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Joined: 03 Jun 2008 12:01
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Location: windsor, on
RobDev wrote:
Stephen brought up Marillion, and I think they are a great example of a band embracing the changes in music distribution and production. One example is they had fans pre-order an album before they started recording it. If you pre-ordered by a specific date, they would send you a special version of the album with the name of every contributor in the credits. They raised enough to completely finance the recording. I also remember them asking fans in the UK to buy their single on a specific day, they managed to get into the top-10 charts that week due to the fan involvement.


This is a good idea, but again, it takes a pretty substantial fanbase before such a thing is possible. On a related note, it's all well and good to cite Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead as examples of online distribution gone right, but those bands could release a triple album of monkey farts and still sell thousands of copies to devoted fanatics.

sturulez makes a valid point, in that "the music press" as it were is pretty much going the way of the physical product. Most people tend to hear about new music through blogs and message boards these days, and harnessing that promotion could only do a band good. That could entail sending out promo copies, as noted, interacting with people online to curry favour/build networks, or simply putting out quality music that people will want to talk about.

Things that seem somewhat effective in dealing with leaks;

- embracing them and/or beating people to the punch by posting streams
- tangible bonuses for people who actually buy the album (e.g., really nice special editions)
- involving fans in the process (e.g., Bandstocks, that Marillon thing)

Things that just piss people off:

- dozens of different "special editions" (e.g., one extra track for each store)
- copy protection and suchlike
- bitching at fans/lawsuits (see: Metallica)


27 Jan 2010 13:06
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Joined: 27 Jan 2010 12:59
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I think you guys went about this the best way possible in these times; with the golden dossier project. With the phasing out of CDs people are having a hard time making music the tangible physical experience that it used to be. This is why more and more you see artists choosing to release vinyl versions of their recordings. It gives people something they can see, feel, interact with...and to call a spade a spade pad their "cred" with. And while the increasing number of "leaked" albums can seem alarming to an artist, bear in mind that you are also reaching a much, much larger audience than any pay-to-play site can provide you with. So as a fellow musician, I see the value in this and we must hope upon hope that these downloads translate into fans who will go to the shows, buy a tshirt, and who knows; maybe next time you put a new album out they make it a priority to pre-order to not miss out on the cool extras.


27 Jan 2010 13:08
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I've probably run my mouth on this subject enough, but I've been thinking about a few things I've read on here:
siro wrote:
What makes me angry or sad about the situation now is that the people who get to listen to the music first are the ones who probably care the least about it.

This is heart-breakingly true.
siro wrote:
...there is no such thing as scarcity on the net. Everything can be reproduced infinitely with little to no cost. That seems a concept that everyone has a hard time to grasp as it contradicts everything we learned before. Attaching a price point to digital media seemed to be our last resort to make a connection to our "meatspace", to make it scarce and thus valuable. But unfortunately the net doesn't support that.

That the Internet contradicts our culture's previous understanding of value is a really compelling point. I, personally, like that everyone has to opportunity to be heard, for their creative output to be recognized, but I only wish that more people gave a shit about what they were exhibiting. They don't, and the reason stupid storytelling, atrocious spelling, and obnoxious visual art is so prevalent online is that there's no permanence; things are made to be disregarded. That's kind of a digression, but it builds up to the thing that concerns me the most about the digital realm: things just don't exist in a way that can be meaningfully preserved. Does that not scare the piss out of anyone else? Binary code can be wiped away in the blink of an electrical short. Objects of the physical world, in "meatSpace" (a terrifying term...), are a tangible documentation of this human experience at this point at this time, and that makes for an invaluable resource for the future. I remember first finding my dad's Crosby, Stills, & Nash albums, and feeling like I was joining some grand, important tradition. They were Things, and they had a past, were part of my present, and will exist into the future. I just can't see how handing my children a stick drive with 10,000 songs will have quite the same caché.
De Geus wrote:
Although i'm not an artist myself and therefor easy to say, i think you should make peace with the fact that it's never gonna change again...

It's bizarre to me that there's a prevailing belief that file sharing is something inevitable that artists just need to learn to deal with. There's been this movement toward thinking that Internet has "empowered" music fans and that downloading sends a "message" to the music industry because you can get the one Black Eyed Peas song (or whatever...) you want without paying for all of the other crap padding out the record and padding the pockets of fat-ass Capitalist fiends at Time-Warner. That's a dangerous line to be walking. Is it wrong or immoral to download an album? In the big picture, probably not, but I do think it's really damaging to pretend that it doesn't effect anyone at all. It clearly does:
Jonathan wrote:
But I can't help the nagging feeling that it makes music seem cheap and disposable. And anyone who's dedicated a largeish swath of their lives to a band (or any art project) can tell you that art doesn't come cheap for the people who make it.

No one has to download an album. Simply because a link or torrent is there to take doesn't mean that I'm stripped of the willpower to say "yes" or "no" to it. I'm not saying this all holier-than-thou. I download, too, and you're probably right that that's just how things are going to be done at this point in the game. Still, I think the listening population has to do make that decision to download being fully aware that what they're doing makes musicians that we respect and whose output we love (not just Fergie...) feel like their passions have less meaning. If we can do that, fine, but we just have to know that we're doing it.


Last edited by JackAltman on 27 Jan 2010 13:29, edited 1 time in total.



27 Jan 2010 13:12
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daylight wrote:
This is a good idea, but again, it takes a pretty substantial fanbase before such a thing is possible. On a related note, it's all well and good to cite Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead as examples of online distribution gone right, but those bands could release a triple album of monkey farts and still sell thousands of copies to devoted fanatics.


Quite true. The bands that have been most successful with this had large fanbases before they tried the ideas. I wonder how easy it would be for a newer band to do the same.

daylight wrote:
- dozens of different "special editions" (e.g., one extra track for each store)

This can work for a little while, but it causes plenty of annoyance. I used to avidly collect singles from a few bands for the b-sides that you couldn't get elsewhere. But then they did compilations of all the b-sides. I felt like the work I had done tracking down the singles was wasted then, it killed my desire to do so in the future.


27 Jan 2010 13:22
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I'll try to say this all respectfully, at least know it's intended that way...

I'm certain almost everyone who posts on this board makes music, and this music making takes up X amount of their whole 'who they are' aura. I'm no different. I've been making music for a while, a long while, and while I've got no commercial aspirations, I have had someone other than myself put something out for me, so I think I'm at least tangentially qualified to throw in my two cents.

I don't believe you can steal something that is not an actual physical "thing". perhaps my dignity has been stolen a few times over, but I don't think whomever did it is or was a thief...I digress with bad jokes...for me, downloading albums is no different than listening to an album at a friend's house or the old-school acquisition of a tape. the actual packaged cd or lp is the item. this can be stolen. music is art. it's not a thing. it's not like a loaf of bread or a can of milk. I've yet to hear an album, either after a download or after having it recorded for me, or after just running into hearing it, that I loved that I did not want to acquire a physical format copy of. perhaps I'm old-fashioned. I grew up on 45s and I'm one of the uncool ones who thinks cds are a lot neater than lps. I like to own copies of things I love.

if someone is swiping records or tapes of cds from a store or a merchandise table, that's stealing and should be punished and frowned upon. if someone is enthusiastically grabbing up a link because they want to hear your music, that, to me, seems awesome alone, and I'd welcome it with my own music with open arms anytime.

today is different than 1965. anyone can record an album that sounds all sorts of different ways right in their bedroom or basement or bathroom or tool shed. maybe it's time that people stopped thinking of making a living from playing rock music? it's a swell idea, and great work if you can get it, but there's really no reason people who live 'square' and regular lives can't make great records without relying on being an "artist" for their bread and perrier. this is not directed at anyone specifically and certainly not at the originator of this thread. it's just a thought.

as for the people who download something and never buy a record or cd or even a t-shirt, they probably wouldn't anyway, internet or not. if they can listen to my music and get something out of it, I'm only richer for that, not poorer.


27 Jan 2010 13:52
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Great discussion everyone!

For years I worked at a college radio station and reveled in getting pre-release copies of albums by my favorite bands. It felt like I was getting special gift to hear the album early. However, when those albums finally hit the street, I would buy them (when I could afford to do so). I also bought (and still buy) my share of merch. at numerous shows, as it seemed like that that money was going more directly to the bands. Though I sometimes shared a cassette with a friend or two, I don't think I ever would have uploaded full albums to the internet for thousands of strangers to download.

Nowadays, I can't bring myself to ever hit the torrent sites. It just doesn't feel right to me. Even though I mostly buy music digitally (mostly from sites like Other Music and Boomkat that offer DRM-free files), I like to wait until the official release date and to purchase the album legitimately. I think part of that is just me supporting the new model of releasing digital music (I also like seeing bands trying to work within the new framework by providing some special extras on top of the music, like SW is doing with TGA). I still like to share music with close friends (nothing like a good mix CD!), but I would never share my whole collection with the internet in general.

One thing I wanted to mention is the work that Kristin Hersh has started with her CASH music project. She's essentially gone to releasing all her music for free under a Creative Commons license and asking her fans to act as donors/benefactors of her art. She recently started a new project to fund a new Throwing Muses album entirely through fan donations. Certainly this model doesn't work for everyone, but I think it's fascinating and exciting. If you want to read more about what she's doing, go here: http://kristinhersh.cashmusic.org/


27 Jan 2010 15:54
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Lots of first-time posters in here!

Also, an example of a small band offering their music up with a pay-what-you-like plan was The Mountain Goats and the Satanic Messiah ep. While it had already been pressed on vinyl, John Darnielle put up the files on his site in exchange for any amount the listener wanted. Then the ep sold out on tour by my stop and I never got one. :cry:

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27 Jan 2010 17:13
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If an album is worth downloading in its entirety, it is worth buying. As other posters have said, it's more difficult to feel like something belongs to you if you haven't got it in physical form, and you can never be sure with pirate versions that what you're getting is what the artist intended (we can call this the Mulholland effect). I don't understand the importance of leaks because they seem to be about getting there first, which implies that the quality of the experience will degrade with age.

A lot of the uproar in the music industry about digital media and filesharing reminds me of the furore about sex education. Everybody has an opinion because nobody knows the first thing, really, about the causes and effects. There's a maelstrom of stats, but nobody knows how to interpret them because nearly all the stats are compiled by people with an axe to grind on one side or the other. Meanwhile, while the adults squabble, the kids are out there doing it.


28 Jan 2010 06:32
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felicitywormwood wrote:
If an album is worth downloading in its entirety, it is worth buying. As other posters have said, it's more difficult to feel like something belongs to you if you haven't got it in physical form


Thats true, and there 's the part where i feel that music is part of my identity and that i would like to expres it openly (actual cd's in a cd rack and no digital stuff).


28 Jan 2010 15:41
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I personally far prefer my music in digital format now, for the quality and convenience (my living situation right now demands that I not have much in the way of actual things). I understand the idea of wanting to have something physical to hold on to, but I really don't see an mp3 player or a memory stick as being that much different from a cd or a tape or vinyl. They're all just media for the storage of information. Some are just smaller than others. Although to me vinyl is a little different in that the packaging can be a piece of artwork in itself.

As to illegal downloading, I simply choose not to. I suppose that puts me in the minority, but I feel like music is the intellectual property of the artist who created it, and they have a right to charge a price for it.

When it comes to leaks, that puts me in mind of one Christmas when I found the hiding place where my parents had all the presents stashed. I looked through them all, and it ended up being the most miserable Christmas ever. I'd much rather wait until the release date of an album, if for nothing else out of respect for the artist.


28 Jan 2010 19:54
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felicitywormwood wrote:
If an album is worth downloading in its entirety, it is worth buying.


To you, maybe. To a lot of (most?) other people, 50-100mb of bandwidth is worth far less than $10-15 (unfortunately).


28 Jan 2010 20:33
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Or $25-$30 if you live in Oz. It's not my policy to download, but most people are weighing up the cost of $30 versus the cost of zilch, unfortunately.


28 Jan 2010 21:34
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I don't get that logic. If someone went into a store and decided a loaf of bread was too expensive, it would therefore be okay to steal it? Just because one can do something does not mean one should.


28 Jan 2010 21:47
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I agree. Don't get me wrong - I don't support it. But to most people it's not stealing and they would scoff if you suggested it was.


28 Jan 2010 23:12
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Yeah, it's not stealing in the sense that it's physically taking something that cost money to produce. And some could call that a line sketchy because if you were never going to dish out the money for it in the first place then there is no loss to the artist. How many people have the income to go to a record store (even outside of Australia) and pick up a record or five of some artists they'd heard of, or heard minute amounts of in the past? The ones who would do that I think are not the same people who would download the music instead and are therefor still putting their money towards cds. I would do that (and have in an instance or two) but I can't afford to be that adventurous right now. Instead I find bands I like (through illegal downloads many times) and direct what little money I have at them.

There is, of course, the extremely valid argument that if you can't pay for it, you can't have it. (Then lets ask, how helpful is my purchase of one album to a band that I'll end up not liking after my ambitious record store purchase, as opposed to my direct efforts towards a few bands?) And I personally understand (at least have a vague idea of) how much time, effort, heart, and countless other things artists put into making music, and sincerely hope that they get rewarded for it...

Where does everyone else stand on that? I'm not even sure where I stand exactly...


29 Jan 2010 01:44
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