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Unread 09-12-2008, 03:59 PM   #1
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Unread 09-12-2008, 05:20 PM   #2
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Knowing some people that seem more than eager to jump into the trench that Albini describes, the real tragedy is that for people getting into that situation, their naivete is equal only to their belief that- even knowing all that crap- it will most certainly never happen to them that way... oh yes, they'll be far too successful to be screwed-over.
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Unread 09-12-2008, 05:21 PM   #3
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That's why I'd be going with a small, non-major label, or no label at all.

I'm in a bit of an advantage as I've taken classes in music business and know the inner workings of a record contract/label. As a result, none of that was news to me.

The best bet these days is to pay for your own recording (or do it yourself if you're skilled enough) and sign a distribution deal, if anything.

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Unread 09-12-2008, 05:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by eleven59 View Post
That's why I'd be going with a small, non-major label, or no label at all.

I'm in a bit of an advantage as I've taken classes in music business and know the inner workings of a record contract/label. As a result, none of that was news to me.

The best bet these days is to pay for your own recording (or do it yourself if you're skilled enough) and sign a distribution deal, if anything.
That's my plan on both counts... small label or no label. Record myself, sell myself. Tours ehhh don't have time anyways.

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Unread 09-12-2008, 06:27 PM   #5
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Unread 09-12-2008, 06:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sakeido View Post
That's my plan on both counts... small label or no label. Record myself, sell myself. Tours ehhh don't have time anyways.
our band is going the same route. we're recording ourselves (well i'm stuck doing the recording), having a local studio mix and master it. then we'll sell it ourselves. small label assistance would be appreciated but thats about it. and yeah, i can't see us touring for more than a weekend at a time
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Unread 09-12-2008, 07:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Demiurge View Post
Knowing some people that seem more than eager to jump into the trench that Albini describes, the real tragedy is that for people getting into that situation, their naivete is equal only to their belief that- even knowing all that crap- it will most certainly never happen to them that way... oh yes, they'll be far too successful to be screwed-over.
So very, very true...

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Unread 09-12-2008, 08:18 PM   #8
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Ouch.

That was pretty eye opening.



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Unread 09-12-2008, 08:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sakeido View Post
That's my plan on both counts... small label or no label. Record myself, sell myself. Tours ehhh don't have time anyways.
On the plus side, there's some really badass larger "indie" labels around Toronto area that apparently are pretty fair, and I wouldn't sign anything that would include screwing us around, and would result in getting on some amazing tours with some amazing bands.

One can dream...

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Unread 09-12-2008, 09:27 PM   #10
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That is truly chilling. Living the "high life" of a "rock star" is sure an expensive ride!!
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Unread 09-12-2008, 09:29 PM   #11
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Honestly, this was written some time ago. I think a lot of rules have changed. Anyone who is an obviously outstanding player has a much better chance of recognition than ever before.

Hopefully, people will start to do their own business and keep all the money for themselves. Vai had a great interview to that effect.

And besides, I would STILL do it! Ha! :/
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Unread 09-12-2008, 10:08 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ancestor View Post
Honestly, this was written some time ago. I think a lot of rules have changed. Anyone who is an obviously outstanding player has a much better chance of recognition than ever before.

Hopefully, people will start to do their own business and keep all the money for themselves. Vai had a great interview to that effect.

And besides, I would STILL do it! Ha! :/
Yeah, I recall first seeing this article almost a decade ago. The big labels are taking fewer chances and signing fewer artists than they used to. Pretty much, the big labels are now only relevant if you are a generic teen pop artist, hip-hop diva, or one of those blow-dried fake country singers coming out of Nashville these days. Or if you have some kind of TV tie-in.

The problem facing artists who self-release or do distribution deals is that they don't get any of the promo that the big labels do. Also, royalty advances are a form of indentured servitude, in a way, but they can also keep an artist going in the early days. Otherwise, it's strictly what you can do out of your own pocket. Since record sales are way down across the board and clubs are closing left and right (in the USA, at least), I think we're headed back to the really old days when being a musician was, by definition, a marginal, low-paying profession. The glory days of the big rock tours were probably nothing more than a blip on the radar, in the longer picture.

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Unread 09-12-2008, 10:53 PM   #13
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The glory days of the big rock tours were probably nothing more than a blip on the radar, in the longer picture.
Probably not such a bad thing, imo.
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Unread 09-13-2008, 01:04 AM   #14
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Probably not such a bad thing, imo.
I don't know. I'm old enough to remember the pre-MTV glory days of arena rock, and it was pretty amazing that even the mid-level bands that came through town could play to 10,000+ people. So much great music (and a lot of crap, too) got played before so many people--it was really an entire subculture that has largely disappeared, IMHO. Clubs are undoubtedly better places than sports arenas to see bands, but there was a lot of good stuff going on in the heyday of the arena tours and the LP. Music simply does not play that kind of cultural role anymore--it's a disposable product now, just a bunch of background noise for most people.

On the other hand, it's a lot easier to get your own music out there for the handful of people who are interested.

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Unread 09-13-2008, 02:07 AM   #15
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I've read that before. Terrible, but true.

I agree that music isn't as important to the masses anymore, which doesn't help.



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Unread 09-13-2008, 02:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonplayer View Post
I don't know. I'm old enough to remember the pre-MTV glory days of arena rock, and it was pretty amazing that even the mid-level bands that came through town could play to 10,000+ people. So much great music (and a lot of crap, too) got played before so many people--it was really an entire subculture that has largely disappeared, IMHO. Clubs are undoubtedly better places than sports arenas to see bands, but there was a lot of good stuff going on in the heyday of the arena tours and the LP. Music simply does not play that kind of cultural role anymore--it's a disposable product now, just a bunch of background noise for most people.

On the other hand, it's a lot easier to get your own music out there for the handful of people who are interested.
I agree with you completely man, I'm too young to have even seen the "club" scenes in the 80's and 90's, I was just around to watch the many clubs and venues in my area close down and with it the scene is a shadow of what it once was.
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Unread 09-13-2008, 04:35 AM   #17
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That's my plan on both counts... small label or no label. Record myself, sell myself. Tours ehhh don't have time anyways.
TOURS ARE LIFE
I'd have to lose a lot more money on tour than I did even on my first tour to even THINK about regretting it. Up there with the best experiences of my life, filth and lack of money all the same.

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Unread 09-13-2008, 10:46 AM   #18
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I agree with you completely man, I'm too young to have even seen the "club" scenes in the 80's and 90's, I was just around to watch the many clubs and venues in my area close down and with it the scene is a shadow of what it once was.
When I was growing up, kids largely defined themselves by the music they listened to. Regular kids--not musicians, not music junkies--went to concerts all the time, and it was a regular part of the social scene. Clubs have always played more to adults because of the minimum drinking age, but arena shows were for everybody. People *obsessed* over albums--reading all the liner notes, studying the covers etc.

The amount of money that level of business generated allowed the music industry to hand out big money to bands, albeit on terrible terms. That's all gone now, and it was already starting to disappear when Albini wrote this article, though it wasn't as apparent then. MTV is really what started the whole process. It initially jumpstarted a lot of business in the '80s, but it had the side effect of making music more of a 'passive' experience like watching a sitcom. It killed a lot of the concert business overnight. And I believe the concert experience is where the 'soul' of music is.

BTW, I hate to sound like an old man with all the "back in my day" stuff, but it helps to understand that the decline of the music business is a long-term thing and not solely related to downloads or video games.

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Unread 09-13-2008, 11:22 AM   #19
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The problem facing artists who self-release or do distribution deals is that they don't get any of the promo that the big labels do.
this is true, to there scale. but there are allot of options for a good artist to successfully market themselves without the big labels. especially with the options available on the net, you can cheaply/easily exposuse your music to allot of different people. while an artist that before might have gotten LARGE scale marketing hype from a label will not be able to get that kinda hype on there own, smaller bands that would never get the big push from a label now have allot of tools at there disposal to market themselves.
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Unread 09-13-2008, 05:54 PM   #20
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this is true, to there scale. but there are allot of options for a good artist to successfully market themselves without the big labels. especially with the options available on the net, you can cheaply/easily exposuse your music to allot of different people. while an artist that before might have gotten LARGE scale marketing hype from a label will not be able to get that kinda hype on there own, smaller bands that would never get the big push from a label now have allot of tools at there disposal to market themselves.
That's very true. The problem is that there is no other form of promo that adequately replaces radio, which is the exclusive preserve of the major labels. With radio, you get to "push" music at new audiences, whereas most new forms of promo require the public to effectively search you out. Because of that, the potential return is not nearly as high, even though the resulting audience you can get is highly motivated.

Pop music has broken up into a zillion small niches, none of which seem to have a large enough audience to provide a comfortable living for the artists, even without all of music industry bullshit. I don't know how all this will shake out, ultimately. It may be that the recordings become more of a 'bonus' than the primary item for sale. But how an artist makes a living like that (apart from already established artists), I have no idea.

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Unread 09-13-2008, 06:57 PM   #21
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Music isn't any less important than it was 20 years ago. I think the difference is that the general population no longer has a favorite band. Pickup the average ipod. It has 80 artists yet only 200 songs. Of course this is a slight dramatization but you get the point.
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Unread 09-14-2008, 01:37 AM   #22
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This article has been around for a few years, but it's still no less true.
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Unread 09-14-2008, 08:39 AM   #23
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I think the difference is that the general population no longer has a favorite band. Pickup the average ipod. It has 80 artists yet only 200 songs. Of course this is a slight dramatization but you get the point.
For mainstream genres, it's going to be almost impossible for fans to have a favorite artist eventually if we revert back to a singles era where exposure is a revolving door and most artists' careers are "one and done."

Sure, the public is fickle, and therefore the record companies are going to be even more fickle about signing and retaining artists.

The process Albini describes may not change as much as it will be abbreviated, or maybe the artist will assume more expenses up front and companies will say, "you can record your whole album, but we're only paying for songs X, Y, and Z because those can be singles- you're on your own for the filler."
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Unread 09-14-2008, 08:47 AM   #24
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i totally agree with jackson player, since mtv came on the scene, it took a lot of wind out of live concerts

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Unread 09-14-2008, 03:28 PM   #25
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If my band were ever to 'make it big', I'd wanna record it without the support of a label, and basically sign a distribution/promo deal with a label. And I know this'll never happen to be, because I wanna retain the rights to my own songs. I'll take less income, but I don't want to get screwed like some ppl (Dave Mustaine) who can't play their own songs on a CD-ROM that's included with Guitar World because his former record company would have to get a cut of it. In addition, I wouldn't want my music ending up in some commercial or TV show that I didn't approve of.

.... that. I'll keep my musical integrity, or I'll stay a Med Tech
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