Artist rights - is there anymore?

Deafsoundguy

CERTIFIED HACK
Silver Member
Mar 6, 2020
1,912
Area 51
You look up pretty much any musician that’s got a name and you can listen to their music at the drop of a hat from the internet. I don’t get it. Used to be that you had to buy a record, pay for a concert, or listen to lo-fi radio and go insane listening to commercials while waiting for a good song to show up. They play your song on the radio you get a penny. You sell your record you make a little bit of money. Someone goes to your concert you make more money and sell them hats and tshirts. But now, you practice a billion hours and pay to play in some cases and even when you “make it”, everyone can just download your music for free.

How does that support the artists? Why do artists even want to practice and play anymore with such a tiny fraction of musicians actual “making it”. I’d like to know. I’m all for artists rights. I think anyone who dedicates their life playing music and getting a fan base should make money and be able to live a comfortable life without the majority of the masses hearing your billion practice hours and hard work for free, unless the artist is okay with that. It seems like only if you have a million fans that don’t care about real fidelity and want to stream it, that’s the only way you can make money unless you’re a big name and can sell concert tickets (someday:rolleyes:). I guess I’m just wondering what the threshold point is from poverty tour to artists doing great for themselves :thumbd:

EDIT: are not is!!! Oh for crap’s sake. Mods please correct header English :(
 
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Neil.C

Most Honored Senior Member
Mar 3, 2012
8,751
Surrey, England
It's the way of the world, everybody wants something for nothing and can get it now.

Before the internet it was taping piracy, off a record or straight from the radio.

In the '60's when I was a kid and had no money for records I used to tape the "pick of the pops" chart rundown straight off the radio.

As soon as I earnt money I was buying records every week.

Although it is not a situation anyone wants plenty of great artists have unfortunately died in poverty.
 

Meghans Dad

Strat-Talker
Jan 24, 2021
353
So. Cal.
You bring up a very complicated issue. True , technology has made it easy to listen for free. But time was that bands could play for free (before rock bands), there was no issue with playing Duke Ellington, Bernstein or Rhomberg live for pay legally as long as the scores were payed for. When you bought a score, you bought the right to play it. Not anymore. If your kid's grade school class sings a Disney tune and puts it on the internet, Disney will being suing the school for a $30,000 usage fee. Unless you are a savy "star", its become very hard to make a living as a working musician.
 

stratmatt777

Strat-O-Master
Apr 5, 2015
692
Seattle
NO

The record companies failed to prepare to sell digital downloads and they failed to prepare for streaming.
The result is that all the profits that the now failing music industry (and artists) used to get went to Apple and other online retailers during the time when people bought MP3s and now all the money gets paid to spotify and other streaming services.

Each time a song is streamed on spotify the artist gets something like a third of a cent.

Even back in "the good ol' days" (70s/80s/90s) when you could get rich if you were a big name musician the record companies were robbing the artists paying 7 or 12 CENTS per album sold. But if you sold enough you could still be rich and not notice they were doing this to you. (Owning your own publishing has always been super important, since that is half of it).

Now there is no profit from music sales, the artist gets essentially nothing from streaming.
So now you cant make a good living unless you have tons of people who want to go to your concert (like Journey as an example) and you tour endlessly.

When covid hit there was an article where David Crosby gave an interview saying that he was probably going to have to sell his house because all his concerts had been cancelled.


The only good news is that the internet makes it possible for the artist to publicize themselves, hopefully find fans (their tribe) and get them to sign up on email lists or follow them on instagram and support them by buying music or merch or something. Of course, you'd have to become a social media person and interact with them like they were your friends... which would be awful (unless you are 20 and think it would be fun).


Even in the good old days most of the artist's royalties went to paying back the record company for the cost of recording the record. Look up the term "cross collateralization".

The artists always got screwed.

The record labels are dead and irrelevent. Good riddance to their days of pimping artists.


The bottom line is that today's young people did not grow up "valuing" music. And so no one does value it enough to go buy the album. In fact, buying an album is a foreign concept. Why would anyone buy an album? :)

https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2020/12/14/jimmy-page-streaming-royalties/

https://bdnews24.com/music/2021/05/09/musicians-say-streaming-doesnt-pay.-can-the-industry-change


https://soundcharts.com/blog/music-streaming-rates-payouts
 
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BlurgyWurgyWibble

Strat-O-Master
Feb 10, 2018
874
Nottingham, UK
Making your entire catalogue free online (or as good as via tumours like Spotify) is just considered "advertising and promotion" now.

The real (and only) money is in touring, endorsement and influencing.

If you want to get anywhere as a working front line musician these days you need a significant social media profile.

Its still a perfectly lucrative career but you need to be switched on to tech and trends and the modern digital mediums as well as a very good musician to make it work.

Also, sadly, the concept of the "music album" is rather anachronistic. With an overwhelming amount of content available and somewhat neutered modern attention spans, very few people will ever sit down and listen to 10 or 12 tracks consecutively..

Honestly I know people who make more from YouTube videos than they do from their entire body of published music.

Change is change.. its always happening .. got to adapt. In many ways I think the "new bar" of having to be a great musician, a great personality, good looking (helps a lot), have a 130+ IQ, limitless energy (no vices or mental health issues) etc. is just symptomatic of the modern world today. Its like those memes you see advertising for a cashier part time "Must be at least 18 years old. Must have 20 years experience."
 
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Bazz Jass

Chairman of the Fingerboard
Silver Member
Nov 19, 2014
5,799
Off the map
This is important. The artist gets paid per stream. When records were sold the artist got paid per record, then the songs could be played forever.

Thing is, the super kids get literally (their word) millions and millions of streams.

My album hasn't hit a thousand streams in 2 years.

The bright young things are still getting cash....
 

Stratbats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 16, 2018
3,806
WV
"The whole way that people buy music, perceive music, and all this streaming stuff doesn't make me want to do anything. It doesn't make any sense. People don't get how wrong this is. If there's no money coming in, there's not going to be any money to make more records. It turns me off. Pay my rent for a year, and I'll make a great record for you (laughs)!"

--- Oz Noy, Vintage Guitar Magazine February 2021
 

Bazz Jass

Chairman of the Fingerboard
Silver Member
Nov 19, 2014
5,799
Off the map
Although it is not a situation anyone wants plenty of great artists have unfortunately died in poverty.

tumblr_p1u1hlYPPh1sgelweo3_250.gifv
 

Dadocaster

Dr. Stratster
Mar 15, 2015
28,154
Sachse TX behind the cemetary
The systems in place actually work very well as far as getting music to consumers. Our only problem is the terrible terrible very bad no good rates that artists get paid. As mentioned, the super acts make plenty of money, everyone else, not so much.

I do things on the super cheap, the EP the kid and I did I have maybe 300.00 bucks in with regard to actual cash and not counting the zillion hours I spent putting it all together. Just checked. My revenues for that ****ING AMAZING EP THAT EPITOMIZES ALL THAT IS WONDERFUL IN THE WORLD: $5.85
 

Anacharsis

Guitar Player
Sep 19, 2019
952
Midwest USA
It's largely a story of the same result, different mechanism over time. Most musicians did horribly in the old system of record contracts, too. Again - the big names made millions. I had a friend who was in a band in the 1990s that had one fairly big hit, an MTV video or two, and a dedicated following. Their label dropped them after selling around a half million total albums, and like most non-smash-hit bands, they never paid back their advance (which largely went to the studio or the production of music videos - remember those?) completely, with many royalties still going to the label many years later.

If people want to see live performances, they can still buy tickets. When it comes to recordings, instead of paying a one time fee for a recording (which you can still do), you can subscribe to a service to get all the recordings at a monthly rate. I still like buying albums, and listening to music as albums. But I don't know that it was ever all that pleasant trying to make a living in music - and if it was, it was a brief blip against a centuries long backdrop of "find a rich benefactor or do it as a hobby - and only rich people can afford hobbies."

The one thing about the business that I think has really hit hard is the way in which modernity makes so much available. I know and see people all the time who have music in their ears for hours and hours on end. They listen while they're working, working out, etc - and only to the curated things they want, not ad-based radio. As a result, many satisfy their musical appetite with only that monthly streaming subscription. Not only do they not buy a lot of albums, they don't go to a lot of live performances.

Great music used too have a scarcity value. It doesn't now, and there is no way to put that toothpaste back in the tube.
 
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Anacharsis

Guitar Player
Sep 19, 2019
952
Midwest USA
Also, whenever this topic comes up, I am reminded that Bach - freaking Bach - sent the Brandenburg Concertos, widely regarded to be some of the greatest orchestral compositions ever, to a rich noble for free, essentially as a job application. Because he needed a job - an extremely demanding job, one which involved writing, playing at weekly services, choral conducting, and all manner of less exciting things - to feed his enormous family. (Note: He had 7 children with his first wife and 13 with his second. Don't do that if you want to buy gear).

Music has never been an easy professional road.
 
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Stevn

Senior Stratmaster
May 31, 2017
1,829
Oxnard, CA
You look up pretty much any musician that’s got a name and you can listen to their music at the drop of a hat from the internet. I don’t get it. Used to be that you had to buy a record, pay for a concert, or listen to lo-fi radio and go insane listening to commercials while waiting for a good song to show up. They play your song on the radio you get a penny. You sell your record you make a little bit of money. Someone goes to your concert you make more money and sell them hats and tshirts. But now, you practice a billion hours and pay to play in some cases and even when you “make it”, everyone can just download your music for free.

How does that support the artists? Why do artists even want to practice and play anymore with such a tiny fraction of musicians actual “making it”. I’d like to know. I’m all for artists rights. I think anyone who dedicates their life playing music and getting a fan base should make money and be able to live a comfortable life without the majority of the masses hearing your billion practice hours and hard work for free, unless the artist is okay with that. It seems like only if you have a million fans that don’t care about real fidelity and want to stream it, that’s the only way you can make money unless you’re a big name and can sell concert tickets (someday:rolleyes:). I guess I’m just wondering what the threshold point is from poverty tour to artists doing great for themselves :thumbd:

EDIT: are not is!!! Oh for crap’s sake. Mods please correct header English :(
The artists monetize my performance, and then keep all the money. I understand they wrote it but I am the performer, they should split it. I never use others performance in any videos.
But they monetized my performance and don’t share! So I say f**k em!
 


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