American-British cultural differences - FYI

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American-British cultural differences - FYI

Postby Monica_ICE » 5th Mar 08, 21:53

I thought you all might like to read this. It's a piece I just wrote for the BBC.


I was on your Have Your Say radio show again today - thank you for inviting me back - and once again, we touched on a drastic cultural difference between current-day American society and British culture. American culture is nothing like what you Brits see, so I thought I'd type out how things really are over here for you. Since I get a different Producer each time I'm on your show, I have to explain the differences each time. This is meant as a reference, and hopefully, it'll come in handy for you.

Your British - and I assume European - culture is a very coherent one. You have uniformity in how things are done, who people turn to for news or entertainment, and you tend to have collective opinions as far as I can tell. One example of this was my discussion with today's producer when she thought that all young people think and act the same way and have the same views and opinions as each other. Whether this is true on your street level or not, this is what's visible to at least the producer and, I assume, the BBC as a whole. You have mainstream outlets for old school (physical) media that apparently serve the population as a whole, examples being newspapers, magazines, and I believe old electronic media (radio and TV). Likewise, it's my undertsanding compact discs still sell for music. (Do people there still go to physical movie theaters there? Do you still have those?)

In contrast, American culture is very niche. We are digitally-based thanks to the internet which means compared to you, we are very fragmented as a society. The repercussions of this are far-reaching. Unlike your culture, we have no "mainstream" outlets. While you visually see that we do, on the street, you'd see we don't. We stopped buying compact discs in th early- and middle- 1990s. We haven't read magazines since the earliest 1990s. We don't read books, either. Any books we do read are digital files read on a tech device. We don't watch network TV (check the numbers if you don't believe me). We stopped going to movie theaters (again, check the numbers), which have closed en masse as they struggle to survive like the TV networks and old paradigm music industry. Speaking of music industry, no musician wants anything to do with the organizations once called "major record labels". Bands run the other way if one approaches. Bands here don't have one specific business model they follow; they're free to run their band and do anything they want. The make their music, they own all their rights, they distribute their own music, and the only professional help they're looking for is a good manager who believes in them. This is very different from your society. We give music away free, we take donations or put up donation boxes, and we live off live shows and band merchandise. This freedom from business people means bands can be as creative as they want with their business. As for the people's entertainment, it's all online. We file-share and file-swap to find new bands and music. Maybe we like their music; maybe we don't. Even the old school network shows people DO want to watch are DOWNLOADED off the web. The TV networks get more eyeballs online than on TV. Movies are downloaded, too. Young people and old alike are swollowed in the happy world of digital tech. The video game Guitar God (I think that's what it's called) is our current pop culture superstar. Any band on there is a huge hit -- and they're all "OLD" - pre-1993. (That's because everything after 1993 stinks.) As for news and information, once again, it's all online. Yahoo news is a big one. (I like flipping through yours, personally.) News and information is personally selected by interest; there's no monstrous "major player" media pushing their wares down people's throats anymore. People select what they like and get their own RSS feeds or whatever. That's an example of the individual niche and fragmented culture we have.

One of our biggest problems here is that there is no way to reach everybody. With no mainstream outlet and everyone in niche fragments, entertainers, advertizers, and others alike have no way to reach the mass public. We don't listen to radio; we have iPods. It has plenty of downfalls - especially if something is very important - but this is what people here like. We cater our lives and our choices to ourselves. If a massive news event happens, it's all word-of-mouth to get it around. MOST things now are spread word-of-mouth. This is a big difference from what you see our society as being through "visible" means (as my producer and I discussed). We aren't like you at all; you just SEE the old media - which has nothing to do with what it's really like here - and assume they are an accurate reflection of our society. It's not. They're out of touch, they are desperate for their own survival, and they still PRETEND people care. Look at the numbers of how many people DIDN'T watch the Oscars (or the Grammy's or the Superbowl or ...). Such events pretend to still be relevant, but they're not. No one cares. What you see is an illusion that is not reality.

Again, this letter is meant for your reference to explain our cultural differences. I hate to sound awkward on your show when something that sounds so standard to you (and the rest of the world) gets an answer of, "That doesn't translate culturally - so let's go with your culture."

Best wishes and thanks again for having me on your show.

Monica Ice

Comments welcome.

Postby shockingcandy » 5th Mar 08, 22:28

Hi Monica,

Interesting piece. I'd just like to point out though that during 2006 (don't think 2007 figures have been released by the RIAA yet?) downloads accounted for less than 20% of all music sold in the US and only around 5% of album sales. Has the situation changed drastically in the last 12 months or is illegal downloading so rife in the US that it dwarfs actual sales? I'm intrigued to know.

Also, any idea what percentage of US households have broadband in the US?
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Postby Monica_ICE » 6th Mar 08, 01:47

shockingcandy wrote:Hi Monica,

Interesting piece. I'd just like to point out though that during 2006 (don't think 2007 figures have been released by the RIAA yet?) downloads accounted for less than 20% of all music sold in the US and only around 5% of album sales. Has the situation changed drastically in the last 12 months or is illegal downloading so rife in the US that it dwarfs actual sales? I'm intrigued to know.

Also, any idea what percentage of US households have broadband in the US?

No RIAA numbers are uncooked. The RIAA is a den of theives and some of them recently called their new "business" just that. All that hooey about piracy killing sales numbers, percentages of numbers, etc are FAKE. This is why we're anti-establishment- the establishment is shit. They KNOW that which is why they whine to the governments to pass laws to protect them. The UK legals are deliberating on new laws now for just that reason. My letter to the head Minister man was blocked by the FBI. I have a copy of it. Piracy as they call it isn't, and downloading without paying ISN'T "stealing"; it's "infringement". That's why they SUE rather than people going to jail by the thousands. It's all from bad business that rooted in the 1990s and the executives don't want to be held accountable today. They rip off bands AND fans, as audits prove. What you call "illegal downloading" has dwarfed physical sales since the beginning days of napster. If you believe a word the mass media says about it, well, it's not true in any way. This is why I posted about the They tell you the REAL numbers. Also, as an answer to your question, soundscan is rigged and outdated and with the new paradigm we live by, it's also totally useles. Why should we track CD sales when 1. we don't buy CDs, 2. we consume music in very different ways, and 3. bands make their own busines models including giving away their music free? Who tracks the albums put out by a band who gives their music away to earn new fans? that old paradigm mentality doesn't work and that's why those old school executives are whining and crying at losing their multi-millions. There's not going to BE the financial income of yesteryear. The American MTV heyday elevated music to levels never before seen and won't be seen again. No "establishment" perameters work anymore. We have a whole new way of doing things here and we all know they're full of shit for ripping off artists' money, ripping off fans, suing fans - their source of what little income they have left, whining to the law to protect what they don't have left, and blaming everyone but themselves for the collapse of the industry. Other countries fall for the shenanigans, but we don't. So, yes, we do all download here, but the context is different. Like I said, don't believe ANYTHING you read about the industry if it comes from a "mainstream" source.

Does any of this answer your question?

Postby Monica_ICE » 6th Mar 08, 01:48

Oh, yeah, braodband. No idea what the actual percentage is, sorry. I know we were way ahead of you until some time last year when the UK was catching up....

Postby Monica_ICE » 6th Mar 08, 01:54

Here's a letter I wrote back in October that never made it to its destination. This is regarding what's still going on over there legally. I'm copying it - I haven't reread it - so you can get a better idea what I'm talking about. I found another letter I can copy, too.

Lord Triesman, Under Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills

Dear Lord Triesman / DUIS,

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Monica Ice, and I am from the top of the music industry here in America. I spotted an article on the BBCweb about Lord Triesman and the BPI/P2P debate. I am writing you this urgent email because there is a very large piece of this question you are overlooking because you are not aware of. The reason the filesharing services are so big comes from the root cause of a dying business model within the music industry. You see, the industry does not keep up with the change to the market's (fan's) demand for song in a digital file format that meets the needs of the people. Apple's iTunes does not meet that as they say it does. What's really going on in the music industry is the fight for the old players - the labels, the management, the record shops (we don't even HAVE those here anymore) - because the issue is about the control of PHYSICAL distribution. The old players are no longer needed in the new music paradigm. The bands have a direct relation to their fans, they no longer need record contracts or big label money, marketing, or hype, and the money the acts make stays in their pockets as opposed to the labels who rip off both the artists and the fans. (For example, Herman's Hermits has never made one pence off an album. Peter Noone has testified so.) The BPI, as the RIAA is in the States, is in the wrong position to regulate laws with you regarding the consumers of music. It is not a question of music stealing; it's an issue of business procedures. bands here give their music away for free and live off their core fans who support themthrough live shows, merchandise, and any other revenue stream - including donations - they choose for their individual act. CDs are dead. Labels are dead. Media and hype and dead. The manager is the band's newest best friend, and band's choose their own business path that is right for them, their music, and their goals. The BPI hates this because their members are now irrelevant.

I must insist you look at this other angle in your enquiry. The old model is dead - as proven in the States - and your fight against the file traders is the very wrong direction to go in. To help prove myself, I am copying an industry newsletter that arrived this morning from one of the top men in the business, Mr. Bob Lefsetz:

Let's be clear. These are the BEST of times for music and musicians. The stranglehold of big radio and big labels has been broken. AND THEY DON'T LIKE IT!

The majors' power comes from a monopoly on physical distribution. But physical distribution's days are history. And anybody can purvey their wares alongside that of the majors' online. Furthermore, you don't even have to employ the majors' business model. You can give the music away for FREE! You NEVER have to charge for it. You never have to play live. You don't have to play by any of the majors' rules AT ALL!

But don't you want to get on the radio?

The people making the music, who are rejecting the majors' game, DON'T LISTEN TO TERRESTRIAL RADIO! Why would they want their music alongside Britney's and that of the other posers? It would be DEVALUED! They don't listen to the radio and neither do their FANS!

But what about TV? You want to be on TV, don't you?

No. TV shortens acts' careers. Sure, major labels can still find people who want instant fame. But more acts see that Pearl Jam is the only band broken on MTV that still has its bona fides and a career intact, and they won't go on the boob tube.

Our money. You want our money.

Some do. But that cash comes at a price. And that price IS EVER GROWING! You don't only don't want to pay royalties, you want a piece of touring, merch, all 360 degrees of revenue. And when it's all said and done, YOU still own the record, even though sales paid for it. This is a business proposition? Maybe acts will take it when there's no other game in town. But those days are through.

The majors' game is based on control. And a narrow sphere of availability. Neither of which is in existence anymore.

So, we're living in an era of chaos. Not only is the future incomprehensible, SO IS THE PRESENT! But it won't last forever. But those making change are not those who WERE in power. Because they're not willing to take chances, not willing to INNOVATE! (Read Seth Godin for edification: ... and-t.html)

The majors made music free, not the public. Napster offered to pay. So many people offered to pay. Even Verizon. But the labels wouldn't take the money. They wanted to protect Best Buy and Wal-Mart, who have got NO LOYALTY TO THEM! (Meanwhile, they continually fucked the indie retailers in the ass.) They wanted the CD economic model. In an era where people buy iPods capable of holding thousands of tracks, computer hard drives have the capability of holding TENS OF THOUSANDS OF TRACKS! To deny this reality is to try and get everybody to do their word processing on IBM Selectrics!

The future is here. The only ones not embracing it are the old wave players.

Songwriters... Don't bitch at the public stealing your wares, scream at the labels who wouldn't embrace new business models. Who turned down every innovation the Silicon Valleyites came up with.

Oh sure, it wasn't this simple. Napster wanted to make money too. But it was clear the labels had to do SOMETHING...but what did they do? NOTHING!

They killed Napster. They killed Kazaa. Today they killed Oink. Did ANY of these efforts increase legitimate sales? NO! A failed strategy, wouldn't you say?

So what do the labels do? As delineated above, ask YOU, the MUSICIAN, for a bigger piece of the pie. FOR WHAT?

The majors are out of touch. Music is no longer about videos, but the live experience. That's why concert tickets cost so much. You'd think labels would invest in touring acts. But they're too hard to break. Can't anyone give the labels a break?

WHATEVER you do, don't give the labels a break. They just want to put a drag on the future, control you, milk more money before the inevitable decline occurs. Then again, the decline has been going on for almost a DECADE and now it's getting worse and they're doing NOTHING! Oh, they're suing Usenet. Usenet was more popular back in 2000. Hadn't they heard of it then? Why didn't they sue it THEN? Could it be that those plotting strategy are too busy going to lunch and playing golf to be net-savvy?

Yes, the future is controlled by those familiar with keyboards and mice, not radio payoffs. If you make the music, align yourself with new, honest businessmen. With transparent accounting. Who love your MUSIC! Fans...keep acquiring the music the way you want to consume it. That's the ONLY WAY change will happen. The labels don't want to lead, they follow at best. A buck a track is bullshit. Ten bucks a month from EVERYBODY is a better business model. But the labels will only allow this if they've got CONTROL, if it's a RENTAL MODEL!

There IS NO CONTROL! Face it! The genie can't be put back in the bottle. Deal with reality old farts.

The field is wide open for young entrepreneurs. Who'll control the filter, what to listen to, as radio continues to falter, and will control sales, when music is paid for once again.

Revolutions don't happen without revolt. The public has been revolting since 2000. And those in power have continued to sit in Versailles. The beheading has begun. CD sales will sink even further after Christmas. Did you see Apple's numbers? Once you get an iPod, you don't WANT a CD!

What do the majors say to this? Apple is the ENEMY!

Apple is not the enemy. People love their iPods more than they love your labels. Because iPods enrich their lives. That hasn't been the label's mantra for decades. It's about theft, about rip-off. The public's moved on. Time to chase people, play by their rules, because they're NEVER COMING BACK TO YOU!

Visit the archive:
If you would like to subscribe to the LefsetzLetter,
If you do not want to receive any more LefsetzLetters, ... ef4208a3c1

I would like to make myself available to you for questions, comments, and explanations. I am also giving you Mr. Lefsetz' email address should you wish his input as the top industry expert. Again, I ask you please do not make the same wrong decision as America did. You can do better.

Thank you very much for your time and attention.

Monica Ice

Postby Monica_ICE » 6th Mar 08, 02:02

I'll quit posting with this one for now. No sense overloading you. From January:

Monica Ice

I'm from the music industry here in the US, and I want to let you know
you have this story all wrong. I realize you think the IFPI and the
are authorities in music over there, but they are not working with real
numbers about so-called piracy and physical sales. The CD sales are
because we're moving into a new era of digital files. That's no
different than when vinyl went out and tapes and CDs came IN. This is
the first time the industry wants to HOLD BACK a change in format
of pushing further for more sales. Also, what you call piracy is NOT
heart of the music industry's problem - the problem is that they don't
acknowledge the new paradigm! The old players, whom IFPI and BPI are a
part, refuse to diviate from the old business model because they used
make so much easy money. Now that we have digital files, a new
model is needed for the distribution of digital music. That's what the
problem is about, distribution. Everyone you're talking about in your
article - including European governments - is IGNORING THE FANS, the
music CONSUMERS. You know of artists recently who are trying to find a
functional new business model, including Prince and Radiohead, who
to the FANS. It's those fans your business people and governments are
NOT considering. Since the old business model doesn't work, choking it
further only DESTROYS the industry because it FORCES fans to find and
- if not WRITE - new methods of getting what they're after - music.
not about fans ripping off artists; they'll pay if they support an act.

WANT IT. Sell people what they want. This industry was originally
by bullies. Bullies push music onto people. That doesn't work

It's the music industry's responsibility to rewrite the business model,
but in the meantime, please present the other side of the story. (A
reference is I know one of your employees

Postby horrid_jon » 6th Mar 08, 02:34

I don't remember the exact wording of the letter, but I do remember writing an EXTREMELY bitchy email to someone at Apple when I discovered all their iTunes stuff had DRM on it and the only way I could ever play the songs through the media player of MY choice was to (ahem) burn the music to a cd and then rerip it from the cd into mp3.

Needless to say, the last album I ever bought from iTunes. iPods are fantastic, but iTunes sucks big time.
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Postby SteveP » 6th Mar 08, 13:00

I think it's great that artists can now circumvent the major labels, who, in all honesty have been ripping off the artists and buyers since time immemoriam.

Witness the picture below, and take into account that this album is now almost 25 years old, why do HMV feel the need to list this album at £16.99???


That's why fans have gone to sharing sites, why they lend albums to friends to copy etc.

Now the artists and buyers are the ones in the position of power and as Monica says, the labels don't like it because they aren't getting the money.

Myself, I like the physical object in my hand, I always buy the cd then rip it so I can listen to it on my ipod, every time. I might be doing it the wrong way, but that's the way I like it (aha, aha!! :lol: )
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Postby shockingcandy » 6th Mar 08, 14:09

Inflating the list price then selling at a discount is a popular sales technique in many industries - I wouldn't pay any ettention to it.

Personally I don't think £10 for an album delivered is a rip off (though as it's HMV it probably will never be despatched).

Ultimately market forces govern the price and the we buy. If the consumer thinks they are being ripped off or doesn't like the way the product is delivered (i.e. DRM) then no-one forces them to part with there cash. But I don't agree with this ideal that somehow consumers have a right to steal (i.e. illegally download) the product because they think it's too expensive or doesn't allow them to do what they want to. This is not consumer power it's just anarchy.

Doubtless the BPI and RIAA figures are flawed, probably always have been. But they do illustrate some general trends (from recent media coverage you'd think that we all buy our music from iTunes when in reality this is clearly not the case). I'd like to see the conspiracy theorists actually quote some evidence for once instead of drawing conclusions from internet propogated myths. That's just lazy journalism.

Obviously getting a realstic figures of illegal downloading is going to be difficult but I'm not convinced anyone really has much of an idea about the scale (or not) of the problem. At any rate I doubt that if someone is downloading 100 or even 10 albums a month that this results in the same number of lost sales since they probably wouldn't have brought this quantity (and anyway who has that much time to listen?).

There are plenty of other factors that may have cause a drop in album sales (economic conditions, personal taste, other distractions etc). If you believe the BPI's, then we are still buying more CDs then a decade ago despite a 10% decrease last year with the increase in legal downloads nowhere near large enough to offset this.

By the way, it has been suggested that artists receive less money from legal downloads then physical format sales and from illegal downloads they obviously receive nothing. If this is the case then it's a hardly a fair redistribution of wealth.
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Postby SteveP » 6th Mar 08, 15:34

shockingcandy wrote:Inflating the list price then selling at a discount is a popular sales technique in many industries - I wouldn't pay any ettention to it.

Personally I don't think £10 for an album delivered is a rip off (though as it's HMV it probably will never be despatched).

That's a technique I know only too well, what I was actually trying to say was, that is the price HMV would gladly charge for that album, if it had it's own way.
They now know that with competition from online shops, they have to lower the price in an attempt to at least shift some of their stock.

But I remember a time when it was commonplace to pay £15 and upwards for a new album, and no, a tenner for an album isn't too bad
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Postby shockingcandy » 6th Mar 08, 15:42

Yeah I guess that's good example of market forces at work. I suspect one of the reason the UK CD sales have bucked the worldwide trend in the last few years (well until 2007 anyway) is because there was so much room for price reductions with the starting price being over-inflated
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Postby Monica_ICE » 7th Mar 08, 02:53

You Brits have totally missed that one. You pay more than TWICE the amount we USED to pay for CDs. Loosely, one pound equal two American dollars. You all are so obediant, the industry has always ripped you off royally because you accept it whereas we Americans are noisy fuckers and don't let them get away with it. You're paying the American equivalent of $30 or more for one fucking CD where we have/had them for fucking $5 or $6 a pop WHEN they sold! Don't justify yourselves that you had or have reasonable prices. the maojrs targeted you to rip you off because you let them. (I think the oil companies do the same thing, don't they?) There's nothing "market force" about it; you're BULLIED into what they want you to pay. Your culture leaves you vulnerable to that. as I said, we're noisy, fighting fuckers and take matters - good and bad - into our own hands.

As for tracking downloads, you're totally wrong. I may not get the spelling right on this, but there's a company at that tracks ALL numbers, INCLUDING file-trading. LOTS of American sources trace that. If I remember right, there's something like 5 million people downloading songs every minute. Give us credit for our advancement; we're far more developed than you're giving us credit for. It's NOT anarchy; it's a different system. That's the point of this thread, to explain the differences.

We as consumers are not "stealing", as you put it. That's what I've been trying to explain. If a band gives you their music, do you call that "stealing", then? How??? This is the normal way bands are here now. As for copyrighted music (for those who still bother to), the whole paradigm is different, so your contextual accusation is out of place. We have a saying, "comparing apples to oranges". It's taking two completely different things and comparing them from different contexts. Let me give you an example. You've at least heard of the idea of a demo, right? That demo a band might make is like a business card. It gives a stranger an idea of what that band sounds like and can do. The stranger can listen to it and decide if they like it, don't like it, or wants to hear more to decide if they like it or not. Most of our filesharing is the same thing. "Here's a band you've NEVER heard of. Listen and see if you like it." If you love them, you become a fan. If you don't, you move on to another. Or you might become a casual listener to that artist. Without that "business card", you'd never know. the whole POINT is to grow the fan base. You do that one person at a time - through their music. Does that make sense? Bands here have the creative freedom to run their business any way they want, including new ideas. Not everybody has the same goal for their band or wants to do the same thing. We all download here; it's part of the backbone of our culture now. It grew out of the cultural evolution of the '90s CD swapping. We used these "internet tactics" before we had widespread internet. i can undertsand if this doesn't make sense in your culture because it's based on our country's cultural changes in the '90s. As far the online music "not allowing us to do what we want to do", that's entirely the industry's fault. That would take too long to explain. The industry stopped catering to the people and catered to wall street in 1993. They fired the music people and replaced them with accountants. the whole industry changed which is what lead to the cultural changes.

Journalism: The American media did blindly accept what they were told by the old establishment for a long time, but not anymore. It took them so long to see their errors of siding that their own industry failed in the meantime. I've been in contact with the BBC for a while working on this, and at least one of them IS in touch with our side of things. We have all kinds of tracking numbers for what's going on out there; obviously, you haven't seen them, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. you just live in a different paradigm.

The biggest reason for the drop in monetary music sales is shitty music. We're not really getting any good bands rising to the top over here. It's like all of the sudden, no one knows how to play their instruments, sing well, or knows how to write good songs. That's why classic rock is the big things here. If a rocker today is under age 40, he's probably too young to be any good. For the few bands who are of any good, NO band is getting TRACTION. With the demise of radio and the niche of the internet, we have no "filters" to channel the best of new music to the masses. This is a problem, but nobody's complaining much. Our new paradigm allows for exponentially more bands to make a living off their music, and it gives exponentially more music for fans and consumers to listen to.

Let's do some math. For simplicity sake, let's say an iPod can hold 10,000 songs. The goal of every teenager (it's a badge of honor) and adult iPod owner is to FILL those iPods. Now, let's use the "legally sound" iTunes store for this example. Tracks cost $1 per song. WHO'S GOING TO PAY $10,000 of their own money to fill those iPods??? No one. That's ridiculous! So, are you going to say that they then shouldn't fill their iPods? What would all those bands out there say to THAT who are trying to get exposure, build fans, and be heard? Do you think THEY are objecting? OF COURSE NOT! They WANT to be heard. That's why they give their music away! See? It's a whole different way of doing things here. I'll answer questions and explain things the best I can.

Artists who were dumb enough to sign with record labels get ripped off no matter WHAT they do. Have any of you heard about their new 360 deals? I can reprint if not. The idea is that the labels - who are totally irrelevant now - want bands to give them money they have no entitlement to for no reason at all and less service to the bands in exchange. Welcome to the corporate world! If I go work in the space program, put in a day's worth of work and bring home a paycheck, does my record label deserve that money because they said they want it? That's a 360 deal. That's the new fad. Record labels - and many peripheral services - are now irrelevant. We've cut out the middleman, and now bands and fans can connect directly to each other. This is where ginger's had it right all along. He did it on his own, he is NOT in debt to a record label or similar music business, he is much closer to his fans than, say, The Darkness could've been, and consequently, Ginger's not in debt for the rest of his personal life because of it. Speaking of The Darkness, the audit found a plethora of stolen money by their business people. That should be reimbursed to them in a couple months or so. They wouldn't've gotten it if I hadn't made noise (motherfuckin' noisy Americans!!! :wink: ). Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits said they haven't received a DIME from ANY album they've ever done. Obviously, they did it because they loved what they did.

Consume music any way you like. You aren't doing anything wrong; the old music exec's did and they know it. There's nothing wrong with file-swapping. (Wouldn't you loan a [ahem] CD to your best friend who wanted to listen to it? Same thing.] For the record, if i didn't say this already, the technical definition of "piracy" involves money. If you swap files for free, it's sharing, not piracy. If you burn copies of The Wildhearts album WITHOUT permission and resell them for personal profits - usually at prices ripping off the buyers - that's piracy. (I know Ginger's been flexible about this, so he's not a good example for this case.) Piracy is taking money from someone else's goods without permission. If no money is involved - like downloading P2P - no crime is committed. It's their pathetic PR campaign to the media and governments that say it is. Our media and government doesn't blindly believe this anymore (ask our Congressmen who own iPods).

Anything else I can help with?

Postby Monica_ICE » 7th Mar 08, 03:16

This may be redundant, but here are two more pieces spliced together from last year. This shows the inside directly, the first being a fight for a band facing a record label offer versus me helping said band. The label rep was setting up for a complete ripoff; mystance was our new paradigm. The second was further explanation later on. (Note that our industry changes at an extremely rapid pace these days.)

Here's some ammo if you need it. This is where all those Lefsetz letters come in handy.

1. Your manager is working for his own personal pockets. If the [band] don't follow him, he'll drop you and sign another band. There are unlimited bands for managers/bookers to pull from. Many will sell their soul for the money.
2. Whether you follow him or not, he will use you up in an exhausting way to maximize his pocketbook (like [manager] with [other rocker]), then he will drop you anyway when you can't keep going.
3. He only cares about himself, not you.
4. He will not give you time off. Think early Bonjovi - run until dead tired. Time off in the old business terms means a loss of "momentum". These biz people trained in the old way DON'T understand that breaks and vacations are needed AND they feed a long-term career, not a short one.
5. If you blitzkreig your band with CDs and touring, you kill your band's lifetime. One word - DARKNESS. The biz p-o-v is frontload, sell, find a new act and repeat.
6. Biz people weren't trained to cater to the fans. They cater to their pockets, the industry, and the stockholders, in that order. (Stockholders being the major labels, etc.) The fans aren't AT ALL part of their equation. Think [manager]. (That also killed radio here.) WHO keeps you in a career? THE FANS! Give the fans what they love - YOU - and fuck the rest (no - please don't!).
7. Playing by the rules of any establishment guarantees you can never get ahead. Yes, I mean that. Here's how that works (it's in my notebook): if you play by the rules, you're bound by the rules (contract obligations, etc). You have to compete with all others playing by those same rules, something you don't have to do outside said establishment. The chances of you getting on top of an establishment that way are mathmatically almost zero, and if you do, you have no soul left and no long term career. You're a laughingstock instead. If you're in it for the money, do it this way. If you're in it personally, don't dare. The only way to be on top of your game is to PLAY YOUR game. In other words, play to your fans. They're the ones who give you money for your art. They're the ones who guarantee (or not) if you have a long-term career. They're the ones who matter. You don't need glamorized media interviews to reach them.

I lost my train of thought; it went in a different direction. As you must've thought it through, you have two options: be slaves to the business people who want easy money off your hard work, gain stress and expectations and penalties for not delivering, no vacations, free time, or time to be married OR we can be our own bosses, do what we want as we want, and let the internet generate profits for you through a very sound business plan. We just have to get the rights back to the rest of your music, but we can go on without them if need be.

I hope this helps. Sorry I lost my business thoughts. I've been in the business side of all this, so I know how they think, what motivates them, how they see things, and anticipate what they would do. I'm telling you they don't care about you. I do.

The idea of giving music away for free to potential new fans is equivalent to business cards or model comp cards. I thought i emailed about this, but that might've been in my own mind. You all are old enough to remember a time period with something called "demo tapes" It was the old way to solicit record companies before we had other alternatives (my gen). The demo tapes had 3 songs on them, the best song first, which represented the spectrum and sound of the band in question. A rep would play the first song which the band would hope he'd KEEP listeneing to. Most didn't. If the rep made it through the first song, he might be interested enough to listen to the second. If he was still hooked, he'd listen to the third - very rare - by which time the band was good enough for further investigation. (A few bands would put more than 3 songs on, but that was usually a waste.)

The idea here is that the demo tape represented the band musically. It was labelled with all the essential info a person would need to contact the band or look into them further. I'm sure you're familiar with business cards professionals carry with their name, company, all forms of contact information and maybe a logo, slogan, or gif of some kind. In modelling, we had comp cards as business cards. A comp card had one big, perfect model photo on the front with the model's name, measurements, agency/agent and the agent's contact info. On the back of the card were 3 or 4 more smaller photos of the model in very different poses/outfits which show the scope of the model. In the way that a comp card show the flexibility of the model professionally, the demo tape showed the flexibility/range of the band within their musical identity/perameters without losing their definition, like a comp card. Same with business cards that list what areas that professional does.

Giving music away to potential fans is handing them a demo tape. "Play our tape; see if you like it. If you do, here's information on how you can find us." Once they see your "tape/card/comp card", they can consider if they want to "buy" your service/ "hire" you. In our case, that purchase of services is financial support for the band whether that means buying the songs or conert tickets/merch. Word-of-mouth is not a financial form of support, but it is worth much more! If someone likes you, they pass it on. I looked into [band] after 2 songs Dave passed on. See how that worked? You want to not only do that, but BOOST it. Get the music out there to let IT find new fans, then build from there. [Band] has enough fans to really pour it on full throttle if they want to. Putting our bands together is also perfect open in the new way and a GREAT idea if you guys want to do it. In the new paradigm, everything's open -- there ARE no rules! That's why we're special, we get to WRITE the new rules! And not everyone has to do it our way. Every band needs to do what is right for them. There is no one right way anymore. You have to open your mind to that idea. that's why insider's can't get it. They can't open their minds to see past the rules they know from 20 years ago.

I hope this helps. I don't know what's going on over there. I wanted to find you this morning, and I couldn't.

Postby Monica_ICE » 7th Mar 08, 05:58

This music industry newsletter just arrived. It backs up everything I'm saying much more concisely.

If Guy Hands really wants to transform the record business, he'll

Is there any doubt Warner ripped off Linda Perry? Speak to Irving
Azoff, who's had to constantly audit the company re Eagles sales. And
settled on an ultimate amount, after expending all those dollars on an
accounting that in many contracts you can only do during a limited window.
This is an enticement to go with a major label? They pay you an
advance and..?

Guy Hands blamed the greedy acts. Well, wouldn't you extract a hefty
advance if you knew the odds of getting any future dollars were low, and
those you did get were a fraction of those you should? Isn't it funny
how Edgar and Lyor get their bonuses, but the people who actually
CREATE the hits get fucked.

Especially with the move to digital, there's no reason there can't be
transparent accounting. And with no manufacturing and little
distribution costs, why does an artist get less than ten cents per iTunes

In the last century artists needed the label. As a bank, as a
distributor. But those days are through. Anybody can get an iTunes deal,
essentially for nothing with Tunecore. As for production... Rail all you
want how home Pro Tools rigs don't deliver the sound of hundred dollar
an hour studios, but don't forget that most people are listening to
earbuds and/or the shittiest computer speakers known to man AND you can
make a recording ninety percent as good AND it's about the song instead
of the electronic crap permeating the evanescent Top Forty records.

I'd say we need an artists' bill of rights, but musicians no longer
need to play with the big old boys. They've got a zillion options. And
some young 'un is going to roll up these new acts in a new company that
not only delivers services for a fraction of what the big boys charge,
they're going to account HONESTLY!

360 deal/360 schmeal. Peter Jackson needed New Line to make "Lord Of
The Rings". He couldn't lay his hands on $100 million himself. He
couldn't get in movie theatres. But the movie business is a couple of
years and a couple of changes behind the music business. The means of
production and distribution are in the hands of the proletariat. And with
these tools, players are going to revolutionize the business.

The major labels were not killed by Internet piracy. Rather their own
greed has doomed them. They've alienated the public, the acts and even
Wall Street. The only ones on their team are themselves. Their only
hope, and its chances of success are slim, is to completely
revolutionize their business and get in touch with the times. Guy Hands is
cutting fat, everything he's doing is on the inside. What has he done for
the artists and fans? Where's our piece of the pie? Where's the
acknowledgement WE'VE been fucked in the ass for so many years?

Sure, superstar acts like the Eagles and gigantic one hit wonders like
James Blunt can afford to audit. But what about someone starting out,
who truly needs the money?

As for big sales translating into big road dollars and a long career...
Rihanna plays clubs and she had the biggest hit of the summer.

Turns out you've truly got to do it the old-fashioned way. Slowly.
Building from fan to fan. Takes years to build an act that sustains.
But most label employees are afraid of getting fired NEXT MONTH! They
can't think about five years from now.

The big labels should just cease new music production and function as
licensing houses for their catalogs. They're spinning their wheels
financially in new music. Hell, it's ever-harder to break a band big,
there are numerous areas of exposure and it's harder to get noticed. Ergo,
the death of diamond album sales.

I think it's time for the labels to stop beating up everyone on the
outside and look at themselves. THEY'RE the problem. ... dChannel=0

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Postby shockingcandy » 7th Mar 08, 10:32

You know what I can't stand? People complaining about how rubbish modern life is. I'm oughta here...
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