Huge issues, such as how to compensate musicians who have content ripped off or used without permission on Goliath’s like You Tube, do not seem to be any closer to being resolved. One lawyer from a large internet file sharing site expressed her frustration that it took her client 8 years to work out a comprehensive license deal with the labels. The labels countered that with a complaint that the country’s Anti-Trust laws prohibit the labels from meeting in the same room let alone coming up with a unilateral price for licensing music and come up with a fair price for licensing; music. The result will be years of musicians losing out on mechanicals and licensing revenue.
But, like I said, the weekend was not without some optimism. Focus groups discussed new ways for musicians to make money and reach their fan groups. Several of the methods they discussed were ideas that this site previously discussed (Click Here and Here). Using new and creative ways to get your music to your fan base (USB drives, t-shirts, treasure hunts) and utilizing social media were stressed by those in the know. Creating an interactive experience with the buyer should be the ultimate goal of musicians. With all of the utilities currently available, the one on one fan/artist experience is easier to achieve.
The byproduct of the new methods of reaching and interacting with fans is the steady decline of the traditional album (Something I mentioned in last week’s post: See White Chocolate and the Soul Berries). Rolling Stone is picking up on this trend as it is reaching beyond the indies and making headway with some major artists. In Issue 1090, October 29, 2009, David Browne cited to the death of the traditional album in his article entitled “Artists Break Free of the Album”. In the article, several artists, including Billy Corgan, Modest Mouse, Sppon, Blitzen Trapper and Radiohead, are testifying to the need and the appeal of a new model for getting music to the masses. Finally catching up to the public trend (or disease, depending on how you feel) of severe Attention Deficit Disorder, the music industry is coming to the realization that if you are going to get new music out and grab the public’s attention, you better do it quickly and in a new and interesting way. EP’s are becoming the new LP’s and on-line releases, once deemed leaks, are becoming a cheaper and easier way to reach the entire world and not just the big box store customer.
The industry insiders and taste makers at CMJ were not necessarily revealing any new or earth shattering information that the informed musician did not already know. Yet, it is important to realize the significance of the simple fact that these industry and label types are finally catching on to the truth. If you really needed proof that the industry is not what it once used to be and the old model of releasing a cd, touring, sitting back and living off of royalties is dead, then hearing it from a label owner, label lawyer and label A&R executive is all you hopefully ever need.
Exciting stuff in my world this week. My lovely and talented wife was named as one of the Fresh Faces in Fashion by Gen Art. Obviously I have known for a long time how truly fresh her face and her jewelry are, but the fashion world has officially caught on to her brilliance. Check out her wares at www.tokicollection.com. Guys, special attention should be focused on Toki’s hat trick www.tokicollection.com/hattrick.html. It’s the perfect gift for a guy to give to his lady friend. One purchase equals a year of jewelry and, consequently, a year’s worth of your lady’s appreciation (theoretically).
Unless you express your love to your significant other through interpretive dance or macrame, the hat trick is a no brainer; trust me. For more info on the Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion go to www.genart.org/fashion.event.htm.
More excitement, if you can take it. The Hideout Block Party is this weekend and all the folks from the Future of Music Coalition folks will be there in full effect “spreading the word about the importance of net neutrality to musicians as part of One Web Day – a worldwide celebration of the open Internet” (their language not mine). The block party should be great though as a lot of cool bands are playing. Check out www.hideoutblockparty.com for more info.
The hits just keep on coming…after the weekend of excellent music and jewelery purchasing, come to the Future of Music Coalitions: What’s the Future for Musicians? seminar on Monday at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I will be speaking with some other panel types about how to actually make money as a musician in today’s over-saturated music marketplace. If you are a musician you can still apply for a free pass to the seminar. Seminars usually have a NyQuil type effect on me, but this one is chalk full of some great speakers (myself not included) and some pretty interesting topics, so come check it out.
Finally, best band name for a band playing at the Hideout Block Party: Although it’s tough to beat Neil Hamburger’s Drunken Spelling Bee, I’m giving it to The Uglysuit as they are more of a band as compared to Neil’s Spelling competition and they rock in an appealing melodic way. Plus they have this wicked flyer ready to go: