Techdirt: 40,000 Explanations For Why The Recording Industry Is Wrong About Business Models
He also highlights how the idiotic focus on getting more per song just as everything else about music and technology gets cheaper is hurting the record labels much more than it helps them. He compares the situation to how expensive it was to use mobile phones a dozen years ago. People were scared to use mobile phones because the charges were ridiculously high.
Yes, recording has become much cheaper than it used to be, and IF you record techno or some other music style that uses samples, then your cost is low and that is that. All you need is a laptop and a keyboard. You can make an album for next to nothing and can afford to charge next to nothing. If, however, you make music with other people, a band, a cast of studio cats, or an orchestra for example, the cost of recording has not come down. People need to get paid and that pay goes up over time, not down. A classical orchestra recording now costs more than a million dollars, which is why so few classical orchestra albums are recorded these days. So, if we as a culture want to listen to nothing but rap and techno and other stuff that one or two guys can slap together, congratulations, we are on our way to accomplishing that.
Another important oversight is that there is a natural cultural pyramid. Yes, the pop stuff might sell 10 million copies at 10 cents per song and that would be a million bucks per song – and if that many people buy the album one would end up with $10,000,000. But how many people are going to buy a jazz record, a progressive rock album, a classical music album, a world music recording? You won’t find a lot of jazz albums selling more than, say 20,000 copies. At $0.10 per song that would bring in $2,000 for a single song, which is the cost of a pro-studio for a single day!!! Even if the album sells 20,000 copies, one will have to pay for studio, engineer, producer, musicians, promotion etc… So if you want Wal*mart-ify (not really a word, but you know what I mean, yes?) music and culture then let’s go ahead and charge only pennies per song.
Some people suggest that music could be sponsored by advertisers (see this item: Singer Fergie To Promote Candie’s Clothing Line In New Songs – for US$4 million)… Great! Now, imagine the next Dylan, cleverly crafting his lyrics to satisfy his personal sponsors. Or back to the middle ages, when every count had a court-composer. Make it more happy, no make it more like Spring… write something for the countess’ birthday…