10/14/10

Music artists are being hit hard by the economy and illegal downloading/leaks

 

Many artists of today are finding it quite hard to make money in the music business. From cut-backs on music videos on networks such as MTV, VH1, BET, diminished music sales, and decreasing sales for tour tickets, one could only wonder how an artist make their money.
If you happen to stop by and take a peek at the latest charts on Billboard, you can see there are albums in the number 1 slot with under 100k sold on a regular basis. Back in the day, that was unheard of. An album with that amount sold, was lucky to even crack the top 20, let-along being number one. In this new age of instant gratification, downloading, leaks, Twitter, etc, you can see why artists are branching out in other markets outside of music.
Itunes is a convenient way for consumers to purchase singles, albums, and videos w/o stepping a foot outside their door, but in retrospect, many artists do not make money in the digital world if they are not songwriters or producers-and if the music isn't selling. Portions of the money earned from digital sales are paid to the owners of these digital stores, not to mention, the record company, producers, songwriters all get their cut before the artist. If you happen to be all three, then I guess you may have lucked up. If we had stuck to the old formula (purchasing music from a physical music store or department), it cuts out at least one middle man.
What are some solutions?  It is more complicated then you would expect because of today's conveient technology, but maybe if we cut down on at least a few things, it could help;
  •  Moderating heavily on copyright infringement; This is a big problem in the piracy of music. Most inhibitors illegally obtain music, and send out viral links throughout the web, causing many online spectators able to download music before the viral link is stopped. Now you could possibly have anywhere from 1 person to 300k or even more potential buyers, who now own this music that they got for free online. This can put a damper in anartist pockets.
  • Trust the people who work around you/and who's around in the studio sessions; Producers and songwriters genuinely leak material to gather feedback. Some leak material to get a positive/negative response, and believe it or not, some even leak the material intentionally. It is a risk artists take when they bring an entourage into their recording sessions as well. Be at your own risk, and trust the people around you
  • Get rid of promo CDs; Instead introduce online pre-release music streaming for journalists. Bypass the traditional build-up to an album release to reduce illegal downloading.
However, these things listed above doesn't combat unfinished albums being leaked. Apart from tracking down the culprits  and threatening them with lawsuits, with the help of companies like Web Sheriff, the only thing artists can hope for is the good faith of their fans.

What about you, do you have any solutions? Thoughts? Share them with us.

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