Tuesday, October 09, 2007

An old dog working on new tricks

On the heels of the RIAA suing the pants off of the single mother in northern Minnesota, it's apparent that this heavey-handed 'representative' of musicians in the U.S.A. isn't truly representing all artists.

First, it was Radiohead that rolled out their new album in an unheard of manner; allowing fans to name the price for their new album. Now it's Trent Reznor's outfit -- Nine Inch Nails -- who have parted ways with their Universal Music Group label.

It isn't surprising, though, after the band unveiled early cuts of their new album guerilla-style at shows early this year by leaving USB jump drives in bathrooms of venues in a sort of "fuck you" move against their label and proved that new ways of thinking can build buzz for new music. It got my attention, too, because I am always looking for cool marketing ideas that don't lead to police action.

"Steal it," Reznor told the audience. "Steal away. Steal and steal, and steal
some more and give it to all your friends."


Reznor isn't alone is his displeasure with the major labels. Oldies alums Cheap Trick and The Allman Brothers have sued their label for more of a take in the profits from digital downloads and white boy rapper Eminem has sued Apple, Inc. because he want to cut his own download deal with the computer company rather than be represented by his major label distributor.

I mention these rabble-rousers, these modern-day revolutionaries because it seems that with the ever-growing influence of our digital world and the broad reach of the internet that the dinosaurs of the record companies (even the antiquated 'record' term proves the lack of forward progress) refuse to adapt and latch on to the new ways of the modern media universe and accept the fact that people do actually buy digital tracks and that instead of the greed of the past, they could hold on to the same level of profits if they actually lowered thier prices due to the decreased overhead with the lack of an actual physical product.

I have to wonder, though, if I'm alone in my view of the record companies. Am I in the minority by being in my twenties and only purchasing a handful of physical CDs each year compared to my habit of maybe 7 years ago of purchasing one disc each week? I probably still buy just as much music but can cherry pick one or two tracks from each album making my music addiction far more economical. Again, am I alone here? Are there still folks who snap up CDs at the rate of one each week?

6 comments:

Hammer said...

the record compnaies have been stealing from and screwing artists since recordings were first made.

Absolutely no ethics in the industry.

Beth said...

I read about that poor woman and immediately checked with my kids about downloading music. "Just don't share, Mom, just don't share."
I'm sticking with iTunes.
I couldn't afford a fine like that.

And, yes, the purchasing of CDs is way down in this household.

Stephanie said...

I don't buy CDs at all anymore. I download through iTunes and only buy the singles I like, never an entire album.

Enemy of the Republic said...

I remember hearing Trent saying that and it blew me away, because I know he likes his money, and tours incessently to earn it. He has a habit of fighting with record companies (remember Broken?) and that is just fine--he has been fucked over so many times by management and company alone--he is one of the most creative men in music, like him or not.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

"
I have to wonder, though, if I'm alone in my view of the record companies. Am I in the minority by being in my twenties and only purchasing a handful of physical CDs each year compared to my habit of maybe 7 years ago of purchasing one disc each week?"

Nope! Not by far. I'm almost sixty, so I'm sure our tastes may vary a bit, but I haven't bought one CD in the last three years, other than those asked for, for gifts, and I was good for one a month like clockwork. I'm no advocate of stealing, but in this case, I really wonder if it's stealing - or if it's getting what somebody wanted you to have, only there's a big bully standing between you saying no? Great post!!

Sornie said...

I think that artists are finally realizing that in this internet age that they don't need the restrictions of the overlords of record companies to generate buzz. If something is good in the online age, people notice and it gets buzz. Factor in that most artists make their actual money by touring and selling merch and they no longer need the dinosaurs of the big labels. It's no surprise that the artists figured this out long before the labels could manage to sell their own tunes by themselves thru their own online venue.