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Sometimes, jumping the bandwaggon just ain’t worth the hassle 05/06/2008

Posted by lmd64 in rant.
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Wired: Metallica Repents, Sort Of
Wired: Fans Rip Metallica a New One

I’m not a Metallica fan or hater, never was, never likely to be, pretty much indifferent about the lot of them, but here’s something for them to think about, maybe…

Back in the day, in the early 1920s, the Musicians Union came together to try to ban recorded versions of songs by their members being played over the radio, claiming that they would lose their only source of income, vis-a-vis live performances. This, patently, failed.

Those who make the most amount of money from album sales from major labels are not the artists, but the labels themselves. The majority of major-label signed artists will be very lucky to receive 15% royalties on their album sales. This income is often reduced further by advances from the label, to ‘assist’ with recording the album down. Effectively, the artist is paying for the studio sessions themselves, and not even retaining the rights to the recorded works, and in some cases, not even the publishing rights.

I imagine that it’s their record label that are the ones who’ve decided to shamelessly cash in on digital downloads. The band, I assume, are merely going along for the ride, which is actually the saddest thing about all this. They don’t understand that they’ve been subtly used and manipulated in the past into being the spokespersons/bullyboys for the majors trying to maintain control over the existing physical formats of music distribution. Suddenly to be seen the paraiahs of the digital download-savvy consumers must have come as quite the shock to them, although it begs the question:

Were they ever really that in touch with their core audience if they didn’t realise that the average fan back in the 90’s was a teenage rock kid, and that they didn’t have the deep pockets to keep forking into for the constant supply of ever-changing merchandise that the band issued forth? Hence the popularity of the free downloads, which, to be fair, are a less satisfying substitute for a CD, and a far less satisfactory experience than witnessing a live concert.

They did, and still do, seem to be primarily concerned with maintaining a regular source of income for themselves, rather than trying to push the boundaries of the music they put out and perform.

And to perform is key. The new model for bands and artists is, well, back once again to the old model. For good musicians, live performances win you your new fans and keep you your old fans. For the others, well, keep practicing, you’ll probably get there eventually.

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