Wednesday, February 6, 2008

quote of the day

panther was interviewed on today:
"My favorites are those blogs/web sites claiming to liberate music from the rich music industry or whatever. It's the poor artists who are getting screwed, not just the record labels.  I would like to go into these people's [offices] and just start taking things and saying, "Come on! Why isn't it free man?" But I am hopeful that people realize that, for the most part, it is art, and people work hard, and culturally it is important"


KG said...

The only way a music blog could hurt this Panther, whoever this Panther is, is if somebody sampled a track of Panther's, and decided that the album the track was from was not probably worth his / her money.

There are "poor" music fans too and the more tools they have to be discerning, the better. It's not just the labels "suffering", or the "poor artists" - it's us too. (And I don't mind saying that I've been burned a couple of times by confusing the KRS logo as a kind of indie rock Good Housekeeping seal.)

Adapt or start releasing vinyl exclusively. All other options have been exhausted.

KG said...

And another thing!

To conflate commerce and culture - especially on a blog maintained by an independent label - is galling! Only in our hyper-capitalist modern era would such an utterance be made, and even now examples of homegrown, gratis culture are easy to find. (Hip hop mix tapes, fan fiction, Creative Commons, etc)

I'm with Ian McKay who says, " ... when people who are songwriters say, 'That's my property and if you give it away for free then I lose my incentive,' then, well, good riddance."

bp baggins said...

yeah, i agree that music fans are poor, but if you can afford to buy an expensive computer and pay for your high speed internet connection you can probably afford to spend 12 dollars on a cd or lp by an artist that you like, right?

i don't have a problem with all blogs, just the ones that have like 500 whole albums up there for download...

that said, i hardly ever buy cds. i mostly just get lps and cassettes.

maggie said...

hi kg - thanks for commenting. I am psyched that this blog will lead to lots of discussions. first off, I love mix tapes, college radio, blogs, etc and I believe these things are vital to a thriving underground and music community. I never believed home taping was killing the music industry and I don't believe in suing housewives. But I disagree strongly with your stance that people buy records they sample and like. We watch sales go down every year and there's a new generation of people that generally have never bought a record and don't see why they should. When a band has a younger audience we see that plain as day in their sales.

I am totally anti web sites that link to free copies of the record and offer no criticism (and call themselves things like the robin hood of indie rock). I also take offense that bands are told the only way to make a living from music now (and in the future) is to license to commercials and sell corporate wares. This I know is an unpopular stance in our hyper capitalist society.

Yeah we all know we have to change and figure it out. but I truly don't want to live in a world where only the people with trust funds can start bands and go on tour. How depressing. So how to make it all work?

rhinestone neckbrace said...

i was going to say something more intelligent but whatever,,,kg,,,you obviously dont get it and you are a douche bag! let the comments roll!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jud said...

I think that people who are creatively inclined will continue to create regardless of whether or not they are getting paid for their produce (unless, of course, they can’t because they are too pre-occupied with paid work). If they are genuine then they will always, in most cases, be artistically satisfied.
So, in my opinion, this huge cloud of apathy towards piracy is actually more endangering to the music fan:
If a fan likes a bands current album and they want to hear the next one then they should pay for their copy. If the band doesn’t get paid then the label doesn't get paid… If the label doesn't get paid (from the profit of each fan paying for thier music)then the band could get dropped and if the band gets dropped then the fan probably won't actually hear thier next album, let alone be able to illegally download it.
In the event of being dropped, the band will be "forced" to take up what jobs they can in order to fund their existence. This could interfere, to a greater or lesser extent, with the bands creativity meaning their next album might not be so good as the last one anyway. This lack of quality could be due to a lack of time spent honing the material. Time that used to be paid for by their record label (who drew the funding for which from the fruits of the bands last album), but is now paid for by working in a factory, for example. The band may even, in extreme cases, be too physically exhausted from “real work” to continue to “…labour over creative endeavours“ *.
Almost every music fan (at some point) sees certain bands as being akin to rich oasis's in a desert of otherwise bland, boring material. If the fans wants that oasis to continue to bloom then they shouldn't cut off its water supply (Water being a metaphor for money).
A fan shouldn’t make it difficult for a record label to host their favourite bands.
The label wants to be able to feed the fans with new material. But it literally can’t if it doesn’t have any money. How can it pay for new material to be recorded? And where is the “guarantee” that new material will be any good if the band has been deprived of enough free time in which to write it?
Genuine fans don’t want to end up starved of that once stunning brain-food.

* “..does he work?”
“No, he labours over creative endeavours” - a phrase coined by my friend, J H.

KG said...

I've discovered most of my favorite albums from the past two years through like-minded music bloggers. And it's not just current, here-today-gone-tomorrow acts that I've discovered, but classical composers, Hawaiian ukulele pickers, composers for film, and many, many pre-war blues artists. Music blogs are a rich, respectful participatory culture in the main. Blogs that link to entire records are exceedingly rare, and there's even one or two of those that can be defended on curatorial grounds.

And yes, I regularly purchase albums based on single tracks I've taken from blogs. A good deal of those purchases take the form of eMusic credits, which will not make a label as much money as a CD sale, of course - but then, it shouldn't. The CD is an antiquated, economically and ecologically unsound format which is losing in the long term based on its own merits, and labels should be ahead of the curve in terms of digital distribution.

It's well-established, for example, that less than 10% of the profit from a CD reaches the major-label artist. With numbers like those, it's impossible to feel sympathy for the (major) labels. And, more importantly, puts into question a label's relevance at all. The bottom line is, they're going to have to start doing something more compelling than pressing plastic to survive.

BP Baggins - It's a matter of degree. Having purchased my expensive computer and paid for my internet connection, along with all my other customary adult expenses, I don't have money to gamble on some 72 minute esoteric soundscape that sounds like it was recorded in the drummer's underwear. Blogs steer smart consumers away from the bullshit. Smart consumers never have to be disappointed with a music purchase ever again, in fact, which is something the labels don't necessarily want to come to pass. Many of them are used to marketing filler.

jud - I appreciate your argument, but labels get paid BEFORE musicians in every case. And albums are almost never recorded on the munificence of the labels. The funding usually takes the form of a loan, essentially, guaranteed against the sales of the album. In this scheme, many bands will actually go into debt to record a first album while under the (false) impression that the label will somehow "nurture" them, whatever that means, through future, theoretically profitable releases. But it's more likely that, because of their weak initial sales, that the band will be dropped.

A lot of these issues are brought into sharp focus on the site, which has been inexplicably down for the past week or so. If you Google "downhill battle", though, you can read the cached material. There are artist interviews (who just as often as not are supportive of P2P file sharing), links to other digital culture sites, and ideas about how music fans can truly support the artists they love.

And yes, I do love music, and I do respect the financial imperatives of the artists who create it. And because of that I also endorse and share their music with others, see them live whenever I can, and purchase their merchandise. I won't, however, be told that I'm less of a fan because I refuse to be fleeced by third-parties.

And the only reason I know that KRS exists today is because an older, hipper friend put every Bikini Kill release she had on a 90 minute Memorex tape back in 1995. Which I still have and listen to.

bp baggins said...

shit, kg, maybe i should add a links to some of these full albums blogs... there are a ton of them.
but anyways, why wouldn't you want something recorded in the drummer's underwear? from my experience, that's where all the best acoustics are!

bp baggins said...

also, kg... i don't remember ever saying destroy all blogs... i have an music blog myself and learned a lot about music from mix tapes, the library, etc...

shit, i don't know what more i have to add to this discussion. it seems like we're both fucking stubborn and not going to change each other's opinions. i am curious why you spend so much time on a label's blog if you think labels are so bad, though...

maggie said...

well, I am not sure what to say. we aren't a major label. we pay our bands 4 times a year. we purposefully keep budgets low for bands to sell enough to break even. yes we are paid by the distributor first but we don't just hoard it! krs isn't fleecing anyone!

I am not sure how anyone would expect a band to tour, record themselves, promote themselves, and manufacture themselves. if you think that's doable then you really have no idea how hard a band like deerhoof works already. people always cite the cd as on the outs but for our bands it is still at least 70% of their sales and I don't see that breakdown changing rapidly. vinyl is on the way up but let's put it in perspective it still barely sells. it's up from almost nothing, that's not much of a story.

the other argument I hear regularly is that the band's should have a manager to do these things for them. well, a manager would generally take 15% of everything off the top. that's merch, publishing, album sales, ticket sales, etc. is that really better for an artist? I don't really think so frankly.

again, I am not anti mix tape or blog. I don't think anyone at krs is. did you not read my response? there are more of those blogs that link to rapid share, etc than you think. we get the google alerts.