Forwarded by Negativland.
>Nice sentiments and we all feel your passion. To borrow your allusion,
>let me play devil's advocate, and let me pose to you a couple questions
>that those who might like to change but cannot have asked me. Specifics
>in answers to questions like these are really necessary if you want to
>preach your sermon to anyone but the already converted.
>1. "Where's the radio? I need radio to make a record a hit."
>I got invited to 'explain the internet' to a bunch of label heavyweights
>sometime in 97. The above question was asked by an exec who has been
>president of two majors. He's a smart guy, artists love him, and he was
>totally convinced that the internet was the future. He was ready to take
>his personal millions and get into netmusic years ago, but this question
>was a big stumbling block. It was the toughest for me to answer then and
>I think it remains difficult. It's simply worded, but it was clear his
>meaning was twofold. The exec wasn't just asking, "What's on the
>internet that people are going to listen to like radio?" --- that's the
>easy part to answer: Spinner, Shoutcast, GreenWitch, WinMedia channels,
>iTunes, Liquid Music Network, Kerbango, MyPlay, MP3.com, etc. There was
>lots of netradio/webcasting then, there's still alot now. That said,
>it's still a tough argument to try to say that online radio is anywhere
>near the massive audience and power of traditional radio, or that it
>will be anytime soon.
>Much more import was what the exec was asking between the lines:
>something like, "Where's the system that will get my artists' music out
>there that I can influence in the way I can currently influence
>traditional radio?" As has been alluded to on this list many times,
>there's a complex web of characters involved in the world of radio
>promotion. It's a big business. It's not about letting people listen to
>what they want, when they want. It's about getting in the pipe that is
>going to force feed people your stuff. If you're the exec, you don't
>care about choice, you care about getting your new artist in that pipe.
>You want systems in place that you know will expose your new artist to a
>great number of people. Then you fight to get in that pipe. You need
>your superstar artists to bargain with so the radio station will play
>your emerging artist. You need to be able to wield influence. That's
>your job. That's the way you know how to make a hit.
>We'd all love to believe that "If the music is great, then word of mouth
>will make it a hit," would be an adequate answer, but it's not. The exec
>has seen the sad truth a thousand times --- great recordings and
>brilliant new artists often get lost, die quick deaths, and disappear
>beneath the surface in a blink of an eye.
>2. "How am I going to make my nut?"
>Asked by an artist friend in a similar 'explain the internet to me'
>session in 98. This artist is signed to a major, had released three
>albums, and sold a total of over a million records. He's got a very
>standard industry contract and sees a traditional share or royalties,
>etc. He's not happy about it, and he'd love to hear the alternative.
>He's young and passionate, works like a dog, and plays live 150-200
>nights a year when he's not in the studio (he's got a big live following
>and this is how he makes his money). He'd love to tour less, play bigger
>venues, and spent more time and money in the recording studio. He sees
>the bills, and he knows that the label is a wasteful beast that is
>pissing away coin that should be going in his pocket. But what exists
>that's a viable alternative? How does the digital music revolution help
>him make a living? He's a perfectionist about his work and wants to
>control every detail of his sound, imaging, and presentation. He looks
>at the internet and sees inferior copies of crappy sounding recordings
>getting passed around without his permission. Others are making
>decisions about releasing his music for him, no one cares about
>addressing a plan for his compensation, and others are seeking to build
>businesses on his content without even tossing him the 15%. He's pissed.
>He doesn't need to give away free recordings to build a bigger and
>bigger touring base. He's got that already.
>You ask, "Yet, still to this day, the majority of artists are
>brainwashing into thinking the treditional (sic) way is the only way to
>make it in the music business. Why is this?"
>Answer: Because there is as yet no convincing evidence of a viable
>alternative. I think we'd all like to believe, but like the guy with the
>religious tract at my door, your rhetoric is long on faith and short on
>evidence. You say, "Artists need to understand that a recording contract
>is not necessarily needed to become successful and reach the masses."
>Please post a list of the artists you mention who have been successful
>and reached the masses without a recording contract. This will help me
>greatly in my next talk with my artist friend.
>Just playing devil's advocate --- or doubting Thomas if you prefer.
>Best, Tom Dolan
>Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the
>disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have
>seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his
>hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his
>side, I will not believe it." A week later his disciples were in the
>house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked,
>Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he
>said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand
>and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him,
>"My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me,
>you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have
>believed." John 20: 24-29
>From: owner-phoATonehouse.com [mailto:owner-phoATonehouse.com]On Behalf Of
>Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2001 11:14 PM
>Subject: pho: Re-post: Free the Music, Not make the Music Free
>This is the passion that drives me and I have explained it to many
>already, but will continue to do so until I see the trends changing in
>this music industry, and the real digital music revolution begins to
>The largest trick the devil ever played on the world was to convince the
>majority of the masses that he did not exist. The largest trick the
>recording industry is playing on musicians is that digital music is here
>to steal from them and make them poor. To the contrary, digital music is
>only technology. Technology enables us to progress farther then possible
>before it's inception, this is why we as a society push the drive to
>further the development of technology, breaking barriers in the process
>which seemed impossible to overcome previously.
>New technology has been born which could be used by the artists to break
>free from the traditional controls which have been placed directly upon
>them before this new technological option by the existing, traditional
>industry. An Industry which still to this day make the majority of the
>money and claims control over an artists creativity and works of art and
>expressions of their passions into indemnity.
>This "shadow" of negativity over technology, which the recording
>industry has used Napster and other peer-to-peer systems to grow, now
>over shadows our new technological achievements as mankind, and demeans
>the ability for artists to understand the truth of the options available
>now to them.
>Because of the existence of the new system of distribution enabled by
>technologies progression into the new century, artists need to
>understand that a recording contract is not necessarily needed to become
>successful and reach the masses with their artistic impressions. This I
>wish to seriously stress unto everyone. Now is the time for the options
>for the artists be removed from these shadows of negativity, and that we
>enable the true digital music revolution to shine unto the world. Giving
>back to the artist the very art which they create to make the this
>industry, and allowing them to reclaim the control.
>Ask the majority of the artists what he or she thinks of "digital music"
>and the brainwashing will be exposed. The majority of the artist either
>have no clue or do not care to know about the technology, or
>passionately despise the existing P2P systems which enable people to get
>their music for free.
>Rarely if ever do you hear how artists have gotten clever and used
>technology to break free from their recording contracts which have put
>them into situation which they never envisioned when signing on the
>I just wish that the truth would be illustrated to the artists and then
>they would know that they at least are educated before deciding on their
>future in the music business.
>I am not saying that all of the roles which a recording company provides
>are obsolete, not in the least. But what I am saying is that in this day
>and age, to not inform the artists of the option they have to try and
>succeed without the need to sign away their control over their art is
>doing a seriously wrong disservice to them, even more so then Napster
>and all of the peer-to-peer file sharing systems in the world combined.
>I re-post this message again to Pho in hopes that I further reach at
>least a few of you in the process to this reality. My desires are to
>further push these passions upon all of you, these are my passions which
>keep me moving regardless of the current state of the economy or massive
>amounts of doubt which the majority place around me for having these
>seemingly impossible goals. Those goals are to have in place a system
>which allows artists to reclaim control over their art, and to again
>start to really understand the power that their music has, beyond making
>just money.. The future at music is at hand.. Are you lending a helping
>hand for the better of it all? Or are you trying to make sure that you
>have you wallet full and you have the new Lexus coming out this fall?
>Web / Digital Media Consulting
>The X Generation Network
>Editor At Large
>Editor at Large
>Nullsoft / Winamp
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