babble home
rabble.ca - news for the rest of us
today's active topics


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » right brain babble   » culture   » Who are the real music pirates?

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: Who are the real music pirates?
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 01 August 2007 08:22 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A FANTASTIC speech by Courtney Love: Courtney Love Does the Math

quote:
Stealing our copyright reversions in the dead of night while no one was looking, and with no hearings held, is piracy.

It's piracy when the RIAA lobbies to change the bankruptcy law to make it more difficult for musicians to declare bankruptcy. Some musicians have declared bankruptcy to free themselves from truly evil contracts. TLC declared bankruptcy after they received less than 2 percent of the $175 million earned by their CD sales. That was about 40 times less than the profit that was divided among their management, production and record companies.

Toni Braxton also declared bankruptcy in 1998. She sold $188 million worth of CDs, but she was broke because of a terrible recording contract that paid her less than 35 cents per album. Bankruptcy can be an artist's only defense against a truly horrible deal and the RIAA wants to take it away.

Artists want to believe that we can make lots of money if we're successful. But there are hundreds of stories about artists in their 60s and 70s who are broke because they never made a dime from their hit records. And real success is still a long shot for a new artist today. Of the 32,000 new releases each year, only 250 sell more than 10,000 copies. And less than 30 go platinum.

The four major record corporations fund the RIAA. These companies are rich and obviously well-represented. Recording artists and musicians don't really have the money to compete. The 273,000 working musicians in America make about $30,000 a year. Only 15 percent of American Federation of Musicians members work steadily in music.

But the music industry is a $40 billion-a-year business. One-third of that revenue comes from the United States. The annual sales of cassettes, CDs and video are larger than the gross national product of 80 countries. Americans have more CD players, radios and VCRs than we have bathtubs.

Story after story gets told about artists -- some of them in their 60s and 70s, some of them authors of huge successful songs that we all enjoy, use and sing -- living in total poverty, never having been paid anything. Not even having access to a union or to basic health care. Artists who have generated billions of dollars for an industry die broke and un-cared for.

And they're not actors or participators. They're the rightful owners, originators and performers of original compositions.

This is piracy.



From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sven
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 9972

posted 01 August 2007 08:28 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

Toni Braxton also declared bankruptcy in 1998. She sold $188 million worth of CDs, but she was broke because of a terrible recording contract that paid her less than 35 cents per album. Bankruptcy can be an artist's only defense against a truly horrible deal and the RIAA wants to take it away.

Perhaps she should have received more than $0.35 per disc sold. But, at, say, $13 per disc, $188 million in sales means about 14.5 million discs sold, or about $5 million in royalties in her pocket.

And she declared bankruptcy?

My heart weeps for her.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 01 August 2007 09:28 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And out of that $5 million she paid what to whom? Managers, musicians, lawyers, all the costs associated with being a musician can add up when you are in the big leagues. Simple math answers few questions. Don't be a dumb ass until you've walked in her shoes.
From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
quelar
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2739

posted 01 August 2007 10:45 AM      Profile for quelar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Most record contracts are structured as ongoing recording commitments whereby the record label agrees to pay for the production of one album with options to require additional albums from the artist at the label's discretion. The record label pays an advance to the artist for the cost of producing the album and the artist then records and delivers the album to the record label. The record company agrees to pay the artist a royalty on sales of the album based on a complex calculation involving numerous variables. However, the royalty is not actually paid to the artist until after recoupment by the record label of all advances out of the artist's royalty. These advances often include not only the cost of the recording but also the cost of video production, tour support and independent promotion.

So, even at $.35 most of that money isn't likely to land in their pockets.

It's criminal what the record companies do, unfortunatly considering that they also own the radio and TV stations through the mega corporations it's not like they're going to tell us.


From: In Dig Nation | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 01 August 2007 10:49 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
More from her article. Holy man, I had no idea Courtney Love was such a riveting speaker/writer. I've only heard her say dumb things at awards shows and the like. But this speech is incredible!

quote:
Record companies stand between artists and their fans. We signed terrible deals with them because they controlled our access to the public.

But in a world of total connectivity, record companies lose that control. With unlimited bin space and intelligent search engines, fans will have no trouble finding the music they know they want. They have to know they want it, and that needs to be a marketing business that takes a fee.

If a record company has a reason to exist, it has to bring an artist's music to more fans and it has to deliver more and better music to the audience. You bring me a bigger audience or a better relationship with my audience or get the fuck out of my way. Next time I release a record, I'll be able to go directly to my fans and let them hear it before anyone else.

We'll still have to use radio and traditional CD distribution. Record stores aren't going away any time soon and radio is still the most important part of record promotion.

Major labels are freaking out because they have no control in this new world. Artists can sell CDs directly to fans. We can make direct deals with thousands of other Web sites and promote our music to millions of people that old record companies never touch.

We're about to have lots of new ways to sell our music: downloads, hardware bundles, memory sticks, live Webcasts, and lots of other things that aren't even invented yet.



From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
quelar
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2739

posted 01 August 2007 10:56 AM      Profile for quelar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
She Must have had a ghost writter.

Here is her Blog

And frankly, it hurts my brain trying to read this.


From: In Dig Nation | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 01 August 2007 10:58 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It was a speech she gave, so someone transcribed it. I just saw that blog posting about 5 minutes ago, having found it myself. I agree, it's pretty scattered.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sven
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 9972

posted 01 August 2007 11:15 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
And out of that $5 million she paid what to whom? Managers, musicians, lawyers, all the costs associated with being a musician can add up when you are in the big leagues. Simple math answers few questions. Don't be a dumb ass until you've walked in her shoes.

Uh-huh.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
-=+=-
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7072

posted 01 August 2007 03:41 PM      Profile for -=+=-   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:

Perhaps she should have received more than $0.35 per disc sold. But, at, say, $13 per disc, $188 million in sales means about 14.5 million discs sold, or about $5 million in royalties in her pocket.

And she declared bankruptcy?

My heart weeps for her.


To understand how the record industry can screw a band out of what looks like a fortune on paper, read this essay by Steven Albini.

[ 01 August 2007: Message edited by: -=+=- ]


From: Turtle Island | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Will S
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 13367

posted 01 August 2007 04:21 PM      Profile for Will S        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've read that most artists make next to nothing on their records and sustain themselves through touring. Now record companies want a cut of that to make up for losses due to digital downloading. Hopefully if artists can make and market their own music they can avoid signing with these labels in the first place.

Still, I'd be interested in knowing how much record labels spend on promoting their artists, because reaching a wide, mainstream audience costs a lot and the artist, once he/she/they become(s) well known, benefits from that initial push through higher ticket sales at concerts. I think the initial financial risk by the label (considering how many artists never make it big or flame out quickly) has to be considered. For every artist like Courtney Love there are dozens of flops (as she says in one of the quotes). The deals are probably designed to ensure the label recoups its losses by exploiting the bigger artists. I haven't check any of the links yet, so maybe my question has been answered there.


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 01 August 2007 04:23 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by -=+=-:
To understand how the record industry can screw a band out of what looks like a fortune on paper, read this essay by Steven Albini.

Agreed. Or perhaps just even read the first page of the six page article I linked to in the opening post.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 02 August 2007 04:05 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, I read that article in Salon back when it was written, seven years ago.


Even realizing the likely hood of a ghost writer, I was impressed by the article and impressed by Courtney Love.

Everybody has a ghost writer, but somehow, Courtney Love is held to a higher standard.

At least she had the good sense not to hire David Frum, unlike some Presidents we all know and abhor.

It wasn't until six or so years later that I discovered Courtney Love as an artist. After I had listened to "Celebrity Skin" a few times, I went into the liner notes expecting not to see her name credited for either the music or lyrics-- kind of believing the gossip that says Courtney is good for nothing, that she has ridden the death shroud tails of Kurt Colbain to stardom, only to find that she in fact did write the lyrics and music to some very, very excellent tunes on that cd.

She's a very good artist without having to consider anything. And what she says about the music industry is from the perspective of people who like music, and people who create music.

She's A #1 in my books.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
-=+=-
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7072

posted 02 August 2007 04:31 PM      Profile for -=+=-   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
After I had listened to "Celebrity Skin" a few times, I went into the liner notes expecting not to see her name credited for either the music or lyrics-- kind of believing the gossip that says Courtney is good for nothing, that she has ridden the death shroud tails of Kurt Colbain to stardom, only to find that she in fact did write the lyrics and music to some very, very excellent tunes on that cd.

Actually the guy from Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan helped with that album, and wrote/co-wrote the hits, Malibu and Celebrity Skin.

IMHO, Love has talent (like Yoko Ono) -- but nowhere near enough justify her current status; this certainly depends on her being Cobain's widow.

Her legacy as Cobain's widow is also a mixed bag. As this thread indicates she has used the position to speak out on certain issues (I also believe she has publicly called for some kind of pension/retirement home for musicians, like the actors have in Hollywood -- this might be in the Slate article).

On the other hand, she has exploited her control of the Cobain estate for cash -- releasing that posthumous Nirvana album a few years ago that was panned by the other band members.

What can you say? Love is neither here nor there. She's really in that category now of famous for being famous.


From: Turtle Island | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 02 August 2007 04:52 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Actually the guy from Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan helped with that album, and wrote/co-wrote the hits, Malibu and Celebrity Skin.

They may have been the "hits" but they are far from the best tunes on that cd.

Talent not enough to justify her current status? The only time the woman gets attention is when her substance abuse lands her before a judge.

We can take her best stuff and apply a lot of "yeah buts". Like, "yeah but, maybe that punchy bit with the rythm guitar was the producer's idea" or "yeah but so an so helped her with this or that."

But we can apply such "yeah buts" to any artist, of any time and any genre of music.

Speaking of music piracy, how about Jimmy Page? Nobody ever says, yeah but he stole that from Willie Dixon.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6061

posted 02 August 2007 07:10 PM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Talent not enough to justify her current status? The only time the woman gets attention is when her substance abuse lands her before a judge.

This is true. She rarely gets much airplay and the only time she seems to get any attention is when she is either overweight, getting some cosmetic surgery, misspelling in her blog or having an emotional bread down. Courtney Love has been raked over the coals by the media.

Anyways, I know a lot of bands, and they make their money two ways - selling merch and going on tours. And these are mid to small label bands. These guys and gals are out there touring constantly. That takes a toll on their lives - relationships, jobs etc. Essentially they have to give up everything to make any money, and many are lucky if they make enough to recoup the cost of a tour. Most of these bands are not going to get major radio air play, nor a major label contract. Not because they aren't talented, but because the higher ups don't deem them main steam enough to give them a chance. The record labels are not about talent for the most part, they are about making money from formulaic bands/singers and keeping within their comfort margins. Long gone are the days when a band like The Doors could get a major record deal based on a few shows.

These days most bands do things themselves, completely DIY or with small indie labels. Most bands have been burnt viciously by labels. There are bands that were signed to labels and put all their time and effort and hope into an album, only for that label to renege on their promise or to screw the band over somehow. Guess what happens then? The band has to fork over the cost of the album they sweat over, or it never sees the light of day. All their work - trash.


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
M.Gregus
babble intern
Babbler # 13402

posted 02 August 2007 08:05 PM      Profile for M.Gregus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ani Difranco is someone who bucked the record company system, refusing to play by their rules and starting her own label instead, Righteous Babe Records. I love what I understand to be a pretty direct response to record companies (and one artist in particular who was sucked in by a label) in her song, aptly titled "The Million That You Never Made."
From: capital region | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6061

posted 03 August 2007 06:58 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ani DiFranco rocks. She's has a few well written pieces out there on the net about the music industry.

here's a good article:

Ani DiFranco Kicks Ass

And here:

She does rock!

quote:
"My problem with guys who run the music industry is that their only priority is to make money," she told the Los Angeles Times last year. "That's not what drives Righteous Babe. For me, it's about art and politics."


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
M.Gregus
babble intern
Babbler # 13402

posted 03 August 2007 08:04 AM      Profile for M.Gregus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the great articles, Stargazer! Ani provides an inspiring contrast to the corporate music industry. I found the following break-down of costs especially interesting in light of this thread discussion (taken from the second article):

quote:
And she's not floundering financially, either - in fact, she's prospering. Thanks to collaborations with independent manufacturing and distributing companies that reduce production and overhead costs and a marketing strategy that largely eschews video and radio promotions, the average cost per CD produced by Righteous Babe is less than $4. Between direct sales (at concerts and via mail-order) to fans and wholesale to record stores, DiFranco has sold about half a million albums, averaging $4.25 net profit from each. Since she owns the label, this $4.25 profit is hers - making the $1.25 per unit sold that the typical major-label artist earns look paltry in comparison.

She's not doing too bad for herself, by the sounds of it.


From: capital region | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | rabble.ca | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008 rabble.ca