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Saturday, 26 September 2009

Are Illegal Downloads Killing Off The Music Industry? (Discuss)


I was gonna discuss this a while back when Peter Meddlesome suddenly took an interest in illegal downloads, (makes a change from immigrants) after a meeting with music biz supremo David Geffen, who’s not happy as he feels he’s losing out on more cash from his film and record companies. Greedy bastard! Seeing as ‘the issue’ has appeared again with Lily Allen claiming illegal downloads are killing the music industry, I thought I might share a few thoughts of mine with you.
It’s about the 3 M’s Music, Message and Money, no make that 4, and Motivation. Why do people make music? Is it to get a message across, cos they like making music, or because they want to make money? It’s got to be for at least one of those reasons. The only artists illegal downloads effects are those were the only notes that count are the ones that come in wads, and the record companies, well they can fuck off cos they’re the ones responsible with their overpriced products. Yes prices are dropping but that’s only cos people aint been buying, just shows the mark up and the money they must have made off people before the digital age. Perhapes it’s pay back time for some of us. Anyway, the majority off stuff I have illegally downloaded I have bought at a latter date. If I haven’t then there’s a reason and that’s because it’s been shit! So perhaps the only people killing off the music industry are the artists themselves by releasing crap records/CD’s/Downloads or whatever it is the makes the pounds and dollars dance.
As for stuff I post on this blog, I don’t post anything that is newly released or readily available to buy, there’s been a few I’ve bought digitally that I’ve shared rather than let you suffer the scratches and crackles of my original vinyl and there’s a couple were I’ve felt that it’s important for people to hear the message and hoped the artists in question haven’t minded. The rest of the shit is old live tapes and stuff not available digitally that nobody would have got the chance to hear if I’d just left them in the box in my loft. Now some blogs, well….they are well and truly killing the music biz off, which ever since the Britpop and New Labour No10 Love-In of 1997 music has been seen as some sort of career choice, with band after band jumping on any band wagon that’s passing the studio/rehearsal room. It’s all fashion and no passion. Well to these ears and eyes the majority of it is. I’m not saying that artists shouldn’t get paid for what they are doing, that’s if they’re doing a good job, but It isn’t just about record sales, it’s about merchandise and touring. Then there’s the message.
Say that a few years back I had played in a band called The Drug Prowling Wolves and 20,000 people downloaded our album (Not that we ever made one) for free and only 5,000 paid for it, that’s 25,000 people listening to the music and the message, if those 20,000 people didn’t download it for free that’s a lot of people not hearing the music and the message, alright so the bands not making any money, but hey is that what it’s all about? The more people that hear the music by whatever means, means the larger the audience maybe at gigs etc. That’s if year any good. We were shit! But that was the whole point! It’s all about hard work, and Lily Allen is a product of the digital instant age were she became a hit immediately with out having to play small gigs in small clubs before she achieved her success, now she’s worried that her future riches may be stolen from her at the click of a mouse. Peter Mandelson, well we all know what his interest in it all is; he‘s there to try and secure the industry and his future. Music and Governments don’t mix. Anyway Lily Allen and Peter Mandelson can mass debate as much as they like but Pop has finally eaten itself! The music industry and people like David Geffen have become fat and bloated on their own success, so Click! Click! Lets carry on with the killing!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi. can see yur point, however, artists who have already 'made it' earn money from touring and other sources. if we want new music rather than listening to the beatles remasterd etc then we need new artists. recording, buying equipment etc all costa lotta moni
dont agree with the lilli allen but can see that if we dunt want lodes of crap music then we gotta expect people to get payed for wat they do,I work and I ern money to pay my bills. I gess musicians want the same ?

Longy said...

I agree with you entirely Nuzz.

What I do not like is people posting brand new stuff from the "lesser" which basically means "better" bands. An example is the new New Model Army album. Now theres a great band who ain't exactly millionarres and have to tour the world and work their ass's off to get a few sales.

Theres too many blogs posting this brand new stuff but if its the likes of fucking Madonna,Lily Allen or even a band I like Metallica for example,then I'm all for it! Its hardly going to effect their income is it?

Anonymous said...

I sort of see both sides of the argument.

On the one hand I genuinely understand how the struggling artist/band of today might be pissed off that after recording their debut album its basically stolen from them by uploaders. But looking at the big picture, bands, and the music business as a whole, have been ripping off fans for decades by selling vastly overpriced cds at huge profit, and in some cases putting out below par, half-arsed albums, expecting fans to shell out their hard earned cash. All the time having their noses buried in troughs of coke in their big country houses. (The relatively new trend of ‘Remastering’ is yet another scam to sell the punters the same duff album twice).

Over the years I have seen more than one gig where the band or artist has given a desultory, perfunctory performance, and been totally ambivalent towards the audience. The audience who, incidentally, pays their wages, pays for their drugs, pays for their house and limo. Basically, they didn't give a fuck as long as the big money was still rolling in. Now today, it's some of these bands that are starting to complain about being ripped off!

And its not just the record companies that have made a huge profit. I worked for a well known London record store during the eighties, and I seriously could not believe the amount of mark-up that was going on some of the albums by major artists. It was a real eye opener. Really, you would be shocked.

So now, for some people, in a sense, its Pay Back Time…

That’s why so many of these aging dinosaur acts are getting back together and touring. It’s truly amazing to see some of the old lags that are suddenly coming out of retirement. Why now? Some may be genuine of course, and be doing it for the fans. But for many, their pensions have been wiped out by now almost non existent sales of their ‘Classic albums’. So they have to dust off the ’ol guitar, leave their swimming pool in Surrey/L.A, and go out and earn their money from big tour ticket sales and merch. Something that was unthinkable to them twenty/thirty years ago. Which goes to show that although many music artists have generally been regarded as Left/Liberal in outlook, they are ultimately Capitalist bread heads like 99.9% of society, and can basically never have enough money.

Personally speaking I don’t download official stuff, But regard a vinyl rip of a scratchy thirty year old deleted single, and boots, as fair game. There are blogs that are blatantly ripping off low level/cult artists though. Someone who posts a 320 mp3 cd of, say, a John Plain album, is clearly ripping the guy, as there is no way he’s ever gonna be a huge star/rich musician, and he and others like him probably really need the dough from every album sale.

MJG196 said...

One of your better posts, Nuzz! Funny, can you imagine a group like CSNY making it today? Nope. Why? Looks before talent is the name of the game. Looks before message. Vision precedes Sound.

Chris Ripple said...

Oh Gawd !
Late again cos the computer security went down, but the answer is yes they are and who cares ?
If people want to buy the artist's work then they can still do so.
I have a list of artists that I'll buy regularly when they bring out something new, but as for the reasons behind it...
Why get ripped off ?
Here's a few facts.
In the second anonymous post above, he/she alludes to working in a big record shop in London in the 80's.
I owned two record shops in the
80's.
We were paying the record companies £9.86 per cd plus vat at 15% at the time and selling them for £13.99.
It ain't much of a mark-up I can tell you, bearing in mind that they've always cost less than £1.50each to produce so you work out where the money went...
but then two provincial shops ain't a giant concern in London were they ?

With the advent of cd's in 1982 it would have been nice if they'd included extra tracks and outtakes on all the older albums they'd already released on vinyl, but no, I have to wait until I'm in my
50's to actually obtain them... so yes, I feel 'ripped off'.
As for the argument put forward by Lily Allen...
If she hadn't taken the record company's 30 pieces of silver and she'd put the stuff out herself then she could have controlled it more, so I have no sympathy with the argument.
As for bootlegs and such ?
People forget that in the early 1970's Richard Branson was the biggest bootleg seller in England.
I bought all my early Dylan and Grateful Dead 'boots' at Virgin in Oxford Street.
A whole empire founded upon illegal recordings and how did that work ?
Well, when you've got all the record company exec's buying them at your shop then you are hardly going to get busted by the very people you are supplying, are you ?
Anybody else trying to get into the act was fair game for a visit from the B.P.I (The British Phonographic Industry) and a prosecution would usually follow...
Corrupt ? Yeah ! Corrupt as fuck !
As for David Geffen, reputedly the 4th richest bloke in showbiz...
keep the cash cow flowing any which way, eh David ?
And back to Lily Allen which is where it all started ?
I've seen better acts at the local pub so who gives a shit ?

Anonymous said...

Chris, I think your shops may have been operating at a different mark-up than the one I was involved in. Certainly in my experience most vinyl was heavily marked up in those days, and then subsiquenty discounted for the chart. The real bargains were from a company called SP&S who used to come round with a van load of long deleted/obscure stuff at knocked down prices (Usually put out in the shop at around £1.99/2.99). Some real treasure to be found on that van, usually grabbed by the staff before they got the be processed for sale.
Cd’s in 1982? Don’t recall that. But it was a long time ago, so I‘m prepared to be wrong. I don’t actually recall selling CD’s until at least the mid eighties. But experiences can differ.
Better acts than Lily Allen in a local pub? Absolutely.

Chris Ripple said...

You're right about the different mark up... HMV, Virgin, Smiths and Woolies were selling the fucking things at £9.99
while I was still paying £9.86 plus vat...

Yeah, I remember S.P.& S. They had some good stuff and all recently deleted or overstocks.
Outfits like that were the only way we managed to stay in business for the time we did.

You might be right on the 1982 date.
Polygram as was, were flogging Dire Straits 'Brothers in Arms' as the first big ROCK album on cd whereas the classical market had been established for about a year prior to that.
I don't own it so I can't run away and check.

Anonymous said...

I used to work for SP&S, great times !