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How can we help?
Old 7th April 2003
  #1
How can we help?

Given the state of the record industry right now, with sales being down, cookiecutter projects everywhere and budgets being in the toilet, what can WE do, as engineers, producers and studio owners to help getting everything back on track, or to make the recording world a better one? What are the problems and how can they be addressed. Do we even know?
Old 7th April 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Kris's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Go to live shows, and support local/regional/national musicians.
Buy their merch...

Musicians make their money on the road, which they will in turn spend at the studio. Which allows them to create the merch (ie the album and associated stuff for sale) which allows them to make more money and continue the cycle...

This probably does not take the Record Company aspect into account...
Old 7th April 2003
  #3
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Certainly one thing we can all do is help to get lots of live local music on the air again.

Most community and college broadcasters would love to broadcast live music and we have the collective tools and expertise to make that happen at little or no expense to the broadcasters and performers. The recording industry is about selling recordings to fans. Anything we can do to connect performers with more fans helps the entire community.
Old 7th April 2003
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Kris's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Great idea Mr. Olhsson,,, got the wheels spinnin' now...
Old 7th April 2003
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
2 words

Pirate
Radio
Old 13th April 2003
  #6
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
I'm in favour of a more local, grass-roots music communities to develop & promote talent. This would need to include local labels & gig promotors/venue owners as well for it to work.

This is the kind of model that produced the Liverpool scene, 'Madchester', and has always been agressively utilised by underground black music everywhere since the year dot.

It just needs co-operation between the different organisations involved and a commitment & enthusiam for it to work.
Old 13th April 2003
  #7
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Oh yeah, and local radio as well!
Old 13th April 2003
  #8
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
Use dead time to develop acts, serve them up 'developed' to record co's and managers. Keep yourself protected via contracts,

If the record co's are under so much prerssure that they dont have the time or finance to develop bands - then LETS DO IT FOR THEM!

Thats what I'm doing anyway, presently I am do ing MORE of this than paid sessions...

Old 13th April 2003
  #9
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think we need to get involved at a more fundamental level than recording. Just handing artists over to a generation of managers and labels who haven't a clue about anything other than how to spend immense amounts of money isn't a very good long term strategy for ourselves as a community.

When you strip it all back to the basics, we need to provide musical experiences that are exceptional enough that:

1. people will WILLINGLY pay for them

2. word of mouth will be a significant and possibly the principal means of exposure as opposed to the status quo which depends on piggybacking exposure on other media that has other priorities.

We need to take the music industry back because we can live with lower profit levels than multinational corporations need but there will be no real shortcuts provided by big corporate interests. We need to create a middle-class for music between do-it-yourself and Disney.
Old 17th April 2003
  #10
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
I'm with you there, Bob.

Unfortunately, I can't see how middle-ground labels can carry the burden of financing acts to compete with the corporations, in that I don't just mean recording costs (we all know that done properly, a record doesn't have to cost very much at all), but obtaining distribution, getting airplay on national stations, mainstream media promotion, touring costs etc.

This does however hark back to my original post: if the responsibility is shared between a number of parties who all take an equal risk and therefore an equal stake, we can avoid the big-time or bust scenario by spreading the load as it were. Everyone has to do their part to make it happen, otherwise they don't get paid!

What does everyone think?

Crispy
Old 18th April 2003
  #11
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by crispy

Unfortunately, I can't see how middle-ground labels can carry the burden of financing acts to compete with the corporations, in that I don't just mean recording costs (we all know that done properly, a record doesn't have to cost very much at all), but obtaining distribution, getting airplay on national stations, mainstream media promotion, touring costs etc.
Coming from Motown where an artist-owned label outsold the majors for a number of years, I have no doubt that it IS doable and doable without spending tons of money.

The thing is that you need to take every step and find a way around spending lots of money. There are ALWAYS ways around but they'll be at the grass roots level. The bottom-line remains creating lots of quality relationships with fans. It's better to earn them than than to try and buy them anyways. The big thing is to not try to take shortcuts because they tend to cost more than they are worth.
Old 18th April 2003
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Steve Smith's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I do most of my work lately with players and artists who ar young ( 18 -22) and very inexperienced as far as the record industry goes. I try to do everything I can to help them understand what the basics of the biz are, contracts, what a good deal is, how to deal with publishing, organize shows, who does what as far as production, etc. That and I spend alot of time just trying to get people to start writing together, where I am right now, very few of this age of artists understands that Dianne Warren makes a helluva lot more than the folks who are singing most of the time..

Good thread Michael!, Nice points Bob.
Old 19th April 2003
  #13
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
FYI....
CNBC will be airing what they are calling a special on the "Music Business",
I am hoping it is going to report on the economics of the business and not How to be a rock star. But may be worth the time to view.
April 19th @ 10:00 ET
Re-broadcast
April 20th @ 9:00 ET
Check it out and report back.

Also FYI, from the news today:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration is siding with the recording industry in its court fight to force Internet providers to disclose the identities of people who are illegally trading songs over the Web.

A Justice Department brief, filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, supports the effort by the Recording Industry Association of America to force Verizon Internet Services Inc. to identify a subscriber suspected of offering more than 600 songs from well-known artists.

Verizon has asked a federal judge to halt a subpoena for the subscriber's identity, arguing that it violates the First Amendment because it does not provide ``protection of the expressive and associational interests of Internet users.''

The subpoena was sought by the music industry under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows companies to force disclosure of Internet users' names without a judge's order.

The Justice Department filing said the subpoena was legal and no First Amendment protection would be violated through disclosure of the name. The Justice Department brief contends that upholding copyright law itself would ``promote First Amendment ideals.''

The subpoena, the brief adds, ``targets the identity of alleged copyright infringers, not spoken words or conduct commonly associated with expression.''

A federal judge will now have to decide the constitutional issue, which is viewed as an important test of the 1998 law's applicability in Internet copyright cases.

Matt Oppenheim, senior vice president of business and legal affairs at the RIAA, said Friday: ``The government's filing today supports the proposition that we have long advocated - copyright owners have a clear and umambiguous entitlement to determine who is infringing their copyrights online, and that entitlement is constitutional. Verizon's persistent efforts to protect copyright thieves on pirate peer-to-peer networks will not succeed.''

The Justice Department filing comes as the recording industry is expanding its fight against illegal Internet content swapping. The RIAA earlier this month filed lawsuits against four college students who allegedly offered more than 1 million copies of popular recordings.

Those lawsuits, filed in New York, New Jersey and Michigan, demand that the sites be shut down and that the RIAA be paid damages of up to $150,000 per song.

Recording and movie industry groups teamed up in February to send a brochure to Fortune 1000 corporations suggesting that they warn employees against using company computers to download copyrighted content from the Internet.

On the Net:

Recording Industry Association of America: http://www.riaa.com
Old 19th April 2003
  #14
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
FWIW Verizon was trying to have it both ways.

The DMCA let Internet Service providors off the hook as parties to copyright infringement actions in exchange for requiring them to assist in identifying offenders.
Old 20th April 2003
  #15
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Kris
Great idea Mr. Olhsson,,, got the wheels spinnin' now...
now, you need to spin the wheels of a recording truck.
Old 20th April 2003
  #16
Old 20th April 2003
  #17
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Well I think that the type of development deals Jules is talking about will help, and Bob is dead on about alternative radio beeing hungry for and amenable to independent music but there seems to be a more fundamental problem as I see it..
The tried and true method of developing a fan base by touring a local area and then expanding, is , at least here in Canada, on the skids. Bars and small clubs are making a habit of exploiting the musician and making it very hard for a local act to make any money at all. So unless an act has independent financing from parents or day jobs, they can't gig hard and develop the fan base. There is simply no way to pay the rent.
There have been creative solutions for some genres, like the house concert that is becoming popular here. A fan sets up a gig in their living room and the artist plays to 15-30 fans who pay a $15 to $20 cover. Works OK for the folk type or singer song writer.
There are also starting to be organizations of gigging musicians who find accomadation and venues for touring acts in their area, in exchange for the same service in another bands area.
The anti alcohol and anti drinking and driving campaigns are having big effects on Bars in Canada. Possibly we are in a unique situation here as we have a huge country with a small population and driving to the bar is often the only option.
Anyway finding jobs for gigging musicians is the first step I feel and one which will need creative work. I even bought a ran a music bar about 15 years ago to get some insightes into this end. I t was tough then and I fear it's worse now.
Whats the bar club situation where you are? Take care Logan
Old 20th April 2003
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
It's not great in Long Island either, but it sounds a little better than in Canada. Actually I'm on the other side of the glass most of the time, as the artist trying to progress his career. I've only gotten into engineering after a string of really bad experiences with producer/ae's. I produce/engineer more than just my own stuff now, and in terms of 'what can we do to help?' I am strongly considering flying a kid out of England so I can record him for free and send him home with some awesome recordings. I don't know what that will do, but this kid *is* the next Badly Drawn Boy, and I'd like to help him along. Actually thinking about it, I think Jules would have a field day with him (Jules, if you're reading this, let me know if you have any room for any other artists- this person who I'm talking about is one of the most unique and forward thinking writers/performers I have encountered!).

As far as my own stuff, I've just been playing out solo acoustic/singer in coffee houses for warm ups for when I actually am able to play somewhere with a stage. =P But so far, the response has been overwhelming- I'm noticing people that keep showing up just to hear me play. I've gotten at least 3-5 eMails from people at each show (playing to audiences of maybe 15-30 at most) asking if I have a CD out. I've started freely distributing my early demos (rough but really cool sounding) throughout the places I play with my name written all over them so that 'word of disc' helps a bit too. Internet promotion is big also- though I haven't been doing what I should to keep it up as much. I'm recording a bunch of cover songs done very stylistically, and putting them up on Kazaa. I figure people might be like "hey, this isn't the original version... who is this by?" and the info will have a link to my site. Just anything that can be done to boost my ego and knowledge of my existence is worth doing ;-) I'm exploring my options right now, but I'd really like to do what Jules talks about doing- my faith in my stuff is that anyone who hears the majority of it will love at least one song and be able to bare the others ;-) I can't imagine that a great recording of my stuff wouldn't help in some major way.
Old 20th April 2003
  #19
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
[i]... there seems to be a more fundamental problem as I see it..
The tried and true method of developing a fan base by touring a local area and then expanding, is , at least here in Canada, on the skids. [/B]
Exactly, in all of North America, at least. This is a huge problem because it stops artists from being able to earn success using the votes of their fans. When you have to buy exposure at the most fundamental level, it's a no brainer that the industry must do the same at the highest. An economic wedge has been driven between performers and their fans.

Live music broadcasts could weaken that wedge because they are about the event and the fans in addition to the music.
Old 20th April 2003
  #20
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules

Here is my "solution" in action....
Congratulations!

To me it's still a pretty classic indi. production deal although 50 to 100% of the publisher's share would be conventional over here.

One thing I would worry a bit about, because you are based in Europe, is being able to offer enough of an incentive to a music publisher to get them to spring for record promotion. Here in the US the labels pay for all of it.
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