's had wild commercial success, but he's a product of a dying business and dying ideas. Of course iTunes scares him, the gatekeepers that manage his future don't hold all of the keys to iTunes.
Toggle Commented Feb 15, 2011 on Is iTunes an Artist's Worse Nightmare? at hypebot
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Did Sivers "drunk-blog" this entry? I cringed when I "had to" use CD Baby as the gateway to landing my first EP on iTunes. Physical product was a "must" for CD Baby, their limited quantity ("just send us ten to fifteen copies, don't call us we'll call you") seemed SO outdated, the repeated emails of "we're almost out of your release" BS... CD Baby was a widely available service, low-hanging-gateway-drug into what I really wanted: iTunes Music Store availability. I didn't care about all of the other "digital distribution" they offered at he time, iTunes was the big (only) goal. Why a competitor hadn't beat them to the punch was a mystery to me. Reading Sivers rant about Steve Jobs confirmed my suspicions. Sivers sells iTunes Snake Oil to a desperate customer base, and his own course of actions prove it. Jobs dissed Sivers because Sivers wanted to trumpet his earliest doorway available to iTunes. As someone who currently works in a field with a digital product that resides in multiple competitive "platforms," you implicitly understand that you NEVER start blowing your hype-pipe before everything is clearly outlined and you have explicit permission to go public. There are so many reasons to save your smoke, why put your next big opportunity in jeopardy? I know Sivers business, CD Baby, is quite an entity in themselves, and I know Sivers provides a service AND needles his userbase along with his Prairie Home Companion style advice... But this rant on Jobs is really best played out over a cocktail between colleagues, not all TMZ'd out for all to hear. What's to prevent Apple from slowing down CD Baby's entry process? What do they have to lose?
Toggle Commented Nov 15, 2010 on The Day Steve Jobs Dissed Me In A Keynote at hypebot
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The presupposition that whining to a government authority clearly illustrates the vapid thought process Ms. Angell sadly resides in. Unfortunately, one cannot comment on her "remedies" without also questioning the legitimacy of her argument. Obviously she lives in the Old World. Obviously she looks for big targets to blame, rather than adjust her business model to see the new opportunities the new landscape presents. The saddest truth about working in and around and with creative types is this: many creative people are pretty un-creative outside of their field of expertise. (Which could lead to a whole other conversation about which kinds of creativity actually HAVE value, but that's another conversation.) Whether or not it's because creative types can become self-absorbed in their craft, or because you believe there's a limit on the number of good ideas one person can initiate, the story repeats itself over and over again: creative people get stuck behind bad non-creative processes. Brilliant people bogged down by bad mechanisms. Where in human history has legislation EVER prevented piracy, physical or intellectual? Never. Attorneys make millions trying to craft and then obfuscate the language of patents, copyrights, and territories. One man builds a fence, another crafts a better shovel or ladder to get around it. Over and over again... Ms. Angell lives in some weird bubble where elected officials wear capes and possess superhuman powers that stop the forces of human nature, and resist the temptations their unique powers afford them to wield over their constituencies. Additionally, she's an elitist and an ignorant one at that. Who the hell makes up this "creative class of this nation?" I'm sorry, I didn't get my Creative Class Membership card or any of the privileges it must afford me. Neither did any of the working musicians and writers I work and communicate with every day. Ms. Angell, maybe you should leave the aquarium for awhile and breathe the real air the rest of us knuckleheads have to deal with everyday. Maybe then you'd see that the world is a much different place, difficult for sure, but not nearly as difficult as legislators and policy-wonks would like to remake it into.
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Am I making a living from music? Currently - yes. This is the third or fourth "season" of my life that I'm working exclusively in music. Interestingly, the music side of my career path has become more stable than the various "day jobs" I've held since '04. Notice I said "stable" not "lucrative." As other work has fallen apart in this economy, I've been fortunate enough to patch together chunks of music related endeavors. I gig 2-4 times a week locally, and off and on I've been involved with a local software developer writing/recording music for their music-based video game. The songwriting paid the bills thru last winter, and now they've added me to their office staff to help weed thru some music licensing issues with major label publishers. I'm not getting rich by any stretch of the imagination, but I suppose if I were a single 20-something I might be making headway financially. (Then again, the 20-something kid I used to be might not have the expertise to handle the different hats I've got to wear to get by now...) I also receive some quarterly royalty cash from some licensing deals. Tyra Banks keeps using a tune I co-wrote for ANTM, and some material that's been placed on MTV reality shows continues to surface a couple of times a year. My humble studio gets the odd session every couple of months when I'm not writing in it. It's usually not a ton of cash, I'm mostly being compensated for creativity. Since everyone has access to decent quality recording gear, there's no market left in studios (hence the reason why I very seldom re-invest earnings into studio technology.) My criteria for making money from music is just that - GET PAID. While I used to have high ideals about how music was used and the quality of the work, I learned from close exposure to artists and producers that were making serious cash that it's not important. Art that doesn't monetize doesn't get the opportunity to reproduce. If you can keep the cash flowing, you live to fight another day. In this "digital era" you have to be willing to consider every idea that can turn into a check.
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Nov 10, 2010