Archive for January, 2004

The Bone Headedness of the Music Industry

January 15, 2004

Ok, let me start by saying that my knowledge and interest in the music industry is very minimal. However, I do not believe that this industry is as complicated as it appears to be and to put it bluntly I feel that they got what they deserved in a sense by getting creamed by the current mp3 downloading frenzy.

First off let me say that I do believe that downloading music is stealing just as recording songs off that radio onto a tape was stealing previous to the development of digital music. That being said I will admit that I currently have over 1,800 mp3s on my computer.

In my opinion the artists and recording industry more importantly got what they deserved when they lost millions to the invention of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks such as Napster, Kazaa, WinMX, etc. The reason: they were not cutting edge and they refused to adapt. Basically all they have down is bitch, moan, protest, form alliances, and file lawsuit upon lawsuit to try to fix the problem. They should have seen this coming. Ever since the Internet boom of the late 90s everyone and their dog started to noticed how quickly digital information can be shared and transmitted. How long did they think it was going to be before their digitally recorded music recorded to CDs was spreading like wild fire for FREE? Right now the intrinsic value of buying a CD rather than just downloading all the songs on a CD is very minimal. The movie industry was much smarter. First off DVDs cannot be ripped near as easily as CDs can. Second, buying a DVD has more intrinsic value than downloading it because most DVDs these days come with a second disc of outtakes, the storyline of producing the movie, interviews, etc.

I consider myself an optimist and I always try to make the best of a situation. If I was an artist I would have adapted by saying screw the recording industry. I would have seen that this incredible spread of free digital music could be used to my advantage. These artists claim they lost millions due to this piracy, right? Well why not invest a few thousand dollars on a room full of CPUs that all have internet access and have every Kazaa, Napster, WinMX known to man. And these CPUs would have every one of your songs and various versions and remixes of your song open to easy FREE downloading. The point is you open up your music to free downloading and it spreads like wild fire. Bingo, free exposure and promotion of your music. Now the key is to alter your business model. You make your coin off tours, appearances, posters, autograph sessions, T-shirts, clothing lines, acting in movies, starring in TV shows, and you forget about record sales. The Recording Industry is a scam. They just wait till someone blows up, they get them to sign a contract, and then they take an enormous cut of the profits. Screw that, if I was doing all the work but just getting a cut I would find a way to cut them out of the loop.

Rappers have caught onto this idea somewhat. Ludacris, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, DMX, and Ja Rule have all appeared or starred in Movies such as Fast and Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, 8 Mile, Training Day, Half Baked, The Wash, and Exit Wounds. Snoop had his own TV show on MTV as do many other black entertainers such as Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, DL Hugley, Bernie Mac, etc.

Making your product free is the secret to making money in the 21st Century. Think of the Network Television and Radio Industries. Both of these industries provide their service for free. How do they make their money? Advertising. Advertising is the key to making money on the Internet. If I was an artist I would have my own website where you could read my biography, download my music for free, find info about my shows, buy concert tickets, posters, clothing, and the more traffic I have the more advertisers are going to pay me to put their logo or website link on my page. So it’s not your fans that are paying your salary it’s a community effort from all the high dollar corporations out there trying to get noticed.

Some artists complain that they don’t like the idea of going independent because they don’t enjoy business side of it and they are not good at the promotion and accounting side of the business. I have two things to say to that. One, fine then hire a friend or manager that you can trust and have him do it for a cost. Or two, if you don’t like to think of it as a business then don’t make it your career; make your music a hobby.

While I do think it is wrong to download music, I get very frustrated when artists cry about not being able to do what they used to do, which was just, sit back and collect checks. For goodness sake be innovative. Think, if you were the first to take these steps you would get press just for your actions regardless if your music were chic. I am sorry that you have to actually work now but if you would stop bitching for a minute and take a few courses of action you could go straight to the top and bring the wave of the future.

“Change is inevitable”