David Byrne Journal: 02.12.2008: Addendum to recent Wired Article (Part II)
How did she do? Well, pretty good Iâ€™d say, though she didnâ€™t win a Grammy this time (she got one in 2004). She got 200k from fan/participants for her record, of which 15% went to the â€œlabelâ€. The rest, 170k, went directly to the artist. (I suspect the recording costs come out of that as well, which must have been at least 20-30k). AND, she didnâ€™t have to give up any of her publishing, which traditional labels often manage to get a big piece of.
Those are very impressive numbers. Hard to believe, as $200,000 would translate to something like over 100,000 albums sold if you figure royalties of $1.50 per CD (that maybe a good mid-nineties average artist royalty)… she received the equivalent of 100,000 CDs sold – and sales of 100,000+ would be a great deal in the world of jazz. She must have some very generous fans.
PS: a couple of things came to mind. I don’t think I would want to give a person a Producer credit for money. I thought it was bad enough that executives at Higher Octaves gave themselves Executive Producer titles although they never made a single artistic decision. In the film industry the title producer just means that you gave some money, but in the music business it means that you call the shots – more like the title of Director in the movies. Second, allowing people who pay larger sums of money to observe the recording might work if one’s process is one of simply rehearsing and then performing and recording the written material, which takes a few days at most. If, however, one uses a process that involves more time and if the process is one of trial and discovery and one in which the studio itself becomes an instrument, then visitors might intrude, I would think. So, artist should take a good look at their process. For some this method might work, for others it might be horror.
The reason why ArtistShare works so well is that it allows fans to buy in at higher levels as well. The ArtistShare Executive Producer for Sky Blue came in at $18,000 and received credit listing on the CD. He also came to the Grammys with us. Very exciting. Maria actually did win one, David was mistaken. You are right though. She has very dedicated and generous fans but remember that is always a 2 way street!