Music, Buy it don’t steal it

Sam Rosenthal Although I agree with most of what Michael says — and I’m always telling my fans to BUY MUSIC, rather than STEAL IT — I will disagree by saying there still is money to be earned in the music industry. Legal digital income increases every year for my label; it actually evens out with the loss of money from physical sales. “Staying the same is the new getting ahead” — that’s my slogan.

Mike Blaty replies“LOL… I like your motto Sam and it is too true. It happens that I also agree with the fact that there is still money to be earned in music. It’s just much harder to achieve under the current set of non-rules. Perhaps my point was made too ardently and too pessimistically. I still have hope that the music industry will somehow right itself.

Though I think it’s in our nature to choose the free option rather than the one that costs money when given the choice, I have hope there will be a way to keep artists doing what fires their souls. I speak more from the frustration of my own ignorance as to how it is currently done, than from a blanket rebuke of that which I clearly do not understand.

As a recording engineer, I started about the same time as you, Sam. Some of the most rewarding moments of my life were spent in that chair helping to create music. It’s a calling that defies all efforts of self preservation by denial. Now that I’ve taken jobs in other areas of the industry, I scratch at my missing studio like the phantom itch of a missing limb. I used to glibbly say that even if people didn’t pay me to record, I would do it anyway… but it turns out we all have to make a living sometime. It makes me happy to know that some still cut a path down this overgrown, but worthy trail.”

Music industry, history and today

Mike B: Peter is right that there were some fantastic major labels during the album oriented rock and adult contemporary period (ie Geffen, A&M and GRP). Unfortunately those labels were either bought out or crushed by numbers-driven, multinational corporations during the 1980’s. I would still argue that the landscapewas better when the filter and promotion of major labels was relevant. That’s the current issue. Some of these major and independant labels still exist, but they are largely irrelevant. In todays market, record labels are much less of a success vehicle, yet they still take their traditional pound of flesh from the recording artist. I make no contention about their desirablility one way of the other, but they can do much less, and they provide much less than they did in the past and still require the same percentages. It has also been many years since those labels did tour support. On those lines, Don Henley wrote an article in 2004 called “Killing the Music” and it is a good read for those who have wittnessed the changes.

Dialogue re music biz

jeff Deen Congrats on starting this dialouge, Vicki. I was speaking with Mike Blaty the other day about it, and I observed that we went from having everything being dictated by the big record companies and radio stations to now, having so much access to music that we cannot filter out all the crap. Not to say that the┬ábig companies were successful in filtering out all the crap- they just knew what crap would sell to the masses. Seems like there could be a role for musician co-ops to market themselves, or at least have many related artists under one site, perhaps maintained by a common manager or booking agent. Not sure how it would work. But at least we’re talking.