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Music Today Is About Cost Cutting

bpaluzzi

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Daniel Ek is a multi-millionaire, but 12 million streams a year is only making artists below average wage.
Is any part of Netflix free, or Amazon prime?
Unfortunately, the ball is swinging in the wrong direction -- Netflix is adding an ad-supported tier soon.
 

multijd

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I disagree. I do agree that records became way too expensive.
But they used to have listening stations, also there was radio airplay.
Matt Groenig tells the story of buying a Captain Beefhart album because he was a Frank Zappa fan. When he got it home he soon found it was unlistenable, he hated it. Because he'd spent all his money on the album he persevered. A month later it was his favourite album and still a favourite today.
Streaming rewards instant gratification and artists are too afraid to take risks because the listener will just click on to the next song if it isn't instantly pleasing to them.
This is so true. I bought many albums in the late 70’s early 80’s without knowing the content. Mainly jazz artists who played on other records. I eventually liked all of them. They formed my musical tastes.
 

twangbang

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Not exactly sure how this became a discussion about musical tastes. De gustibus non disputandum est.

Back to the original post about the lead singer of a band doing a show as the band, but without the band, but instead doing karaoke to backing tracks:

This type of 'band karaoke', as well as the practice of having little pieces of a band going out and performing 'acoustically' as the band, have been a growing trend for a long time. And at least in my world, this has taken off since covid. As far as I am concerned, unless this is well-advertised before people buy tickets or, on a local show, show up at the venue, I believe this is false advertising and 'bait-and-switch'. I've seen enough of this that try to find out what configuration there will be before I go to a gig. I am just not interested in scaled-down productions. The experience of a live band is what brings me to the venue. Anything else, I feel cheated.

I think this has been more of a survival tactic for not-so-well known bands/musicians, but it leaves me cold, both as a band member and audience member. And as far as the practice of famous/well-heeled bands doing this - well, to me this seems penny-wise and pound-foolish. I think they run the risk of seriously alienating a good chunk of their audience.

There are obviously legitimate artistic reasons for singers/musicians to do solo and/or scaled-down and/or acoustic performances. I think it should be clearly advertised as such and separated from 'the band'. There are some people I like to see solo. They are the exception, not the rule.

To me, this type of stuff has been a long, long journey from the basic concept of "an integral band" a la The Beatles, Stones, The Band, and countless others from the classic rock era to a more 'Star System', as has been practiced in places like Nashville for decades in country music. This was pretty much the system before the classic rock era, and IMO this is just entropy taking over. If you think about it for a minute - with a 'star', you only have one personality to deal with and pay too much money to. Bands just multiply the headaches for the biz types. But a lot of people, like me, just don't find it as musically rewarding in most cases. Band interaction is a key part of the music. I'm sure that production people and some audiences expecting 'studio perfection' is also part of this. "OK, let's just erase the actual human part of making music." LOL.

The inverse of all this is the whole concept of live shows featuring holograms of dead singers with a full backing band or orchestra - e.g.,


I had to get over being creeped out by this at first. But you can't argue that they're 'cheaping out', and at least the musicians are getting gigs.

In the end, it was always about money to the biz types. But only in the last 20 years or so has the audience been totally brought along with that type of dilution of the music. IMHO.
 

Mcjnic

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There are a lot of similarities in where the music industry is and where the film industry has found itself with independent filmmakers.
I believe the horse has been beaten enough here, so I'm going to avoid the obvious bait and speak to the streaming services for independent film to make a point.
Some producers are content with having a single distributor pushing the film onto a few platforms.
The quarterly checks roll in and if one is fortunate, one can break even in a handful of years ... then it's profit.
There are exceptions.

Now ... to venture into shark infested waters and broach the subject of musical income.

I've said it before in a different thread ... if one can pivot, one can sustain a good income.
The issue comes with closed minded and obstinate individuals at the helm.
And that's not an insult ... it is what it is.
Music can be very profitable if you understand what the needs are in the current market.
But that's a stumbling block for some ... art before income.
And I absolutely understand and respect the place they find themselves.
BUT ... when the discussion is centered on "money coming in from music" ... then the attitude needs to be adjusted.
Maybe pull the "art" part back a bit and "work" for the available projects.
It's a tough call for some.
And for others ... it's not an option.
 

DrummerJustLikeDad

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There are a lot of similarities in where the music industry is and where the film industry has found itself with independent filmmakers.
I believe the horse has been beaten enough here, so I'm going to avoid the obvious bait and speak to the streaming services for independent film to make a point.
Some producers are content with having a single distributor pushing the film onto a few platforms.
The quarterly checks roll in and if one is fortunate, one can break even in a handful of years ... then it's profit.
There are exceptions.

Now ... to venture into shark infested waters and broach the subject of musical income.

I've said it before in a different thread ... if one can pivot, one can sustain a good income.
The issue comes with closed minded and obstinate individuals at the helm.
And that's not an insult ... it is what it is.
Music can be very profitable if you understand what the needs are in the current market.
But that's a stumbling block for some ... art before income.
And I absolutely understand and respect the place they find themselves.
BUT ... when the discussion is centered on "money coming in from music" ... then the attitude needs to be adjusted.
Maybe pull the "art" part back a bit and "work" for the available projects.
It's a tough call for some.
And for others ... it's not an option.
Concise, respectful, objective and well argued. Nice post.
 

dboomer

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Well why does Spotify allow free streaming?
I agree with you there. YouTube seems to be the biggest pirate in the world. Why doesn’t BMI/ASCAP crack down on this?

But it‘s not all that different than in the old days when the record companies made you give them one free record for the record clubs for every one you sold.
 

Pat A Flafla

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I have a musician friend who has been saying this for years. I’m starting to agree…
Think about all the golden ages we read about in books. We were fortunate to see our art form's financial apogee with our own eyes.
 

Whitten

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Music can be very profitable if you understand what the needs are in the current market.
But that's a stumbling block for some ... art before income.
And I absolutely understand and respect the place they find themselves.
BUT ... when the discussion is centered on "money coming in from music" ... then the attitude needs to be adjusted.
Hmm, I'm confused. Sports people work to win in competition, not to make money.
Artists work to create art, not to make money.
In both cases (historically) society has determined that paying these people so they can concentrate on their sport/art benefits society as a whole.
Things like impressionism that was derided at the time, many artists dying as paupers, is now the most desired art with the highest auction prices. But a tragedy for the artists at the time.
So we've learned from that and try to fund extreme, niche art, whether it's music, movies, painting etc.
Of course, we can all pivot and deliberately make music that appeals to the Spotify algorithm, but that would be the death of great music - which has nothing to do with my personal taste by the way.
 

Whitten

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I don't support the fees, or really "not fees", of Spotify.
But free streaming isn't true since it's paid for by the ads.
And who pays the ads - we do when we shop...
In reality people are consuming all the music that's ever been released without personally handing over any money for it. That devalues all music.
 

vintagedrummersweden

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In reality people are consuming all the music that's ever been released without personally handing over any money for it. That devalues all music.
Agreed.
However, my playlists and favorite albums on Spotify correlates mostly with my vinyl and cd-collection, but then I'm 58 and used to be an avid record collector.
The good news, the same goes for my youngest son who's currently building his own vinyl collection and going to concerts so there's still hope!
 

Quai34

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At least in my case, and probably most Spotify streamers, I'm actually spending more money on streaming than I ever did on CDs. It's a monthly subscription that I don't think about, and I pay it whether or not I listen to anything. The money is there, it's just not being distributed properly. That problem is compounded when you have people gaming the streaming numbers in various ways, which unfortunately will get worse with higher payouts.
I might be very old for that but I still Buy albums online with no streaming at all. If I like an artist, I want To be able to discover him as a whole and then, discover a large number of songs from him and not only one that is played the most on radio. Instead of buying cd's like I was doing in the 80/90's, I buy them on Apple Music and I like to have the full album, it's still 12$ like it was 12 Euros in the past, paying just to listen and not owning is also a waste of money for me.
Yep.
I agree that CDs became ridiculous expensive, but I'm also listening to all of the CDs I bought in the late 80's and thru the 90's. So for me, $10 or $20 (whatever it is) a month for streaming is wasted money for me.
 
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Mcjnic

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Hmm, I'm confused. Sports people work to win in competition, not to make money.
Artists work to create art, not to make money.
In both cases (historically) society has determined that paying these people so they can concentrate on their sport/art benefits society as a whole.
Things like impressionism that was derided at the time, many artists dying as paupers, is now the most desired art with the highest auction prices. But a tragedy for the artists at the time.
So we've learned from that and try to fund extreme, niche art, whether it's music, movies, painting etc.
Of course, we can all pivot and deliberately make music that appeals to the Spotify algorithm, but that would be the death of great music - which has nothing to do with my personal taste by the way.

yup. sure.
 

Whitten

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You missed the bit where I was confused by your point. I may 100% agree with it, when I understand it.
 


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