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Gold warehouse
November 21st, 2010, 12:56 PM
What is your opinion of the music industry? Do you think it's necessary to form businesses around music in order for musicians to be able to afford equipment to record their albums, gain airplay and maybe get famous? Or do you think it's unfair that pen pushers get to make huge profits due to leeching from the talent of musicians?

Is it wrong to commercialise something that is essentially a form of art?

Does the music industry have a negative or positive impact on the quality of modern music?

Do you think that albums are overpriced? Many people now turn to illegal downloads instead of paying for their music, do you think that is immoral?

A.k.a. general music industry thread.

Eliminator Jr.
November 21st, 2010, 07:39 PM
What is your opinion of the music industry? Do you think it's necessary to form businesses around music in order for musicians to be able to afford equipment to record their albums, gain airplay and maybe get famous?
It's not so necessary anymore, I guess. I mean, we have the internet now, people can publicise themselves and get a decent following. A record label helps some individual bands but imo doesn't help the music industry as a whole.

Do you think it's unfair that pen pushers get to make huge profits due to leeching from the talent of musicians?
Yes. I don't like the band Big Black, the one the producer Steve Albini's from (he did Sonic Youth's Dirty and Nirvana's Nevermind), but I was reading something he wrote about when his band was touring and after recording an album with over two million sales and touring for years, each individual band member only made around $4000 out of it. Out of hundreds of millions of dollars in concert tickets, cd sales and merchandise, they only got $4000 each. Meanwhile, the record company made millions. If I remember rightly this band was under a contract to do another two records with this label, meaning they were forced to live like this for another two years (and meanwhile, the record label can go "no, don't release this album now, we're going to release it next year" and the band could theoretically be stuck on the label for another ten years to record two albums and could do nothing about it). All the money went to the studio technicians, the executives of the record company, the record's legal team set up to make sure they weren't sued... it's just wrong.

Is it wrong to commercialise something that is essentially a form of art?
No, otherwise people wouldn't be able to make a living off doing something that they loved. I disagree with the commercialisation going as far as people being sued for $150,000 by record labels for downloading two songs illegally though.

Does the music industry have a negative or positive impact on the quality of modern music?
The major labels are not needed anymore. They're fighting a losing battle against the people. Independent labels remain a good way to get music out. But when I say music industry, I'm referring to the big bosses of Sony BMG and Universal and stuff.

Do you think that albums are overpriced? Many people now turn to illegal downloads instead of paying for their music, do you think that is immoral?
Albums are overpriced. In Australia so are concerts. I got tickets to Buddy Guy when I went to America that were originally priced at $47 at the Hollywood Bowl for really good seats (we bought it off one of those scalping websites and eventually picked them up for $150 each but that's beside the point). Here, the actual cost of a gig at a venue like Rod Laver Arena can probably be covered by about $25 a ticket, including payment to the artist, and then the $75 on top of that that makes the tickets $100 each are just stupid fees that go towards the companies that organise the tickets. Kinda lame.

As for the actual music industry, albums are way too overpriced and I do not feel guilty downloading music. I collect vinyl, so if I really like an album and I have the money I'll fork out the $40 to go and get the record, but otherwise I'm completely satisfied with downloading illegally. Like, if I had the money I'd buy the albums, but the thing is I don't have a spare $20000 to get all of my music library in physical form, and with something as beautiful as music you shouldn't have to be a millionaire to afford it.

The reason I don't feel guilty is because like I said before, the majority of the money of record sales go to the record label, and only minimal amounts go to the actual artist. If you want to support an artist, go to one of their gigs or buy one of their t-shirts. Independent labels are different, but the same principle still applies. Most artists don't care if you download their music (some artists support illegal downloading, like Thurston Moore for example), it's only the record label that's going to get on your behind about it.

Honestly, if I ever ended up a successful artists, I wouldn't be disappointed if I was living on the poverty line, just as long as people didn't have to pay their life savings just to listen to my songs.

Elite Overlord LeSabre™
November 22nd, 2010, 08:28 AM
What is your opinion of the music industry? Do you think it's necessary to form businesses around music in order for musicians to be able to afford equipment to record their albums, gain airplay and maybe get famous? Or do you think it's unfair that pen pushers get to make huge profits due to leeching from the talent of musicians?
I really think the extent of corporate involvement in music should only be to manufacture the medium, distribute it, and maybe a bit of promotion. They do not need to own the rights to the music itself or control their artists like their own personal puppets. And I imagine with online outlets today, the artists could do a lot of their promoting themselves.

Is it wrong to commercialise something that is essentially a form of art?
Well, obviously the artists should be able to sell their work, But the industry has gone far too commercial nowadays, where we have to pay excessive amounts of money for something that the artists actually responsible for the music only see a tiny cut of it.

Does the music industry have a negative or positive impact on the quality of modern music?
Since most music in the past decade has been unappealing to me, I would have to say it's having a negative impact. It seems that the big companies are forcing artists to keep up with current trends.

Do you think that albums are overpriced? Many people now turn to illegal downloads instead of paying for their music, do you think that is immoral?
If the lion's share of the album cost went to the artist, then I would probably not be downloading. But since most of it goes toward music industry executives who turn around and sue Joe and Jane Smith for hundreds of thousands of dollars over a couple dozen songs, somehow I don't feel so guilty about downloading songs for free anymore.

slls81
November 22nd, 2010, 08:45 AM
What is your opinion of the music industry? Do you think it's necessary to form businesses around music in order for musicians to be able to afford equipment to record their albums, gain airplay and maybe get famous? Or do you think it's unfair that pen pushers get to make huge profits due to leeching from the talent of musicians?
You do realise only one music company in the world makes any sort of profit right? Most of the major labels are bleeding money, so I can't get behind the whole 'huge profits due to leeching' argument. Am I for the industry, I'm indifferent. However, you'd be amazed how few bands would be able to continue touring if the record labels shut. So few people pay for records nowadays, theres no way the bands themselves could afford the nationwide tours we currently enjoy.

Is it wrong to commercialise something that is essentially a form of art?
I'm gonna say no. These people have a talent that we enjoy, they deserve to be payed for their skills in the same way that other skilled professionals do.

Does the music industry have a negative or positive impact on the quality of modern music?
In terms of production quality or music quality. In production terms, the music industry has greatly improved the clarity and quality of sound we hear on CD's etc. (assuming you get it legally). Compare a self produced EP from a small upstart band to a major band on a major label, the production quality is vastly different and very noticeable.

In terms of the quality of music I think the labels have made it worse tbh. They want to find a formula of how to sell records, and unfortunately it just leads to generic bands creating generic music. bleh.

Do you think that albums are overpriced? Many people now turn to illegal downloads instead of paying for their music, do you think that is immoral?
I do actually think it is immoral to download music, although I must admit I do it sometimes. The problem I have is that you wouldn't steal something from a shop (I hope), and the same principle applies. Music is a product of the artists talents and should be treated as such. Unfortunately, society doesn't seem to see it that way.

79p for a song which may bring you hours of enjoyment, compared to a £40 video game which you may play for a similar amount of time... seems like a good deal to me.

Gold warehouse
November 22nd, 2010, 09:19 AM
You do realise only one music company in the world makes any sort of profit right? Most of the major labels are bleeding money, so I can't get behind the whole 'huge profits due to leeching' argument.
No company survives unless it makes a profit, in any field. If there's no profit then it's not a business.
It's a multi-million dollar industry. I'm pretty sure "the big four" major labels (EMI, Sony, Warner, Universal) get over one billion dollars worth of revenue each. So I don't know what your basing that claim on.

slls81
November 23rd, 2010, 10:00 AM
No company survives unless it makes a profit, in any field. If there's no profit then it's not a business.
It's a multi-million dollar industry. I'm pretty sure "the big four" major labels (EMI, Sony, Warner, Universal) get over one billion dollars worth of revenue each. So I don't know what your basing that claim on.

I do a business degree, and have chosen the music industry to write a paper on. Universal do make a good profit, but only because they have a ~60% market share. There's a reason EMI and Warner have been trying to merge for almost 2 years, neither company can make money on it's own and hope that together they can do better. The Sony label is basically propped up by the profits Sony makes in other departments.

A quick google search tells me that:

EMI lost £1.56bn for 2009
Warner Music lost $46 million for Q4
Sony Music lost $61 million for 2009

So yeah, all 3 companies are losing money, and heavily.

Gold warehouse
November 23rd, 2010, 10:27 AM
I'm pretty sure there are countless companies losing revenue seeing as there's been a global recession. It hardly means they're all doing terribly, it just means they aren't doing as well as before. It certainly doesn't mean they're gaining no profit. If they weren't getting profit from investing in musicians, how are they supposed to pay salaries to their workers? The companies would totally shut down if they weren't getting profit from what they do. They are still incredibly rich and the executives of the companies get far higher salaries than the average musician. Sony may well rely on their other departments to keep going, but if they were making no profit whatsoever it simply would not survive.

slls81
November 23rd, 2010, 10:47 AM
I'm pretty sure there are countless companies losing revenue seeing as there's been a global recession. It hardly means they're all doing terribly, it just means they aren't doing as well as before. It certainly doesn't mean they're gaining no profit. If they weren't getting profit from investing in musicians, how are they supposed to pay salaries to their workers? The companies would totally shut down if they weren't getting profit from what they do. They are still incredibly rich and the executives of the companies get far higher salaries than the average musician. Sony may well rely on their other departments to keep going, but if they were making no profit whatsoever it simply would not survive.

I understand that it is at least partly down to the recession. The only thing I contested was that the record companies were making billions as you stated. And those figures aren't lost revenue, they are losses. As in the company spent that much more money than it made.

I also understand that many executives earn more than musicians, I didn't contest that either. But at the same time, there have been massive amounts of employees layed off by these companies due to their massive losses.

Gold warehouse
November 23rd, 2010, 03:59 PM
It's a billion-dollar industry. Obviously the company would have decreased in worth during the global recession, but obviously they're raking in quite a bit of money anyway if they can survive such severe losses. It's only because they've gained so many billions of dollars before the recession that they're able to survive it.

Your data is from 2009, apparently Sony have managed to make a profit in 2010 anyway. I'm not going to look up for the others, because that's not what this thread is about.

They're still making profits from what they do, the labels provide the equipment needed etc. to produce an album and get it out for sale, assuming the album is a success the amount of money they get is far greater than the amount it cost to produce that album and the amount they get is much more than the amount the musicians get. That is what this thread is about.

The worth of the company may be decreasing, it's not because they're suddenly saying to the musicians "oh hey guys we'll pay money out of our own pockets so you can produce your album because we're kind like that!" It's because a business is so much more diverse than that and requires money in so many other areas. What I mean is, they're still gaining money by producing albums and signing musicians onto their label, even if they are going through a net loss.

Workers are going to be layed off, but that's not due to the music industry being some sort of terrible way to make money, it's because workers were being lost all across the globe because there was a global recession. General Motors are billions of dollars in debt, but it doesn't mean the company is now dead and worthless and that everyone's packing their bags to live in the slum. When they lose money, they stop the growth of the company, it doesn't mean the Sony bosses are going to start funding the company and musicians using money out of their own pocket and end up on minimum wage or something. They're still laughing in their swimming pools. It's the same for the other major labels.