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  • The Future of Making Money in the Music Biz

    Many years ago I predicted that the music biz was going to go to a "patron of the arts" corporate-based model, like the way the De Medicis sponsored art in the renaissance, or a king's court had musicians and jesters. We've already seen companies paying licensing fees for songs (Cadillac meets Led Zeppelin - I bet LZ got a lot for that one), and now we have Absolut Vodka and Deadmau5. Thbe net result will likely be the same as the pre-internet music biz: There will be a few big acts that make a lot of money, and a whole lot of serfs at the bottom trying to get noticed.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same Just that the patrons of the arts will be multi-national corporations instead of record labels.



    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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  • #2
    Originally posted by Anderton View Post
    Many years ago I predicted that the music biz was going to go to a "patron of the arts" corporate-based model, like the way the De Medicis sponsored art in the renaissance, or a king's court had musicians and jesters. We've already seen companies paying licensing fees for songs (Cadillac meets Led Zeppelin - I bet LZ got a lot for that one), and now we have Absolut Vodka and Deadmau5. Thbe net result will likely be the same as the pre-internet music biz: There will be a few big acts that make a lot of money, and a whole lot of serfs at the bottom trying to get noticed.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same Just that the patrons of the arts will be multi-national corporations instead of record labels.


    Sort of reminds me of our current socio-economic system... the gap between the haves and have nots is widening...

    Life mimics art or music mimics life?

    I may post a "Patron of the Arts Wanted" in the church bulletin... maybe someone will pay me to write music... you never know...

    Comment


    • #3
      And remember when I said "I don't understand why Apple doesn't do artist development? They have the money and it would give them a competitive advantage." Check this out: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/...#ixzz4D714OdkY

      They're a little late to the party, but it seems that's exactly what they're doing.

      Meet your new record label...
      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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      • #4
        Well, around here, local musicians can donate their music to our local NPR station for their "Capital Soundtrack" project, which the station seems to think will be beneficial to the artists. I wrote to them asking if they paid for submissions and got back this answer:

        "We're a noncommercial, public broadcasting service where the music rights and royalties are negotiated as a blanket agreement by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That said, any composers hired by us to write a new theme song would be paid through whatever negotiating terms are agreed to (money, on-air credit, etc) and we would the retain the rights moving forward.

        The real impact of this initiative is about giving our regional bands, artists and musicians a higher profile in the community by airing their music on WAMU. It's truly a "sense of place" effort in that it's reflecting the vast talent our region has to offer in terms of musical culture, and it gives the artists exposure in a way they might not have had before. It's a win-win.
        "

        Usually when you get a complex answer to a simple yes-or-no question, that means "no." When I filled out the submission form for a fake entry just to get to the bottom (literally) of the terms, in the first and last paragraphs, I found, respectively,


        "The LICENSOR hereby grants a royalty-free, worldwide, non-exclusive license to American University’s radio station, WAMU, (“WAMU”) and its subsidiaries, affiliates, licensees, successors, assignees, and agents, to use the musical composition(s) and sound recording(s) in the following Recording(s) (hereafter referred to as “Recording(s)”)"

        and

        "The LICENSOR agrees that no monetary compensation for licensing my Recording(s) to WAMU shall be due to him or her and agrees that any and all revenues received by WAMU in connection with this License shall belong entirely to WAMU. The term of this License shall be in perpetuity and subject to termination at the election of the LICENSOR for any reason. LICENSOR must provide fourteen (14) days written notice of termination to WAMU 88.5 at music@wamu.org and/or to any applicable authorized LICENSEE representative(s). Upon termination, WAMU shall not include the Recording(s) in future broadcasts, streams, and podcasts. Notwithstanding termination, WAMU has the right to retain the Recording(s) in programming that occurred prior to termination of this License. Additionally, WAMU has the right to continue providing previously aired programming with the Recording(s) to listeners, for archival purposes, after the termination of this License. The LICENSOR has carefully read and understood the terms and conditions of this License, and agrees to be bound by them."


        But just think of how much you'll make from the exposure.
        Last edited by MikeRivers; 07-05-2016, 01:29 PM.
        --
        "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
        Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Anderton View Post

          Meet your new record label...

          Here's to the new boss - same as the old boss?
          **********

          "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

          - George Carlin

          "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

          - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

          "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

          - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

          Comment


          • #6
            Well Mike, at least the NPR contract is non-exclusive , and didn't include the words "in perpetuity" or "throughout the known universe."

            I think you'll get a kick out of this, which was originally published in Electronic Musician:


            Craig's List: Five Artist Contract Lines Explained

            1 “Subsequent to completion of the Recording, Company may assign its existing rights and obligations hereunder without the consent of Artist.” Well, didn’t you always want your music featured in a laxative commercial? Or a KKK recruitment video? Or the music bed behind the cable access TV spot for Honest Frankie’s Quality Used Yugo dealership in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ? Exciting exposure opportunities await you when a record company president is highly motivated to pay off his gambling debts! Especially in New Jersey.

            2 “In perpetuity and throughout the entire universe.” A bunch of lawyers were drunk one night. “How about ‘throughout the world?’” “Nah, let’s do ‘throughout the solar system.’” [much laughter] “The galaxy!” [hearty guffaws] “The ENTIRE EFFING UNIVERSE!!” The lawyers all dissolved in gales of laughter and wrote “universe” into a contract as a lark—and the term stuck. (Although to be fair, some believe lawyers are spawned from the evil ice planet Zardox, so “universe” might actually be relevant.)

            3 “Right of inspection of books with prior written notice of no less than seven (7) days.” Even accountants who move more slowly than Jabba the Hut can sub the funny money books for the real ones in less than seven days. And if you do inspect the books, expect to be locked in a small cubicle with a man who keeps referring to himself as “Thee Avenger,” has a really big teardop tattoo, and plays absent-mindedly with a knife he calls “my Precious.” Yessiree—you’re “livin’ the dream!”

            4 “The recitals contained at the beginning of this agreement are incorporated herein by this reference.” No one has any idea what this means. No one ever has. No one ever will. In a brilliant move—given that lawyers bill by the hour—this line is inserted specifically so lawyers can argue about it for hours and hours. And hours. Even days and weeks, if needed. Ka-ching!

            5 “Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing: Company and Artist agree to perform their obligations under this Agreement, in every respect and at all times, in good faith.” Although contracts are allegedly nonfiction documents, a hallowed legal tradition is that every contract include at least one line that’s totally bogus. This replaces the clause used in older contracts, which was “Company and artist shall slay dragons, turn lead into gold, and cast magikal spells in the company of elves and fairies.” Spoiler alert: That didn’t happen either.
            Last edited by Anderton; 07-05-2016, 01:52 PM.
            Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

            Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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            • #7
              I Love #2!! Hilarious - I've known some of these lawyers. You forgot one thing however, after they recovered from their night at the bar, they outlined this exact discussion in a 250 page document, and then charged you for 70 hours at $250/hour for their work.

              Keeping the Harmony at Harmony Central

              Comment


              • daddymack
                daddymack commented
                Editing a comment
                more like $400/hr...they iz 'speshullists', D ..innertenmint atturnees....they gets mo' money!

            • #8
              Originally posted by Anderton View Post
              <...> The net result will likely be the same as the pre-internet music biz: There will be a few big acts that make a lot of money, and a whole lot of serfs at the bottom trying to get noticed.<...>
              So what's new?

              From the serf at the bottom who got noticed by the record company, but was ignored when he wanted to get paid for it. But also from the serf who is lucky enough to make a living doing music and nothing but music for most of his life (I did try two real jobs that didn't last long - normal is so over-rated).

              Actually it's like any small business. Most small businesses stay small and just have a good life surviving and working for themselves. And every once in a while one out of thousands happens to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right product, and the right business skills to become a McDonalds or Macys.

              That produce stand where I buy veggies will never become a Publix, Kroger, or Safeway, my doctor will never have his own TV show, and that little Italian restaurant down the road will never be a Pizza Hut. But they aren't doing badly either.

              Such is life.

              Same for writers, most novelists sign over enough rights so the publisher gets all the dough. But every once in a while a novel goes viral and the author can negotiate a better deal next time. For every Rowlings there a thousands you never heard of.

              I have no regrets for choosing a career in music. I consider myself lucky. I may have been luckier if we signed the deal with Motown and didn't make any money on our first (and probably only) record, but then again, it may have gone worse too.

              Insights and incites by Notes

              Bob "Notes" Norton
              Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
              Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
              The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

              Comment


              • #9
                I'm not saying there's anything wrong with just playing music on whatever level works. If I'm nostalgic for anything, it's for the days when there were sufficiently vibrant local music scenes that you could make a decent living without having to do big tours and such.

                My main point is that for all the people saying there's no more money to be made in music so we might as well all pack up our tents and go home, new models are emerging and I think the "patron of the arts" model is not only likely, but has an historical precedent that worked in the past. And it wouldn't just be the Apples of this world, although they'll pay the most bucks. A smaller upstart might find some really hot act, and leverage that into recognition for the company they would never have received otherwise.
                Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                Comment


                • daddymack
                  daddymack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  But we had a form of patronage system...the 'patrons' were called 'labels'...and we know what happened there....it self-destructed in less than a century.
                  Last edited by daddymack; 07-06-2016, 11:52 AM.

              • #10
                Uh, when they say the "entire universe", do they mean our Hubble sphere, the extended universe beyond that, or any of the various possible multiverse scenarios that so many physicists and cosmologists believe probably exist? Which one of Max Tegmark's universes are they referring to? How can they hold someone's doppelganger in a parallel universe responsible for what was signed by a different version of them somewhere else?

                I think they might have a difficult time trying to get that one enforced.

                **********

                "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                - George Carlin

                "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                Comment


                • daddymack
                  daddymack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  they mean the entire totality of physical existence...known and unknown; and if they thought they could bring spiritual beings to court, they would go after the rest too...they are lawyers, after all...if there is money to be had...they will be there, briefcase in hand.

                • Anderton
                  Anderton commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Daddymack, so let me take a wild guess that based on your comment, you've had some involvement in the music industry?

                • daddymack
                  daddymack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Who? Me? Maybe a little...
                  “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.” H.S. Thompson
                  ...what an optimist!

                  And I have some experience with lawyers, too...
                  Last edited by daddymack; 07-06-2016, 11:49 AM.

              • #11
                Originally posted by Anderton View Post
                My main point is that for all the people saying there's no more money to be made in music so we might as well all pack up our tents and go home, new models are emerging and I think the "patron of the arts" model is not only likely, but has an historical precedent that worked in the past.
                This is true, but only a small handful of artists had patrons. Everyone else who played music did it for the enjoyment of themselves, their families, and friends, and had another way to make a living. Today we have the National Endowment for the Arts that gives a few musicians grants for doing what they do. Japan has National Treasures, a similar program. And we have Kickstarter and similar "group patrons" that works for some.

                I wouldn't miss 99% of the people trying to make a living with music today if they all stopped releasing commercial products, but that's not a very popular opinion. Most people would miss the opportunity to hear something they've never heard before, particulalry if they don't have to pay for it.
                --
                "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

                Comment


                • #12
                  Originally posted by MikeRivers View Post

                  This is true, but only a small handful of artists had patrons.
                  Actually that's kind of point - that the patrons will work mostly with the big acts, with a few exceptions.

                  I wouldn't miss 99% of the people trying to make a living with music today if they all stopped releasing commercial products, but that's not a very popular opinion. Most people would miss the opportunity to hear something they've never heard before, particulalry if they don't have to pay for it.
                  People are always sending me music, which I definitely appreciate. Few of those make it past the initial listen, however the ones that do make it worth listening to the other ones.


                  Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                  Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    Originally posted by Anderton View Post
                    People are always sending me music, which I definitely appreciate. Few of those make it past the initial listen, however the ones that do make it worth listening to the other ones.
                    Couple that with your sense of taste and extraordinary knowledge about music, and you're officially way over-qualified to be an A&R rep.
                    **********

                    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                    - George Carlin

                    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post

                      Couple that with your sense of taste and extraordinary knowledge about music, and you're officially way over-qualified to be an A&R rep.

                      Then again, no one has offered me hookers and cocaine. So, my ability to be an A&R rep has never been tested properly.
                      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                      Comment


                      • #15


                        It's "hookers and blow" now Craig - if you're going to be an A&R rep, we have to get you current on the hip lingo...
                        **********

                        "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                        - George Carlin

                        "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                        - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                        "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                        - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                        Comment













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