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The value of music?


Kramerguy

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Yes, and this is actually an idea that's been thrown around. ISPs would pay a royalty fee similar to the blanket licenses that venues pay to performing rights organizations, and yes this would cause the customer's fees to go up, but then the customer doesn't have to worry about downloading stuff illegally or anything like that - they can get their music from legit sites and the artist will get paid.


It would take a lot for that to happen though. Companies like Apple would see it as a huge threat to iTunes, some consumers might bitch about it, and the RIAA would probably still strongarm their way into everybody's business somehow. It's hard to say what ISPs would think about it - they'd probably be happy to avoid potential lawsuits and investigations for hosting people's illegal content, but they may or may not think the extra fees are worth it. It's a very tricky thing, but may be the only way out of this mess.

 

 

I don't know how much clout Apple has, but they certainly would bitch (and rightfully so.) iTunes has done more to solve the problem than anybody. The idea of a single (or at least hugely predominant) place for everyone to go to get music at a very affordable price is a great idea. Unfortunately, it's STILL hard to compete with 'free'. I'm personally not a fan of iTunes for many reasons, but iTunes has certainly put a lot of money back into labels' and artists' pockets that would just be gone otherwise. But now since iTunes is so ubiqutiouis and is so integrated with everyone's iPods, perhaps they can strike a deal with the ISPs to be the platform used for content delivery.

 

The biggest problem is still that it's such a decrease in revenue. I don't think that even taking $20 a month from every broadband subscriber and giving it to the record companies is going to make up for all the lost sales that would exist had there never been an internet. Probably not even close. And considering how much music people would likely download if they were given unlimited access to the entire world of recorded music??? You're look at fractions-of-pennies per download. But it's better than nothing, I suppose.

 

I'm no expert on this stuff, but I'm wondering if it would be possible to charge subscribers a tiered rate: so much per month for x-number of downloads, so much more for y-number, etc. and then combine that with a SEVERE cracking down on illegal downloading?

 

I really can't believe that the ISPs couldn't put a stop to it if they really wanted to. They gotta be able to tell which of their customers are downloading what and from what sites, can't they? Do an illegal download and they shut you down immediately. Pay for your 50 downloads a month and get turned back on. Isn't something like THAT possible?

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I really can't believe that the ISPs couldn't put a stop to it if they really wanted to. They gotta be able to tell which of their customers are downloading what and from what sites, can't they? Do an illegal download and they shut you down immediately. Pay for your 50 downloads a month and get turned back on. Isn't something like THAT possible?

 

 

I believe it is possible yes, if the ISP's hire many more people to comply with this mandate. That's why they resist it to the degree that they do, they don't believe that they should be held resposible for law enforcement.

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Originally Posted by guido61

And that's always been the case. At least for the 30+ years I've been in this business. You can make a living playing covers or you can either starve-or-become-a-millionaire playing originals.


There aren't really a whole lot of other options.

 

 

I'd say this is true only for rock bands. Certainly not so for country, jazz, or blues bands. And 30 years ago, even rock bands were indeed playing covers and originals together. I was in LA in 1983-84 when a little band called Guns and Roses was just getting started, and they played lots of covers with their own songs. As did VH, and most of the 80s hair bands.

 

The whole " we're songwriters and we're only going to pay our own 10 songs a a gig" had it's genesis with the punk scene in the 70s but didn't really take hold as a standard way of rock bands doing things until the late 80s/early 90s. And like everything else, in some way it's been good for music, but in a lot of ways it's been a terrible development that has contributed to the demise of the business as we once knew it. (before everyone gets out their knives, please note: I said contributed to, not caused)

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I believe it is possible yes, if the ISP's hire many more people to comply with this mandate. That's why they resist it to the degree that they do, they don't believe that they should be held resposible for law enforcement.

 

 

And I don't disagree with that. They provide broadband access and high-speed downloading for legitimate purposes. It isn't THEIR fault if people mis-use that for illegal purposes. It's a bit like blaming GM because somebody used a Camaro for a bank robbery. And I'm not sure you could pass any laws holding the ISPs responsible that would pass constitutional muster.

 

But if they have a financial incentive to participate in a new paradigm, then that's the way to encourage them to comply. And then at that point when you A) greatly reduce the number of illegal downloaders by providing cheap, easy legal sites and B) make the line between legal and illegal downloaders more clear, then perhaps you not only now have a situation where the ISPs can afford the extra manpower but now have a situation where you CAN hold the ISPs legal responsible for not shutting down the illegal downloaders that remain and are so easily detected.

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I don't know how much clout Apple has, but they certainly would bitch (and rightfully so.) iTunes has done more to solve the problem than anybody. The idea of a single (or at least hugely predominant) place for everyone to go to get music at a very affordable price is a great idea.

 

 

It doesn't necessarily have to be a single place for everyone to go, even. There can be multiple music hosts competing, who make $$ on advertising and such, and people would decide where to download based on the quality of the search engine, and perhaps other add-on content like reviews, interviews with artists, and other such things.

 

 

Unfortunately, it's STILL hard to compete with 'free'.

 

 

But under the model I'm talking about, there would be zero incentive for anyone to download something from a "free" site. They would be paying the same fee for "legit" sites.

 

 

The biggest problem is still that it's such a decrease in revenue. I don't think that even taking $20 a month from every broadband subscriber and giving it to the record companies is going to make up for all the lost sales that would exist had there never been an internet. Probably not even close. And considering how much music people would likely download if they were given unlimited access to the entire world of recorded music???

 

 

Well, the problem here is that the RIAA is looking at every illegally downloaded file as a lost sale. That's nowhere near true. People download tons of files that they would never buy even if they couldn't get the files any other way. Pre-Internet, people used to tape songs off the radio, borrow albums from friends, etc. but there was no way to track how much of this was going on. So the revenue losses from illegal downloading alone are grossly overstated.

 

 

I'm no expert on this stuff, but I'm wondering if it would be possible to charge subscribers a tiered rate: so much per month for x-number of downloads, so much more for y-number, etc. and then combine that with a SEVERE cracking down on illegal downloading?

 

 

Again, if we're paying ISPs a flat fee, there won't be any need for illegal downloading or any incentive for anyone to do it.

 

 

I really can't believe that the ISPs couldn't put a stop to it if they really wanted to. They gotta be able to tell which of their customers are downloading what and from what sites, can't they? Do an illegal download and they shut you down immediately. Pay for your 50 downloads a month and get turned back on. Isn't something like THAT possible?

 

 

The problem with this is that the civil liberties implications of this aren't likely to stand up in court - public outcry would be through the roof before it got off the ground, anyway, and rightfully so. This would be the digital equivalent of a police state.

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And I don't disagree with that. They provide broadband access and high-speed downloading for legitimate purposes. It isn't THEIR fault if people mis-use that for illegal purposes. It's a bit like blaming GM because somebody used a Camaro for a bank robbery. .

 

 

 

Exactly. The problem itself is a lack of enforcement for legitimate copywrite law. The individual distributing/downloading the material is the responsible party. I know its not a realistic comparison but child porn is policed pretty heavily. I know it's a much more grievous offense, but the principle is the same. Distribution of illegal material.

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I'd say this is true only for
rock
bands. Certainly not so for country, jazz, or blues bands. And 30 years ago, even rock bands were indeed playing covers and originals together. I was in LA in 1983-84 when a little band called Guns and Roses was just getting started, and they played lots of covers with their own songs. As did VH, and most of the 80s hair bands.


 

 

 

I was around at the same time doing the same thing. But as I remember it you had two ways to go about it: there were bands doing what I was doing--cover bands who made a living playing covers 5 nights a week and threw in as many originals as we could get away with in a set, and original bands who played for peanuts (or paid to play in the case of the LA bands) once or twice a week at most and who threw in some covers to fill out their setlists.

 

I could be wrong, but I don't think GnR and VH were really making a living playing their original music prior to getting signed, were they?

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I'd say this is true only for
rock
bands. Certainly not so for country, jazz, or blues bands. And 30 years ago, even rock bands were indeed playing covers and originals together.

 

 

Yup... I was in a rock band and that was what we did.

 

 

The whole " we're songwriters and we're only going to pay our own 10 songs a a gig" had it's genesis with the punk scene in the 70s but didn't really take hold as a standard way of rock bands doing things until the late 80s/early 90s. And like everything else, in some way it's been good for music, but in a lot of ways it's been a terrible development that has contributed to the demise of the business as we once knew it. (before everyone gets out their knives, please note: I said
contributed to
, not
caused
)

 

 

Well, as someone in an original band now, I think this turn of events sucks. I hate the complete chasm that exists now between cover and original bands and I think it hurts both. I don't think it's very good for the development of original bands that they can't go through a period of playing every night for a couple of years, which I think is really necessary to become great.

 

I don't see where this turn of events has been good for music at all.

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Yup... I was in a rock band and that was what we did.

 

 

Sure. I did do. But were you essentially a cover band or an original band? I made a living for years touring around doing covers and we tossed in 15%-20% originals throughout the night. But had we been doing 80%-85% originals we wouldn't have had enough work at enough pay to live.

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Well, the problem here is that the RIAA is looking at every illegally downloaded file as a lost sale. That's nowhere near true. People download tons of files that they would never buy even if they couldn't get the files any other way. Pre-Internet, people used to tape songs off the radio, borrow albums from friends, etc. but there was no way to track how much of this was going on. So the revenue losses from illegal downloading alone are grossly overstated.


 

 

Remember when the record companies were all up-in-arms about blank tape sales? Doesn't THAT seem quaint now!

 

 

 

The problem with this is that the civil liberties implications of this aren't likely to stand up in court - public outcry would be through the roof before it got off the ground, anyway, and rightfully so. This would be the digital equivalent of a police state.

 

 

But the difference is that it wouldn't be the state going after people for committing a crime, it would be a private company turning off your service for downloading from a site THEY say you aren't supposed to access. Heck, couldn't they just block the torrent sites if they wanted to?

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Sure. I did do. But were you essentially a cover band or an original band? I made a living for years touring around doing covers and we tossed in 15%-20% originals throughout the night. But had we been doing 80%-85% originals we wouldn't have had enough work at enough pay to live.

 

 

We did both - basically we started off as mostly covers, kept adding originals as we thought they were strong enough to play out, and by the end of our tenure we had at least 50% originals when we played all-night gigs. And a lot of the covers we played weren't necessarily the typical top 40 stuff that would be expected today. We also played plenty of originals-only gigs where there were usually two bands on the bill and we played one set. And the pay wasn't horrible for those either.

 

As Pat says, it seemed like most other bands at that time were following pretty much the same trajectory. You could play an in-town gig at an L.A. showcase venue and then go play military bases and frat parties the rest of the time, doing a mix of originals and covers, and nobody looked askance at it or thought it "damaged your cred" as an original band or anything. The whole schism between cover and original bands is pretty silly, IMO, and really stunts a band's development and creativity. In fact bands like us used to think that the bands who only would play original showcase gigs were a bunch of lazy poser wannabees who weren't willing to do what it took to become a good band.

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We did both - basically we started off as mostly covers, kept adding originals as we thought they were strong enough to play out, and by the end of our tenure we had at least 50% originals when we played all-night gigs. And a lot of the covers we played weren't necessarily the typical top 40 stuff that would be expected today. We also played plenty of originals-only gigs where there were usually two bands on the bill and we played one set. And the pay wasn't horrible for those either.


As Pat says, it seemed like most other bands at that time were following pretty much the same trajectory. You could play an in-town gig at an L.A. showcase venue and then go play military bases and frat parties the rest of the time, doing a mix of originals and covers, and nobody looked askance at it or thought it "damaged your cred" as an original band or anything. The whole schism between cover and original bands is pretty silly, IMO, and really stunts a band's development and creativity. In fact bands like us used to think that the bands who
only
would play original showcase gigs were a bunch of lazy poser wannabees who weren't willing to do what it took to become a good band.

 

 

I actually think a band like this could make a living down here.

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Remember when the record companies were all up-in-arms about blank tape sales? Doesn't THAT seem quaint now!

 

Yeah, right? :D

 

But the difference is that it wouldn't be the state going after people for committing a crime, it would be a private company turning off your service for downloading from a site THEY say you aren't supposed to access. Heck, couldn't they just block the torrent sites if they wanted to?

 

It's not quite that simple, because although they are private companies, they're subject to the same kinds of laws that govern other utility companies. That is, the phone company is a private company, but they can't just monitor all your phone conversations without either getting subpoenaed by a law enforcement agency or getting sued. They also can't legally prevent you from calling certain parties. As long as you pay your bill, you can call anybody you want, and if you're using the phone to commit a crime it's up to law enforcement to figure that out and subpoena the phone company. The phone company cannot listen to your conversations and shut off your phone if you're saying something they don't like, or calling people that it suspects are criminals.

 

And it's the same with ISPs. They can't just block you from visiting any site that they don't like. Besides, torrent sites have legitimate as well as illegal uses. Artists do often legitimately give away free content, too.

 

Believe me, this is not what we want to get into. The RIAA has already tried, anyway.

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Yeah, but weren't those bands, in fact, a lot of the only LA bands who eventually 'made it'?

 

You mean the bands who only played the originals showcases? NO. As Pat said, GnR, Van Halen and most of the big L.A. bands started off doing what would now be known as the cover circuit. There were guys like Tom Petty who never really did that in L.A., but they did in Florida before moving out there, so they very much had their {censored} together by the time they even got to L.A.

 

There were some exceptions, but unless you could get a development deal from a label right off the bat (ahem, and sometimes even then), you generally had to work your butt off getting gigs wherever you could get them while your original act developed.

 

As I've said here before, I hated the hair band thing as much as anybody, and I spent hours and hours of my life recording those bands as an engineer. :facepalm: But I do have to give credit where it's due: all those guys could play and sing like mofos. You really couldn't do that stuff if you didn't have the chops. And they got the chops by having years of solid, 5-6 night per week gigging under their belts.

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You mean the bands who only played the originals showcases? NO.

 

 

I didn't know that bands like Ratt, Warrant, Poison, Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, Dokken etc. spent that much time playing covers for a living. I thought they were pretty much strictly Sunset Strip showcase bands living off their parents and/or girlfriends.

 

But I wasn't down there much. I played a cover band circuit that comprised a good portion of the Southwest. We tried to add a couple of clubs in Southern California into our circuit, but it never worked out. I remember doing a week at a club in Sepulveda that drew maybe 10 people a night and a couple of clubs in San Diego that we were too 'rock' for so we never went back.

 

Other than that we had a manager in LA trying to get us a record deal for our original stuff and as a result of his work we played a few showcases at places like the Whiskey, Madame Wongs, the Troubadour, etc. for labels but we never became part of the 'scene' down there as there didn't seem to be a way to make enough money to make it worth while.

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I didn't know that bands like Ratt, Warrant, Poison, Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, Dokken etc. spent that much time playing covers for a living. I thought they were pretty much strictly Sunset Strip showcase bands living off their parents and/or girlfriends.

 

Well, I'd put Crue into that category, yeah. But see, they weren't very good. :lol: Most of the others did play covers for awhile. Don Dokken went to my high school and the band used to play a lot of school dances, frat parties, stuff like that. They mixed their originals in too, but you get the idea. Quiet Riot, Poison, Warrant, same thing. I have no idea about Ratt.

 

Other than that we had a manager in LA trying to get us a record deal for our original stuff and as a result of his work we played a few showcases at places like the Whiskey, Madame Wongs, the Troubadour, etc. for labels but we never became part of the 'scene' down there as there didn't seem to be a way to make enough money to make it worth while.

 

If you just played Madame Wongs et al, there wasn't enough money, no. But if you ventured out of town a bit you could get some decent gigs, so that is what many of those bands did for awhile, until they got money from labels.

 

Same thing was going on in other parts of the country. Most of the people I talk to here in Atlanta who were getting themselves established in the 80s were able to tour around the South doing various gigs, often a mix of originals and covers, with intown original showcases thrown in here and there.

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Well, I'd put Crue into that category, yeah. But see, they weren't very good.
:lol:
Most of the others did play covers for awhile. Don Dokken went to my high school and the band used to play a lot of school dances, frat parties, stuff like that. They mixed their originals in too, but you get the idea. Quiet Riot, Poison, Warrant, same thing. I have no idea about Ratt.

I know Ratt had a ton of turnover in their band; they even had Jake E Lee on guitar for a brief time right before he joined Ozzy.

 

I seem to recall a connection with the band Rough Cutt as well but that might just be my memory playing tricks on me.

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Well, I'd put Crue into that category, yeah. But see, they weren't very good.
:lol:
Most of the others did play covers for awhile. Don Dokken went to my high school and the band used to play a lot of school dances, frat parties, stuff like that. They mixed their originals in too, but you get the idea. Quiet Riot, Poison, Warrant, same thing. I have no idea about Ratt.

 

I agree about Crue. :lol: But that those other bands played covers so much moves them up a bit in my estimation. Only because I felt that the fact we made a living playing covers 5 nights a week hindered our ability to write good originals. We weren't able to commit the time necessary to songwriting that we really needed, IMO. That those bands were able to be working cover bands and come up with hit songs (such as they were) says something (to me anyway).

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Don't forget music teachers, jingle writers, guys who work in a studio and do game music,guys who score documentries and PBS stuff, guys who are pro sidemen, orchestra players, etc. those are all examples of middle class musicians. I mean, who really wants to make a career of playing full time in a cover band? I know some guys do it, and I did it myself back when a lot of guys did it. But I was 21 years old. The idea of doing that at 40 or, gasp, 50years old, well, I'm glad that didn't happen. Even if one were in a really successful corporate coverband, to me that would not be a satisfying music career. Who ever said you should make a middle class living playing in bars? To my way of thinking you play in bars to hone your chops, get better, make a few bucks, and move on up to better gigs. I'm refering to guys trying to make a career in music, not weekend players with solid day gigs.

The question regarding a musician middle class is not if there is one, but what the people who are doing it are really doing, and I'd venture that very few are in cover bands.

 

 

 

 


The sad thing is that the closest thing to a music middle class is the coverband market, where there is a realistic opportunity to make $75K a year.

 

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Don't forget music teachers, jingle writers, guys who work in a studio and do game music,guys who score documentries and PBS stuff, guys who are pro sidemen, orchestra players, etc. those are all examples of middle class musicians.

 

 

Yep. Definately not forgetting those guys. Was just thinking more of careers as a live music player. But yes, I know many people who have had very nice careers doing such work.

 

 

The question regarding a musician middle class is not if there is one, but what the people who are doing it are really doing, and I'd venture that very few are in cover bands.

 

 

Not many. I know some in Vegas who have done the casino band thing FOREVER. Not a career path I ever wanted, that's for sure. But most that I know are pretty content.

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Not many. I know some in Vegas who have done the casino band thing FOREVER. Not a career path I ever wanted, that's for sure. But most that I know are pretty content.

 

 

I can't help thinking of the bass player from the movie "Get him to the Greek" when thinking about that kind of gig. That's not the kind of gig that made me want to be a musician. But if it makes them happy, so be it.

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Yes you do, but 1) broadcast radio has lost a lot of ratings, too, and 2) radio is now so narrowly formatted that the number of people who are actually getting mainstream radio airplay has shrunk to almost nothing. Deregulation led to the consolidation of a zillion stations under one owner (e.g. Clear Channel) and they decide on the playlists at the national level.


It used to be that DJs and program directors locally could decide on their own what songs to play, and national hits often originated as regional hits. Now, DJs and local PDs have little or no control over what they play, the regional hit is almost non existent and the major labels' rosters have shrunk. You might as well win the lottery as get any airplay on Clear Channel, and of course the majority of the stuff they play is terrible anyway.

 

 

 

I would not go that far. clear channel is a tough nut to crack , but if you crack it ,, and write one hit ,, you get a pretty big paycheck. I have a friend that has a friend that wrote the country song " shes in love with the boy" lets just say ,,, that first check was a whopper. The guy I play with put one at number 19 on the roots chart last year ,,,, great honor , but not a big pay off ,, but is does prove that he can write a song that could hit. his stuff is very good. I listen to zack browns toes in the water ,, and just say to myself ,, yea our guy could have written that. He is a trop rock/ country writer ... Hope he hits a home run. the lyric and style is pretty of that caliber. Its alot of luck,,, but then some guys get lucky and a most dont.

 

I think the thing we forget is that back in the 60s and 70s ,, the quality of music topped most things that come out now. modern country for me is pretty well the only thing worth listening to. those old bands from back in the day can still pack an arena ,, and so can the modern country bands. you can take ticket sales like that and say ,,, the stuff sucks. its self delusion to think that way. can you look at anything you have written and actually say you wrote a hit worthy song? How many spins did you get ,, where did it chart? thats the bottom line

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Don't forget music teachers, jingle writers, guys who work in a studio and do game music,guys who score documentries and PBS stuff, guys who are pro sidemen, orchestra players, etc. those are all examples of middle class musicians.

 

 

Yeah, of course. But I don't think you caught the context of my post. When I said there's not a musical middle class, I was specifically talking about original bands. Either you're signed to a big label or you're making peanuts, anymore. That's always been the case up to a point, but now it's beyond ridiculous. There used to be at least a few other channels for original bands to make a decent living - smaller labels who still had some money behind them; the kinds of gigs I used to do where you could mix up covers and originals and get paid well; regional radio hits... etc. That stuff just doesn't exist now really.

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I would not go that far. clear channel is a tough nut to crack , but if you crask it ,, and write one hit ,, you get a pretty big paycheck.

 

 

Of course. I have several friends who've done that. That wasn't my point, though... point is there are far fewer opportunities for anyone to break into mainstream radio now than there ever have been.

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