Has the Internet Really “Destroyed the Music Business”?

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John Mellencamp and Stevie Nicks are the latest aging music stars to publicly express their distaste for the way the internet has changed the music industry. Mellencamp equated the web’s effect on music to “the atomic bomb,” and stated that it “destroyed the music business.” Nicks has recently claimed that “The internet has destroyed rock,” and went on to wonder how burgeoning bands expect to make it in the current climate. And, of course, we all remember Prince’s July claim that “The internet is over,” in response to being asked about how he planned to distribute his new music. (In a twist of sweet irony, Prince’s claims became a viral hit on the web.)

While it’s easy to write off these utterances as the whining of out-of-touch curmudgeons who already made a ton of money in the music business (so why should they care?), you can’t pretend they don’t have a valid point. Maybe they’re laying the hyperbole on a bit thick (though if the internet does prove to be a fad, we’ll all owe Prince a big apology), but there’s no denying that online culture has put an end to what most of us would consider the “traditional” music business – the one that’s more or less been in place since music first hit the shelves. You know, the one where an artist’s big goal was to score a “record deal.” Sure, you still hear that phrase tossed around, but it no longer puts dollar signs in people’s eyes like it used to.

So is it any coincidence that the only people who are complaining about this shift are the artists who profited greatly from the old model? For a lot of aspiring musicians, the traditional music industry was one filled with frustration – an exclusionary club that never wanted to let you in, and even if they did, you had to play by their rules. (Ask John Mellencamp why he used to call himself “Johnny Cougar.”) For artists that never fit into that mold (or never wanted to), that ivory tower couldn’t come crumbling down fast enough.  The doors to the green room have been thrown open, and though there might not be any champagne and caviar waiting in there, there’s at least a spot on the couch.

And isn’t that what this should be about? The fall of the music industry – and the ascendence of online music – hasn’t benched the careers of musicians destined for stardom, it’s opened up opportunities for people who never would have gotten any playing time in the first place. Never before have bands had so many avenues with which to get their music out to potential fans, and we should be embracing that instead of mourning the loss of a machine that will never be resurrected in its previous form. Are you going to become a millionaire musician with this new model? Probably not. But you probably weren’t going to in the first place.

Adjust your expectations. Play more shows. Offer more merch. Use the new technology to your advantage, because it’s not going anywhere. Don’t waste your time wondering what could have been, if only major-label support were still a cash-cow reality. It’s pointless. Push forward, and don’t become one of those people who complains about how things were better back in the day. They weren’t.

-Brad at CD Baby

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  • steve

    until a profitable growth model truly develops, yes

  • The Internet has not destroyed the music industry. It's just redefined a strongly held market that's been held for too long by a precious few. The music industry is not dead, it's just joined all the other passe, hard line businesses that hadn't seen a revenue change in the last 60 years. It's not dying, it's just being forced to redistribute its revenue with artists in a way that producers and production houses never considered.

    We're smack dab in the middle of the technological revolution. This is no different from when cars replaced horses and electricity replaced oil lamps.

    The music industry has been held by a very strong "few" for decades. Many musicians that could not get a record into a production house can now self produce and sell their music online themselves.

    When I did an internship at WHAM Radio in Rochester, New York, we were the only choice available to artists that wanted to be heard on the air. Now on Internet Radio, an artist can reach millions more people than was ever reached on regular radio.

    We're interviewing YOKO La Japonesa Salsera on Sept 21 @ 9 PM EST at http://www.SyndicatedNews.NET. Once we interview her, the interview segment itself will remain online indefinitely. The MP3 clip of the interview itself is downloadable, portable and can be emailed as an attachment anywhere.

    That's the best free marketing tool available to anyone – anywhere.
    Technology changes everything it touches. Get used to it or get out of the way.

  • doug

    Corporatization has destroyed the music industry.

    Technology is always both a challenge and an opportunity for any media industry.

    Guttenberg destroyed the Monks' book copying industry. Player pianos destroyed the sheet music industry. Records destroyed the player piano industry, Taping destroyed records. On and on…

  • jack tragic

    Thanks to the internet i have heard and met so many awesome musicians who without the internet i would have never heard of. If the record companies spent more time in the clubs seeking new talent instead of bloated salaries to bloated blasts from the past the world would be aware of groups like Mad Shadow,King Blues,the Theory of 6 Degrees,Kissin' Dynamite. Give rock back to the young. Jack Tragic

  • The Internet hasn't destroyed the music business. Record companies still do their thing, and last time I checked, they were selling over the 'net. All the Internet has done is opened up an avenue for the rest of us.

  • John

    Jack Tragic may have heard many awesome new musicians because of the internet, but the question was not about awareness, it was about BUSINESS. The business of music is broken. Music, as always, thrives.

  • Ian

    It's easy to make arguments for both sides… I used to rail against the internet – and still do – because of pirating/illegal downloading. This is even more harmful for the independent artist, who has to recoup his expenses in self-producing through sales – and if there are no sales, he's bankrupt – no more recordings.

    My other beef is that at least record companies helped protect us to SOME extent from the 3rd rate musicians who should NEVER be heard… Now any dog and his flea can post music to the net – and it takes forever to wade through the doggy doo-doo to find the golden ring.

  • I interviewed Eumir Deodato recently for my podcast. He got started in the industry back in the 60's so naturally he was in the bemoaning camp. Personally, I say "so long, gatekeepers!". In the past too few people had too much power. The only downside is with the filters gone there's now a lot of crap to wade through to get to the good stuff. But the upside is there is much more good stuff to get to (with the added benefit of being created without the input of the suits)!

  • Big Joe

    The music industry has killed itself in many respects by continuing to produce music that is more product than art and more about packaging and media hype than originality or quality. The Internet has unfortunately not helped. The so-called "democratization" of music has led to unaffiliated artists having to try and stand out amongst the millions of performers clogging up myspace.

    So with a lack of resources available to support the old model due to a huge decline in sales and the majority of independents still fighting to stand out we have all become a needle in the very large haystack of available music. The artists that succeed on a mainstream level are still owned and produced by large corporations and leave the independent no way to compete.

    Yes we can make our music and distribute it, but to whom? No one can find you on the Internet unless they already know what to look for.

  • The Internet HAS destroyed the music industry – as these guys knew it. In place of that old paradigm is growing a more vibrant, democratic model.

    I, for one, look forward to the future …

  • Its just evolution and change scores to 78's to LP's To CD to MP3 to whatever comes next – probably streaming online. Its cool and exciting. Its brilliant to be an indie musician now – at least you have a chance as its cheaper to make records and promote them – just don't expect to get rich any time soon 🙂

  • Uncle Willie

    The dynamics have certainly changed. Previously unknown artists can get published for under $100, which I'd guess has flooded the market with choices. With a relatively static demand, it means you really have to promote your stuff to even get noticed. Meanwhile, the CD racks in retail stores still seem well stocked with name labels.

  • So congratulations, Brad, the door is wide open to all–and there's still no one making a living. The problem with the new frontier is that there's still no working business model for feeding one's family. Show me one new artist that's making a living and I'll show you 10 non-famous, but working songwriter/performers whose meager earnings are being eaten alive by bit-torrent pirates who flaunt copyright law via the *sacred* Internet. None of us has any love for old-school record companies, or sympathy for multi-millionaire music successes, but with freedom comes the responsibility of re-inventing the way copyright holders and creators are fairly compensated. So far, I don't see anyone stepping up to the plate to make that a reality. IMO, no one has the right to freely copy and distribute my creative works without fair compensation. So Brad, please enlighten me, how does that fair compensation happen in your brave new world?

  • Linda

    Only if you are a major label artist and are having your fans siphoned off by the Indies.

    I feel so sorry for Nicks and Company. Boo hoo.

  • Has the internet destroyed the music business? No.

    The music business has destroyed the music business. RIAA. Sony. EMI. Warner. Universal.

    When the internet made digital file sharing (which is NOTHING new. Cassete tapes being copied. CDs being copied…the internet just makes it faster and easier) possible, the industry had a huge opportunity to embrace a new way of propagating music and really pushing artists out to people that otherwise probably would never have heard of them.

    What did the RIAA and major labels do instead? Tried a crush the competition. Life is easy and money is good when you're a monopoly.

    Today, their monopoly has shrunk to consist of the Top 40. The internet has helped smaller, often more talented groups the chance to reach out to fans in other markets, run marketing campaigns completely on their own, and work and communicate with booking and promotion companies easier than ever before.

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (http://www.eff.org) is a wonderful organization that is a watchdog of sorts for the digital rights of content creators and consumers alike. They have proposed a system in which ISPs would build a fee into their monthly service, thereby allowing the end user to download as much music as they wanted. The revenue from these fees would be passed onto a to-be-developed third party organization that would monitor the downloads to track who's being downloaded how many times and then distribute the funds to the artists accordingly. Will the artists get rich off of that system? Absolutely not. Will people stop downloading music illegally? Absolutely not. This system would allow for both the music listener and the artist to benefit somewhat. For a happy medium to be reached so that both sides of the issue are happy, guess what. Compromise.

    With new technology comes new responsibility. The internet, as far as I'm concerned (and I'm 27) is still "new technology".

    Just some thoughts!

  • I disagree with both sides of the argument. The "aging rockers" want to blame the Internet for the decline of rock; I blame it on other factors. Paparazzi-driven entertainment news on TV and in magazines focusing the attention on musicians as models or celebrities rather than as skilled performers (BEYOND just being a tremendous vocalist) and as artists. I blame music education in schools being in the next best thing to the intensive care unit. I blame the near-extinction of A&R people at record labels, and that the labels insist on having a ready-made, pre-built package of an artist that can sell a quarter million records or more on their debut release and the homogenization of FM radio in major broadcast markets like Los Angeles, where even the college radio stations are too pretentious to accept anything that doesn't fit into their narrow view of what is sophisticated. A particularly egregious example considering they don't even have the justification of ratings driving sales of advertising time. I blame pay-to-play ruining clubs.

    This is, by far, an American phenomenon. In Europe–especially countries like Sweden, Germany and even out of Europe, like in Japan, the rock that these artists are talking about is alive and well. Signed metal acts with huge followings over there do not even bother to go on tour in the United States because they can't generate a fan base. Too many people watching Glee and American Idol, or going to Lalapalooza or Lilith Fair, or still rocking out to the p*ss-poor rock that came out in the mid-1995s to even care to go to such a show. In fact, rock in the United States really has never recorded from that era.

    The Internet didn't bring any of that about. The Internet had nothing to do with it.

    But on the other hand, is the Internet some panacea where now things are much easier now than they used to be now that the holy grail is no longer a record deal? That the doors truly have been cast open on the so-called green room, because anyone can upload an MP3? I can tell you from personal experience that you can promote your you-know-what off, and see very few downloads and more importantly sales. The Internet isn't this crazy-fascinating new toy that it once was where finding music online was shocking and revolutionary. There are litterally hundreds of thousands of bands out there and in place like ReverbNation, they are all pretty much marketing to each other. Of the 800,000 or so users they have (versus the 137 Million still on MySpace), 75% of them are other bands. Not music fans.

    Music fans are walled off in their own little world, listening to whatever tracks Pandora, or whatever Apple allows them to download in iTunes.

    The thing to realize about the Internet is that getting something out there online is not the same thing as getting something out there in other forms of mass media, especially audiovisual mass media. In radio or on TV, it's broadcasting; on the Internet, you are Multi-Casting. Users have to go and get the content. That's #1, #2, the velvet rope has merely moved from one set of doors to another… The ivory tower has moved to podcasts and other sites that can give artists a great deal of exposure. And at the end of the day, you still have to deal with talent bookers and promoters who have the power to keep you out of festivals where you're really going to do the most marketing damage.

    So no, it's not Record Labels that hold all of the keys to the future of a musician's career… The keys have now been divvied out among numerous different gatekeepers, both on and offline.

  • Ewald

    quote: "but there’s no denying that online culture has put an end to what most of us would consider the “traditional” music business – the one that’s more or less been in place since music first hit the shelves"…

    The music on the shelves model was just a very small intermittent period where physical media were king. We now have a comparable model as in ancient times when music was -practically- free available..

  • Mark

    The internet has destroyed the old model of doing business. But worse than that, anyone that with a keyboard or a guitar now thinks they are a musician. There is now one billion times more bad music than there is good. Sure once in a while you find something you like but then a week later, it's been forgotten. Music used to be an event. It was a big deal when a band released a new record. Now it's just another in the pile. Nothing special. It's free everywhere you turn. If it's free…… it has no value.

  • David Butler

    Dairenn – This is a very well thought out reply. And very insightful.

    My contention for the webs effect on music is as deep my compassion for it. The problems facing musicians are not so different from visual artists and writers also.

    As I like say:
    "The good thing about the internet is everyone has a voice. The bad thing about the internet is everyone has a voice."

  • I guess one of the biggest problems is that the internet may have taken much of the incentive out of writing and publishing new, really good material..For anyone involved in this business, writing and publishing is a very time consuming and expensive proposition…so why write an publish when…the moment it hits the internet….it's gone??? I chalk this up to one of the reasons we see so many cover bands today…Writers are much more incentivized to write for Movies/TV and other places where their talent may actually be rewarded…


  • In 2006 when I started recording with Will Ackerman, he suggested that I read "The Future of Music". It described the shift from physical CDs to digital. I thought that won't affect me because I write New Age music that adults buy, not teenagers. WRONG!!!! I learned fast that my digital sales were 80% of my income. I also get much larger royalties from internet downloads and airplay. I am a newer artist and thanks to digital marketing I am getting known much better. My music is now heard all over the world thanks to computers. This shift also helps all of the artists that now can record in their own home and then get known all over.
    The fact is we CAN'T stop it. It is the future of music. Sorry Stevie, I met you many years ago and love your music but we can't stop progress. If you can't beat it, join it.

  • Grumpy C

    Well David, I don't want to speak for Brad, but the answer to your "how do I make money when people steal my music" question is as old as the hills. If you understand how to perform live and fill a venue, you can drop your songs out of airplanes and still make money. The Greatful Dead figured this out over 30 years ago and were the top grossing act on the planet for about 20 of those.

    CD sales are not a viable method to feed yourself – let alone your organization. You can make a few bucks with them, even quite a few, but real money is in performance, merchandise, and capatializing on actually playing music.

    It's not the fault of the Internet, or piracy. The market sets the value on a CD, and right now they say free to $10. Instead of whinging about it, find out what your market will pay for and do that.

  • Aryeh

    I have been making my living as a DYI musician for about 17 years now. Modestly, independently … but it's been a living and I have been grateful for it. My living has been recording, producing, performing, selling and distributing my own CDs (and takes back 17 years ago). I still make a living at it today doing the same thing …

    all I can say is that since the advent of the internet it has been A LOT harder.

    Yes, I do see some sales and "wider" distribution through the internet – but it never makes up for the loss of the corresponding loss in sales DIRECTLY due to the net (and I could articulat about a dozen reasons as to how the net has hurt my DYI business, but that would take too long here).

    Digital distribution accounts for 1/100th of my sales and I would never be able to make a living if I depended on that. The stories I hear of people "making it" via the net is about the same as it was back in the day when people yearned for the big record deal … same lottery, same chances, same ol same ol.

    It would have been on thing if, like the old transitions from vinyl to tape and tape to CD that the actual sales of the product would eventually even out … but that's not the case with digital media. The direction of the value of digital media is FREE .. and I have even seen one band pay people to listen to their music .. which seems to be the way things are going.

    The net has made my work as a DYI musician a lot harder and I loathe it – but I don't fight it anymore than I spit in the wind … Just try to keep on going and hope for the best.

    The truth is that the golden days of DYI musicians was about 15 years ago. When you say the Green room is open and maybe there is no champagne, but there is a spot on the couch … well, that's putting it mildly. The room is so crowded you can't even sit down, it's stuffy and smelly and you wonder if you can stand being in the room at all. There's not just no champagne – there's nothing at all … maybe a crumb. Not enough to make a living, that's for sure.

    I still make my DYI living the old fashioned way, and know there is no way to stop the net from continuing to suck my livelihood dry … but I feel confident that I will be able to see the last tail end of having a career as a musician. I see the future as harder for musicians to make it as musicians, not easier. I doubt my son would be able to make it anymore than someone could dream of it back 25 years ago. Probably less.

    I agree with the Mellencamps and the Princes – and for similar reasons – The net has not just been bad for big time artists, it's been bad all around for DYI artists too.

  • Stevie and Cougar need to put the crack pipe down. The music industry collapsed in on itself. The weight of corporate greed ruined it for everyone, so screw them. I had a number one record in 1977 and those bastards at Warner Brothers never paid us a dime and we couldn't afford to sue them, they had all the high dollar lawyers in their corner. All I can say to those bastards is RIP.

  • I can not disagree with your opinion more. Has the internet killed music? Absolutely. My son's band has been trying for 8 years to get a deal. They have opened for most every major band out there, finally signed with a division of Warner, and yet there is STILL no money. They STILL have to pay out of their pockets to record and produce, and because there is so little money left in the business today for the record companies, there only source of income is touring 5-6 days a week, and selling merch. C.D's that are not as good as they could have been had they had the 100k budgets like they did in days gone by, and had enough income coming in from sales so you could afford to spend 6 months writing and recording as opposed to gigging to pay the bills. Anyone who can not see that there are simply FACTS created by the illegal downloading of music is certainly themselves part of the NEW machine making money off these kids instead of the OLD machine. So keep illegally downloading, and eventually there will be now more new music to enjoy. Do You think Pink Floyd could have created Dark Side of the Moon with money out of their pockets and gigging 5 – 6 days a week. Don't be stupid.

  • Brendan

    Nothing has really changed in the music business.

    Yes, the holy grail of a record deal is no more. Yes, the Internet has destroyed the old business model. Yes, file sharing is killing sales. Former greats and wanna be stars bemoan the loss of income, real or potential.

    But you still gotta play live. That's what it's always been about. Its ironic that, with all this revolutionary game-changing technology, the ability and need to play for your supper has never been more important.

  • You are all completely missing the boat here. The internet HAS destroyed music; but not is the ways that you might think. I serve as an independent booking agent for some of L.A.'s most highly regarded acoustic venues, and what I see constantly, (on the main stages, at least), are bands that put on TERRIBLE live shows yet are internet phenoms (not the acts I book, by the way). And you say in the last paragraph of your article: "Play more live shows." Well now isn't that interesting (Ani DiFranco rolls her eyes). As I recall, this is the SAME CD Baby that came out with a DIY News article some months ago about how playing more live shows is NOT a good thing, and that the artist should focus on internet promotion. This is a half-truth: I see many musicians wanting to book as many shows as possible, not once thinking about how many of those nights they will play to empty rooms. But who the hell wants to sit in front of a computer all day, every day 'Promoting' themselves and missing the basic human interaction of live performance? Not me! I come from a background of folk/singer/songwriters, and my main goal is to build a sense of community amongst myself and the artists that I book.

    Our world is tumbling head-first into a "Me, Me, Me, I, I, I" type of culture, where few musicians care about helping out a fellow artist. Berklee College of Music fosters this more than any other place I have ever seen. "That artist sitting next to you in class is your competition," they would say. How about this: That artist sitting next to me is my ALLY and my musical brother/sister????

    The fact that the folk music scene has retreated to the underground is the BEST thing that could have possibly happened, because it weeds out the no-caring, no-talent hacks and builds a TRUE sense of community. This is my world, the world of house concerts and forest festivals, where REAL talent is appreciated. But make no mistake: It is an ULTRA selective world, and you must have A+ talent above all else to crack the nut. This is why the mainstream sucks: It's ALL style, no substance. Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon still have a voice; and it echoes in hidden places that most people simply cannot hear or understand…

  • Fred Mertz

    To me, it's like the 50's all over again.

    New artists can break through because of their cottage industry efforts and the majors push out the "pretty boys (and girls) with minimal talent. Remember Fabian? I'm old enough to have seen it all from Chuck Berry to Lady Gaga, an I LOVE the fact that I can do my own productions and editing on a computer. Man I HATED editing tapes with a razor, and two inch tapes that cost $150 a roll that could only hold 3 songs. And now I don't have to bow down to some schmuck in an office at a tower who is all coked up. And I don't have to wait for some record company to pay a sliver of what I earned (God Bless CD Baby for always paying on time!!!) I can let the audience choose because I have no gatekeepers. Who needs radio when I have You Tube? And the best part? I have years of experience in production and recording (and quite a bit of major success), so this is the candy store for me.

    So roll over John Mellencamp, and tell Stevie Nicks the news!!

  • Ms. Liz

    If we all walked into the local grocery store and took things off the shelves because the 'big grocery chain has made enough money,' then that store would go out of business. The business model for musicians is not working to support musicians who want to make a living with music. If you can't get paid for the time you put into what you do, then you don't do it, unless you want to make creating music your 'hobby.' Musicians: try keeping track of the hours you put in per week in promotion on all the different websites, the add up what you made playing live, selling music & merch. If you come up with numbers like $1.97 per hour, the you know you can't live on that. It's great to know that new music is getting out there, that's for sure. But being a musician as a career doesn't make a lot of sense anymore because the thing we had to sell (music) has lost its value. Most people don't want to pay for it. It's not a matter of good or bad music, it's the amount of time it takes and how much you can get paid for your time.

  • stefano

    Illegal file sharing has destroyed the music 'business', for without a viable economic model to sustain the business of creating music and rewarding the working musician in the first place, THERE IS NO BUSINESS. Do not fool yourself. How much do YOU make on seeing your music downloaded by others?

    That being said, the internet gave birth to illegal file sharing and yes, I would have to agree with Stevie Nicks and John Mellencamp. I have been recording and releasing music since 1985 and have more than 50 records under my belt in one way or the other and can in no way make ends meet now as I once did in the 80's & 90's by music alone. Young artists today do not stand a chance in getting noticed precisely by the glut of poor to mediocre music around today on the internet, even if what they are doing is indeed brilliant but the majority of young artists are sadly not, since most of them are just simply rehashing what has already been done precisely by their use of file sharing.

    The glory days of the music business are indeed over when people have been brainwashed into thinking a horrible mp3 over earbuds of an iPod is indicative to what music SHOULD be, and an iPod with 1000 songs on it makes you cool. Unless their is a sea change in society as to what the endearing qualities of the art of musicmaking truly are, there is no music business anymore. If you believe otherwise, you are sadly mistaken. Mp3's are the proliferation of the HARDWARE manufacturers like Apple & Microsoft and NOT musicians. THEY are the ones that are reaping the benefits of file sharing NOT the musicians and as long as there are people that are willing to hand over their hard earned money on today's latest 'gadget' in order to download illegally instead of SUPPORTING MUSICIANS AS WAS THE CASE HISTORICALLY, this insanity will continue. There is a new breed of musicians that indeed DO NOT know what it is to suffer for their art, tour 200 days a year to support their latest release and go into a recording studio for a few weeks with a producer to create something that will be endearing for generations to come. Instead, it's downloading, sampling others' works and claiming it for their own. ME ME ME.

    This is NOT how I raise MY children.

    And to those that say this is bull and the rantings of a dinosaur, than I challenge you to buy a home, raise your children and earn a decent living with what you are doing today in music instead of living of your parents trust funds. YOU CAN'T AND NEVER WILL.

  • Evolution! Couldn't stop it if you wanted to!

  • RH

    Check out the latest on the Verizon-Google merger.
    If we're going to have relevant conversations about our
    futures as musicians (using the internet?),
    it's time to look forward, not back.
    (Brad, this means you too.)

  • The internet is really a double-edged sword for indies. It's much easier to release and market your album without a label, which in turn makes a whole lot of competition and clutter. But in my opinion, artists having more creative control of their art is ultimately a good thing. The internet simply created a new business model, and greedy corporations are reluctant to stray from what they already knew as successful. I agree with an earlier post: the music business killed the music business.

  • Mike

    Frankly, if I were a major artist before the internet came along, I would be devastated by the current state of the industry. As an artist of today however, I think the internet is great. What is terrible is the public attitude. The public wants everything for free and regardless of whether it's moral or not, many take it and share it freely.

    Some say artists should make their living by performing. Live performance opportunities continue to shrink. Pay for live performances is often terrible. Artists are expected to perform free for charity events. Promoters of larger shows use the angle that their venue has a huge exposure opportunity so some artists even pay to play. Now with sonicbids, you even pay to apply for things!

    The entire industry is a mess, but at the end of the day I think it will sort itself out and be a whole lot better than it was under the old regime.

  • TJR

    @ Darian: I agree with so much of what you say. For me the biggest key factor is the lack of Music Education in the US. Lack of music education has a lot to do with "attention on musicians as models or celebrities rather than as skilled performers". I think that a musically educated America would relegate that phenomena to the sideshow rather than as the main event. I think it's one of the primary differnce between the US and all the other countries that you mention. And why their music scenes are thriving.

  • THe internet itself I don't believe is the destroyer of the music industry, it's the content on the web and the types of machines behind it that are the killers. Myspace.com in my opinion massacred the music business and allowed far too much mediocrity to enter the flood gates. Web bots and friend adder devices became the norm and took the connection with a true fan away, with this perception that the more friends you have the better. We all agree that myspace is and was poorly designed for affective networking with potential fans. Facebook got it right and now look how giant they have become. Hard copy CD's will never go away, you just have to be touring and giging to sell more of them with special packaging, limited quantities, and other merch items, always striving to make the buying experience special. Digital is a fine aspect to bring awareness to your music and should be strategically used along with traditional concepts. I agree, that the odds are not in artists of today's favor and they may never strike it rich from the new model, but you surely can't avoid it. Embrace all options and stop bitching and focus on making good music first.

  • Old Music Biz

    Needed Label

    * Access to Expensive production – a decent recording on 24 track 2" could easily be $10,000s

    * Access to physical distribution – trucks still needed to get to stores to distribute physical media

    * Access to Publicity/Promotion/Marketing – labels had exclusive contacts at radio, tv, and print media – music magazines etc.

    New Music Biz

    * Very low cost to my equipment need to product quality recordings
    * Distribute online, various portals are cheap or free
    * Media market place is FRAGMENTED, blogs and social media have fractured traditional media's impact.

    Bottom line:

    Same pie, many more people having slivers of it..
    Best strategy is to seek out your own niche. You may never have 1,000,000 by one song, but its still possible to have 10,000 hard core fans by 100 songs.

    Be prolific, serve your audience..


  • Lans Artem

    I would just say that internet hasn't destroyed the music business! Not at all!

    It has changed to market share from a small group to a larger group of promoters/producers. They still have the most power though! It has just diminished (or diluted) their profit share.

    But the main problem isn't the internet in itself…or the market model!

    In fact we could resonably believe that the internet would give the chance to more artists to get attention and that is a good thing! The only problem is that it brought at the same time too much ease for illegal distribution by some people who believe that "democracy is always free", and though, that no one should make money not even the artists! These people have absolutely no consciousness and for me it's quite similar to their idea that "everything belongs to everybody" (so why work… we just take whatever we need?)!

    It's also the lack of ethical point of vue of the many (if not most) fans and listeners alike who accept to download music for free from illegal sites.

    People who don't want to pay for music and people who make illegal copies, are destroying music business!!

    That's all!

  • Everyone here has great input! It is truly a very complex problem. I don't think music or the business is dead. Dairenn's point is excellent, the WAY you get your music has changed so much. You can't depend on labels to vet talent anymore but there is a ton more of it available to you.

    As a musician I want to be heard. Finding that avenue to be heard is a big mystery. If the podcasts are the new gatekeepers, how do you find them (either to listen or to get heard).
    I can post a URL all over the place, and I personally don't mind my music being downloaded for free, have at it,


    but, in the end, an independent musician, still doesnt have access to the resources(producers, studios, advertising) that the "dinosaurs" like RIAA. Sony. EMI. Warner. Universal have,
    without the old fashioned record deal.

    So maybe they AREN'T completely dead yet. Who know's?!?

  • In the mid 90's I was working for a music production company in NYC. We were ahead of the curve, and called every record company to allow us to put all their music archives on hard drives. THEY ALL SAID NO.
    They didn't even know what we were talking about. Then came napster, the rest is history.

  • Dan Warren

    The record companies destroyed the music business, and they did it over several decades. They did it by pushing an increasingly bland and homogeneous array of artists on the public, and encouraging an artistic monoculture that placed no value on ideas or innovation. The entirety of mainstream music has stagnated as a result, and the only real innovation is now happening in smaller bands. As a result, most of the big name artists are putting out albums that have one decent song, maybe two, and even those overstay their welcome after a few months. Nobody buys albums from the big labels because the big labels aren't producing ALBUMS any more, they're producing discs that are two singles and forty minutes of filler. I won't buy that, and luckily nobody else is stupid enough to buy it either.

    I buy more albums today than I ever have before, but not a single damn one of them is off of a major label. That's not some sort of "statement" I'm trying to make, either, it's just that nothing I want to buy comes out of that crap factory.

    TLDR: The music industry killed the music industry, and fuck 'em if they don't like sleeping in the bed they made.

  • I'm still amazed that in this day of mass media telling everyone what to think,wear and eat, we still have people who simply love music willing to champion little known artists. Licensing is another matter, since more and more I see large corporations like Getty(PumpAudio) pay less and less for licensing contracts. Be careful what you sign up for online, you may be giving your work away for pennies, or less.

  • Music should never have been an "industry" in the first place. It's art.

    Even the most extraordinary musicians in past centuries were often in other lines of work and rarely were able to support themselves (even with rich patrons). It's only since the 1950s that anyone considered music a career in itself. we're just returning to an old model, one that was around for hundreds of years.

  • This is the first thing that I have herd coming out of CDBABY connections that I really in a long time. Your right stay focused on the task at hand. I think the internet open doors for all of us that didn't stand a chance. But it has also made it so easy for tons of crap to over saturate the market. You have to dam near give your shit away and gig until your feet bleed and be a youtube hit in order to get the numbers you need to get a second look. Reading this did move me just a little to hang in there but it dayum sure is not easy for anyone who is locked out of the net threw economics. Ps here's my plug. Check my new album out Marshall Ford California King on youtube mystudio and tunecore. Peace.

  • "Aging music stars," "out of touch curmudgeons" – nice balanced and unpredjudiced view, here, Brad. I mean, what do those old codgers know about writing hit records that last for generations and sell millions of copies anyway? They're, like, so out of touch!

    Ask yourself 1) are you making more money at gigs? 2) are you selling more records 3) are your tours more or less lucrative than before? 4) is the overall quality of available music higher or lower than 10 years ago? Maybe if you're in your early 20s, you have nothing to compare it to, but I'm in my early 30s and I do… it just isn't better for anyone I know!

    Sucks to say, but releasing a record now is like peeing into the ocean. I could justify people's claims that the "communication revolution" has so great for independent artists if I didn't feel like I was 1) playing fewer gigs for less money while 2) competing against an onslaught of mediocre product, the ubiquity of which is enough to keep more and more of my potential and actual fans from participating in the live music arena 3) listening to music that sounds like it was made by robots and recorded through tin cans with no discernable warmth or depth to the acoustic quality.

    Thanks to the internet everybody gets to play "rockstar" while fewer and fewer music of any significance gets heard. Maybe I'm just an old, out of touch curmudgeon though, who just needs to "Adjust my expectations,""push through" and "offer more merch."

    Now why didn't I think of that?

  • Like it or not, music ( and digital content in general ) is headed towards free. An MP3 file is an infinite resource and you can't charge money for an infinite resource. Or at least not much.

    The end-user ( the listener in this case ) is coming to expect to be able to consume digital content on demand, without any up-front cost. It's just the way it is. Get used to it and adapt.

    Give your listeners a reason to spend money on something that is not freely reproducible. T-shirts, Vinyl, live shows, whatever. The people that really *are* fans will support you, given a reasonable way to do so.

  • travis crum

    A lot of people here have made the same points I have, but to reiterate: the internet has destroyed the chance for many professional songwriters to make a living, due to the constant and pathological theft of intellectual property -artists' life work…MP3's sound terrible, IPODs only isolate people from the real world…because everyone downloads illegally for free, they don't want to pay to see live music– unless it's their friends crappy band, who can't play worth s**t but sure can promote their crap on the internet…it's easy to rationalize stealing music over the 'net by saying you're 'sticking it to the man,' when really you are screwing the real musicians…at least the record labels used to be able to develop talent and occasionally someone with talent would actually get a chance to be heard…I listen to old jazz

  • dcarr

    The Internet has been good and bad for artist. It has been great when it comes to the ease of promoting and selling your music online. However where the internet has failed is… it has also made it possible for some of the same fans who were against the labels robbing they're favorite artist to now do the same themselves with illegal downloading.If you don't believe it google your favorite artist and more often than not there is a bittorrent page for their brand new album. Now google your favorite indie artist and you'll find the same. I understand the music biz has changed everything does. but do we really want people not being compensated for their work to be the new trend think about your job even if you love it would you do it for nothing. For true artist it's never been about getting rich just making good music and believe it or not it cost something to do that. Artist should, at the very least (even if they're bad) be able to recoup their cost. Finally it's not the internet that's the problem but how it's being used.

  • Josh

    Demand creates commerce. There would have never been major labels if nobody was buying what they were selling. There is good to both sides, new opportunities available. I believe however, that as a society, we like to have superstars…artists bigger than life, bigger than ourselves, to inspire us. I enjoy the opportunities the Internet offers, but I believe there will always be a place for the mega stars that major label dollars can help create. Just one mans opinion…

  • stefano is a total arse. Get over it man, yes…I am doing very well with my releases…2 kids, 3 pets. Both kids have been on honor roll since first day of school and wear the finest clothing…quit whining. Quote…"And to those that say this is bull and the rantings of a dinosaur, than I challenge you to buy a home, raise your children and earn a decent living with what you are doing today in music instead of living of your parents trust funds. YOU CAN’T AND NEVER WILL." I have beaten your lame "challenge" I have no trust fund, I came from the dirt…spent 8 years of my life learning, writing, recording 20 hours a day 7 days a week…lost all my friends and almost my mind…SO LAY OFF!!! I earned my rights here more than you can possibly imagine.
    Fact is there are many musicians that are signed to major labels that I never would have known about had I not ran into them online, thus again disputing your rant…I bought the music, and I am willing to bet the artist got a fraction of what I get because of the label….
    I have personally put my own music on illegal torrent sites just to get my name out there…guess what…IT WORKED! I post a video on youtube and before it even processes it has over 20 views..that is within 30 seconds cat.
    Get used to it…we are taking over.

  • Frank

    The music business was not only about kids trying to get a record deal and becoming rich.

    There were/are many people that made a living out of it. No need to become rich, just make a living. This used to be a job for some people…

    I'm talking about many talented people like backing/session musicians, songwriters, arrangers, transcribers, producers, recording engineers, recording studios, the list goes on.

  • You can't put the genie back in the bottle. The Internet giveth—anyone can have their music available instantly from any computer,and…..it taketh—–the playing field is even, but more crowded than ever. Quality (good music) is still in short supply.
    I know that you can "sell" your song on the Internet through sales or rental (Pandora) and the amounts are miniscule, one cent in many cases. There is no free lunch, and technology hasn't particularly given anyone an advantage, since everyone has the same advantage. Playing a live gig and selling your $15 CD at the show is still the best way to make good money.

  • Oh the worrisome few who controlled the gold. Has everyone forgotten that we didn't use to choose what music we listened to? It was all sent down the same pipeline that the record companies controlled. Did you really think you liked "Closing time" the first time you heard it? It was pounded at you with payola until you walked down the street humming the verse. That's how music was successful and still is for the most part, now at least there is an outlet for real musicians to get their music heard without selling their soul, even if I have to wade through the poo poo. Welcome a new era!

  • Brian

    Has the internet destroyed the music business? If the music business is defined as the ability of a few corporations to stand between listeners and the music they want to listen to, then, yes, the internet has largely destroyed the music business.

    If the music business is defined as "the way things had been for a couple decades and I got really used to it," then the answer is still yes.

    But if the music business is defined as "providing value to listeners and profiting from it," then obviously the answer is no. A musician who truly has value to offer can find ears, and there are ways to monetize the relationship if desired.

    I think today that listeners are actually getting MORE value, because the old bottleneck system sucked value out. The music executive who insisted that John Mellencamp call himself "Johnny Cougar" got paid a LOT of money to make decisions like that. Neither the musician nor the listener benefitted from those expensive decisions, although both paid for them. In today's music business, that dude doesn't have a job. The internet destroyed it.

  • Bob Brown

    The internet is just about the only thing that we have available to use. The whole industry is so locked up that a new act has near impossible chances to break into the commercial market. The radio stations are so into playing only the top 30 continuously that there is nothing new to be heard, the music is produced in cookie cutter fashion to fit their mold and therfore receive their blessings, (play). The big corporate owners of the media are so in bed with the three or so major distribution sources that nothing else can get through. The big boys are the problems and all of the secondary markets are trying to walk in the steps of the big boys and get to be one of them. This places a noose around the neck of the music industry inventors,creators, and innovators of new music and creative originality. On the other hand, the big box stores and their major distribution sources refuse to even listen to new projuct when sent to them for preview, only a letter of refusal stating that it does not fit their category. Nothing can ever fit their category as they will only accept a product that reaches that top 30 that was mentioned before. Problem,the big guys still have it sowed up, and the net is all that is left over for the little guys who will probably remain little. Bless us all.

  • Ive been in the songwriter musician producer business for 30 years. trying to get somebodies attention. The last time anyone in the business, talked to me was Bill Grahm in 1967 at a free concert in San Francisco. As did Janis Joplin,Ive been ignored ever since. So to Nicks and Melloncamp all I can say is You people should be thankful for the opportunities and the success youve had And ALL THE MONEY YOUVE MADE,all these years, AND DONT BEGRUDE WE MUSIC CREATORS WHO'VE NEVER HAD that.We who work hard at outside jobs to keep our music alive!!! Its a great joy to have a tool like CD BABY and the other internet channels, to put our creative works out there For people to hear.

  • Thank you, Ms. Liz. I totally resonate with what you're saying. While the internet has done really interesting things for independent musicians (especially ones who are extraverted with extremely sophisticated marketing skills), I find all the various sites and the time it takes to update them takes away from time spent practicing my instrument and writing new material, or living in the world and having experiences to write about. It's exhausting. The internet has made a sort of singles 15-minutes, compromised audio quality, small-talk, newsy culture that I personally can't keep up with, nor does it pay my bills because I will never be an amazing networker or marketing goddess. That's not my gift.

    I've lived on the edge of "hobby" vs. "making a living with music" for years. With the continued deconstruction of what I understood the biz to be about when I entered it (mid-90s — audio quality mattered and albums meant something) I find it less and less attractive. At this point I'm thrilled to call music a hobby and I'm happy to give up the chase for marketing genius. I'm just a person who writes songs and sings them for whoever shows up or buys. In a society with so many cultural dialogues happening simultaneously, it's the best I can do. The noise and pace is maddening to me otherwise. Attractive and fascinating, but ultimately swallowing time spent digging into the creative process of songwriting.

    I refuse to try to be the better marketer; I'd rather spend my time being a better writer and creating better live shows (in spaces that mean something to me). Life is too bleepin' short.

  • Key line: "Are you going to become a millionaire musician with this new model? Probably not. But you probably weren't going to in the first place."


    The difference is – now, instead of a large corporation not only telling you what to do and how to run your career but also OWNING the mechanical rights to your recordings and the publishing rights to your songs, YOU own it all. Meaning you won't have millions of fans, but if you work hard you can become very successful with tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of fans who love you for who and what you are – AND you'll end up making roughly what you would have under the "old" system anyway.

    The world has changed. I'm old. I wish this technology was around when I was young.

  • No, to the contrary, it's brought the music industry into integrity by giving independent artists nearly the same platform and format as major label artists.

    At this point independent artists can benefit by getting directly involved in communication with their fans on social networks like twitter, facebook and itunes version 10 Ping.

    Now we just need iTunes to give the info on how independent artists can start an 'Artist' profile on Ping in iTunes 10, because currently it looks like only the 'People' kind of profile can be created.


  • Which music business are we talking about?

    The business that John Mellencamp and Stevie Nicks inhabit is completely different than the one we indy musicians are in. Totally different business model. Like many other businesses, the Internet has shattered their scene. They used to make lots of money selling recordings. Now they make less. We indy folks used to have no chance to sell recordings at all. Now we do (but is it possible to make any money at it?).

    Businesses like CD Baby are naturally keen to say that record companies are dead, but in some sectors they are very much alive. In the Blues market, "major" labels (Alligator, Blind Pig) are firmly in control, at least from where I view the scene. The Blues cats that are doing festivals, getting national press, etc, are mostly on major labels.

  • Leaf Ericcson

    Technology IS killing the arts. Musicians, artists, photographers… all the disciplines that used to be the domain of driven, talented individuals can now be done by ANYBODY. Just because you have a 12 megapixel camera does not mean you're a photographer. But the marketers of cameras would have you believe that. Just because you have Photoshop or Illustrator does not mean you're a graphic designer. But Adobe would have you believe that you are. And just because you have Garageband does not mean you're a talented musician, but the loads of self producing artists believe they are. The day I posted my CD on CDBaby, there were 67 other rock CD's posted, on just that one day! And that was 5 years ago. I make music because I enjoy doing it. That's the only real reason to continue.

  • Hi Stefano… I think you are basically absolutely correct. The illegal file sharing is hitting video, computer programs of all types, AND music. Wonder why everyone latches on to such rubbish as myspace? simple… they are all trying to promite thwemselves to be very wealthy people. Unfortunately, its more the case of trying to promote yourself to others just like you? It rarely happens. Guess what – go on to that not so good program the x-factor you have far more chance of achieving anything.

    The streaming is a complete and utter joke. Payment? pah… Its a load of rubbish and everyone else gets fat except the musician and author of the work. Maybe its not the right place to talk about others that make a living from you all… think about it without me saying it.

    Personally, we have had distro's that dont distro, we have had streaming that does not pay, we have had video and music pilfered right from the streams? what is left to buy? a cd? ho ho ho… its absolutely comical no one wants a CD when they can get everything for free – thats human nature.

    Stefano is right. Get a job, because if you are going to depend on the income for a regular musician in todays world you are going to be poor for a very long time most likely.

    The whole mess has no answer from anyone, not the musicians, not the governments, not the companies, not the distros and dare I say it not from a single one of you on here. The reason is simple. Its beyond what you can control. Turn the net off and hey presto you would all be in business again, but as it stands this thing is bigger than all of us and thats why you have no chance of fixing it. Period.

    Wake up, stop dreaming, its not going away, and if you cannot make money from your music in this climate today, drop it and do it because you like to and forget those pipe dreams… or go on the X-fu**ter – Im sure he did.

    rock n roll.

  • Brandon

    True, there has never been so much opportunity for independent artists…but there has also never been as much competition as the internet has produced. It's absolutely flooded with music at every turn. Some bad, some good, some mediocre. My point is that just because the internet has the ability to get our music in front of people doesn't mean that anyone will hear it and even if they do, who says they will notice it? it's like looking at a where's Waldo poster…Can you find my band in this sea of artists? How can we use the internet to rise above and be noticed? that's my question.

  • The problem I see is that there are so many unprofessional CDs littering the internet. I think its great that artists who would not have had a shot at getting their music heard now do, however they should still be putting out a professional product. If money is an issue, which it usually is then record one track at a time until you have a complete compilation. I'm tired of listening to CRAP that people have recorded and litter the internet with, however there are some people who do get it and put out quality. The trouble is you have to sift through a lot of terrible recordings to find a gem and by then you might have given up the search. My opinion…Thanks…Todd

  • I think the internet has leveled the playing field between musicians and record companies. From a consumer standpoint, I appreciate that there is so much more good music to choose from now through the internet. As of the last ten years, I can't think of any artists that the commercial concerns have promoted that I felt wasn't canned, tired, ususal or even worthy of a listen or purchase. Of course the down side is that having access to so much information makes it hard to weed though and find the good artists.

    As a musician, I am passionate about writing and selling music and I am also realistic about it being a business. Having your own business requires A LOT of work and persistence no matter if you are selling a product or service. I am going to write the best songs I can and embrace the internet opportunities instead of fearing it. In my opinion adapting to change is better than fighting change.

  • Record companies never made money selling records. They made it ripping off musician's royalties. In the old days musicians had to worry about getting ripped off by the record company and the public. Now they only have to worry about the public. That's a 50% improvement.

  • We are living a time of decantation .
    It's all so new on the digital enviroment …
    The future ? I don't know .
    I see the web perfect to exposure and promotion . A decent living with 0,99 mp3 downloads ? Forget .

    The good side is that I found really great musicians and I've listening really great music on the web .
    The Music Business on the moment is dead .
    Music itself is more vibrant than never and is what really matters .

    Do you want money ? Play live .
    Is on the face to face where the real thing is .

    Good luck for you all .


  • Gattopardo

    What if we as musicians would stop producing records and instead do more concerts. If we would spend more time on the way we perform and arrange our songs so that the same song can be played in many different ways instead of repeating it over and over again in the same old fashion. People would have to come to our shows to listen to our music that differs and develops from time to time.

    The internet is just another trap to tell you, that you're free to do what you want. But in reality the big business still is owned by a few and musicians still strive to make living with their music – nothing has changed at all. Look at iTunes carfully – what do you see? A lot of independent musicians and bands? Wrong answer! The big companies still stand tall in the first row – just a coincidence? I would say – just the same old game in another box …

    So, if we want to change something here, it's the way we make our music avaylable. Never forget that music is something that happens instantly in a moment and the most powerful thing to experience is music being played live!

    Greets from Switzerland

  • There is one glaring problem with the current DIY/internet thing and that is this: the best musicians and writers are not business minded people. They are artistic, introverted, and usually socially clumsy. They do not have the skills required to build a career and attempting to do so results in bitterness and breakdown. Without consistent help from a business minded person they're sunk. So we're losing our best music right off the bat.

    The people that are successful tend to be the best networkers – the most organized, not the most talented. So second rate music is more plentiful than ever.

    Look at it the other way. Would you ask a talented desk-jockey to go write and record an album for you?? It'd be a pretty crappy album, so no. Why ask a musician to go build a career? Musicians need business men and businessmen need musicians. It a partnership – that's what we've lost.

    As for the "wide open opportunities" of the internet, that's all too true. The most talented folks are now buried under heaps of amateur crap. There's no filter. The record companies used to provide that – scouting talent like major league sports managers. That's what we need. Good scouts and business guys willing to take risks and believe in something other than $$$$$$.

  • Speaking from the point-of-vew from a guy who has put out a couple of albums.

    I think that as a musician, you should be able to work in an environment that follows a business model where the artist has the ability to get out of it as much as he/she can. The major record labels do not offer that to independent musicians. They run the business ruthlessly promising things to artist that most likely will not happen. Of course that there are exceptions, but for every artist that makes it big under a big label, there are thousands who's music might be even better that do not make it. Even worst, they end up in debt and unable to even perform under their own name. I have seen the "dark side" of the major-label record industry, it is not a pretty sight.

    What happened to doing music for the love of making music? What about fair compensation? I don't actually think that just because some people can make a catchy tune, they should get millions and millions for it. Just like any pro-sport player or Hollywood actors. You should count yourself lucky for been able to do what you want and make a living at it. We are not changing the world. I can't recall the last time an entertainer invented a cure for any disease or anything like that.

    On my end, I'm just happy to share my music with others. I sell the albums because I need to pay for their production otherwise I would give them for free! I make my living designing and I get what I feel is fair money for it (and as much as I would love it, it is not millions).

    Music is like sculpting, painting r writing poetry. It is something very personal and intimate to its creator's mind. It comes from within and is just an expression of one-self onto others. Records labels do not grasp, neither care about such concept. To them music is just a way to get lots of money.

    Is the internet killing music? No, the internet is killing the way that corporations handle music. The major record labels will eventually go the way of the typewriter. There are obvious advantages of being signed with a major-label if indeed your music becomes a hit. By the same token, the disadvantages are far greater for your average musician. At least the internet helps the independent musicians to put their stuff out there.

    Finally, you have to see what the motivators are for people to make music. If what you want is girls, drugs and rock and roll, then it is one of two things. First, you were born at the wrong time in the wrong place. That sort of thinking will not get you far (money wise) in today's music scene. Or, that is the wrong motivator so most likely you will be "sentenced" to play your local bars until your too old to even do that. Your main motivator should always be the music itself. The main problem with John Mellencamp and Stevie Nicks is that although big stars at one point, they are no longer so and probably haven't readjusted to a more meager lifestyle. Unless you are one of the Beatles, Rolling Stones or one of the few, you will not enjoy form the same kind of income you once did. That's just life, get used to it.

  • michael

    These are the same artists who get played on every major radio station in the country every day and collect the royalty checks every quarter. Maybe JCM shouldn't license his latest single and co-brand with Chevy the next time he needs to sell a single. try getting airplay in any major city without independent record promotion. Welcome to the real world. the internet is not going away. Lets me deliver my music directly to my customers without the brick and mortar distro deal so common 20 years ago. How much do I need to pay in order to become the opening act on your next tour JCM?

  • Dombey

    Who'sJohn Cougar Mellencamp to talk. His music was NEVER groundbreaking!

  • Actually the more I read some of the comments on this page, the more I realise most really dont understand that if a human being can get something for nothing, while going through one of the worst recessions in living memory (by what ever means) that person will more than not (by a long way) go for the free one.

    Some say the problems not the internet. I can tell you it is, one of my jobs (I have a number of them) is an ISP. Not the internet – poppycock – you have not got a clue.

    Others say, well get out there live and talk of Europe. Once again, you have little clue – over here they closed venue after venue because of regulation after regulation about music venues. Blame Brussels – they are interfering fools who have no idea whatsoever about you and your music. Maybe the USA has lots of venues, but trust me, here in the UK they are getting far less and less by the week.

    Yet others say, 'hey, lets embrace the new regime, give away the songs etc someone might like them etc etc' you are right, they like them, they download them all for free, and then dont need to buy them. Is this me or is this all familiar.

    Lastly, there are the other bloodsucking spiders that find your mp3's (maybe on your site) and offer every single one for free to the very people who just might have bought – but that 'customer' now once again has no reason whatsoever to buy your work.

    musicians hey… it almost beggars 'busy fools'.

    Of course, my entries here are controversial I would be the first to agree. But my input is not going to change your world, especially if you want to make money from music.

    Business is a hard nosed thing, where there is little sentiment for anything else – and everything else gets in the way. Some of the chatter going on on here really is sentimental in the respect that the writers are all very caring about their music (in fact as I am) but never forget, its just a song, its probably now digital and if it is, and it has ever been on the net – its now unlikely that you can control it – no matter what DRM?@#! goes over it. Most of those guys can hack the drm in seconds. Do they care? no, you do, they don't.

    And thats part of the problem – every musician Ive ever met is very passionate about their music. They dont quite see whats staring them in the face, and from my recollection has been for probably 8-10 years or more.

    Should someone ever crack this rediculous problem they will be multi-millionaires within weeks.

    Like someone said, the software vendors dont give a monkeys, and neither to the 'electronic' vendors. Think of this, the only way you get paid from an electronic vendor is if they tell the truth about what they have sold of yours. That is EXACTLY what eBay was founded on also. How many scams can you count on ebay? They are all over it and tthats a fact. One good reason? Well its a little bit like where I started this rant… if you can get it for free more often than not human nature steps in and… well you get the picture… probably more than you will ever get the cheque 🙂

    Im sure that will help people understand that a distribution mechanism that is based on 'trust' alone in a business environment cannot ever work.

    Companies in the music business have also for an extremely long time been very aggressive with the artist, unless you made your name before all this stuff going on that is…

    anyway, I have said enough, I dont come on here regularly so please dont be abusive to my views – I am as entitled to write these as you are.

  • Tod

    Well put Brad!
    I could not have said it better myself. It is worth noting that modern electronic media in general(not just that .com thingy)has seriously hurt the live entertainment market though. I mean, why get in a car and drive all the way to the club with all the drunks practicing projectile vomiting as though it were an Olympic sport (unless of course you are one the drunks), when you can sit at home with your 42" HDTV and your 5.1 and watch/listen to EC's Crossroads festival?

    It just means that we have to be more creative and resourceful about getting the word out about our music and finding new places to play it. Oh… and that same “evil internet” that has become major competition for the good ole' RnR Bar Band Show makes that level of self promotion a snap.

    I have been playing music professionally for 22 years and I say welcome to the new millennium ladies and gents! Embrace your new freedom and never look back at Sodom again, lest ye turn into a pillar of salt.

  • Brad talks as if gigs are falling off trees like dead leaves at the onset of autumn.

    Folks, ACTA has passed. I don't think Brad has awaken to smell that big pot of coffee just yet.

  • Adam

    I'm an indie artist/songwriter/producer. I self produce my own records & I put make them available on the Internet in the hopes that music lovers will buy them. I promote at shows and on facebook, myspace, email, YouTube, websites, etc. I think since I started releasing my work on the internet 4 years ago I've made a little over $400. That's $100 bucks a year for you accountants out there.
    I'm no novice either. I've studied, written, & performed my original work for over 17 years.

    I got a degree in music business, I managed an indie label, worked for an entertainment attorney, and I signed my first major music publishing deal a year ago. In fact, I was given a nice advance of $25,000 dollars to sign my deal. I've had my songs placed on major TV shows, and I currently have a song playing on a major national ad campaign. By all accounts, I've enjoyed some success in "the music industry" (however you want to define that term). Bless my publisher (The Industry) for giving me an advance but it's not enough to live on. The placements aren't paying the bills either because I have to recoup that $25,000 getting exposure for my songs on TV/ads isn't exactly pulling me out of obscurity either. I've gotten a few nice emails from people who heard my song on their favorite show or but it has not increased my digital sales.

    I had to move into my parents basement recently because I can't afford to live on my own. I turn 29 years old in a week so it's a real drag to have to live at home at this age.

    My story is to show you that I have BOTH the "Internet" and "the music industry" working for me at the same time, and I still can't afford an apartment in Los Angeles, health insurance, student loans, car payments, etc. without the help of my parents. I'm lucky to have their support & the support of my publisher! But I am not making a sustainable living in the music industry & I believe that is because of a completely over-saturated market. Too many amateur "artists" who know how to click a mouse better than they know how to pluck a string are flooding the market, making it harder for professional artists (who spend most of their time honing their craft, not on the Internet) to make a living.

    I still have my publisher and will continue to write music, but I'm currently looking for a job to save money & go to grad school. All my best to artists out there trying to make a living on the Internet! I hope it works out for everyone… But the reality is that the model isn't working. Sorry Brad, I'm gonna have to side with Stevie & John on this one! 😉 Great discussion though, this one caught my attention!

  • well said ruthie…excellent!!

  • stretcher Bearer

    wow, somebody sure is presumptuous, It's OK the 80's are over and Cocaine works the body a bit more as we age..Ummm as for you point? So some of us worked hard to get to the so-called mediocre(if the epitome of of the INDUSTRY aspect of music is not about churning out safe wholesome sanitary mediocrity I'm a blue pinata named leon the ecunimical worm,) nobody promoted new composers, nobody takes a chance on truly interesting and NEW music, art, what you're seeing, my academic, establishment minded drone, is what DADA did, only on a global scale, it took you off of your completely undeserved pedistals, and our art that we suffer for, we don't get handlers, dealers, booking agents, or, food…Or all the little Comps that go along with that type of life, your comparison is solpsistic and a tad melodramatic, wait are you being Ironic? if so that's funny. if not, well…But i digress.
    I care not one whit if someone "Illegally" downloads my music, I encourage it. small acts of freedom, like the signing of a urinal and calling it a Fountain ( Marcel duchamp) sometime bring brilliant innovations and people in the world of art as a whole, it's part of the dynamic that actually makes it fun. I would any day, prefer to inspire someone with a unique Idea/style to go out and do something that they love, and own and create themselves beholden to no one, than pe part of the Aristocratic pompous goons who know it's good because they've been told it was by a focus group or panel of experts.
    Here's the deal: Art is art. The progress of art allowed you to do whatever you did, you got your "Patronage" Bully for you…Now's the time that real artists undermine a contemptable Methodist system, by creativity, origionality, and lay the Urinal on it's side and call it a fountain.
    Sampling…sounds like Max ernst and the Merz/Dada's to me (It's called collage)That's a hiostory lesson…so argument of lack of origionality…Logic destroys it.
    MeMe Me: The 70 80 were called the "Me" generation…you argument again about the supposed selfishness…Your own argument about royaltys and crap like collapses in on it own girth.
    You broad generalization and classification from your relative position sounds like the call of that bird of Sour-grapes mediocrity.. i'm sorry that the Industry spit you up and sent you packing…That's a drag, but man the dinosaurs that the industry became and are kinda set themselves up…as for artists… we still create,and even when someone isn't paying us…

  • Jeff

    Yeah but did you ever really think you were going to make it in the music business anyway? If anything ruined the music business it was greed. Music is about artistic expression and if you were lucky to "make it" you would representing a small number of very talented artists. I still think this is true and will always be true. If you want to make some money, go to school and become a doctor.

  • Stephen J

    My real-world experience;
    The culture of downloads combined with the incompetence of the Music Industry have resulted in the breeding out of the music BUYING fans.
    In every city I play, less people are going to club shows.
    In every city I play, less people are buying merch.

    ". . . The doors to the green room have been thrown open"

    Please. The green room still exists, and the same fat butts still occupy them. The only change is less people care about it.

    I'm a little tired of all this talk about the new paradigm opening things up for people who would have previously been locked out. Here's how things have truly changed; instead of the music industry being an exclusive club, where the gatekeepers only let a very select people in, now we have hundreds of thousands of hopefulls, producing a din of internet chatter, who are all trying to be the next viral novelty hit, for no money and a little bit of short-lived fame. Meanwhile those gatekeepers, in their green room that no-one cares about, will stick their banner on your page. And because of positioning and backing, these people will still be making money.

    I'm inclined to agree with Prince. Anyone can record and produce a song at home on a laptop, put it on the web for their friends and family, and contribute to the chatter. Real music lives on the stage, and those are the venues where the real music fans live as well. Fact: ten fans that show up to a live event are easily worth a thousand online "fans" – they mean that much more for me personally, and they certainly make me more money.

  • I feel that the effect of the internet WAS like dropping an atomic bomb on the music industry. That doesn't mean to say that something new cannot grow out of it. But for the time being, the industry is essentially in ruins, I think.

    I don't intend to be pessimistic. It's not just the internet that has done this, though that appears to be the major factor in recorded music. I think Dairenn Lombard has a good point about the effects of "papparazi-driven entertainment news", for instance. But I've had to start looking for other ways to survive. I've always made a living as a musician since the 70's, basically through performing. I'm still doing so, but recently I've pretty much had to rely on cruise ship work to do that, which doesn't allow me much time with my wife, and that sucks. I'm not accumulating a fat nest egg, either.

    It's not JUST recorded music sales. It's harder now to make money from actually performing! I never did make much income from CD or downloaded music sales. Back in the day, the crowds went out to hear a band. Now they line up for hours to get into the latest hot spot to hear someone spin a CD or even run an mp3 player. It's hard at times not to think that real musical creativity has become a bit superfluous.

    On the positive side, I do know that art still does count for something and that those of us who have been "given the call" still seem to have some sort of subjective duty to ourselves and the world to put it out there the best we can. So I, like others, continue to try my best to deal with the hand that is dealt to us and to explore and take advantage of the new possibilities that we are given, which can be energizing if you really get into it.

    Finally, I think the one thing they can't take away from us is our ability to perform live. I don't think that can be digitized, nor that real connection with an audience synthesized. So I think that remains our strongest tool, and not just for sales.

    Things do go in cycles, and I remain optimistic and look forward to a day when our musical Phoenix rises from the 'nuclear' ashes.

  • Well I did leave comments on here but they were not well received.

    Free speech?

    well, there you go.


  • I have to say I think the quality of comments here at these CD Baby things is consistently higher than most of the Internet discussions I hear. This topic has clearly pissed some folks off, though. Whenever people get threatened they tend to grab their Absolute Certainty. This helps them make Absolute Statements, like "this is always the way it is–period".

    Me, I make a living doing art and publishing, and do music as a sideline because I like it, not because it pays the bills. I work music into other productions like animation and comics just to get it out there, because for me the Internet doesn't return nearly enough, and I am all over the place.

    The trouble is that when it comes to painting a picture that someone will lay out some big bucks for, I can do that; literally, you cannot "fake" the talent, experience and training needed, you have to study for years, and fail over and over again. However, in Music almost anyone can fake it with ease.

    You can learn all the hip Metal riffs in weeks or months, or just ape what everyone else is doing by copying fashionable singing styles and song structures. How mnay songs now start with real lazy acoustic strumming, for example? How many guys basically sing exactly the same?

    Someone said the Internet gives music "back to the young", which is even more ageism beyond the norm. I'd point out that everybody is aging. Younger artists may have energy, but they lack something critical–experience. Experience stops your songs from being fake.

    I miss A&R people who cultivated talent and weeded out the fakers. Maybe the Internet hasn't wrecked Music, but the young sure have stunk it up.

  • Bill Mabrey

    All I know is the old model did very little for me. Getting "signed" as a goal meant busting your behind while paying someone else to let you do it, spending hard earned money on expensive studio time and dealing with engineer egos (they are as bad as lead singers and guitar players-except they aren't in your band). Then you gotta do it again because the recording didn't sound like you wanted it to. Then, IF you're lucky you might get signed to a record label who immediately wants to change the band. More likely you will be one of thousands of bands nobody hears even if you are great because you don't know the right people, or give them the right drugs or maybe your chick singer is a little overweight.
    Now you can buy your own studio equipment for less than the cost of going to someone else's studio to record ten songs, record, mix and master, or even hire somebody to professionally master your rcording, hire out the reproductions or do it your self, release it locally and/or over the internet without being told your not commercial enough, you need a hit song, something poppy and totally out of character for your band. And if you plan your budget right, you can even make a profit. And you don't have to share it with BMG, Time/Warner, Sony etc. As a previous writer said, artists will make the music anyway, now we don't need the giants. Unless you want to be a "superstar". Then you need 'em.

  • Has the internet destroyed the Music business?
    Well we just got a cheque We never would have gotten if we didn't use CD Baby. I think the internet is good for those of us who just got sick of being stiffed by club owners that were going under!
    On Spectacle the other evening I listened to Tony Bennett talk about the Internet. Tony believes that the internet has leveled the field once again. The business is just tough period! The process has simply changed. If you are truly good enough to be recognized the time is no better than now. You no longer have to go live in a certain part of town to learn and become a better writer. Wow anything you need is at your fingertips. Research a song idea get the facts and verify at your fingertips.
    I feel that it is all in how you chose to look at it. I work hard to support my music because I feel that there are people that might get as much out of it as I do recording it. I feel that I was once lost in the lure of fame and fortune and in fact thought that I would become as big as Mellencamp, Nicks or yes even Prince.
    One thing that these artists have is It! At the time they crawled through overwhelming odds to get where they are now. To be quite Honest it is possible they may never have been noticed.
    It is my belief that you can't fight chemistry. If you have what a population wants then you now have the power to bring it to the world stage. I guess I would have to say I don't feel that internet has destroyed the business rather that the business destroyed the business. It is clear that those who run a business will lose interest if they can't line there pockets on your talent. I guess the artist will get a chance to drive their own career.

  • I was around in the day of the old model. Having to deal with just the big boys to get anywhere.

    When we made records guys would listen to them and tell us what we should sound like, look like, and how we should act on stage.
    And here I am releasing a record in the indie world of today through the net and no one cares to tell me how to sound etc and I could not be happier.

    And I have made more money already in this new world than the old one. Back then everyone but the band made money.

    Now I would never buy an MP3 album… I like to hold something. I like LP's, but there are two sides to every coin.

    And there are great artist out there that I hear every day that I would never get to hear back in that old world.

  • Monikerjay

    In today's musical climate you HAVE to roll with the changes or you WILL starve and waste money trying to do this. John Vanderslice had the wisest suggestion to everyone trying to make this music/touring thing work with the internet. He said that you have a free marketing tool at your fingertips and to use it whenever you can. Do you know how much a side ad in a magazine costs nowadays? I don't either, but I know it's a lot. So use the new technology to better the situation.

    I always thought "Oh boy, here goes the music industry" and I was half right. But most people that bitch and complain about the internet not working towards their advantage are either 1. afraid to use it and 2., have the lack of knowledge on how to properly use it. I think their pissed off mostly at record stores closing and everyone buying off of iTunes or Amazon now using iPods or other Mp3 devices and not a lot of people are buying the brick and mortar anymore. And that scares a lot of older artists. It's a transition and you have to roll with it in order to survive these days. Stop complaining and bitching about what's not right and use what's right in front of you to make your own and to make it familiar and right.

    Good luck,

    Jay W.

  • I consider myself a spoken word artist who always wanted to record the spoken word with electronic music that I created. My idol in the business was Laurie Anderson. However I quickly found out that she was in many ways an exception to the rule. She was a performance artist who pushed the envelope with her talent and inventions in a way that was compelling enough to secure a wide audience and a record contract. She is of course iconic but I believe there will be few tonon who will follow in her footsteps in the music business.

    For myself I use the internet to push my music and spoken word with the help of DJ/producers who remix my works and make them more appealing to an internet audience. I fare better with them rather than trying the artsy route in performing to small art audiences that do nothing for my bank account or exposure, even at huge festivals.

    I do my art mainly because I love to do it. I know that I will probably not make a lot of money but I do have an ever growing fan base. Although I think the key to success is doing good and interesting music, I also believe todays musicisns have to do a master job of selling a story either about themselves or their music. The best story telling with a great narrative is defintely key in the process of becoming a star, even in this weird time we are in. In the past and certainly in the present, record companies have helped artists and bands achieve this. Now independent artist have to wage this feat all by themselves. This weaving of a narrative is not only difficult, but is a necessary and critical art form all unto itself in this modern age. And speaking of this age, I believe a great artist like Laurie Anderson would have a difficult time starting out musically in this time due to the fact that her unique narrative would be drowned out by so many other artists and their voices. Perhaps what great musicians should focus on more is the question, did they make an impact on the world with their music and art? Stevie Nicks and John Mellencamp have indeed made an impact. Can independent musical artists do the same? It may still be too early to answer this question while we are in this transition.

  • "The problem I see is that there are so many unprofessional CDs littering the internet. I think its great that artists who would not have had a shot at getting their music heard now do, however they should still be putting out a professional product. If money is an issue, which it usually is then record one track at a time until you have a complete compilation. I’m tired of listening to CRAP that people have recorded and litter the internet with, however there are some people who do get it and put out quality"

    Todd sounds like someone from TAXI. There are "classic" recordings that sound terrible; Allman Bros. Live at Fillmore East, just about anything by the Rolling Stones, they've admitted as much. I saw a Mick Jagger interview where he pretty much laughed about how he'd abuse input meters; deliberately driving them deep into the red to get the sound he wanted. Like Berry Gordy said; it's in the grooves that counts. I'd rather listen to the bassless, tinny Doors than anything by this new gang of breathy, female poets, 2 millimeters from the mic conveying their tuneless "poetry" (Chan Marshall, Regina Spektor and the rest of them) A lot of people probably think these are professional recordings. Me, I'd rather have Marshall Crenshaw's "My Favorite Waste of Time", done on a severely overly compressed Tascam 4-track. It's one of his best songs. And talent rises above technology every time.

  • leveling the playing field produces just that. mediocrity is rampant.

    Take a look at Jaron Lanier's book "You are Not a Gadget"

    I will say this, as a working recording artist and musician, the development of the music "industry" into complete DIY on the internet has destroyed my sales and royalties.

    I hate how this argument always brings out the Andrew Carnegies of music.

    • El Leeway

      I heard that…..I’m a singer/songwriter for over 30 years (first record deal was in 1986)……back in the day record deals were given to a small percentage of talent, and since today ANYBODY can put music out so the market is over-saturated….more music is available and the buying public’s money is spread thin when it gets divided….this is why most indie bands cannot finance themselves to tour……instead of being a full-time artist so many of my talented colleagues have taken jobs and can’t risk going all-out like they did in their younger years…..I wanted to just make music, and now I need to be a manager, marketer, publicist, licensed merchandiser, etc…..I don’t have the revenue to pay for people to wear these hats so I’m wearing them all, and it’s not easy to stay afloat and financially sound to record, promote, and tour….it’s all good and bad there’s no formula to success….you have to just keep grinding

  • also see:


    David's blog is very interesting (the 300songs.com one) not only as a history of his (and my) bands, but because he is actually a mathematician and economist. I post this one specifically because of the comments after it.

  • EM

    This article is patently false in one area- that this shift is only hurting people who used to be big stars. It's killing and has killed off lots of small time labels and musicians who did well enough (selling anywhere in the low 1,000s down to even 500 copies for starters or first releases) to continue putting out music in a tangible form (cds in most cases).

    Yes, it has allowed "anyone" to be able to put out their music, but as more and more do this, putting out material that is either been done many times before and better. These thousands and thousands of new 'indie' and 'myspace' artists and bands rarely sell enough albums to even be considered partially solvent, and the flood of new music has canned a lot of artists that were putting out artistic and forward thinking material before the internet matured (pre-2000 or there abouts)

    But mostly, there are a lot of people in the world and revenue has to come from both concerts AND music sales, etc, etc in order to make any sort of 'career' of it. Need proof- look to labels like nettwerk and many other large indies doing "all-in" deals for cds, merch, concerts- everything. That is because consolidation and corporate sponsorship, even on a meager level with a big indie is the only way a band or artist will get above water. In many ways, as indie artists we less control just as we have more with the internet.

    New 'indie' artists that were not a part of the music scene in the 80's or 90's don't really realize the shift, but even if you were very young in the 90's and just starting a career or put out an album or two then you can most likely see the difference over the period from 95-2005. It was very obvious what happened, and it was multi-faceted with the internet being the main locus of change.


  • Doug

    "The internet is the proliferation of mediocrity"

  • Moan, moan, moan – things change. Opportunities still abound – I WAS there in the old days and yes it was possibly to succeed, but the old system made it terribly hard – MUCH harder than then the new, awesome, scene does now. Viva New Music Industry!

  • I agree with most of the correspondents. I was lucky enough to live and work in a time when I could make a living playing music. House, wife, kid ….fuhgetaboudit. Who wanted them anyway? I knew I'd never get rich.

    Since I never got a "deal", I wasn't exactly broken up to see the big corporations sink into the tar pits. At first it seemed like the internet might actually make the biz more democratic; allow an independent to make a living. Unfortunately, the internet was quickly filled with thousands of mediocre bands and viral novelties.

    Concurrently people discovered that they could "interact" with music like a video game. They got DJs, karaoke and rockstar guitar games that allow them to simply push buttons and pretend the can actually play guitar. American Idol etc. convinced people that they could just get up and sing and be a star, without ever learning to plan an instrument or doing the real work of being a musician. Frankly, I hate all the crummy stuff I see and hear around me, but I've lived long enough to know that you can't fight these things. Guitars are still selling at an astounding rate. Kids that aren't even born yet will grow up to be the future Van Halen or Hank Williams.

    Meantime, I've acquired a wife,(adult)children and a ranch and can afford to browse safely around the edge of the tar pit without falling in. To mix metaphors wildly, the tortoise won this one.


  • sapientia

    i'm an artist that's been signed to a major label, signed to an indie label, and is now running a micro-label of my own. i have a depth of personal experience over 20+ years along with having many friends in all parts of the music industry, from arena touring artists on down. and in no way do i consider the new industry to be some kind of miraculous freedom for independent musicians. THE ADVENT OF THE INTERNET HAS NOT CHANGED THE PAYOLA SYSTEM.

    yes, there are a few who go viral out of nowhere and find success. and yes, everybody with a laptop can now make albums and sell them or give them away online. and yes, you don't have to fit any pre-designated standards to make "product" anymore… matter of fact you can completely suck, and nobody stops you from polluting the waters with crap.

    none of these truths have eclipsed the old system. when it comes to REALLY reaching a mass audience, it still "takes money to make money".

    don't believe me? see what it costs to place an ad on, for example, myspace's homepage. or to place an ad in a magazine, print or otherwise. at the helm of my own label i've learned that interview/feature space is often traded for advertising.

    bottom line: there is STILL a pipeline by which rich powerful people feed music fans whatever they're currently promoting, and still a great deal of paid media manipulation designed to convince people that it was what they wanted all along.

    your ability to find new audience members (in large numbers) is still reliant on that media. having a website or myspace or getting rave reviews from a blog doesn't mean anything for you unless the sites are popular and highly trafficked.

    internet as promo tool for a new band is like the chicken and the egg: you need strong endorsements from popular media outlets if you want anyone to hear about your album or your tour… and you can't get them without the kind of pull that, for a new artist, can only be bought by money.

    i consider myself very fortunate to have had a major label deal when it still meant something. if i had not been able to invest the money they gave me and launch my band's public presence with the promotion they did (stuff like plastering beautiful full-color posters over entire walls in major cities and sending cds and videos to record stores for promotional giveaways — along with buying ads which put us in major magazines) i doubt i would have been able to continue to tour and make albums.

    it's true that touring is the only way to make a living. you'll be a rarity if you can actually make a living simply from sales, and you know damned well it won't happen if the style of your music is remotely outside the mainstream.

    but it's very hard to generate a real fanbase without some kind of media push. very hard to convince anyone to book you without the ability to prove a fanbase. everybody knows your myspace or facebook friends can be wildly inflated.

    and despite the ridiculous number of options for online publicity, there are still only a handful of music magazines that people pay attention to.

    we all have to live in this new world… but big label power still runs it. the main difference is that now, they're hurting for income, so they're giving artists even less than before.

  • Wanda

    Has the Internet Really “Destroyed the Music Business”?
    No. It just changed the process and opened up the “music market”.

    There are 2 ways "industry people" will throw money at you or your music in today's market.
    1) you have to be 16 and damn good looking
    2) you have to be a do it yourself artist/band that is generating SOOOO much income that it peaks the "industry people's" interest.

    If you don't fit into category 1 guess what there's always category 2.

    What the Internet has done is enabled business savvy artists/bands to create income generating opportunities that eventually peak the "industry people's" interest.

    Once this happens they'll come running with money to throw at you. Why? Cause you proved you are a safe bet for their money.

    Once this happens … guess what … the category 2 artists/bands are in a much stronger position to negotiate with the "industry people".

    So personally, I am all for the Internet.
    Why? Cause all it really has done is, raise the "Music Business bar". It has opened the "music market". The challenge now is … who will get the biggest market share.

    Ahhh … and that’s where excellence comes in to play.

  • Wow, it's really sad to read how discouraged people are. I am doing pretty well myself. Better than I've ever done trying to navigate my way through the "old" music industry. My partner and I were offered a contract with Warner Bros. about 12 years ago. For whatever that's worth. We got lost in one of their restructuring shuffles and were devastated. After we got over it we began thinking about our music more like a small business. We strive to build customer loyalty and forge genuine relationships with every person who buys our music. We make about 60% of our living with music currently. It is a modest living but as a small business, we feel it can grow. We tour nationally more and more frequently and meet new people constantly, forging new relationships and new performance opportunities all the time.

    Perhaps I am lucky in that I enjoy creating other arts as well as music, so I am able to hit the road with some interesting merch. I design clothes based on the stories and characters in my songs. I am also returning to my love of the graphic arts and will soon have that to sell as well.

    I do think it is hard to make a living if the music is your only product. You need merch that brings people further into your world. If you aren't a multi-disciplinary artist yourself, perhaps forge relationships with artists in other mediums and collaborate.

    And touring is crucial too, I think, for forging a personal connection with folks. Music used to be about building community based on a meaningful experience. That is when music is at it's best in my opinion.

    Be real. Tour. Give people options for being part of your world. Some stuff can be free, some stuff can be sold. If people pirate your music who cares? You are exposing folks to your music. That is the first entry into your world. If they dig it they will check you out and eventually you may win a new customer. It is like that in every business.

    I do have fans that support me, that know that if they don't buy my creations I will not be able to continue to make music. They want me to grow and develop my craft so that I will continue to inspire them.

    I think these things are key. They are working for me, and I am hopeful. This can be done, but you do need to be business minded, or hire someone who is if you're not.

    I wish you all the best of luck. The world needs a wide diversity of music to flourish.

  • Michael

    Indy artists in Australia that are signed to indy labels have a target of 500 sales in a year……hardly enough to live on.

    But if you get out there and play lots of shows, both good and bad, you can actually sustain a living. The only thing is that YOU have to do everything. Booking, promo, etc, etc.

    It's not glamourous, but if you want to be a musician, it's the only way without any help from big business……well in Australia anyway!

    Happy music making!!!

  • Jim

    The way music is now distibuted over the internet means we think and market in terms of individual songs (iTunes) and not a body of work. As someone who always hated greatest hits albums this seems a shame. Just taking individual tracks from Sgt Pepper, Kind of Blue or What's going on seems to rather miss the point. Save the album! Other than that bring it on – I assume that CD Baby will have to change its name soon as I can't see CDs lasting much longer.

  • Yeah some lawyer guy gave a talk about how the internet has changed everything and the old world order has moved on. He was talking about copyright being an outdated concept that began with the printing press. I think maybe in the future art will be free. I think now art more or less is free. I think now that paying for music is a point of personal choice. It really is a democratic model now where no one is held to ransom by any one else. I think it may bode well for art and create a much more diverse culture. It sure will be interesting. I think live music will eventually be the only form of paid art. Which might lead to a deeper sense of local community. I'm thinking I might just play locally and release internationally for free. After all for me the music is about communication and dialogue. Money is not the goal.

  • Deborah Frost

    Meanwhile… these people's music is being played daily in shopping malls, supermarkets–and they are getting PAID for it-
    they are just too lazy (or too complacent, at this pt) to learn and/or deal with this new technology– that-certainly in the case of John- he would have utilized personally if it had been available when he was coming up… and he knows it…g-d knows he did everything else- he was one of the most ambitious, driven people I have ever encountered in my life- never mind my career in rock–
    Stevie Nicks may just be spoiled (particularly at this pt) in other ways–

  • dave

    All I can say is its pretty depressing. I don't think the online revolution has necessarily been positive. What I see is a lot of people setting up websites to supposedly help independent musicians, but really they are really just capitalising on them. As well as that, the only people that look at these sites are musicians themselves hoping that people will listen to their music. I think its really sad. Encouraging people to become completely annoying and obvious self-marketeers which is spirit draining and confusing artistically.

  • tafxkz

    Some people hope that the internet will help them get on mainstream TV, radio or a big record label

    and i wish them the success they strive for

    but i wonder, really wonder why they want to board a spacecraft to travel back in time to the days when the wheel was just being discovered

    Sure it is hard to run a centralized business when every shrimp has it's own puddle

    The question is "do you want a centralized business or do you want to embrace the changing times"

    Prince was pissed off with youtube for not pulling his videos, and every fellow indie song writer i know would probably give an arm or a foot to just be heard by the number of people looking for Prince on the internet, and thanks to the internet even that is possible

  • tafxkz

    @ Stephen J says:

    I was thinking about what you said

    "Real music lives on the stage, and those are the venues where the real music fans live as well. Fact: ten fans that show up to a live event are easily worth a thousand online “fans” – they mean that much more for me personally, and they certainly make me more money."

    Your definition of real music is like the restaurant business saying "real customers are those who walk in to your restaurant and eat a full meal", which is great but it loses out on the growing market of people who order their food online.

    as ideal as it would be to expect your niche to huddle around your "real" stage – i doubt if your definition of what is "real" holds good for the entire universe of people who will buy your music

    I would any day trade 10 drunks at the live gigs for a 100 who will pay 99c each :D, point being "we all have very different paradigms"

  • I am a huge supporter personal control over what I accomplish. I don't like having ridiculous, bureaucratic policy trickle down a meaningless ladder of middlemen and jaded, money-hungry executives.

    In a world that praises the corporate model and heavily stifles small business and original thought, it's pretty refreshing to know that I can have total control over my music. Even back in the day when there was no MySpace or Facebook, and releasing and distributing your own record was possibly but still held as a hit-or-miss dream, there was a gigantic need for control of one's own musical destiny.

    I'm glad to see record labels crumble under Top 40's rubble and tons of paperwork. Indie labels are still go for me though. The industry is still in transition and I'm not sure if the Internet is the be all end all to self-reliance but it's a great start!

  • I have NO MERCY for the rich who are now whining about loss of income basically. They were lucky enough to ride the wave of corporate commercialism whilst many great bands were given the flick for no reason. My band created its own pro video clip with the help of a film maker and we got to "Hit Prediction" on Video Smash Hits in the 90's. You'd think someone in the game would have jumped on us after that, but no sorry guys, we're too busy putting all our resources into whatever we think is great. Check out Black Cat Blues by PENTULTIMA for a taste of REAL ROCK on youtube sometime. 🙂

  • I've put out 6 albums, working on number 7. I only barely ever got bits of attention from the mainstream gatekeepers, but I must have been doing something right for awhile. For years with file sharing were pulling 100 – 125 people at almost every live show with the best by ourselves being 285 people at $20 a seat.

    It's been rough the last few years, but we're still pulling a couple hundred a month off downloads. We've never been able to make a living but we *have* made some music that people have told me changes lives sometimes.

    Instant worldwide distribution is changing everything. Getting above the static is as hard as getting through the gatekeepers but there are more places you can get to for free.

    It could be that the future of music is hobbyists – I see LOT of bands like mine (suddenly everyone has strings – how did I miss that? I think I'm doing different for the last ten years and I come up for air and every band has at LEAST a cello!) people are making the kind of music they want.

    It still takes great skill to make a good recording. Good players stand out, even if our uneducated populace doesn't exactly understand why.

    Most people hear music on video games. It could be the days of musical peerlets is done too. What did people do before recording?

    All I know is that if you are driven by the need to compose, nothing is going to stop you from composing. Getting the music into people's ears is always going to be a challenge.

    We should benefit from the fruits of our labor, but do we deserve to collect rent for every time someone hears our music? Should we be paid every time someone sings one of our songs in the shower?

    We build our culture on the shoulders of giants. The Western Canon would not exist in today's copyright environment. I'm grateful that people like my music enough to share it with their friends. Enough of those people and we actually *might* make a living. Give me 100,000 people a year sharing my stuff and if I can't convince 10% of those people to support my work, I'm not serious.

    One thing that WILL kill indies: a music ISP tax. BMI / ASCRAP will cotrol it and funnel it to their major label bosses and and people really WILL think that a $1 a month is paying for everything.

    At 50 years old all I want to to do is write well and find an audience. The money, the rock star stuff – it's never been real.

  • Well… I thought those guys would get over it… but they don't!
    I have been signed to PolyGram / Universal Music back in the 90's.
    When I was asked about Internet "piracy" in the early 2000's, they all got shocked with my answer!!!
    Just the BIG sharks would earn good money on CD sales…
    What about your 4, 5 or even 12% after reaching the break-even-point?
    Just remember people always avoid changes. It scares the hell out of them!!!

  • HD

    The traditional music business was never a safe haven anyway. Not for the artists, writers, nor the people who worked behind the scenes. Mr. Mellencamp and Ms. Nicks were two of the lucky ones out of the multitudes who tried and failed…or tried, succeeded and ended up broke. At least fans can now decide which artists they want to support, instead of having "the machine" decide for them. And some of those older broke folks are finding new fans (and making a few bucks) thanks to the Internet. Can't see anything wrong with that.

  • Down with the music industry!
    I could care less if meloncamp isn't doing so well with record sales these days.
    I go to shows to see an artist that i like and I buy they're CD and its not like im the only one there buying.
    Artists will still have a place to sell their music, be it CD, download or what ever becomes the next phase.
    The internet gives the power of promotion to the artists them selves.
    quality does play a huge part in getting people to be into something but i love less than perfect performers who give it their all and have something unique to offer.
    If you are someone claiming to be an artist it shouldn't be about the profit and if it is about the profit to you then i would have to question your authenticity.
    People seem to be using the word historically when referencing the music industry. Well historically musicians were the lowest of the low and didn't have a home to call their own. they traveled from place to place playing their music just for something to eat.
    Gone are the days of millionaire musicians and i for one love it.

  • The comments for and against are all interesting. But if media futurist G. Leonhart is correct, we'll be creating our own radio and tv stations on our hi-tech phones via satellite with access to markets in India and China. This means we should be able to weed out music we don't like or artists whose standard or genre don't meet our criteria. Then, like healthy pumpkins in a pool, the best stations will rise to the top. One way or the other, we must be able to adapt. In this industry, the internet doesn't lie, friends. If your music is good, not only will it survive, it'll flourish. Long live the present moment! Long live the Muse!

  • Internet does have some problems, like sonicbids type sites that prey on hopeful musicians. Similar are all the "contests" and festivals that want a submissions fee. I suppose it weeds out the less serious, but…who's making the money?
    We love making music so much, we'd do it for free. Someone seems to be taking advantage of that.

  • the person who wrote this does not know shit about being on tour. I hate the internet. i used to pay my bills and lived the dream on tour. now people dont own cd players and i tunes never pays me. i made 1000 a day now i make .01 a day if im lucky. people steel music and think it is ok. if i stole your car you would be upset to, yes it is the same price. a good record will cost you 12,000 to produce. these guys that like the net are just trying to get fame they are not making 100,000 a year like i was and i had no label by the way.

  • Everyone has completely missed the point of what is actually going on. The Internet didn't destroy the music business, it was corrupted by money itself beginning around the 1970s. The Golden Age of music ended long before the Internet turned everything into total chaos. Today's "artists" are merely copying each other, with the advent of sampling and sample libraries turning mere copying into pure duplication, fueled by the single minded quest for riches. Today's music is a completely homogenized mess. The Internet currently makes this situation worse by forcing artists to conform to narrow "genres" in order to even have a place to appear online. The result is a complete lack of originality in music, and along with the concurrent death of music education we now have a new generation of "artists" and listeners who have no ability to discern true talent or tell the difference between true artistry and mimicry.

    Yes, of course the old record labels had always had plenty of greedy bean counters who ripped of musicians regularly. That can't be disputed. But at least they performed well as filters resulting in the surfacing of truly great music that will be remembered and revered many decades from now. The Internet has the opposite effect, which is to filter out the truly innovative artists because they can't fit into established genres.

    The vast majority of the current homogenized crap that's called music which has polluted the culture of which the Internet helps to expose will all soon be completely forgotten regardless of whether it is currently popular or presently making someone money. Only if we can somehow get past thinking of music in strictly monetary terms can we ever reclaim a genuine artistic culture. That time is certainly not now, and it is neither the fault of the record companies or the Internet. The fault lies with ourselves for allowing the destruction of music itself and not caring about the betterment of humanity!

  • Having spent many night dreaming of being famous, It was not until I decided to get out there and do something about it that I realised how many others musicians have the same dream. Thank God for cd baby, itunes myspace you tube and all the rest of the sites that, by their nature do not guarantee us anything, other than a fighting chance, a chance we did not have before.

    Gigs are great if you live in a city, but here on a peninsula in the back end of beyond. good gigs are harder to find, Cd Baby sells for me, myspace is my portfolio. and the world my oyster.

    Thank you and good night

  • Depressingly, you can tell the active musicians on this forum by the fact that theyre the ones who agree with Nicks and Mellencamp.

    The jury is in ladies and gentlemen. Thanks to the "democratization" of the music industry, the "offer" of music has expanded to the point where the average music lover has to slog through hours of unprofessional goop, only to give up just before coming upon that wondrously creative indie gem they were hoping for. The "offer" has expanded to the nth power, while the money and the time the average music lover has to dedicate to music hasn't budged and has probably diminished.

    So do the math.

    The majors record labels are re-adjusting. Who but they could muster the team that has the time and the resources to make their artists stand out amongst the horde? They can make the Internet pay for them, like Warners is doing with their new ad deal with youTube. While the indie artist is happy to be streamed for .01 cents by someone in Vanuatu? How do you even pay the electricity bill to record at home with the insulting pittance that "worldwide digital retailer aggregators" consent to throw you? Face it, all the extra music product "offer" that is out there is the 95% that people download for free.

    In the end, nothing has really changed: the major labels are still the best-placed to profit from on-line action, and indie artists will go on the road to sell their product with no hope of a normal life or even of an eventual big payoff somewhere down the road. It's great that it's back to live shows being important, but people will have to get their head out of their iPod and start experiencing music the communal way it used to be, when music brought people together instead of isolating them.

    And by the way, "merch" smerch. If we wanted to flog T-shirts we wouldn't have chosen to be musicians – we'd open an import-export business.

  • I hope artists, musicians, writers are not just using the Internet to promote themselves. We should have a web site and take advantage of whatever social networks feel right for your music, also promote yourself to other sites, but we have to also promote ourselves to real world outlets (live shows, schools, government, businesses, charity) and do tie-ins with the community.

    If you're not making money from internet sales, that should be a reality check that you have to create other revenue streams for your music. They exist.

  • Thank you Heather. You've said it for me. Yay for people who refuse to be better marketeers!!!

  • Bonnie

    For the most part….the cream still rises to the top. If a given artist doesn't have much $$ for self promotion, consumers often tip each other off on "their latest find". Everyone loves the idea that they were one of the firsts to find a band. It's practically a badge of honor for me. I spend way too much time searching out new bands. Only the ones that I truly learn to love….do I go back and purchase their latest projects.

    Unfortunately our musical interest has been tainted with the same instant gratification that is so pervasive in society now. We have McDonaldized everything. We want something new and different now. It will be a fortunate few that make big money in music….just like it has always been. For the rest of us….we get to put our wares out and hope someone likes it. Most of my work will be an expensive keepsake for my posterity. It's a good thing that i love what I do.

  • Razor

    The record labels helped by over pricing CD's if they were cheaper then more people would buy the music instead of downloading it of limewire/napster etc. I am not saying that's the reason but it is some of the reason.

  • GG Amos

    @ Stefano

    You said>
    "…poor to mediocre music around today…"

    "Mp3′s are the proliferation of the HARDWARE manufacturers like Apple & Microsoft and NOT musicians. THEY are the ones that are reaping the benefits of file sharing NOT the musicians and as long as there are people that are willing to hand over their hard earned money on today’s latest ‘gadget’ in order to download illegally instead of SUPPORTING MUSICIANS AS WAS THE CASE HISTORICALLY, this insanity will continue."

    "There is a new breed of musicians that indeed DO NOT know what it is to suffer for their art, tour 200 days a year to support their latest release and go into a recording studio for a few weeks with a producer to create something that will be endearing for generations to come."

    There has always been poor and mediocre music sold to an unsuspecting ignorant public….at least here in the US. Along with good, great & brilliant music. There is just more of the same. Maybe even a higher ratio. But then all of that is relative… very subjective.. what is good or not good. Why are you such an expert? Just because you were able to play the game and win? Jeez.

    As to your 2nd point, mp3's are a tool like any other and like all tools can be used positively or negatively. Don't blame the tools.

    And don't talk about suffering…There have been great musicians suffering for their art that could NEVER get a record deal because they didn't fit some 'marketing' criteria..such as not being good looking, not being young, or some such shallow marketing concepts. Or being screwed up, down & sideways by producers, promoters, bookers, managers, lawyers…and ending up being so traumatized and disgusted by the whole business, they just don't persist in trying to 'make it'. How many brilliant artists have been lost to history because of that? But on the other hand, there have been, since the 50's and even before, many mediocre "artists" (..god that word gets overused) who have 'made it' because of major money production and advertising campaigns. That is still prevalent today.

    Poor, not attractive musicians have more access to recording tools and so why shouldn't they use them?

    Even MySpace with its glut of musician members, takes a certain 'chosen' few and promotes them in ad after ad.. the average MySpace user can't afford these ad spots. Very few of these stars are what I would call stellar in their skill level or experience. But then, who am I to judge..obviously I have no clue, just because I have so little money.

    You and Stevie Nicks, and Mellencamp are so bourgeois.. get over yourselves.

    Colie Brice is spot on with her whole post.

    Dan Warren..also spot ON.. says "The record companies destroyed the music business, and they did it over several decades. They did it by pushing an increasingly bland and homogeneous array of artists on the public, and encouraging an artistic monoculture that placed no value on ideas or innovation."

  • Oh poor true musicians. Just wanting to give to the world the gift they were given. But born in a time when 20 million average Joes claim they have the gift too.I love music and I can't imagine being without it, but I can't help but look at the playing field now and laugh. My parents were musicians, their parents were musicians, and they taught me how to play very well, not just technically, but how to put on an awesome show. I dream and dream of being able to financially support myself on it but in the words of Wayne from Wayne World "Yeah, and monkey's might fly out of my butt!"

  • The interesting thing is that no matter if it was the old traditional model or the new internet driven one it seems to me that the cream always rises to the top. How else do you describe the way an artist like Ray LaMontagne has risen to such success without a major label, much through internet buzz? The truly talented folks seem to always gain an audience.

  • Steven

    Sapientia is right. The internet has watered down what we know as the music business while the payola aspect has not changed. It used to be that only the labels took responsibility for paying off the system in order to create a hit record. And that is still happening.

    But simultaneously under the so-called new system, the non-industry, average musician faces a similar opportunity to pay off someone else to chase what they hope will lead to their own "hit". But this is usually a far fetched goal. But lo and behold, the businessmen are still making the money on advertising, on musical instruments, recording equipment and software, web site hosting, CD and DVD duplication, in-store background music installations and the list goes on. Everyone who wants to "become a star", whether talented or not, is chasing the dream and paying for it. The musicians, for the most part, are still not making money. They are spending it by the thousands and not getting very far. It is an addictive business because it deals in HOPES and DREAMS. At least that aspect of the entertainment business has not changed.

    This is probably the most frustrating time for both the hopeful songwriters as well as the labels because we are in-between what we knew the industry to be and what it is heading toward. You can say all you want about the new model and how it levels the playing field and creates some sort of opportunity. But we're at a point where the new model still has the allure of the old model. I would say that most people are not putting out their music on the internet because they know they will make 300 bucks from sales to friends, family and a few new fans. They are putting it out there because they can still see the shadows of the old model. People still hope that SOMEHOW they will break through and in some way will become a John "Cougar" or a Stevie Nicks or a Pink or a Maroon 5.

    What if the business continues like this for another 5 or 10 years and what if the old model gets completely buried? What about in 20 years? What happens when the teens finally realize that there is no money in being a modern rock star? Will we be left with only the better artists who make music only because their DNA says they have to? And would this focus the industry again on better artists? Maybe by then the mediocre masses will be satisfied enough with their guitar-interface video games? I sure hope so.

    As much as the internet and itunes has been killing the old model, I'd have to say that the old model ( the big labels) starting killing themselves already. Too many non-creatives began calling the shots. Its hard to find a good new song on the radio anymore. There is not much boldness, individuality. The industry rarely allows it and our culture does not cultivate this type of artistry. It cultivates stardom and money making. Our culture ( media ) spends too much time talking about how a singer markets herself or how a movie does at the box office. Who cares about this crap? We don't talk about artistry or how music and movies make us feel. We have lost touch. And all that is happening to this business is just a symptom of who we have become as a culture. Bankrupt, swindled, disappointed.

  • EM


    "There is one glaring problem with the current DIY/internet thing and that is this: the best musicians and writers are not business minded people. They are artistic, introverted, and usually socially clumsy. They do not have the skills required to build a career and attempting to do so results in bitterness and breakdown. Without consistent help from a business minded person they’re sunk. So we’re losing our best music right off the bat.

    The people that are successful tend to be the best networkers – the most organized, not the most talented. So second rate music is more plentiful than ever.

    Look at it the other way. Would you ask a talented desk-jockey to go write and record an album for you?? It’d be a pretty crappy album, so no. Why ask a musician to go build a career? Musicians need business men and businessmen need musicians. It a partnership – that’s what we’ve lost.

    As for the “wide open opportunities” of the internet, that’s all too true. The most talented folks are now buried under heaps of amateur crap. There’s no filter. The record companies used to provide that – scouting talent like major league sports managers. That’s what we need. Good scouts and business guys willing to take risks and believe in something other than $$$$$$."

  • Lucky Jean

    Good article.

    The whole music business was based on the myth that only a chosen few musicians were worth listening to. Of course those chosen few were pretty good–but so were a lot of unknown musicians who didn't end up on the stardom train.

    There are a lot of good musicians. Playing and singing music is fun. It shouldn't just be the activity of a chosen few. I think in the future the "music industry" will be more and more about making your own music and less and less about buying a copy of someone else's. Sales of songs may go down but sales of instruments, strings, instructional books and videos will go up. Websites dedicated to songsharing by musicians will thrive. There may be fewer expensive rock concerts and more potlucks with jams. Doesn't sound that bad to me.

    • Billywhitemusic

      Out of all the speculators, I think you’re right.

    • Analog Misfit

      there is obviosly a cultural divide between fans and musicians. I know from trying to teach people that not everyone can play music. And a VERY few can play it good, let alone awesomely. I’m not talking about producing some mechanical garage band mix of licks that were collected and looped.

  • Twanger

    "The doors to the green room have been thrown open, and though there might not be any champagne and caviar waiting in there, there’s at least a spot on the couch."

    There is no couch in the green room anymore; it is standing room only, with potentially more people in the green room than in the audience.

    Digitization and the Internet have brought two major changes:

    1. The Internet is a new mass media channel that is available to everyone; the traditional mass media channels were and still are almost totally controlled by large corporations. Those who learn to fully utilize this new channel to their advantage stand a better chance of success, but because anyone can play, everyone's voice will be relatively diluted.

    2. Digitization has made non-loss replication available to all, and the Internet has enabled both the legal and illegal mass distribution of digital media. In the analog days, illegal mass replication / distribution was very difficult, degradation was unavoidable, and it was relatively rare phenomenon. But now, illegal mass replication / distribution has significantly and undeniably reduced the size of the recorded music profit pie for both major industry players and indies alike.

    The other key issue for the music profession is that people are now inundated with new entertainment choices. Many people that might have been devoted music fans in decades past spend their free time playing video games, watching hundreds of TV channels, or surfing the web – reading, watching, buying, blogging, chatting, gaming, trading, playing in online virual worlds, etc. Sorry to say, but the audience has shrunk.

  • Someone said a few things about myspace and facebook.

    REALLY ask yourself what those companies have done for you. You are part of their completely free content, thay push garbage advertising (their main income) right in YOUR customers face all day, they want your input because its exactly that – FREE input.

    Ive been reading all this stuff on here about all sorts of views.

    REALLY, you guys need to wake up, its a little like being a keeper of a dam, you have seen a small leak turn in to a major leak, but you are all too 'busy' either convincing yourselves that the leak is not bigg enough to cause any damage or that you are all playing cards and are distracted from the BUSINESS side of music.

    Someone said that music will become free higher up… wrong – its free now and every musician, I dont care how big or small you are, is paying literally by the minute as we speak – that dam is still leaking, getting bigger and bigger, and unless it is blocked firstly the staff will leave (you) then the dam will burst as sure as anything that has ever been – its obvious – unless you all write and spend money on developing music that you dont want paying for.

    But wait? thats where we are today!

  • Tony C

    Very hot topic. Mike is right, though. The whole industry is a mess and it will get sorted out, but it will take a long time and it has to be better than it was and is. There are valid points on both sides. There is so much bad stuff out there on the Internet to sift through to find something good. However, as several people have pointed out, the majors aren't much better. They give the public one "artist" after another that sing the same sounding material in the same style, over and over that people have to look to other places to find something different. Someone used a term I use; "cookie cutter," in regards to this. Think of everything that comes out of Disney or Nickelodeon. Yet, they're all over the place. The reason I mention them is because over the last several years, I've found myself writing music for kids. Hey, they like music, too, and what they're being given today is a shame. At seven years old, I was listening to "A Hard Day's Night." That's the kids' music I grew up on. Yeah, I'm 53 years old. I guess it's true, though. Anyone can record a CD and get it online. I did that with a small, but really good group of kids earlier this year. I won't mention it because I'm not here to plug it, but what we got out of them is amazing. The songs are fresh and original, the quality of the recording is outstanding, and Colie Brice is correct. I never could have afforded to do this the old way. The mastering and the replication of the CDs were the biggest expense. On one hand it's great for us to be able to do this. On the other hand, even the genre (I hate that word) of children's music is flooded with anyone who can put three chords together. I would't insult the kids by asking them to sing some of what I've heard done by adults. And these kids sing pretty good. No studio pitch correction needed. In fact, I have two girls with perfect pitch. They sold a few hundred CDs through school before I could even get all the boxes open, sold a lot more out of hand over the summer, and through the Internet we hope to sell more and have people hear our music. Since Disney won't be giving us a look or listen anytime soon, this is the place for us to be.

  • YES and NO.

    The internet is a great tool to make contacts, actually find the people you never had a chance to get in touch with before. In a business 2 business way, the internet is great. In the so-called "B2P" direction, things aren't that rosie…

    I wish that people would buy records (or even downloads) instead of just listening to the music on youtube at no cost (youtube, a network that also allows uploads from non-rights-owners and still refuses to pay any royalties to the artists).

    From the sales reports for my last album I can tell that less than 1% of my myspace friends and newsletter subscribers actually bought the album (yeah, yeah, "build a mailing list"…). Most buyers actually got to know the album first before they got to know me – that means they had occasionally stumbled across my music on cdbaby, style-oriented mailorder shops, iTunes etc. and liked it. Many buyers even referred to a review in a print (!) magazine they had read…

    Yes, the internet is great for finding and being found – however, who finds you will (mostly) also find a way to avoid payment. Oh, and a hundred "damn, you're smokin' hot" comments on myspace don't sell a single record…

  • Rich

    It all sucks. The old ways where your dream was to be taken seriously and treated humanly by a label or management company were set in techni-colour. 1 band in a million got signed, and 1 in a million that were signed actually made it. The new dream to get your music on the internet is easy, the reality of that dream is "who cares?". So, you can record a full CD in your basement, slap it on MySpace/Facebook/CDbaby/iTunes and get very little for it. Big deal, so can everyone else, and they are. There is so much music on the internet that it has become a wasteland. At least the labels did a respectable job (for the most part) of weeding out the junk.
    The fact is the labels are no more greedy than many of these on-line services we are subscribing to. Do you think CDBaby wants no less than money from you? "You do everything and slap it our site, we'll take a huge percentage and not lift a finger to promote you.". So work your full time 40 to 60 hours per week, raise a family, build a home, make music, and somehow squeeze in some time manage your music career (write, record, play live, make posters, learn every single music site, post here, upload there, Reverbnation, SonicBids, i Tunes, CDBabay, Pandora… it goes on forever) and wish yourself luck not to crash before too long.
    Very few make it, either way.
    There is no turning back, for those of us who hate this system a little more than we hated the last one, we have to just deal with it and move on. We can still dream of getting signed.

  • Ben

    Rich, how exactly is CDBaby taking a "huge percentage" from you? What do you think a label would take from you? Nobody is forcing anyone to use CDBaby. Go get signed to a label if you don't like it–if you can.

  • Morse

    It's real sad how a lot of people writing here are willing to defend illegal downloading because it somehow 'gets your music into people's hands' more so than a major label would do for you. You seem to be doing the same thing to musicians that they did in the past, RIP THEM OFF and not feel remorse in doing so. How greedy and sick.

    Major labels couldn't give a toss about you or me or anyone in the past that was doing anything artistic and left of center. For example, bands like Henry Cow and Gentle Giant to name just a few, barely sold anything back then but they gained an audience by touring half the year and living out of suitcases and getting by with the bare essentials because their was an audience out there that were willing to support them by going to their gigs and spending money on their lps. They managed to get by somehow. They weren't signed to mega deals and they never got huge royalty checks, but they were happy since people supported them and since there was support for them, they CONTINUED to produce high quality, cutting edge art.

    Today, I know many working bands, including my own, that cannot get the gigs that were once available because venues in the U.S. feel they don't need to pay musicians decently anymore and therefore will get bands to play for practically nothing. Try going out on the road for half the year and travel and pay your expenses and pay your on bills at home as well and only get paid a pittance now for doing so. Music has been devalued in all areas EXACTLY BY ILLEGAL DOWNLOADING. There are websites out there that keep tabs on downloading and if you are willing to do the search for your own music being downloaded, you will get yourself sick when you compare it to your iTunes royalties. I am speaking to the musicians out there that have been around for a while and have built up an audience, NOT the know it all bedroom pc musicians that seems to be posting ad nauseum here and have delusions of grandeur. So no, Brad, the green room IS NOT WAITING as long as there are people like you advocating what you are advocating. I remember getting some of your emails after you took over from Derek that were quite contrary to what Derek believed in for CD Baby, especially the one where you were advocating giving your music away. It seems you have tapped into all that is wrong with music these days and threw in the towel. I knew then that Derek Sivers had nothing to do with this site anymore. Sad. Instead of being a force for musicians, you caved to the downloading culture in order to grab your 5% that is legally downloaded and thus YOUR business model continues. But the working musician, the session musician, the engineer, the studio help, the graphic designers that work on artwork, the promotional people, the concert bookers, the tour managers, the sound men, I CAN GO ON AND ON, of the HUGE amount of people that are hurt by illegal downloading. You see, it's not just the artist, it's a whole string of industries that have been decimated by this.

    So the next time anyone steals someone's music off of some illegal torrent site, remember just exactly what you are doing. I feel a lot of people here aren't professionals and are just bedroom musicians with pc's. That's fine but you have no business on commenting and refuting with someone who has made a living off of music professionally. Get your facts straight. You are not getting back at the major label, you are stealing someone's copyrights. But then again, this is America and what people are force fed on television is far from the facts.

    Today, it's beyond the comprehension of most out there that have taken mp3's as the norm as their listening experience to actually SUPPORT artists so that the artists may feel they were worthwhile and valued. To me, an mp3 is worthless. I find them harsh to listen to and have no dynamics or audiophile quality at all. I do not download, either legally OR illegally, I buy cds, lps and if they are produced, dvd audio discs, because I believe in listening to music in the most high fidelity means as possible. SINCE I ENJOY IT THAT WAY. I buy directly from artists on their sites and am happy to support the musicians I admire.

    Unfortunately, if most people feel its ok to steal music, then in a few years most of the best musicians will have given up and will not produce high quality recordings. They will feel it's worthless to. They won't even tour because no one will find it necessary to PAY to see them. MP3's are not the answer for me at all. I would love to see dvd audio as the norm, but I know I'm in the minority here and that's ok. I simply REFUSE to steal in ANY FORM, and if someone thinks illegally downloading someone's music or art or films against their wishes is NOT wrong, then you are sorely mistaken. Or you simply do not know right from wrong. If that's the case, I feel sorry for you. If someone broke into your home and stole something, you would feel violated, I'm sure. How do you think working musicians feel?

    Don't quit your day jobs, kids!

  • Unfortunately it has become mainstream to download stolen music.

    It is done by people of all ages under the belief that there are no victims.

    This has been incredibly destructive to the quality of what record companies are willing to release.

    So many major labels have gone the route of what is safe and will make a ton of money.

    In the long run it hurts us all.

    http://www.richardashe.net/ http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/RichardAshe

  • Who stole my cheese?

  • RE: Death of the album – before the advent of LP vinyl records in the 50's the industry was driven by singles and that's what people bought, so the "Album" as a conceptual art form is a pretty new idea. Many albums are just that: a collection of random songs.

    One interesting aspect of the singles environment of the 40s and 50s was how songs were covered. If Bing released a song there were singles out within a couple of weeks by all the other popular singers of the day. Fans would get their favorite singer's version to have a complete collection, so the return to a singles-driven model is not without precedence.

    One good thing the internet has done is to make non-pop niche music easier to promote and find. There was no place in the old paradigm for 18th century Scots-Irish songs as sung in colonial America.

  • morse is right on the button…

  • Jim

    I was wary about releasing a new album in CD format but within 1 month of the albums release it sold 500 copies along with a few t-shirts.All my sales came direct from the internet & from people discussing the album on various music forums.

    The fact is the true fans of your music will buy your CD if someone downloads it for free so what at least they are listening to your music.If EMI signed you in the morning you wouldn't see a penny from CD sales anyway!!!

    My advise would be interact with your fans online offer them some decent merch & music at a fair price.Use the net for the free PR get your name out there.The bigger your fan base the more you will sell.

  • As a music artist whose career began in the "traditional" record business,I speak from experience when I say the internet didn't kill off the music industry, the industry killed itself. It was dead once the corporate boys took over.

    Video,image and marketing became more important than musical content. This still rings true today. It became even worse with corporate consolidation of the radio airwaves,and the rise of "formatted" radio. Suddenly radio playlists were closed to only the "established" artists. Artists had to fit into a neat little niche, or not exist.

    The internet hit the record biz dinosaurs like an extinction event,and I'm very glad it did. I never gave a rat's ass about being famous or any of that crap. I just wanted to create & record the music I feel, period. I market my music to my fan base at a fair price, direct & honest, without having to be some sort of cartoon character Frankenstein monster, contrived by some snot nosed label marketing genius. It's crowded, but the internet ROCKS!

  • Picking up on the comment that anyone can record music and put it on the internet:

    With so much crap out there blocking a fan's way to get to some good music I think the good old feature in a print magazine gives you and your music some credibility. Pages are limited, so a mag would only feature what's good.

    I think it is not only illegal downloads that kill music (and the artists) but as well unpaid streaming, such as youtube. Why should anyone buy a cd to listen to while he can find it on youtube and play it for free? And the artist won't see a penny all because youtube still doesn't pay any royalties for public performance. Actually a business model that forgot about the most common regulations of the industry…

    Of course, most fans will discover you and your music online, be it through reviews, online stores etc. That's good. However, I think that there has been too much hype about the internet lately and, fortunately, people (both fans and musicians) seem to be getting back to a grassroot approach: The real, tangible, live thing.

  • We do have an awful lot of technology to help us out, but the fact of the matter is, things did become a lot more difficult lately. Of course, some of us might not even be involved in music if it weren't for these changes that Prince and others like him are so keen to ignore.

  • Really all this means is that music is ready to change. Either people will be able to adapt and find new ways to prosper or they will drown in sorrow.

  • I don't see any big problem with the change to music available via Internet.
    It just puts musicians on the same field as the rest of us common folk trying to make a living doing what we love doing. I'm a computer/web/sql programmer, and must compete with the likes of Microsoft, Google, etc… and produce something still valuable and try to find ways to get it noticed, despite the fact I'm one guy working out of my house, and have no agent, marketer, label, etc… – just me and my talent to help me make a living.

    How 'bout we now get sports games available for free watching on the Internet so we can get all the multi-million dollar sports players down to a reasonable level as well. Maybe then they'll play because they love the sport, not because they can make millions doing it? And at that point, it may actually make sense to watch the sports games again. When it's all about multi-million dollar players, it loses it's allure to many who might otherwise be interested.

  • Musician Killed by F

    The unbuying fan has killed music, by illegal downloading. Music should not be free. It should be reasonably priced, and it is: 99 cents. Everyone, and I mean everyone, can afford that. (As in: don't drink that beer for two dollars that you'll pee out in ten minutes. You could buy 2 songs and get hours of enjoyment for the same price.) To get good, you need time (Tiger Woods, Eddie Van Halen…, whomever), and that's hard to do when you're also working, or going to school, or both, 40 or 50 hour weeks. Support people who are creating music by buying it. Not the band t-shirt–music should not exist to sell merchandise. (The "support them live" argument is also bogus. What if the band never tours your area? And how many times can you play locally before people won't show up? Imogen Heap, a huge indie artist, can't make money touring.) Show me a "musician" who says they don't care if people buy their music, they just want as many people as possible to hear it, and I'll show you an amateur, and an egotist. If you want artists (indies) to be able to release music to the public, pay for it. Otherwise they'll remain bedroom musicians. (Any argument about record companies destroying the music industry, or charging to much, is irrelevant, and a decade or two late. You, the fan, NOW, can help music get made by buying it, not illegally downloading it.)

  • The playing field has been leveled. How far you
    go is up to you! Opportunities never existed like
    this before,use them!!

  • Free music and live performance is not a model that works for people who cannot tour or do live gigs for various reasons – health being one of them.

    However, that does not mean that their music cannot be of worth to many people.

    Most people are NOT listening to music at gigs. They are listening on trains, cars, at work and while working around. That has expanded the opportunities to be listend to immensely.

    However, it still takes a signifiant advertising budget (time or money) to persuade some of those people walking around to listen to what you produce.

    99% of the intenet is crap when viewed from each person's perspective, and music online is the same, but there is a hell of a lot more than there was just listening to radio. While providing more opportunities to be heard, it is making hunting music a time-consuming affair.

    That is why genres are there, just to provide a primary way of filtering, but they are by no means hard and fast delineations. The public explosion of music has enabled a lot of cross-pollination, making music far more interesting than radio music allowed. Many artists are putting out a variety of music that would have been almost impossible in the past because the few opportunities to be heard meant only the most popular stuff did.

    But we still have not got a lot closer to the place where the income is more equitable and many more could make a living out of music. I estimated that if we only sold a few hundred CDs a week, we could live more comfortably than I do off my IT work. That is nowhere near making a gold record, but a living – yes!

  • Interesting debate indeed.

    First of all, to all the people against illegal downloading, there´s little point arguing against it as it´s something that is going to happen regardless of our opinion. Back in the eighties people could´ve argued against the rise of major labels (where the indie labels started to get increasingly marginalised) but that happened and you ultimately have to work with the tide.

    Do I think the internet made music better? It has pros and cons. Under the old system the artist often made a small percentage of the album sales and, if they didn´t sell enough, they were dumped which often meant they couldn´t perform until the contract expired. And, that is only if you were lucky enough to get signed. Major labels mean big money. If you can´t make them big money you are in big trouble. This is not an idyllic picture.

    The internet means people will listen to you but the internet is a sea of crap where you have to compete with laughing babies, two girls and a cup and every idiot blogger the world has to offer. Furthermore, they may never give you a cent.

    So, what is my suggestion? Get exposure online and use it to play gigs. Dedicated fans will help you out if you show you are dedicated and if you deserve it. If you record some incredible covers on youtube you will get some attention. People will then start listening to your own material. They then come to gigs.

    You need big numbers for this to be meaningful but it does work. For every ten people who see the covers, maybe one will listen to an original. Then how many will come see you? I have a youtube cover with 65000 hits but I have new ones that are better. These have given me more comments and messages, although they are yet to get a large number of hits. The quality is ultimately what matters. If I find that my favourite acts are playing a local gig I will definitely go. And if I have money I´ll buy a CD. Or donate something.

    You have to do as much as you can. If there are a thousand people in several cities who know you and want to see you that´s enough for a tour. Only a fraction will show up but the internet can get you those numbers and, with a crowd of fifty, many reasonably established acts will want to play with you. Once those people see you, if you are worth it, your audience increases.

    Different genres are different. But you need to establish a strong support base. Once you have that, you are in a good position to tour and continue to promote. Look at Obediah Parker (with the Hey Ya Cover) and Pomplamoose (September Cover etc). They did a few covers, got heaps of hits and then started to tour to wherever they were most known.

    It will never be glamorous, it won´t offer much money but if you produce exceptional music and put it out in the right places you might break even and have some great experiences.

    In a sea of crap good stuff stands out.

    Best of luck to us all. . ..

  • Kyle Shaffer

    The only people who think music should be free are those musicians who have no talent anyway. It's the only way they can get their sub-par music out there. Those of us who have developed a skill and worked hard for it, know that real art will always be paid for. The sad thing is that so many people today don't really know what that is anymore and that they don't know what "paying your dues" really means.

    In the age of endless drum loops and sampling, some people think they really have talent because they learn Pro Tools or to play 3 chords on a guitar. We are in a changing environment, no doubt, but don't let the hacks discourage you true believers from making money at music. I promise you, if you are good, people will pay money to hear your music live or on some media form. And for those people who become real fans, they will want more than an MP3 on their iPod, and they will buy something physical they can hold in their hands, with artwork and liner notes – whatever that media is in the future.

  • The only way I have seen that works is PAY PER PLAY! UBETOO has it right! The rest of the net WILL catch on. The site makes money and so does the artist. The fan has to pay NOTHING! Every time someone listens to your music you are payed. Not a scam like MANY OTHER music sites on the net. We, the artist create the product, no longer do we need to be, like Prince said, "SLAVES TO THE CORPORATIONS". Ironic, huh?
    Thank YOU CD BABY for also being TRUE to the artist!

  • Thando

    I don't think so because now one can make music and sell it online without having to be let down by big record companies, it's like we have been given open space or should I say options to choose as to how you want to go about your music business. The internet and of cause CD baby gives the peoeple whith is the market a right to buy what they want and not what is imposed on them by big record labels. But at the same time on ehas to be carefull when signing on these sites some of them are fake and believe me I know some that I can tell you about but hey noe names "Right"!!!! right.

  • What an amazing site. I really like reading your blog!

  • Joanie Maverick

    Appropos of nothing: With the bottom falling out of the midsized Live Nation venues and classic rock "tours" being the only shows available to these former arena-rockers, it's no wonder they're mourning the past.

    One might be tempted to point out that Stevie Nicks, who spent the heady days of her youth having grand pianos delivered to hotel rooms which she demanded be painted in preparation for her night's stay, has helped to kill the arena touring industry which supported her live shows by passing more and more exhorbitant ticket prices along to her fans. The concerts are where the money is for her and Cougar-Mellencamp; radio stations aren't playing their new stuff, but their classic hits. Do they even have any new stuff? I dunno. I don't listen to radio because it doesn't give me new stuff. Hasn't for years, way before the online revolution. That's why the 'Net is so attractive: it's an alternative to their old model which chose for us what we were supposed to want to hear, as long as it was safe, familiar, and thoroughlly auditorium-tested.

    I will always pay $5 to see a local band. I will no longer—ever again—pay over $100 for a lawn ticket, $35 of which are unavoidable service charges. I'm not getting $65 more rock out of the deal. Maybe Stevie's getting more flowers backstage?

  • Joanie Maverick

    P.S. The typos. They are my bad.

  • Joanie Maverick

    One last thought (for now). When I said I'll pay $5 to see a local show, I generally spend $15 or $20 at the merch table if I really dig what I'm hearing. I tend to shy away from downloads because, as a former old-model radio jock, I could never balance my desire to satisfy BMI/Ascap payments to the songwriters with my belief as a Floridian that once something becomes encrypted it is now Information, which means you have the liberty and duty to make it available to anyone who wants it. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be fees for proprietary information at times, and it should be the artist's choice, so I stick with purchasing most of my music from merch tables and iTunes, once I hear something I like on Pandora or Last FM.

    Just my perspective.

  • I think the elephant in the room is population explosion. In the "old days" we could afford to have giant stars, and everyone in the music business knew each other. Those days had to end, because there are now millions more people than there were back then. The Internet has been here a long time, but the web came about because it addressed a need–a mass communication need the likes of which no one in the days of old had seen. Cultural constructs always follow cultural needs.

    • Elephant Hunter

      More people might mean more opportunity, and more competition. But it doesn’t mean folks can’t get to know each other. Think about Facebook. These days, whether “everyone in the music business [knows] each other” is irrelevant. It’s the fans that have to know the musician – which in many cases is easier than ever before. Of course, part of the deal now is that up and coming musicians must learn to communicate effectively using the new media. Anyone can post just about anything anywhere. But most of that kind of activity won’t generate any interest in the performer. If they have a good product, and they learn how to promote it properly, they will get noticed.

      In other words, the population elephant doesn’t really exist – either in the room or outside of it. We still have “giant stars”, and now we have mass communication to make them that way.

  • Are we still REALLY talking about this?
    Sheesh. I think this discussion should be
    put to bed already. Music isn't dying, the
    distribution system is. Monetise the back-end.


  • Talking about promotion, Has any body of you ever worked with Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion in Sother California? What were the results? would you recomend them? I am considering them as an option to internet promotion but I don't know anything about them.

    Many Thanks in advance for your feedback!

  • Rich Davis

    Here is how I feel the Internet is destroying the music industry.

    1. It provides an easy way for people to violate the laws surrounding the content that is being distributed.
    In the pre-Internet days, record labels, by and large, had entertainment lawyers ensuring that the content was legally obtained and distributed. yeah, some bootlegs would surface from time to time, but Internet hosting companies and the download sales sites do NOT obtained signed affidavits ensuring that the content is legal and all properly signed release, distribution contracts are signed with an entertainment lawyer involved. I would ventu to guess that the average independent CD that is release by a home grown record label is not legal and musicians are not asked to sign the proper paperwork to release what is actually just a demo.

    From being a musician that has done numerous demo recordings since the mid 70's, most of those demos wen't released, however 12 demos were released illegally and the entire download industry got these demos and they still allow the offending record label to continue to do business. In the olden days, record labels would be black balled from the industry and prevented from releasing more content.

    I think that to make sure that recordings are legal, CD Baby and others should only allow recordings whereby a licensed enteertainment lawyer was involved signing off that the content submitted is legal and all mechanical licensing is signed off. because people will fill out the paperwork and lie just to get their "demo" recordings sold because they know that the average musician either doesn't know whqt their rights, don't have the money to hire an attorney and have these unlicensed demos sold over the Internet.

    since the internet came out, we have lessor quality recordings because they are MP3's instead of Uncompressed CDs and most of the small time independent labels are home grown because they can't produce high enough quality product to obtain a real record contract with a real record label using real producers. he other reason is that there are too many singers out there that can't sing using things like Autotune to clean up their vocals and people re relying more on samples, loops and not real musicians. Who wants to buy something that is poorly produced using computers to generate and fix the problems because the musicians and/or artist can't wing or actually play very well.

    • while i respect what you’re saying, and i agree that you’re accurately describing the way the 20th century model monetised music. i don’t agree that anything has been destroyed simply because the internet has changed the way music is monetised as a product. I also can’t agree that major restrictions on the availability of music is a good idea, morally or financially. I certainly have many unreleased bootlegs of bands i love, and it has never made me buy less of their music than i would have otherwise. In plenty of cases it genuinely has led to me buying more of their music. I know that sounds like rhetoric, but it’s really true. I know i’m not a “normal” music listener, as i’m also a musician and live music promoter, but that’s my 2 pence for what it’s worth.

  • Rich Davis

    How many small time artists actually make a decent living selling MP3's by themselves instead of having a real record contract? How much money does it cost to build a home recording studio and produce a finished product and how many copies are actually sold? Obviously the more seasoned, experienced artists that have a following have a much better chance of making some money, but they don't have enough marketing dollars that the big record labels have. We can bitch and complain about bad the big record labels are, but at least they don't release illegal content. Yeah, we can complain about the artists they sign and the crap they put out, but that's because they have idiots signing people like Britney Spears or someone else that looks good when they have make up on, but when it comes right down to it, they can't sing. They should ban the use of Autotune, sampled pianos, sampled drums, etc. When you hear a piano player, do you want to listen to a sample of a piano on a compressed MP3 file, or do you want to listen to a well recorded grand piano that isn't compressed? The listening population either doesn't know the difference or doesn't care, but some peope do. It is too easy to sell and distribute bad content and some people get sick of it and therefor won't buy content that is well recorded, produced, performed, licensed with well respected artists involved. For some the Internet make it easy and for some it just degrades what and how things were done pre-internet. back in the '70s, people bought albums for the entire album because it was made as a complete recording. Now, people sell one song at a time and they don't have the same album concept. People just wen't making recordings with as much care. Only a handful care about what they put out, but most just want to act like a rock star for their friends and fans so they can live the dream without having to get a real record label to sign them.

  • Rich Davis

    I am still surprised that the Beatles are selling tons of MP3s when one can just simply buy their CD and have uncompressed files, liner notes, and a physical CD that they can rip onto their IPod or other media player. It just seems stupid to buy MP3s, the sound quality isn't as good as an uncompressed file. Oh well. I think the portable media players have downgraded audio a couple of notches by the use of MP3s, but then again most of the content people are listening to isn't recorded very well to begin with. I would venture to guess that out of the hundred of thousands of CDs on the market that maybe, if we are lucky, only 1% is actually worth buying and listening to. sad, but that's my observation.

    I've seen bands/artists put out CDs on a respectable independent record label, but if you transplanted that same artist or band back 30 years, you probably wouldn't be able to find a record label willing to sign them because they just aren't that good. I think good taste h gone by the waste side since the 80's. But that's just my opinion.

  • I personally believe that the internet helped out the music business. The more talented people are usually the ones that do not get the opportunity to make it to a major label.

  • Hey guys, I'm brand new here, just releasing my CD, but I disagree with some of the thinking expressed here in regards to the internet being damaging to artists, because a lot of it doesn't include anything about the listener. That's what REALLY matters, right?

    WE may recognize that mp3 isn't as good sound quality, but if the listener doesn't, and/or doesn't care, but would prefer to buy one track for the one song they like instead of the entire album, shouldn't it be up to them, and shouldn't we as artists make our art available as THEY would like it?

    Think of an author. Just because someone has written 5 books doesn't mean I'm going to like all of them. I like being able to buy just the one I want, and that translates into me having more money to buy other authors I like too.

    From the sounds of those bemoaning the shift in distribution methods, one would think that they really are "old curmudgeons" waiting for the past. It's past. Time to adjust to the new environment or die off, simple as that.

    One final note and that is that thanks to the ability for indies like myself to publish their music, we give audiences a wider variety of variations, mutations, melding of sounds and we're able to morph different sounds together as the artistic expression manifests itself. We don't have to follow a formula anymore, and that means that more and more genres will eventually develop as well, giving audiences a vastly wider range of sounds.

    With 7 billion people on the planet, you can't please everyone, but I think it's important to aim to please at least some of them, and if you please enough of them, you too can still be a millionaire ordering a painted piano for your room if you wish! (but why pay out the money….I'd prefer the Mazarati!) 🙂

  • John

    Yes, the internet has destroyed the music industry. It has destroyed the quality of music as well. You have to be a little rich kid to make it in music nowadays, to cover the recording and marketing costs. The era of the struggling impoverished band 'making it' is over. Consequently, indie-rock is just a barrage of half-hearted, shallow, forgettable junk, (i.e. Vampire Weekend). Sure, there are gems out there, but the are few and far between.

    But the internet has destroyed far more than the music industry. There are countless other industries which have been devalued and completely obliterated. In fact, the state of our economy is due to the internet.

    People can still record music and see if stands up against the test of time. If it does, it will, on its own, but in terms of making money off of it any more, well, that's for pop-stars, rappers, indie-brats who sell their junk songs to Toyota commercials and, well, in the business world, 'free' means bad. Free is the worst word in the business world. So, naturally free music leads to crappier and crappier music until eventually what will be the use.

  • I believe the music biz is in bad shape, and won't change by itself. I had a plan to change it…I just needed 30 or 40 REALLY great bands to join me and help turn this thing around. It's sad though…I contacted hundreds of bands through their websites, facebook, myspace, etc. and explained my plan to them. It offered great exposure, a chance to sell a digital copy of their release so they didn't have to invest any money but could make money, and people hearing their music that they would never be able to reach by themselves…best of all the whole thing was FREE! I was footing all the bills and doing all the work. It also would bring the spotlight back the really talented bands and weed out the ones that didn't have the talent. How many even took the time to respond? About 10. So how is this ever going to change if bands won't get off their behinds and help make that change?

  • The traditional system–with its many, many faults–also functioned as a financial backer (not all kinds of music can be properly made at home w/a computer, and not everyone has engineering chops, either, so there's the expense involved) and as a gatekeeper, which also lent some legitimacy to your project. Let's face it: ANYONE can upload their tunes, so wading thru the chaff has become worse than ever. How do you stand out if you're not lucky enough to go "viral". Advertising. And that ain't free or even cheap, so…

    Ironically, the internet is a boon for those artists who established themselves thru the old system. If you have name recognition you don't need a record label/deal: people are already interested in your music and now you can reach them directly. But it's a grim picture for the aspiring/up-and-coming/non-established act.

  • Jack Locker

    OK to blame radio John and Stevie!!! The money issue is still a problem for some artists (myself included) in order to make a good recording, get it pressed, and then marketed. That's a lot of cash! A signed band use to get about 3k a show to perform on tour. Great music usually has to be grown no matter what path it takes to get there.

    I use to like John Cougar Mellencamp and I'm not to familiar with his new music because American rock radio has gotten worse and treats listeners like robots. I remember seeing a truck commercial with a John Cougar Mellencamp jingle on TV a few years ago. Let say it did not make me want to go purchase the vehicle or the tune. When Mom and Pop stations started selling out to big corporations like Clear channel in the 80's and 90's, their value to fans of good music has experienced a heavy decline. As the same playlists were programmed to the corp stations across the country, they still continue to be centered around 2-5 songs by the same 12 classic rock artists most popular hit from 20-40 years ago. Here that JC and SN? The idea was to get the most dollars that a bank, credit card corp, or car dealership would pay for a 30 second advertisement NOT to play fresh or relevant music that rocked.

    The internet is challenging the artist when more people are allowed to steal their music than buy it. This is significant considering the cost incurred to create it as an art form out of nothing. Excluding the monetary losses in the new model, I think the artist now has a chance to get their music out there that wouldn't exist if he/she failed to meet any number of requirements of "the bank" (record company) in the old model. Not to mention, that most artist were traditional RIPPED OFF for something they created often receiving pennies on the dollar from a record if that. I think if you believe in yourself, and stick to your guns, success will find you!

  • Jack Locker

    OK to blame corporate radio for not playing your new music John and Stevie!!! The money issue is still a problem for some artists (myself included) in order to make a good recording, get it pressed, and then marketed. That's a lot of cash! A signed band use to get about 3k a show to perform on tour. Great music usually has to be grown no matter what path it takes to get there.

    I use to like John Cougar Mellencamp and I'm not to familiar with his new music because American rock radio has gotten worse, refuses to play new songs by talented artist of yesterday, and treats listeners like robots. I remember seeing a truck commercial with a John Cougar Mellencamp jingle on TV a few years ago. Lets say it did not make me want to go purchase the vehicle or the tune. When Mom and Pop stations started selling out to big corporations like Clear channel in the 80's and 90's, their value to fans of good music has since experienced a heavy decline to this day. As the same playlists were programmed to the corp stations across the country, they still continue to be centered around 2-5 songs by the same 12 classic rock artists most popular hit from 20-40 years ago. Hear that JC and SN? The idea was to get the most dollars that a bank, credit card corp, or car dealership would pay for a 30 second advertisement NOT to play fresh or relevant music that rocked.

    The internet is challenging the artist when more people are allowed to steal their music than buy it. This is significant considering the cost incurred to create it as an art form out of nothing. Excluding the monetary losses in the new model, I think the artist now has a chance to get their music out there that wouldn't exist if he/she failed to meet any number of requirements of "the bank" (record company) in the old model. Not to mention, that most artist were traditional RIPPED OFF for something they created often receiving pennies on the dollar from a record if that. I think if you believe in yourself, and stick to your guns, success will find you!

  • Jack Locker

    OK to blame corporate radio for not playing your new music John and Stevie!!! The money issue is still a problem for some artists (myself included) in order to make a good recording, get it pressed, and then marketed. That's a lot of cash! A signed band use to get about 3k a show from a record co. to perform on tour. Great music usually has to be grown no matter what path it takes to get there. Radio is King of nothing and that's unfortunate since it's still the best way to hear new music.

    I use to like John Cougar Mellencamp and some Stevie Nicks. I'm not to familiar with their new music because American corporate owned rock radio probably wouldn't touch it. Corp stations refuse to play new songs by talented artist of yesterday always in favor of the old hit, and effectively treating the listeners like their robots. I remember seeing a truck commercial with a John Cougar Mellencamp jingle on TV a few years ago. Lets say it did not make me want to go purchase the vehicle or the tune. When Mom and Pop stations started selling out to big corporations like Clear channel in the 80's and 90's, their value to fans of good music has since experienced a heavy decline to this day. As the same playlists were programmed to the corp stations across the country, they still continue to be centered around 2-5 songs by the same 12 classic rock artists most popular hit from 20-40 years ago. Hear that JC and SN? The idea for a longtime is to get the most dollars that a bank, credit card corp, or car dealership will pay for a 30 second advertisement NOT to play fresh or relevant music that rocks.

    The internet is challenging to the artist when more people are allowed to steal their music than buy it. This is significant considering the cost incurred to create it as an art form out of nothing. Excluding the monetary losses in this new model until service providers are held accountable in a court of law, I think the artist now has a chance to get their music out there that wouldn't exist if he/she failed to meet any number of requirements of "the bank" (record company) in the old model. Not to mention, that most artists were traditional RIPPED OFF for a product they created often receiving pennies on the dollar from a record if that. I think if you believe in yourself, and stick to your guns, success will find you!

    • Analog Misfit

      Only now we’re receiving 10000s of a penny on the dollar from companies like Spotify, Mog, iHeartRadio, etc… that is if they decide to pay you. I know for a fact my song was played 100 times on Mog and they never paid me.

  • Stevie Nicks is still alive?

  • dan

    Forget about the money and business models…

    The internet destroyed the mystic quality and magic of ALL kinds of music.

    Now all the musicians(including Pink Floyd!!) feel like tampoons or toilet paper……Everything is an hyper-product.

  • Ben

    "Has the internet destroyed the Music Business?" There are several words in this statement that are in need of definitions. For example, the question is not "has the internet destroyed Music", which it has not in any capacity. If anything, the internet has created millions of new fans, and has exposed people to so many new artists that its unbelievable. I find myself discovering back catalogs of artists constantly, that I never really knew anything about them, now I can check out all their music. This wasn't possible 10 years ago, 15 years ago. You had to rely on friends or magazines, tv to turn you on to new music, or you saw a band at a show and bought their cd there. Now you can read a review of some music and go and actually listen to the music online and make your decision immediately. However, this changes the quality of the listening experience. The overwhelming amount of music that is available to listeners is what is actually at fault. How many artists are on cdbaby? Even if every one of them is great, how is a fan going to find the artists they like? Its too difficult and too much. Its like, I really like peanut butter, I go to the store, and there are 200 kinds of peanut butter on the shelf. Are they all good? Probably. Which one is the best? Well, I go to my trusted sources. Or I try one at a local show. Is the internet to blame for the ease of recording? Recording has become cheaper and cheaper, and the quality of the recordings have improved vastly. I'm not talking about audiophile quality, just in terms of editing, overdubbing, and the ability to press your music onto a cd rather then a DAT tape or 1/4 inch tape. Costs of going to a studio are gone. A band can get a couple mics and record at home and produce something worthwhile. But is music gone? NO WAY! I think its forcing people back to the community. To survive as an artist, you have to be part of a community that supports your art. The internet is quite a few things, but I have a hard time understanding how its community works. Mostly, its words on screens, some music, some videos. Its not composed of actual people, in person. The magic of music is in the experience of it. I'm hard pressed to have a mystical experience with my laptop. However, at the local venue, I go, meet with people, see bands, have my mind blown, see the merch on the table, and take it home. How did I find out about the show? It was on the internet. Back in the day, you relied on Stevie Nicks to be on the radio, she was mysterious, all you knew about her, you discerned from the record sleeve. Now you have an all access back stage press pass to everything you could ever want to know about Stevie Nicks. You can see all best performances, her worst performances, read about her on wikipedia, read every rollingstone review, see every interview with her and her band mates, its all here on the internet. How are you going to get that out of print vinyl? On the internet. Saying that the internet destroyed anything is silly…its a means of communication, a tool. Its like saying email destroyed novels, or rather, email and texting are destroying writers…No, thinkers and writers and musicians and artists will always exist, despite their times. Beethoven was a slave to his patrons, as was Mozart and Bach…and actually very very few people actually heard their music back then. Recorded music has only been around for a little over 100 years. Checking out the Columbia recorded history, its seems like the music business has never fully had a handle on how it was to exist. There have always been hustlers. I think that music now is more diverse then it ever has been. There are more concepts and ideas about what music is for, what its purpose is, and what its supposed to be then ever before, and I think this is due to the internet. Is music a medium to make one wealthy? Who is a successful musician? What constitutes good music? Should artists make music for their fans or should they make music they are inspired to make? Who is in the music business? If you said Comcast and Verizon, you're getting close. What about Microsoft or Apple? They are as invested in the music business as the independent artist. The situation with musicians is similar to farmers trying to sell their vegetables with giant corporations owning all the supply chains. The music business is fine…where did you buy your instruments? Craigslist? Ebay? Amazon? All these are part of the business as well. What is important, is finding those artists that have real meaning for their fans; finding those fans that get real meaning from their artists…I think the internet helps with this…start small, sell cds face to face, tour, get fans in other cities, they can't make it to your shows, so they have to follow you on the internet, play more shows, sell more cds, gain more fans, love what your doing.

    • Anon

      Of course you can record at home these days from my past experience with home recordings all you need is………

      Mics €100 each may need 7 or 8 to record drums so that’ll be €600+

      Audio interface up to 8 inputs at least again for drums a good one will cost you €500+

      DAW you could buy cubase ,cakewalk for around €600 – 700 pro tools a bit more

      All this stuff is useless unless you have a decent PC or Mac you’d spend at least €500 – €1000 on a decent set up.

      So before you even record one note of your cheap home recorded album you’ll need to spend €2000 – €3000 on decent equipment.Then you have to go & learn how to use it……

      I feel sorry for people who are currently studying in college music production & other music related courses you don’t have a future either.

  • dan

    @ Ben:

    Good points. But….There are some things that should be secret and in a mystery. All this over exposure of music and musicians are turning music into something else: Overpriced air. And people will refuse to pay anything for recorded music, why pay for air?

    The good thing is that the old "music business model" will be destroyed and ALL of the musicians will have to start from zero, without exceptions.

  • What's great about now is that anyone can get in the game, much like the 1980s. Owl City came from out of nowhere-literally his parents' basement and his bedroom.

    Working with a producer often means overproduction – Katy Perry's album has as many as 200 tracks on some songs. WHY? Katy can actually sing fairly well.

    Some bands sounded the best when they were completely indie and not overproduced like with many acts in the 1980s.

    All you REALLY need to make great music is talent and a 4 track. Maybe you don't even need a 4 track – just saying. Violent Femmes sounded the best live with no production at all. The rest is bullshit.

    The thing that's missing in the equation is radio stations having the guts to play stuff like KEXP in Seattle does.

    • Chris R. at CD Baby

      Our warehouse is usually buzzing with all kinds of various indie rock, metal, avant jazz, spoken word, comedy, etc. So imagine my surprise this morning when I heard a K$sha song thumping out there! Now K$sha would not sound nearly as good WITHOUT those 200 tracks. Then again, I'd probably rather just hear the avant jazz recorded live to 2-track.

  • Another thing that annoyed me recently, Depeche Mode came out with a very good album in 2010 "Sounds of the Universe" they also had some really great songs from 2005's "Playing the Angel" but every time the DJs on LA's KROQ play Depeche Mode, it's always "flashback" type stuff. "Wrong" was a fantastic song that deserved to be as big of a hit as "Personal Jesus" but it just didn't get the airply. It's annoying.

    "John the Revelator," "Suffer Well", and "Precious" are amazing songs from 2005. But, no, they chose "Everything Counts" from 1983 which was one of their early local LA hits, but not nearly as big as "Precious"

    Depeche Mode is not just some nostalgia act, they ARE STILL AROUND AND MAKING GREAT MUSIC. I'm not sure the same applies to some of the other artists discussed.

    Quite frankly, it makes me sick.

    • Chris R. at CD Baby

      Probably no secret that, for most listeners, music is linked closely with memory. So it is safer for stations to play the popular tunes of yesteryear because they know their listeners will get that instant nostalgic youth injection. I'm actually really enjoying Paul Simon's newest album, but I'm not holding my breath that "So Beautiful or So What" will beat out "Bridge Over Troubled Water" on DJ playlists. It'd be a sweet world, though. That being said, I'm talking about terrestrial radio. There are probably a bunch of internet and satellite stations playing plenty of newer Depeche Mode and Paul Simon stuff.

  • I also really love "Pain That I'm Used To" from 2005

    "Suffer Well" was nominated for a Grammy.

    At least once they played Halo from 1990– a little better than 1983, but not as good as later…

  • Enrico

    Exactly. Great points made here.

  • This your idea is stil running?

  • Matty

    Yes, I have worked for Bryan Farrish before! I was there for only 2 days and couldnt stand it, it was a joke….its a total waste, don even bother…the only people that they really push are ones who throw the big$$$….if your getting a promo package for an independent band, its a waste..they would give me numbers to college stations and i would leave phone messages and send emails…no one ever picked up the phone, its like having telemarketers call, those stations do not return those calls and take it seriously..they get people calling them like crazy. If you have the $$$ to burn then it might be worth a shot but you would be better off getting a list of stations and doing it yourself to ones that have formats that fit your music…good luck!

  • Rocn Rick

    Being an artist manager, (HOLLYWOOD BASED BANDS) yes I’ve found out doing things the old way is a thing of the past. Not as much person to person contact and I think that’s a shame, because that’s still important. Roc n Rick

  • goofyfoot

    As an artist who has also released through majors, independents and now is on my 8th self released album, when it comes to reaching the masses I’d say the more things change the more they stay the same. In the good old/ bad old days, radio would only play music from signed artists and print media pretty much the same…although you did get the occasional thing that slipped through the cracks as DJ’s and writers had a little more personal choice. Then along came the internet and digital recording, ten years later there is was much junk to wade through for both press and radio that they’ve gone back to playing only signed artists. Your music may well fit a station format, but if you’re not signed you can pretty much forget it. My stuff falls squarely into Radio 2 format, and I’ve been sending them stuff for ten years…well, til I gave up. They ain’t gonna play it, and why should they when they have boxes delivered every week of deluded recordings to wade through. Let the companies sort it out! Similarly, why should record companies invest in development when the seed beds are all being taken care of anyway? They can cherry pick at their leisure…makes sense to me. When the modern media is set to fruit-fly attention spans, with people who see music rather than hear it, when there’s this idea of a global community that you can somehow reach….. live shows are what works. Getting in front of people and making that connection that cuts through the clamour. That’s what sells CD’s, that’s what make people’s eyes shine, that’s what keeps the bills paid. A previous poster said he’d rather play to an online community than to ten drunks at a little show. That’s bullshit…firstly, they won’t be drunks, especially if they’ve paid to see you, and secondly, as anyone who does house concerts can attest, you often sell more CD’s per capita at small shows. That poster probably sucks live. The live music scene is in great shape, and getting out there and making it work will make the other things things start happening. Hey….just like the old days!

  • Thanks for sharing. I've been noticing lately that at my smaller, more intimate shows I always sell way more merch. Some kind of strange inversely proportional scenario where the smaller the venue and crowd, the more money I make!

  • Jp-marcel

    More than anything else the internet has ‘saved’ rock and roll and music in general. Where in the past one artist might get signed and get all the attention, now several dozen or more artist (through net services) can build a career. The internet has opened the doors for artist with various musical back grounds and styles to have a voice. Where else would everyone of ‘us’ go if not for the net? If ‘you’ aren’t a 16 year old, gum-drop, bubbly girl then no one in the ‘main stream music industry’ wants to listen to you. Same to be said for people who want to listen to more than just ‘gum-drop-pop tracks’ that all have the same tempo, same chord changes and same ‘over processed’ digital voice correction at play. In essence the net has blown the doors open for original music. Not since the classical era in Europe or the Be-Bop music revolution during 1950’s America has music been so freed of it’s material contraints. The internet has ‘saved’ rock and roll and music in general.

  • Diz

    Call me naive but I still feel that what comes from the heart reaches the heart. Thanks to CD Baby, I now have customers in Brazil, London & Tokyo downloading my stuff, as well as the states. Screw the old model…find your audience, sell to them, quit making excuses!

  • Dusty Woods

    God I hope not. I'm a musician/songwriter/recording artist (indie). I don't make instruments, strings or instructional anything. I make music. I make songs. I've done it now for more years than most on here have been alive and I've made a good living until recently. Music has, and should have, worth – both aesthetically and monetarily. It's only recently that people have started thinking that if they can download for free they should be allowed to. THAT's what's killing the music biz on all levels.

  • Dusty Woods

    Amen! Now if we could just get more people to actually pay for what they download/listen to…..

  • anon

    People will spend a few hundred quid on an ipod yet want the music for free….. theres a strange sense of irony about that….

  • Djscones

    No is the simple answer for the Unsigned & Unknown Artists the internet has opened it up to maxium exposure.ture we still struggle but we have the savey now there are tohose that scuff at myspace now saying it's a dinasour. but the fans and figures don't lie.
    Our biggest present for the unsigned & unknown as been youtube.

  • Bluevison10s

    Things a different for me. I don't pay for music anymore because I don't know what is good or not for me. When music was out on youtube I would be able to find the music I liked through other people. Know I can't find anything except whats on the radio. And I think most of that stuff is garbage. When I used to listen to the bands I use to follow them online, check out their concerts but I don't do any of that anymore because theres just no point. I don't feel like wasting hours looking for good music. The musics should go back youtube so that I can find my bands quicker. Today its just nonsense.

  • Alias2u2

    In February 2003, WIRED magazine printed that technology, including free downloads, would bring us “a post-label world, (where) musicians might find other ways to get this help, from the American Idol model to the Broadway show model.” WIRED went on, “All of these models would produce fewer global superstars.” It seems that WIRED predicted correctly that Technology would lead us to this American Idol future. Yes, tech destroyed music and does not break artists, unless maybe you win a talent show.

  • I'm not even going to express my opinion on whether or not the internet has "destroyed" the music business. I'm just going to state the fact that it has CHANGED the music business…..like it or not! Those that sit back and whine about it are not going to get anywhere. Those that accept the changes and find a way to work with it are the ones that will succeed. I remember when cassette tapes took over from vinyl. Suddenly anybody with a cheap tape recorder could make an album. A lot of people invested in tape based home studios, and then along came digital recording and CD's. The holdouts decried the "low quality" of digital and refused to accept the changes. How many tape based studios exist now? Virtually none. You can stand on the beach and scream and yell for the waves to stop pounding, or you can grab a surfboard and learn how to ride the waves. Personally, I choose to hang ten and ride the chute!

  • Alvin

    I won't lie to you Ben, I didn't read the novel but I promise to watch the movie when it comes out. Damn! just start your own blog already.

  • Tbh I think it's more down to the fact that music is a barometer of the times and this "facebook" generation is defined by the very superficiality and emptiness we are seeing from the industry today as opposed to it being incentive based. Do you really think the f*cking spectacular & groundbreaking stuff coming out of the sixties and seventies came purely from a financial standpoint?

  • Jesus Sosa

    I absolutely agree with you. Music should not be free. It could be cheap but not free. And we should find the mechanisms to stop illegal downloading.

  • The Internet was inevitable. Get over it. Work with it.

  • What is "real" when it comes to art? How much experience/admirers do I need before I am a real musician, producer, record label owner, etc? Which machines and tools are off-limits?… And most importantly: Who gets to decide these things?

  • JoeOnUWS

    Oh Brad…

    At the moment we are embroiled in a trade-war that some (too many) people are mistaking for a "revolution." The Big Telecoms (Google, et al) rake in billions from a much-hallowed "business model" that is driven by content produced and paid for by others. People who think music should be free have no trouble downloading it through a connection they pay for monthly. Google et al ("Big Telecom") spend millions of dollars lobbying against laws that would force them to pay for the content that drives their businesses, rolling out everyone's favorite boogeyman "The Big Record Companies" (thunder-clap, screams) in order to scare the free-culture "Netizen" lemmings into thinking they might get asked to pony up for something they enjoy besides coffee. They have successfully couched the "debate" in terms that somehow make it a good thing for no one to make any money, not even the struggling artists….as long as "those greedy record companies won't be ripping off artists anymore." I'm not in the tank for the record companies, and yes, historically they did some pretty sleazy stuff but even when they were ripping off artists…those artists were getting something. As an independent, why should I spend the time and money producing a recording that is going to be given away? Why should I be asked to subsidize the musical enjoyment of someone who believes the world owes them something (everything?) I make music because I love doing it, regardless of money, sure. But what boils my oil is people saying I should give it to them for nothing as if that is some reward unto itself. In what kind of universe do artists subsidize their audience? As for the quaint reference to the "couch in the green-room," yeah, well, that's dandy that we all have a place now, as long as we can all sleep on it after the gig. Finally, can we get off this silly old saw about "you probably weren't gonna make millions anyway", please? Most musicians aren't Metalica and don't exepct to be….but many of them do manage to scrape together enough to pay the rent. Correction: "Did."


  • Zavoiardini

    “Play more shows. Offer more merch.”. Professional songwriters, producers, audio engineers etc., are not performers. The music business is not just about performers. How people can still repeat that kind of nonsense leaves me speechless. As for the merch, I recently bought a teeshirt and got a cd as a bonus. Just shows the real value of the music, and it’s pretty sad.

  • Kevin Wicker (Nashvi

    The more hats you can wear in this business, the better. If you're a rock star without a deal, you may want to consider your other options in the biz as well. Artists will always need web sites, merchandise, recordings, videos, ect. Who better can help another artist (and at the same time make money) than another artist?
    The web revolution has opened the door to "exposure" (?), but it has also created a whole new group of challenges for the independent musician. It's harder now more than ever to get heard. EVERYBODY is a 'star' now….
    The way around it is to use your creative capacities for more than just creating your own music. Do demos and videos for others — for a small fee. Make your money and extend your network for more than just promoting your own stuff. Provide a service.
    This is still the music biz — even though the business model is changing dramatically. Let the labels implode. Who cares? There's more than one way to provide a comfortable living in the biz, and still create your own audience…one fan at a time.
    Take what you have available to you and find ways to make money in it. You'll be surprised at what and who it attracts into your life. I know from experience.
    I created my own site (www.kevinwicker.com), recorded all my songs (doing all the instruments and such ) here at my studio. I also produced the video you see on my site with a good friend…with a minute budget. I stay busy…not just for myself, but for those who pay me.
    Times they are a-changin'…peace.

  • Bugbliss

    "There's something about it that's completely awful,
    Trying to make a living off a plastic waffle."

    Todd Rundgren

  • Analog Misfit

    You want free music, we'll give you free music! Don't expect quality.

  • Analog Misfit

    are you kidding. junk. I bought my intruments either brand new in the 70s or from a pawn shop. Obviosly you have never been to a music store. They only sell used stuff now, but you used to be able to discover new and awesome music browsing the local music store.

  • Analog Misfit

    If you got this far to read this I won’t bore you with crap …….

    The short answer is YES.

  • Anon

    The internet didn’t kill music greedy people who want everything for nothing & google killed music.

  • Jackslim

    If musicians were properly compensated, IF they were, Musicians could contribute more to the society that helps them, a symbiotic relationship. Nothing is free. Nothing should be free, not even love, it all costs you something. The main issue is that people dont care about anyone but themselves, there is no foresight into what stealing music does, how it undervalues the music itself. Half the music that people enjoy that is stolen will not be made in the future because your stealing it right now…

  • Swordmsith519

    It’s like any business, the more people involved, the less demand there is.

    Here’s a cool story about how one homeless blues musician built an online music empire – http://www.rockstar-riches.com

  • Rob

    However you look at it, it's a very competitive business. Everyone wants in and only few can do it. Internet or not, only a few are getting in. It's not like being a janitor. Let's face it, fans are assholes and thieves. Look at what happened to Metallica during the Napster ordeal.

    I envision the internet simply replacing the record labels, which SHOULD be great for the artists. However, we need to gang up on Google, who I believe is the worst offender? The movie industry doesn't tolerate theft. They shut down my internet when my roommate stole a film. That should happen to people who steal music too. But Youtube is the WORST. Why buy when you can just stream? I can stream any song to my phone(of course I don't) Now that I think about it, Youtube doesn't allow films, why do they allow songs???

  • morbydude

    First, I began in the 'old school'. My first 'pro-gig' was doing the music and FX for the very first 'Weed Eater' television spot, back in the early '70s, because early on, I was one of the few who understood and knew how to patch & program 'the Moog Synthesizer' (and other modular synthesizers of the day), and got a gig in a recording studio as their 'synth guy', at $52/hr (which wasn't bad for a teen, in the '70s!). I wrote and performed all sorts of production music, 'Sounds of Broadcasting', and even music for planetarium and laser-light shows. And it WAS tough to 'get your foot in the door'. You had to 'know someone'.
    I also became a Recording Engineer, and did sessions with a number of famous and well known artists, and producers, in several studios in Memphis. I also was a Staff Engineer at a local 'state of the art' studio, and made many connections. But, I left the music biz in the '90s… suffering from severe 'burn-out' (which can really have its' way with you), and didn't re-enter the business for a decade.
    By that time, the internet was in full force, and my initial thoughts were 'This is great!'. I could see so much potential… as a tool. But, I also began to see the down-side. Theft was one part… but even more-so, what I could see was that the internet allowed anyone (talented or not), to absolutely flood the internet with the most wretched noise ever heard. It was not unlike… going to a shooting range. Before, it was filled with people who had at least some skill at shooting. They may not always hit a 'bulls-eye'… or even the target… but they at least, discharged their weapons DOWNRANGE! Now, it's like rounds are flying in every direction, and many have no idea of which end of the gun to hold… or worse, no idea why.
    When I started… the record company exec.s were very careful about listening for new talent… and/or for potential record deal material. Now- they hire companies, who hire companies to screen material for them. And, the market is flooded with 'stuff' that is produced by 'push-a-button, make-a-sound' synthesizers and programs. Any idiot can use a cheap program to sequence and sample… and all too frequently, they have no 'creative license' (or for that matter, not even a learner's permit), much less, any talent. They just sequence the same 8-bars over and over… stick in a stolen sample here and there, and call it "dance music", or Tech-no, or whatever is popular… this week.
    My point is… the internet is so flooded, that so many who truly have talent, rarely if ever get heard. It's like trying to hear a vocal at -30db, nestled in a field of white noise at 0db. Nashville's jam-packed with unemployed Country Music wannabees, just like Hollywood's packed with actor wannabees. It would seem that anyone, who can make a rhyme, or string three chords together, seems to think they're talented. Of course, the truth is, it's what the public is willing to accept 'as' talent, that carries as much, if not more of the responsibility. There are those who would point a finger at Rap, as a prime example of that theory.
    Bottom line: The internet has allowed any idiot with an ISP, to camouflage the talented people out there. And selling one's blood, sweat, and tears for 99-cents… well, it's a bargain for the buyer… and helps to keep the deserving, in that 'starving artist' category. Too few people have a clue regarding what's involved in writing and properly recording music… especially the time required. I'd wager that the people who'd make a hit out of that 'push-a-button, make-a-sound' crap, are the same ones who think McD's make good food… yeah…. "billions and billions served".

  • Jack Gold

    Internet has definitely not ruined the Music Business. If anything, it has strengthened the resolve and tenacity of those “really talented musicians” New horizons are opened for the great band and genre specific music now has an avenue to travel down. I know it’s easy for me, an Attorney, to say this given a separate income, however since I’m retired, I have kept the name of our band L.A. Carpool alive. I have time to devote to the Carpool. There are so many outlets you just need to sit and find them. Promotion to outlets of music, (i.e. Internet radio, Internet blogs, etc will give your sound life.) You must continue and play live, get a manager, get involved, keep musical. No Internet has helped the Music Business since you no longer have to kow Tow to that one A&R guy to sign you and then watch as company politics get in the way, between marketing,sales,promotion and A&R. “Back in the day is gone, but you’re not”

  • Liz Moore

    So what? I like music better free and lots of other people do as well. Anyway, the internet hasn’t actually destroyed the the music industry. People have always downloaded or recorded their music from somewhere, now isn’t any different.

    • DeoVindiceTriHexa

      So the fact that people want their music “free,” thus depriving musicians of any income, and “people have always done it” somehow justifies it? Amazing how thieves attempt to justify thievery.

  • Simon Walker

    Music is pretty much dead these days. Buying a 12" vinyl for £5 – £10 twenty years ago is a lot different to 89p for a download. Most modern bought CD's you buy these days sound like they have been made in someones shed due to what is known as the Loudness wars. In the main we get subjected to autotune drivel and so fourth. Twenty years ago if your music was registered with PRS and the likes you would get money for it being played on commercial radio etc. Even miming DJ's seem to think they are something special its all very desperate and no idea why people get taken in by the hype.

  • Taariq Hassan

    The music biz is suffering across the board with a surfeit of quantity and less quality . Music lessons, music recording studios, engineers, music teachers, venues , producers, vinyl pressing plants , cd replication/lay out firms are all stuffed it would seem . You don’t need talent because a computer can make a record for you and then people don’t expect to pay for the mp3 robot music !It can’t go on.

  • DeoVindiceTriHexa

    Want “free” music? Steal a ukulele and have at it.

  • Aaron David

    I think this guy at ” cd baby” an online music promoter is missing some things. LIke how the new world doenst play music videos and doesnt care about anyone over 30 which is where all great music has come from. mature people.

    These mature people in the past has record deals and influenced people . Now its kids who dont write songs influencing kids with shit. Dont act like nothings changed or that its good.

    If you dont want to believe that you can believe through simple observation is that music is just shit due to complacency and the internet. It has made music a hobby not an actual career. And those people who were supposed to be stars as you say have to make room for people who should have never and still shouldnt ever make music.

  • I write and record all my music at home. The technology is
    fantastic! It ensures total individual control from concept to
    completion. I don’t seek shows; where I could sell a CD, have it
    posted on a torrent site, only to be acquired without a

    A transaction is a recognition of value.
    A lack of recognition is equivalent with a lack of respect. Any
    system denying the individual ends up with a whole mass of what it’s
    always had, all made available for no reasonable cost and
    – as it’s twofold – nothing new will be created. The same old
    themes will keep being rehashed and remashed up, just as occurred in
    Western Europe for the thousand years or so before the
    Renaissance. If that’s the end effect, what about the cause?
    Could it be that allowing anything to be copied and
    redistributed without the direct consent of the owner is an insult to
    the individual; the creator; the artist? If you support such a
    system, you’re supporting his demise. ” Think for yourself; that’s where the good music comes from after all. ”

    Personally – I’m waiting for something better to come
    along. If it doesn’t, you can hear my music after I’m dead and it is
    released into public domain – to await for deserving
    individuals to seek it out and find it. I’m sure there are other
    artists out there who have reasoned in a similar fashion. It’s such a
    shame that I’ll never get to experience their works in
    my lifetime

  • Richard Sievert

    Yes it has you cantyeven give a physical adress without being removed. Our privilege to tell someone where we are is gone they can know but we can’t it’s just so strictly ruled that a person can’t even beg without being flagged by a host program or person who will not even let you Tell the truth. If your words arn’t containing something pleasurable your comment is removed . I hate the electric morphine lie!