Recording Industry Should Brace for More Bad News
The exodus of big-ticket artists like Robbie Williams from EMI could be an indicator of things to come. The author argues that traditional labels are becoming obsolete as consumer habits change.
Author: Wayne Rosso CNET News, January 18, 2008 read more
Many of you may have seen the article in today’s New York Times about the lack of affordable rehearsal space in the Big Apple. The problem, while hardly new, is getting worse due to skyrocketing real estate prices.
The story cites figures from nycMusicSpaces.org, which is operated by NYC nonprofit NYC Arts Spaces. The group claims that 44 percent of musicians in NYC make less than $50,000 a year, and they’re often forced to cut corners on basic living expenses in order to pursue their art. Places to perform are also becoming more scarce, as rents and operating costs for venues continue to rise. read more
The latest issue of Wired has a short, one-page article called “Why Things Suck: Radio.” We’re guessing it’s a part of a series, but we can’t remember having ever seen it before. We’re probably too fixated on their “What’s Inside” column, where you can find out about all the bizarre stuff in everyday consumer products.
But let’s get back to radio and suckiness. The piece does a fair job of itemizing the reasons the commercial dial is often devoid of actual entertainment. Public (airwaves) Enemy Number One? Profit-hungry conglomerates like Clear Channel: read more
Last week, FMC and Air Traffic Control got their indie-rock on at two concerts to benefit New Orleans musicians still struggling to secure housing after Hurricane Katrina.
The first show, “Musicians Bringing Musicians Home III,” took place in the Parish Room of the New Orleans House of Blues on Thursday, January 10. Performers included Nellie McKay, Jon Langford & Sally Timms of The Mekons, Patrick Hallahan of My Morning Jacket, Charles Bissell of The Wrens, Kimya Dawson, Timothy Bracy of the Mendoza Line, Janet Bean of Freakwater and members of Bonerama, who provided sure-footed backup during several artists’ sets. Need we say it rocked? read more
…but asking people to pay for them is another story. At least according to Trent Reznor, whose recent label-free, download-only release of Saul Williams’ The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust resulted in “disappointing” sales — even at the suggested $5 price point. (Williams, on the other hand, seems satisfied.)
As this interview with Mr. Reznor in CNET points out, five bucks is around the cost of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. And these days, it’s not much more than a gallon of gas. For a full-length album of higher-than MP3 quality. read more
DRM (or Digital Rights Management) has been a contentious subject practically since the dawn of digital music. Many fans prefer their audio files to be free of locks, so they can enjoy their music across multiple platforms and players. The major labels (and some artists), on the other hand, have been reluctant to liberate their content, for fear of unchecked filesharing.
But it looks like DRM might finally be on the way out. Last week, Sony BMGfinalized plans to remove copy protection from the music they sell digitally. Some are predicting the entire catalog will be available at digital retailers within months. read more
www.techblog.com is tracking 2008 Presidential candidates’ stances on various tech issues, including net neutrality.
As it stands now, 9 out of 15 candidates on the roster are pro-net neutrality. The majority in favor are democrats. There are also a couple of N/A listings. Not sure what that means, exactly, but Fred Thompson is one of ‘em. Click here for the full list.
Check out our Rock the Net campaign (and sign up!) to learn more about net neutrality.
We at FMC are always pleased when musicians donate their time and energy to help other musicians. So we’re psyched about two shows taking place in New Orleans next week that benefit artists still struggling in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. read more
The political statement may be that the system is broken. And that the layers and layers of bureaucracy, and all the different gatekeepers that have been in the middle between musicians and music fans — well that goes away. Now, that doesn’t mean that this is the solution — this sort of voluntary tip jar model where everything’s available for free and people pay for it if they want to pay for it. That’s not a long-term, systematic solution for the challenges of how artists get paid in the future.