Thursday in Seattle

02009-07-23 | Uncategorized | 6 comments

Early walk to coffee this morning. We don’t travel with a Lighting Designer, well, we do, but he plays guitar. So, sometimes we get a nice light show at the hands of the local LD (((Ben at Boulder Station in Vegas did a very nice job!))) and sometimes it’s not so good. Sometimes it is difficult to communicate what we are looking for. Everything was rather dark for the first show yesterday, but much better for the second one. I suppose it will be even better tonight.

Digital music suffering from entrepreneur drain | Beyond Binary – CNET News
Pakman agreed that such influencers are a key factor. “Bloggers are the music critics (of today),” Pakman said.

Yeah, yeah, bloggers replace journalism, bloggers replace music critics, Flickr-members replace photographers, Facebook and Twitter networking replaces meeting friends…

From the same article:

By Pakman’s count, there have been 109 venture-backed digital music start-ups. Fewer than five, though, produced a substantial return, he said.

“Investors lost a lot of money in this space,” he said, speaking on a breakfast panel at the Fortune Brainstorm: Tech conference here. The loss for the industry, he said is that entrepreneurs have moved on to areas like Twitter and Facebook.

Good riddance, I say. You know why Record labels attracted giant corporations? Because some of them were so successful. And why were they successful? Because they were run by musicians or people who truly loved music. A&M Records was formed in 1962 by trumpet player Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. Or check out the history of Atlantic Records. When an artist went over budget with a grand idea, these labels might do things that a corporate beancounter would not allow… if they liked what they heard they went with it. They didn’t do market research. They didn’t hold a stockholder meeting and asked everyone’s opinion.

Music is like water, which always runs down to the sea. It may take a long time and many turns of the river to get there, but it does get there eventually. We are a musical species. We can’t help it. After this low-tide a high-tide will come.

Musicians Find New Backers as Labels Lose Power –
Under the Polyphonic model, bands that receive investments from the firm will operate like start-up companies, recording their own music and choosing outside contractors to handle their publicity, merchandise and touring.

Instead of receiving an advance and then possibly reaping royalties later if they have a hit, musicians will share in all the profits from their music and touring. In another departure from tradition in the music business, they will also maintain ownership of their own copyrights and master recordings — meaning they and their heirs can keep earning money from their music.

So, instead of signing a deal with a record label they sign a deal with a management company. That’s a switch from hyena to shark, or what? Bands as startup companies… nice, so everyone will keep the bottomline in mind. Instead of signing a contract with a large corporation, they become a corporation. Let’s see, we let radio become corporate and boring and horrible, now we’ll make the musicians themselves become corporate. Nice! Hey, and the musicians will share in all the profits from their music and touring. So generous!


  1. steve

    “So, instead of signing a deal with a record label they sign a deal with a management company.”

    Isn’t that kinda like what LiveNation is now?

  2. Ottmar

    Ah, the 500 pound gorilla who produces over 22,000 events annually… well, these days they all want to sign 360º deals (((a 360º deal means everything the artist does: music + touring + merchandise + everything else – e.g. reality TV))) and by they I mean record labels, management companies and promoters, such as LiveNation.

    Personally I am suspicious of having all my eggs in one basket…

    Hm, must get very complicated when a record label wants an artist to play venues controlled by a certain promoter and that promoter wants one of his artists represented by a certain label… I imagine lots of time spent on the golf course, making deals. :-)

    But, of course, that’s just same as it ever was. In 1991 my attorney was negotiating a huge deal for a rock supergroup while negotiating my deal – with the same attorney counter-part from the label…

  3. Ottmar

    To clarify: I am not against corporations. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Epic Records/Sony Music. Look, it always boils down to the personal relationships, who one works with. From 1991 to about 1998 or 1999 I was working with very good people, whose work I respected and even admired. I feel very lucky that I had them guide my career. In fact I am still friends with my former Epic product manager. We talk on the phone quite often.

  4. steve

    It always gets down to individuals and personal relationships. BTW …

    I thought you’d be interested in this short blurb since it has to do with digital music and the Pirate Bay which have been a topic of discussion often:

    Virtual Private Network (VPN) service IPREDator has opened its doors to beta testers this week.

    Operated by the developers of popular file sharing site The Pirate Bay, the service allows subscribers to access the Internet anonymously.

    Web surfers typically connect to the Internet via an Internet Service Provider (ISP), which assigns each user a unique, identifying IP address.

    The IP address is appended onto any network traffic to and from a user’s computer. Online transactions including banking, e-mail and search engine queries may thus be traceable.

    With the principle that “the network is under our control, not theirs”, IPREDator grants online anonymity by substituting a user’s IP address with a new address.

    Once connected to Ipredator via a 128-bit encrypted VPN tunnel, users’ network traffic is routed through the new address, so no further information is relayed to the ISP.

  5. James

    “Bands…will operate like startup companies” And eventually will be acquired by Amazon or Microsoft? or maybe end up a one IPO wonder?

  6. Brenda

    Oh my, Herb Alpert and Tijuana Brass -SRO – Whipped Cream and Other Delights – Just had to look in my album collection – awe still with Original Sleeves – Of Course – Led Zepplin IV – Stairway to Heaven. Classics!!!!


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