What happened to the entertainment industry? Well, simply put, it was piracy, but before that little Napster man reared his ugly head in, was the industry actually fair to its musicians and consumers?
The big four ran a cartel on the industry, preventing competition, charging far too much for albums, and ripping off their hard working musician clientele. Hypebot researched the traditional record deal to see which involved parties benefit. Of total revenue, 63% went to the record label, 24% to the distributors, while only the remaining 13% was awarded to the hard working artists. The 13% awarded to musicians must then be allocated to their respective managers, agents, attorneys, etc.
Signing a deal with a record company was once a status symbol. Musicians, signed with one of the big four record labels, could be sure to at least have their music heard. Now these labels are, in desperation, trying to reformat the traditional record deal into what is now known as the 360 Deal. It seems foolish to allow these companies to force musicians into unfair contracts; contracts compromised by unchecked industry power and control.
The labels got what was coming. It is obvious that the industry has changed. What we decide now, moving forward, will determine whether the industry really hits rock bottom or if it gets a second wind. A recent Pew Internet study shows an overwhelming 67% of experts agreed Generation Y will never “grow out” out of file sharing. Growing up during the technology era, I have a better sense of the tendencies of my generation and a better sense of what my peers will pay for.
People are not going to continue to pay upwards of $10 for an album. Artists should be compensated for their music. These artists can profit in more efficient, creative ways; ways that take artists off their pedestals stained with the prestige that comes with label affiliation, and puts them on the level of their fans.
Among members of my generation there exists a contest to amass the largest iTunes libraries –a contest with no clear prize. This generation of music listeners, which I have properly dubbed the “New Generation Music Consumer (referred to as NGMC),” feels more obligated to illegally download music. Respect is not collected by the one who knows most about music, but by the one with the largest collection of music—regardless what he knows about the collection, his music is envied and thus sought after.
The hierarchy of music intelligence is as follows:
0-4,000 iTunes songs: You are a novice, a newbie. Did you just discover music yesterday? No one cares about your recent hard drive crash.
4,000-8,000 iTunes songs: Who knows if you purchased it or pirated it? Who cares? No one is really after your library.
8,000-12,000 iTunes songs: You have a relatively good knowledge of music in general. People respect your musical opinion.
12,000-16,000: You are a respected music expert.
16,000 & up: Congrats, you qualify as a musical genius. You must live for music. What instruments do you play? What is the name of your band?
With this motivation for quantity, it is no wonder the NGMC’s musical knowledge lacks critical thinking of the music they come into contact with. People have far more music than they know anything about or know what to do with it. This is not the good old days where you pop on an album and study the case as you listen.
This has allowed artists such as Pretty Lights to rise to enormous commercial success without an evidence of talent. Pretty Lights gives out his music for free and the first fan to post a link on Facebook can consider himself King! It is all hype. Does that fan know anything about the music of Pretty Lights or where it really came from? It doesn’t matter to fans that the artist doesn’t actually possess any musical talent, but as long as they go to his show and bob their drugged heads to his stolen music they are respected by the NGMC.
Well old-school music fans, I propose a solution. I am not guaranteeing it will bring good music back, but then again, it just might.
Proposal: The more musical knowledge you have, the more music you actually listen to, the more credit you build up, the more music you can download. Maybe, when our younger generations really begin to understand the music that they like, just maybe, we can bring naturally talented bands back. There may be a new Beatles out there somewhere, waiting in suspense, but still completely undiscovered.
Is the credit system giving music away for free? It is absolutely not. It is investing in knowledge. For example, I am sure that if someone offered me (a traditional music fan) an album of a Beatles-esque band by answering a Beatles trivia question, I would feel much more obligated to patronize and promote that band’s. If I got a t-shirt, hell, I might buy drinks for everyone that came with me to the show.
There are still true music fanatics listening, and there are truly talented artists out there creating music, frustrated that they cannot be heard. Rolling Stone Magazine reported that the majority of vinyl sales are made to people between 20-25 years old. Stone also showed that vinyl sales have tripled since 2006. These consumers, like myself, are trying to find alternative ways to boast their musical knowledge, to have their taste discovered—or in The Beatles case, rediscovered.
The credit system will utilize people concerned with talented music to revive to the market for such music. These consumers’ musical taste will now be respected. Consumers will be more properly informed; their knowledge of music will not let them be duped by hype. Musical hype in most part will cease by giving the talented musicians the means to reach informed consumers; while the market for untalented artists will dwindle based on their inability to receive credit. Hopefully the newly informed consumer group gets rid of this music hype, such as Pretty Lights.