Showing posts with label Labels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Labels. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

This is How You Stop an Artist in Their Tracks




Never sign with a label, and never put your career in the hands of a producer:

A petition has been launched to release Kesha from her record contract.


Over 53,000 people have signed the Care2 petition demanding Sony Music Entertainment release the pop star from her record deal.


Kesha has been locked in a legal battle that has allegedly prevented her from releasing new music since 2013.

The singer filed a lawsuit against Dr Luke for "mental manipulation, emotional abuse and sexual assault" last October. She is looking to be freed from her contract with the producer.

The legal system has to change. No one should be able to lock up an artist and keep them from working. It's completely unfair and it shouldn't be legal to use a contract in this manner. I would think that a percentage payment would be due to the producer in this case if Kesha were to release music on her own and make money, otherwise no one would sign a contract ever again. But to tie her hands and deny her the ability to make a living is wrong.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Robbing Zoe Keating






Only a very few classical artists have been outspoken on the issue so far: San-Francisco-based Zoe Keating — a tech-savvy, DIY, Amanda Palmer of the cello — has blown the whistle on the tiny amounts the streaming services pay musicians. Though she’s exactly the kind of artist who should be cashing in on streaming, since she releases her own music, tours relentlessly, and has developed a strong following since her days with rock band Rasputina, only 8 percent of  her last year’s earnings from recorded music came from streaming. The iTunes store, which pays out in small amounts since most purchases are for 99 cent songs, paid her about six times what she earned from streaming. (More than 400,000 Spotify streams earned her $1,764; almost 2 million YouTube views generated $1,248.)


So, 2,400,000 plays or clicks on Spotify and YouTube in a single year equals $3,012 dollars for an artist like Zoe Keating? 


Come on. That's obscene.


She clearly has listeners. She clearly has an audience. She is not a "fringe" artist in terms of her appeal on just two--two!--of these services. And yet, they're making money. They're making money hand over fist at Spotify and YouTube.


Zoe Keating isn't making anything. Three thousand dollars for that kind of exposure and that many plays is theft of artistic property. If someone came to your house and stole that, it would be a felony. There would be a perp walk out the back door, and a rep from Spotify would be frog-marched to a squad car with no t-shirt and a back full of sweat and weeds, just like on Cops.


Good God. Nobody is going to make music anymore if this keeps up. Why would they?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sign Morrissey to a Label, Please





In terms of no-brainer business decisions when it comes to music, why wouldn't you sign Morrissey?


Morrissey has lamented the lack of label interest at his recent New York show.

The former Smiths frontman performed at the city's Madison Square Garden venue on Saturday (June 27), describing the gig as "fantastic" to fansite True To You.

Despite his enjoyment of the concert however, the singer did also acknowledge that there was "zero label interest", suggesting that no record labels attended the gig. Moz added that it was "a sad sign of the times".


How many artists have a built-in, near-permanent audience for their music? Even if you stood Morrissey up once every few years for a short tour, you could get a dozen singles and three albums out of this guy in a couple of years, no problem. Morrissey is sitting on music he can't put out because the labels that have signed him have been wary of how to market what it is he does.


I'll fix this for you--it's time for a Morrissey album entirely in Spanish. Making that happen would cement his hold on a Latin audience that goes crazy for his stuff. 


You're telling me that this guy can't sell 25,000 downloads of something in a few short weeks? Come on. This has to be a case where labels won't sign him because they know they can't take advantage of him and not pay royalties. This has to be about the margins--you gotta pay this guy what he's worth and nobody wants to do that.


Here's a viable professional with a proven track record of keeping his core audience. He doesn't hit the pop charts because the pop charts don't know how to handle him. If you marketed him and promoted him properly, people would show up and buy what he's selling. He's fucking Morrissey--this is what he does. And people go nuts for it and love it and hold on to his stuff forever.


The music business still makes no sense, no matter what.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Best Metal Performance




If you want proof that the genre of heavy metal is dead, look no further than the fact that this year's Grammy (which is worthless) went to Tenacious D.

There are real metal fans out there and this should not concern them one bit. When the Grammy's are completely out of touch with what's happening in the real world in terms of the music that people enjoy, that means that the genre itself is healthy and appreciated. Having a satire/joke band win means that the genre itself is safe from the predatory aspects of the music industry.

Those of us who enjoy Shoegazing music salute you for having survived another tough year. Thank God there is no Shoegazing Grammy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

All About Eve




This is incredibly unfair, I know, but here's what you need to know about this photo.

First, it's of the band All About Eve.

Second, it's a promotional photo so everyone has been styled, dressed, and made up. Their record label probably spent a large sum of money on this photo.

Third, these are not miserable people, but they are posed in such a way as to appear miserable. When the man said, "no mardy bums," this was what he was talking about. But All About Eve were excellent and talented so it all worked out in the end.

Fourth, whoever took the photo did the band a disservice and should have opted for something else. As in, anything else.

When there actually were record labels and photographers who did this sort of thing, the promotional photos were used to help the A&R people "sell" the band. Not much of that happens anymore. But, if you're in a band and if the person trying to take your picture does this to you, beat them up.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pomplamoose




Pomplamoose went on tour this year. And, because of streaming and the ideology of "free music" being the way things are done now, this is what happened to them:

that’s $135,983 in total income for our tour. And we had $147,802 in expenses.
We lost $11,819.



Read the whole thing and then explain how giving away music for free means people can make a living in the music business.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Hubris of What is Left of Pink Floyd




Lazy band dumps the remainder of tracks from a session held nearly 20 years ago, calls it a new album, everyone rapturously praises them for their artistic integrity.

Sound familiar?

Pink Floyd have emptied the bins, tidied up what they could, left it to some schmo to edit it all into something called an album, and that's the end of that. Buy it, consumer. Covet it, fool. Ignore the criticisms--it's a new Pink Floyd album, you idiot!

What a shame.

Somewhere, a marketing guru is lamenting the fact that this is the "last" album because, surely, there are dusty tapes from the 1980s that could be slapped into shape and released in ten years, don't you think?

If Pink Floyd had tried this trick in the 1970s, people would have correctly assumed that this is a fraud and a waste of time. But if you do it when there's no music coming out, when no one can put their hands on anything new or exciting, and when there's money to be made, well. The media goes along with the pretense that this is anything but a cash grab.

Do you seriously think anyone in Pink Floyd needs any cash at this point? Really?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Harvest Records Gets a Little Free Advertising




I can appreciate the hurt feelings and the unhappiness behind this act of defiance, but, really, no one cares about record labels anymore. No one cares that Harvest Records was dishonest to an artist--that's what the label is there for. No one cares whether or not a business interest kept its word and did what it was obligated by contract to do--the law is owned by the fellow with the best lawyer.

Morrissey will always be a big deal and no record label can contain him. And, no, a group of like-minded artists is not going to go off and start their own record label. I'm shocked that there even is a Harvest Records.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Robbing Zoe Keating




This is straight up theft:

Only a very few classical artists have been outspoken on the issue so far: San-Francisco-based Zoe Keating — a tech-savvy, DIY, Amanda Palmer of the cello — has blown the whistle on the tiny amounts the streaming services pay musicians. Though she’s exactly the kind of artist who should be cashing in on streaming, since she releases her own music, tours relentlessly, and has developed a strong following since her days with rock band Rasputina, only 8 percent of  her last year’s earnings from recorded music came from streaming. The iTunes store, which pays out in small amounts since most purchases are for 99 cent songs, paid her about six times what she earned from streaming. (More than 400,000 Spotify streams earned her $1,764; almost 2 million YouTube views generated $1,248.)

So, 2,400,000 plays or clicks on Spotify and YouTube in a single year equals $3,012 dollars for an artist like Zoe Keating? 


Come on. That's obscene.


She clearly has listeners. She clearly has an audience. She is not a "fringe" artist in terms of her appeal on just two--two!--of these services. And yet, they're making money. They're making money hand over fist at Spotify and YouTube.


Zoe Keating isn't making anything. Three thousand dollars for that kind of exposure and that many plays is theft of artistic property. If someone came to your house and stole that, it would be a felony. There would be a perp walk out the back door, and a rep from Spotify would be frog-marched to a squad car with no t-shirt and a back full of sweat and weeds, just like on Cops.


Good God. Nobody is going to make music anymore if this keeps up. Why would they?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Twin Tone Records Catalog Sampler

I'm not sure how Twin Tone Records got away with putting Harmon Killebrew on the cover of their catalog sampler--must have been a sweetheart deal (and if that's not Killebrew, then I don't know who it is). It's a classic, through and through.

This is typical of a catalog sampler--you have artists who are all over the map. You even have Robyn Hitchcock on this thing, which blows my mind. The package works well as a marketing tool because it delivers eighteen tracks from so many different and prominent artists. Something tells me Twin Tone could have been a much bigger deal if they had gotten a better break. In terms of American record labels, I have always thought Twin Tone should have been given more credit for finding so many amazing artists.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Taylor Swift is Trying to Get It Rght




I have to give Taylor Swift some credit for advancing the idea that people should be paid for their art. I don't know what this means for the music business, which is still a dying beast that is being sucked dry by business models that can only be sustained by NOT paying artists for their art, but oh well.

She sits at the top of the food chain--the label to which she is signed can't steal from her and it cannot rob from her. Unless she hires foolish management and signs a deal that gives everything away, she will continue to see tremendous sales and downloads and she will receive a great deal of streaming music revenue. She is part of the less than one percent of music artists that can dictate what they are paid.

The vast majority of artists are left with crumbs under the table. While she's doing deals with advertisers, bands are giving up and they're changing their plans. There isn't any point in making an album because there's no sustainable business model to finance it, promote it, sell it, and put it into an archive where it can attract future royalties. How can you spend a modest $50,000 on an album that will generate $50 worth of revenue from being played on Spotify?

In order to take this a step further, Swift should use her economic power to ensure that artists are being paid. She could tell her label to take just one million dollars of her future earnings after she makes at least five million and use that to give ten bands a grant--not an advance, a grant--to make ten albums. I figure that you can make a decent record for that much, and that would leave ten artists with no debt to the label. That would put them in a position to promote and sell their albums on their own and it would allow them to make back some revenue right away.

One million bucks for ten artists. Let her pick who they are. Give them a leg up and help them get out from under the crushing debt of an advance. If they go out and make their own million, then they have to pay it back.

The answer is for artists to get paid making music people want to hear. If everyone were to sell out and make Taylor Swift albums, none of them would advance the cause of music. And, if you're a believer in diversity and finding a commercial solution to a predatory system, this would force the conversation to move beyond the abstract into the actual. Otherwise, what's the point?

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Charlatans How High Cover







This is the cover for the expanded Japanese market single, released in 1997 to a world mostly indifferent to the old Madchester sound. The Charlatans had dropped the references to their old sound and were moving into a new era. This single, for How High, shows more of an aggressive rock feel.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Money Never Goes to the Artists






You can be well assured--the streaming services will make money. If they don't, they'll fold quickly. The people who exploit the value of handing out music for free always get paid. Artists, nope.

MORE...
We've seen this debate a thousand times--in order for a streaming service to make money, they have to deliver content that doesn't cost them anything. Their profits are derived from whatever they can get people to pay, and then they will break that down and pay the artists a pittance to keep it legal.

A handful of artists will see money, but the costs involved in recording and marketing their music will justify the large payouts (think of Daft Punk as the perfect example of this). However, if you're an independent artist and you're just making an album because you've been away for a while, you're going to get screwed by streaming services. They'll pay you fractions of a penny for plays. They'll make money while pretending to give you what you've earned.

It's all a scam, and it will always be a scam. Music for free means everyone but the artist gets paid.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Embrace You're Not Alone Singles







These are the covers for the Embrace single You're Not Alone. They follow the tradition of a CD single release in two different versions, which is designed to drive sales among diehard fans up a notch or two, delivering a little cash to the label that they can hide from the band.

What happens is, a ravenous Embrace fan will go out and buy four of each of these singles, and keep two of each for emergencies and give out the other two to friends. The label goes back to the band and says that negative three of these were sold, pocketing the money.

The cover concept is great but my versions are lo-fi and crappy. The line drawings and the purple really work.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Long, Proud History of Stealing From Artists




This was buried in a story about legal settlements and Hollywood:

In October 2011, the estate of Rick Nelson sued Capitol Records for allegedly underreporting royalties. Among the allegations was the claim that the record label was in possession of up to $250 million in "unmatched income," money that Capitol claimed it couldn't link to any particular artist. The heirs of the author of songs including "Travelin' Man" and "Poor Little Fool" have now reached a deal. Neville Johnson, the attorney for the plaintiff, said the issue was "amicably resolved." [emphasis, mine]


A quarter of a billion dollars is in the hands of one record company, and they don't have any idea how they made that money or which artist(s) made it for them? And so they cannot pay it out?

If that's not evidence of fraud, corruption, and outright theft, then what the hell is? Jeebus.

The Nelson estate was paid off, so go away now while we rake in the bucks and stiff the people who don't have lawyers to come after us. Is that basically how Capitol Records still operates? Good for them. Nice work if you can get it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Damon Albarn Wanted More Money



Damon Albarn probably wanted a lot more money than the festival organizers were willing to pay, and that's why they pulled out. What were the organizers charged with doing? Promoting the event? They did that. Everyone in Australia knew that there was going to be a Big Day Out festival and who was going to play--everyone who had an inkling of going, that is.

At the end of the day, Albarn wants the cash. When someone pulls out of a festival, is it really about promotion and logistics or is it really about the cut of the profits? Come on. It's about the money. It always is.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How Long Before Alan McGee Bails Again?


I'm shocked that Alan McGee hasn't bailed already. Has it been a month or two? How long before all of these artists see the back of him, going off with a bag full of money?