Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Why haven't we heard from more artists?

Author:Keola Donaghy
Posted:7/23/2000; 2:19:14 PM
Topic:scriptingNews outline for 7/23/2000
Msg #:18940 (In response to 18934)
Prev/Next:18939 / 18941

Because they're sitting on the sidelines trying to sift through the propoganda being put out by both sides.

We've all seen how little of the revenue generated by artists filters back to them. The labels are telling them that programs like Napster are reducing sales, and therefore further shrinking the amount of moneys that they will get. Napster proponents tell them that Napster users buy more CDs, which will increase their income. Who cuts the checks? The record labels. Who are the artists going to believe? Probably the labels. I think the Artists Against Piracy show how effective the RIAA has been in scaring them.

In all of the writing I've seen on this issue, I have not seen a single person explain how the music is going to get recorded and produced if not financed by the labels or distributors. Napster and others only deal with the distribution once you have product. The cost of the recording equipment necessary to record a quality CD has come down incredibly in the past few years, but it's still substantial.

Right now the labels largely do it, and extract ludicrous fees for doing it. Getting a label to front the money for a recording project is like going to a loan shark to finance your gambing junket to Las Vegas. There are many possible outcomes, and the only good one is also the least likely to materialize. But most artists will risk it on the possibility of a hit recording.

Artists will become believers when someone starts making it off of the net. A lot of people point to Roger McGuinn's site. Look at the earnings he's generated from - $10,689.41. Hardly enough to make artists who are dreaming of a big payback to go net distribution over seeking a major label contract. Granted this is probably not all McGuinn is making of the net, but it's the only number you see.

Most of the people I know in the local (Hawaiian) and mainland recording industry still view the web as an advertising medium to sell plastic. Those that have tried to venture into online distribution have largely been disappointed by the results.

I've done websites for a number of artists, and most doing direct sales themselves have not done particularly well. My belief is that unless there is some special spiff (autographs, pictures or freebies), people don't want to go to a bunch of different websites to find the music they want. They want to get it from one place, and that's been Napster's success. One program, one click, and all the music is at your fingertips. Its the golden egg, and RIAA is set to kill the goose.


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