Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Go Ahead, Shoot Me..."

   I once heard an interview with a veteran homicide detective who commented that the most commonly spoken last words of murder victims is “go ahead, shoot me.”
   This little tidbit of macabre trivia brings to mind a subject very pertinent to this website.
  With all of the wrangling, millions of dollars and wasted years spent on trying to shut down Napster and Limewire while clinging to a business model that is not only a total failure, but unnecessarily wasteful and obsolete, the record industry  has pretty much been saying "go ahead, shoot me". 
   The all time high in record sales came in the late 90s, just prior to the peer to peer explosion, and Napster et. al. Since that time their sales have dropped an astonishing  %64 according to some accounts. While there are many factors that could each get entire books written about them, I just want to touch on a few brief points:
   1. One of my favorite bitch sessions about the Hindenburg-like nose-dive of the recored industry was Miles Copeland first blaming illegal downloading and then pointing out that the recording industry already had a %90 failure rate to begin with. I am very happy that artists and labels aren’t getting the shit knocked out of them by thieves anymore (or at least not as much). I am a musician. I want to make money from my art....but the whole %90 failure rate means you suck at your job...which brings me to my next point...
   2. Perhaps some of  the reasons so many people stole music is they were sick of getting overcharged for the stuff that was actually  
   a. good enough to pay for or:
   b. still really shitty, but rammed down peoples’ throat by the one arm of the record industry that is ASTONISHINGLY effective: the promotions side. Seriously, if NASA was as effective as the Star-Making Machine we would be jet-packing to Disaster Area concerts in the Horse Head Nebula on Friday nights.
   Perhaps if the people giving the green lights had better taste in music, the promotions side wouldn’t have to spend as much for the same effect, there by increasing the quality, lowering costs, and perhaps decreasing theft? All of which brings me to my favorite point....
   3. ME: The Drunken Scoundrel and my desire to establish a mutually profitable venture between myself and the music industry- which I can’t be a part of without a bunch of money, a lawyer, and more time than I have. 
   I currently run an Internet radio station via Loudcaster.com. Loudcaster has developed an interface that automatically prevents me from violating copyright laws and rules set up to prevent digital piracy-and jeopardize their licensing agreement. When I specify their licensing agreement it means that I merely piggyback on theirs. I don't have my own. I pay them, they pay royalties etc.. It is all way too complex. 
   I can’t sell advertising (at least as far as the tortuously legal-ease-ey  TOS read), I can’t make money. I can only pay, and hope that my station entertains people and ads value to my website. Instead of just letting me do my thing and then take a chunk of my revenue which eventually will be more than I am spending now, I have to wait until I have the time and the money to hires lawyers etc, etc, etc. I could build a promotion platform for music that these guys couldn’t get on the radio if they bribed DJs (which is STILL illegal 50+ years after Alan Freed was crucified for it) and for that THEY would get paid. Instead, their sales have plummeted, their revenues too, and the biggest dog in the music business is a computer company. 
Don’t get me wrong, I love Steve Jobs and Apple, and I love the Music Business-it’s the murder-victim mentality I could do without.
 I would like to point out at this point that the the people at Loudcaster.com are terrific and have responded to my bitching by being totally supportive and bending over backwards to earn the obscenely low monthly premium they charge me. The whole 'legal-ese' aspect is them doing their job to protect copyright holders, not bother me.

   That being said, all of this just points to a very sad fact that I don't see things getting better until a few independent Internet broadcasters build up enough steam to force the Industry into a better, mutually beneficial business model.
Thanks for your time.
Cheers! C


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The Drunken Scoundrel said...

Thank you. Sorry for the delay in the reply but Blogger marked this as spam. I will be adding a Twitter button shortly, adding HTML to these templates can be a pain, and half the time the tutorials are either flat out wrong or out dated.