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Music's Silent Salary Cap

It is no secret that mainstream music today is controlled by the major labels. By controlled, I mean owned. They decide what comes out, when it comes out, and who it reaches. They also control how much the artists get paid from their music. Effectively, this mean the labels, not the artists(the people truly responsible) own the music. 

The artists, though they’ve long had feuds with the label executives over extent of control, still need the labels to do 2 jobs: Mass Promotion and Mass Distribution. The labels, with their big budgets and bigger connections, essentially control mass promotion and distribution, thus giving them an excessive amount of control over the people who need those two things the most: the artists.

This situation of control, which borders on extortion, because the artists have little other choice, has created the occurrence of a silent salary cap in music.

This can all be led back to the fans. The fans either don’t know, or don’t care enough, where the money for the music actually goes. Because the fans don’t care, there’s nothing pushing the labels to give artists better deals. They own control over mass promotion and distribution, thus control over the artists, and nobody has a clue about what they’re doing, except for the artists.

This means the labels can offer the artists anything they want and almost always, the artists are going to be forced to take it because there’s no other way to get heard. And of course, the labels wouldn’t do the right thing and give the artists what they truly deserve, but they’ve been lowballing them, the majority of the time, to the point of a 95-5% split. They have, for a while now, been blatantly taking advantage of the artists, but it has become the norm over the last 60 years, and so nothing is done.

Surprisingly, even the artists haven’t fought this to the level where any major changes have been made. It seems as though it’s every artist for themselves, and this also, is a dangerous result of this unbalanced system.

But there are solutions to these long standing problems now, and they come about only with the help of technology, and more specifically, the internet. The fans have figured out how to use the internet to get music for free from those same artists that the labels have made famous. This, though it is essentially an alternative outlet of distribution, makes the situation worse for the artists. The labels won’t get paid, but neither will the artists. However, a certain level of power still remains in the label’s hands.

People won’t pirate music from artists that nobody knows, and it’s the labels that still hold this power to launch artists into stardom. However, monetizing this service has proven difficult for the labels, being that they made all of their money on distribution, and there is no doubt that the labels have been frantically trying to figure out new models with new revenue streams since piracy has put a dent in their old model. For some new artists they have even begun building rights to artist’s live performances into the contracts, a practice that was never done before, and also a practice that cuts into the artist’s last real source of revenue generation. The labels are truly hitting rock bottom, and dragging everyone else down with them.

It seems as though the solution can only come from the artists, and it must involve the internet as well, the only real alternative option for accomplishing mass promotion and distribution. This solution wouldn’t just be for the label artists then, but for indie artists as well, who deserve the same shot that the label artists do, but might not have as many connections.

However, in order for a new model to work, it must be perfect. It must effectively promote the music, without spamming. It must distribute the music as effectively as piracy, while still allowing the artists to get paid. However the fans have grown used to free music, and so keeping the music free would also be a desirable trait of this new model. It sounds like this solution may be pretty hard to come by, but it turns out, that by approaching it from the right angles, the perfect solution can become visible.

I, an independent artist, have created this model. My model fits all of the criteria above, AND it allows artists to maintain full control over every aspect of their music and careers, including setting prices, getting rid of the silent salary cap once and for all, and allowing artists to directly keep track of, and engage with their fans. This solution is called, and it will be in beta in several weeks now!

To learn more about how exactly Beat-Play will solve problems like piracy, effective online promotion without spamming, mass distribution, the uneven playing field, and how Beat-Play will make an increased number of revenue streams available to the artists for the first time ever, check out our About us page on our blog. Also, to sign up to beta test, go to We will notify you when the beta is ready, which according to our lead developer, will be in about 3 weeks.

If you can’t change the current environment, now, with the internet, you can create your own! That’s what Beat-Play is for artists and musicians all over the world. Pass it on!!

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder and President Beat-Play, LLC

Reader Comments (11)

I feel really, really stupid for having read this.

What does ANY of this have to do with a "Salary Cap" for artists. This is the exact same article you always post here, with a different title. I am literally punching myself in the head for having read this.

Hopefully that image brings you some joy today.

June 29 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

Yep. A frustrating waste of 5 minutes.

MTT is getting a little off course of late.

June 30 | Unregistered CommenterChris West

Maybe everything has been said and it's time for folk to just get on with it.
I hear a lot of "this will change the world" and very little "this has changed the world".
The majority of artists must know the score by now and if they don't, well............

June 30 | Unregistered CommenterBM

@Justin - I totally agree. By the way, I love reading your comments. Pure gold.

There's no one way or even a guaranteed way to achieve success in this industry and it really bothers me when people toot their own horns claiming they have the key to success. These peeps are worse than televangilists.

Again, as COUNTLESS OF OTHER PEOPLE HAVE SAID, it's all about hard work, dedication and using these tools (Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS messaging) to your advantage and experimenting. No one site is going to give success or reboot the music industry or anything else. Absolutely ridiculous

June 30 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Martinez

Ha it's funny that you all are wrong. But we'll agree to disagree.

And this is the silent salary cap part: The fans either don’t know, or don’t care enough, where the money for the music actually goes. Because the fans don’t care, there’s nothing pushing the labels to give artists better deals. They own control over mass promotion and distribution, thus control over the artists, and nobody has a clue about what they’re doing, except for the artists.

This is implying that the labels control the cap for artists.

I prefer to talk about solutions and not problems..sorry. And just because something hasn't happened yet doesn't mean they're full of shit. One day Google just showed up and changed everything..don't tell me one site can't do that for music. Facebook, Twitter and Email are all spam. What's "Absolutely Ridiculous" is that you're content with spam as a means of promotion for your music. I'm sick of spam quite frankly, and if you went to my about page to see what my model actually does, which I thought I'd spare you right now, then you'd see how we get rid of the spam problem, the piracy problem, the salary cap problem, and every other problem that the artists are faced with today. But you won't go actually check for yourself, so you'll stay ignorant and find out from your friends one day. It's okay. Have fun with that..

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." -Decca Recording Company rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

Also, I never said I have the key to success for artists. I'm saying I have the means to a level playing field for the first time ever for music. For the first time an artist's talent will be his key to success, and not who he knows or how much money he has. Talent, genuine value that one person puts out for others, is the only measure of success. My model is based off of that fact, so that if your music is good, it will spread, if it's not, it won't. It can be that simple is what I'm trying to say to you people.

I'm an artist too. I'm a rapper. A fucking good one, and I'm not gonna have my music's rights taken by someone else, especially when the internet is a perfectly good tool for promotion and distribution. People just don't use it right, so I'm creating my own model that will. I'm 22 years old, college drop out, and my business just got a 1.2 million dollar investment so we can really make this thing a reality. What are you doing?

When someone signs up to my mailing list or follows me on Twitter or becomes a "fan" on Facebook, they want to be updated. It's not like MySpace anymore where people just blindy accept your friend request. They want to be connected to the artist; it isn't spam. Yes, it can become spam but that can be combatted with basic common sense

And you don't need a label to be successful nowadays. My band recorded everything in a college studio as a "project" (which essentially means for free) and replicated everything at our own expense. Right now, we have over 50 preorders and have over 100 people already set to come out to our CD release show in late August and those numbers are only growing. Guess what? All that money comes to us and no one else. Those numbers are a direct result of fan connections that we have made from mailing lists and Twitter followers and Facebook fans (along with traditional promotion through flyers and the what not).

I'm all for innovation, bro, but your service doesn't offer anything fresh or anything that isn't already utilized by Music 2.0 artists.

As for what I am doing, I'm about to get my degree

Listen, one of the top topics that came up at the New Music Seminar this year, a highly respected event, was the fact that the 3 F's Fans Friends and Favs are becoming less and less relevant, and less and less conducive to anything of actual value. The systems are too automated. This is a reality that deny it or not, is there. My service works at solutions to those problems that make those automations more meaningful, meaning their based on direct actions of you endorsing something (buying, playlisting, "liking") and then we provide real ways and opportunities for those numbers..the views and the plays, to translate into real money for artists. Imagine if your band had 100,000 Youtube views. That'd be awesome but right now it wouldn't mean much to you in terms of money, and that's kinda unfair, after all, Youtube gets paid off of those views.

Think and say what you want about my company, but the truth is that something has to be done, and we are smart enough to realize that and invest in solutions. It's usually not a good idea to accept things the way they are. They can always be better, and how will you know you're not missing out. Things are perfect, so change them, don't just say "oh well." That's why this nation is in the state it's in.

July 26 | Unregistered CommenterDante Cullari

2 corrections in the last post: they're and AREN'T Perfect

July 26 | Unregistered CommenterDante Cullari

I think you should have actually talked about your solution here instead of requiring us to click the link (misspelled, by the way) to your website. I don't think listing out these problems you named added anything to MTT.

Also, lots of artists turn down major labels these days. If an artist feels "forced" to sign a bad major label deal today, it's because they are naive or lack confidence in themselves. The picture you're painting of major labels is misleading too, saying they control who gets heard and who doesn't–as if some alternate universe which never had labels would've produced a Coldplay or a U2. They control major channels of discovery because those channels would not have existed in the first place (at least in their current and past glory) were it not for the money they pump into the music industry.

The label question for mosts artists now is, which do you want, the most money or the most fame? Listen to some Immortal Technique interviews for example, he chose the former and seems to be enjoying it.

July 26 | Registered CommenterKeith Freund

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