Posts Tagged ‘Frank Zappa

08
Jun
09

Why Radio & Music Industry Sucks Nowadays

Defining the Music Industry Crisis
Author: chris purifoy
April 21, 2009

“To every problem there is already a solution whether you know it or not.”
-Grenville Kleiser (1868-1953)

With this in mind, I would like to attempt to identify the main problems that have threatened to destroy the vision that was born on the streets of Tin Pan Alley. I urge readers to add to the list and help me begin this journey towards resolution.

11 of the issues that make up the current Music Industry Crisis.

1. Internet radio is the future yet providers can not sustain growth due to growing taxes on streaming music and a lack of clear revenue models.

2. 360 deals strain everything and everyone causing countless problems yet they are a necessary evil for struggling funding partners (Labels, publishers, Management, etc. . ).

3. Social networks and other web 2.0 outlets provide easy and personal access to fans yet the growing number of networks dilutes the overall message and dramatically increases the time spent marketing.

4. Apple has been an incredible innovator in the quest to a brighter music industry. We owe them a great debt. However, their unprecedented high market share in digital music sales mixed with their stubborn and controlling business models leave no bargaining room for funding partners (labels, publishers, etc..). Growth and innovation in this important industry sector (music retail) is therefore stifled without the ability for competitive trials. In addition, Apple’s 30% take on each track sold leaves little for the artists and song writers.

5. Physical Retail stores have lost the ability to turn a profit unless attached to a one stop business model (i.e Walmart, Hastings, Best Buy, etc.). As a result the true music pushers, independent music retail stores, are almost extinct.

6. Traditional radio, though still an important promotional front, has lost much of its glory to the on demand world of iPods, satellite radio, and Internet radio. It has therefore become increasingly more difficult to predict market trends without a standard radio format to follow. The result is a much higher risk/return ratio for funding partners (Labels, Publishers, etc..), which in turn limits the number of acts that ever see a major market entry.

7. The RIAA in an attempt to combat the growing number of music pirates, proclaimed war on piracy by means of civil suits with individual copyright infringers. Many average American citizens were made an example of with outrageous and bizarre settlements. The music industries’ minds were in the right place. They had intended to create the perception of risk for stealing music and in turn, change consumer thinking. In the end however, it only generated a false image of a “Greedy Recording Industry”. This wall between the consumer and the industry has instead furthered the cause for this viral pirating trend.

8. Video and audio sharing networks act as a breeding ground for the spread of illegal music in the form of audio and videos. These new networks cut into the profits of funding partners (labels, publishers, etc.) yet act as a wonderful way for independent artists and major artists alike to receive viral promotion. In addition, simple mathematics states that all of the illegal media sharing portals can not be shut down. Lawsuits cost money, and the recording industry doesn’t have much. Instead, the industry goes after the major outlets one at a time. But for every 1 that is shut down, 7 more are built in its place. Let us just say that this fire is out of control.

9. And let us not forget, stealing music is still more convenient to the average consumer than buying music. In addition, the only way to fully shut down music piracy would be to turn on “Big Brother” and violate very important privacy privileges. Therefore, it can never truly be stopped as long as we live in a democratic society. The solution must lie in connotation and change. Though it may appear that the RIAA is doing more harm then good, they have it right. The battle ground is in the mind.

10. (Addition) The music industries, both production and business, are now intimately and infinitely tied to digital and to the Internet. The systems that govern digital music across the web are not yet fully realized by the core of the music Industry. A clear vision for the future of these newlyweds (music and Internet), has not yet been defined. The marriage is still rocky and working out its kinks. The solution can be found in the collective mind of the industry. To quote our motto, “We must unite to restore.”

11. (Addition & Invitation) The Live Scene

The first round of comments from the Linkedin music business network laid claims to a crisis within the live music scene. The live scene has been neglected by this article. I invite anyone who works in live sound to help me analyse this market niche for problems. Your collective wisdom will greatly aid me in future editions of this article as I seek to once and for all define the music industry crisis.

09
Apr
09

Did Frank Zappa Come Up File Sharing In 1983?

Coming from The Real Frank Zappa Book and discusses his response to “the home taping movement” and the attempt to get everyone to rebuy their old albums on CD by proposing a system where you could subscribe to whatever genre of music you wanted and get it delivered in batches. He first talks about how ridiculous it is to focus just on selling discs of music:

MUSIC CONSUMERS LIKE TO CONSUME MUSIC . . . NOT PIECES OF VINYL WRAPPED IN PIECES OF CARDBOARD.

Then he talks about how to “embrace” home taping:

It is our proposal to take advantage of the POSITIVE ASPECTS of a NEGATIVE TREND afflicting the record industry today: HOME TAPING via cassette of material released on vinyl…. First of all, we must realize that the taping of albums is not motivated by ‘stinginess’ alone …. People today enjoy music more than ever before, and, they like to take it with them wherever they go. THEY CAN HEAR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AUDIO AND BAD AUDIO . . . THEY CARE ABOUT THAT DIFFERENCE, AND THEY ARE WILLING TO GO TO SOME TROUBLE AND EXPENSE TO HAVE HIGH QUALITY ‘PORTABLE AUDIO’ TO USE AS ‘WALLPAPER FOR THEIR LIFESTYLE’.

So he makes the following suggestion:

We propose to acquire the rights to digitally duplicate and store THE BEST of every record company’s difficult-to-move Quality Catalog Items [Q.C.I.], store them in a central processing location, and have them accessible by phone or cable TV, directly patchable into the user’s home taping appliances, with the option of direct digital-to-digital transfer to F-1 (SONY consumer level digital tape encoder), Beta Hi-Fi, or ordinary analog cassette (requiring the installation of a rentable D-A converter in the phone itself . . . the main chip is about $12).

All accounting for royalty payments, billing to the customer, etc. would be automatic, built into the initial software for the system.

The consumer has the option of subscribing to one or more Interest Categories, charged at a monthly rate, without regard for the quantity of music he or she decides to tape.

Providing material in such quantity at a reduced cost could actually diminish the desire to duplicate and store it, since it would be available any time day or night.

Monthly listings could be provided by catalog, reducing the on-line storage requirements of the computer. The entire service would be accessed by phone, even if the local reception is via TV cable.

The advantage of the TV cable is: on those channels where nothing ever seems to happen (there’s about 70 of them in L.A.), a visualization of the original cover art, including song lyrics, technical data, etc., could be displayed while the transmission is in progress, giving the project an electronic whiff of the original point-of-purchase merchandising built into the album when it was ‘an album’, since there are many consumers who like to fondle & fetish the packaging while the music is being played. In this situation, Fondlement & Fetishism Potential [F.F.P.] is supplied, without the cost of shipping tons of cardboard around.

We require a LARGE quantity of money and the services of a team of mega-hackers to write the software for this system. Most of the hardware devices are, even as you read this, available as off-the-shelf items, just waiting to be plugged into each other so they can put an end to “THE RECORD BUSINESS” as we now know it.

Just imagine how different the music industry might be today if he’d been able to move forward with that idea. 1983 was probably too early, but jump forward ten years… and we’d be facing a very different sort of music industry.




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