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    • CommentTimeJun 27th 2009
    @Kernowdrunk - To be honest, I think any artist that is/was relying solely on record sales would have a tough time. Home taping and all that. I just think the CD is just a lesser part of a larger marketing scheme than it used to be. Rather than "Buy this CD first, and then a T-shirt, and maybe some posters, and a hat, and oh yeah a concert ticket!" it will be (or, I suppose, is) the other way 'round. Buy all the other stuff, and then maybe buy a CD. Band have been spray-panting their logos on the backs of shirts for years. Now it's just a little more important than it used to be.

    I also agree that a lot of DJs and the like will be boring the hell out of clubs every night... but a lot of them do that now. :-) To be honest, I don't know a whole lot about DJ culture, about electronic music as a marketable genre. But I also appreciate the artists that can do it well, or those that can mix electronics into an otherwise analog set relatively seamlessly. So I'm like halfway there. I guess? Probably not.

    Anyway, yeah, I totally get what you're saying.
    • CommentAuthorReymar
    • CommentTimeJun 27th 2009
    Ani DiFranco is a genius, she's totally happy doing what she does, makes good money, not rich she says, but she can pretty much afford to do what she wants whenever she wants short of blowing money on the retarded shit most stars do (30 room houses, jets, car collections).

    Janes Addiction was a huge let down the first time I saw them, Perry was so wasted he just mumbled out words and I guess hoped the audience was as wasted as him.

    Trent Reznor has been incredible each time I've seen him, me and a few friends caught wind of a secret show at a local club, we managed to get in by driving like maniacs to the club. Halfway in he was thrashing about, lost grip on the mike stand and tossed it backwards into his drummer cutting his head and nearly knocking him out. 15 minutes later they were back on stage with Trent appologizing for the delay because "he was a dick and tried to kill his drummer".

    Chris Isaak put on incredible shows before he hit it big and was doing the larger venues, he'd play for 3+ hours, usually stopping only when the club made him so they could close. While his opening acts were playing you could usually find him in the bar with his band, very approachable and fun to chat with. I teased him about his short death scene in Married to the Mob, his reply was a jokingly "hey I didn't see YOU in a movie with Michelle Pffeiffer" :)
    • CommentAuthormunin218
    • CommentTimeJun 27th 2009
    Saw Blaqk Audio, who is mostly electronic/EBM.... they managed to put on a very good show, even with a Mac onstage. :P While some came out of the Mac, they managed live synth, live guitar, and a singer jackrabbiting all over the stage like an amphetamine-coated pinball.

    Hey, it was *something* to watch. :P
  1.  (6220.44)
    I've seen Pendulum a few times now and well they really shouldnt work live. It's all synths and drum n bass, the lead guy plays a bloody midi button operated guitar thing, and they have an annoying australian MC whose sole job is to run around the stage going "yeah, bring it, woo, etc". However they fucking rock, and I've seen them at metal festivals out-rocking the rest of the lineup.
    It's all in the drums I think, as long as you have a real drummer, even if he isnt making 100% of the peccussion noises, you can make electric music work live.
    Having a front man helps too, this is where the annoying MC guy comes in, cause even if he pisses you off, you can tell he isnt any creative force behind the band, the guy on guitar/synths/vocals is, but it helps to have a focus point, I've found dance acts that have a bunch of people in them, and lots of guest vocalists(massive attack, uncle etc), suffer from having a lack of focus point live.
    Also I loved the bit in NiNs show last time I saw them, where they brought a big screen down and stood in front of it, just three of the band on various synth/control box/laptop things blasting noise into the crowd.

    back to the original thread, Is there any reason to be on a label? What are the pro's at all? I mean the original exposure they provide is useful, but is it worth the price?
    and who should I feel guilty about torrenting their music?
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2009 edited
    @AtomicSloth - The two main reasons are money and connections.

    A label acts like a big bank: they give you a loan (your advance) to make your record and maybe go on tour, and then you pay that money back if you're successful. This is a huge boon for artists that are good but don't have a lot of money. It's also a liability for the same if any of the situations discussed upthread happen, or if the label one day decides you're just not making enough money, and they pull support.

    You'll meet people and have access to resources you wouldn't necessarily get without a label. The main thing is distribution for your CDs, but you also get access to producers, studio musicians, songwriters, managers, agents, A&R reps, and lawyers you couldn't afford on your own. But if things go sour, you lose access to all of those things, and you're pretty well screwed.

    Basically, it's like this: anyone can write a book. But in order to get it published, distributed, marketed, and the like, it takes some work that you might not be able to do or pay for on your own. So there are publishers to do that. The same thing happens with labels in the music industry. This is not to say it's impossible to be successful without a label, because it obviously isn't, but it's a lot easier. If your label likes you, you make them enough money, and you spend money wisely and make good decisions. If you don't do those things, or a myriad of other things go wrong, it can cost you big time, but it's a risk a lot of people are willing to take.

    Now, having said that, the labels operate in a way, and the laws work as such, that is very difficult for artists to get out of a bad deal. Labels can maliciously hold contracts, artists can have support pulled out from underneath them, royalties and rights can be withheld because of contract wording, all sorts of things. So chances are very slim that, if something goes wrong, an artist can recover without a protracted legal battle. This often causes artists to withhold new music so the label can't own the masters (Tool did this between, two of their albums, and I'm pretty sure NIN did it at some point, too. And dozens of other acts.)

    All in all, I say the same thing I said upthread: If you get a good lawyer, and a good manager, and they help you get a good contract, you stand a good chance of having a decent shot. Especially if you're actually a good musician that people like. If those things don't happen, you're already fighting an uphill battle, and it will probably get worse.
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2009
    the people who get hurt by P2P sharing are the songwriters and the publishers, in the case of independant artists it usually helps them more than it hurts them
    i know a band that actually asked me to be the guy for everyone to go to for downloading their music free
    they make all of their money off of selling tee shirts on tour, i don't even know if they fuck with sending money to their old label it went under like indie labels often do
    Amanda Palmer just has the bad luck of being stuck with Roadrunner
    i wouldn't sign with them if they gauranteed a spot on Conan
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2009

    Now, having said that, the labels operate in a way, and the laws work as such, that is very difficult for artists to get out of a bad deal

    Exactly. this was one of the main forces that destoryed bands like the stone roses, having to go through a lenghty court battle to get out of their old record contract. All that downtime stymied their creative flow as it were and they went off and did other things like have kids and create the fucking seahorses.
  2.  (6220.48)
    I design a lot of websites for the music industry — a lot for the big labels, and you wouldn't believe how many sites I've designed for "the next hot act" that is sure to be soaring to the top, only to see the site go live and disappear after a few months without a peep. Also, you'd be surprised at how many small, seemingly independent labels, are actually owned by the big guns.

    My next door neighbour is a musician, a pretty good one who's been active for years now, having toured the world solo and as opening/support act for some rather big names.

    Ever since I've known him he's been working on his 1st album independently (together with his friend who is an established audio engineer). They have all the connections with the labels, so they can just walk in (so to speak) and drop a fully finished CD on the table. They're playing it smart however and will walk away if the label tries to screw them.

    So. End of last year he finally manages to get a deal with a sub label of a major. Everything goes well, until early 2009 the sub label folds, dropping all acts they signed at the drop of a hat. Luckily the guy that headed the sub label keeps my neighbour on board — hoping to use him elsewhere: i.e. the neighbour is marketable. Provided he's flexible and willing to diversify his music (commercial appeal of course!).

    So now he's rehearsing cover versions of 80s pop classics… makes you wonder how far you're willing to go to make a decent living doing what you want to do.
  3.  (6220.49)
    Also, you'd be surprised at how many small, seemingly independent labels, are actually owned by the big guns.

    this is always funny to me. how do so many people just not know these things? independent means independent. "indie" as an adjective to describe the types of bands they put out doesnt make side one dummy or volcom or any of the fake-independent labels any less dependent on major label money. the thing that gets people even more is when somone signs up for exclusive redline distro or one of those other exclusive distribution deals that makes labels like epitaph or victory a total joke these days.

    its funniest with the labels who have a clear cut "good" and "bad" period...which you find out later is actually denoted by their switchover from actual diy to fake diy.
    • CommentAuthorjeff
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2009
    @icelandbob - Their label screwed them over, for sure. But also their manager, Gareth Evans, was one of the most devious fucks ever captured on film, i.e. "Blood on the Turntable":

    In the music business, it seems that if you get a bad recording contract or a bad manager it can end your career. And that the Roses had both.