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The Challenges Facing Everyone In The Music Business Toda...

Posted on the 13 April 2013 by Joel Rosario-Tapia @tapiauno1

The Challenges Facing Everyone In The Music Business Today, From The Conglomerates to The Independent Guys. (Editorial)The Challenges Facing Everyone In The Music Business Toda...
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Judging by the millions of music videos by wannabe content creators on YouTube, and free to download “mixtapes” on Datpiff.com and sites like it, you would think that the music business is undergoing an incredible renaissance. Everyone must be making money hand over foot because people are fighting to get in to this business huh? Some do, most aren’t . Here are a few reasons why.
In recent times there have been several issues which have come to define conflicts, limitations and the lack of the law’s enforceability in the new information age paradigm. Cloud storage, digital streaming algorithms, which fail to adequately compensate content creators and unenforceable laws all highlight these discrepancies. It seems that for cloud services such as Google’s Music Beta Storage system and Amazon’s Cloud Drive web storage system, “Innovation”  and breakthroughs in technology have become more about how to creatively circumvent actually licensing content than true technological innovation(Menell, 2011). Cloud storage services  enable consumers to upload illegally obtained content  and continue to enjoy it and share it. Though illegal activity is not the focus of these services they are however, optimally prepared for it.
In 2003-2004 the RIAA’s very public lawsuits brought against infringing consumers  changed how the law is enforced. The RIAA brought suit to 5,460 individuals who shared files through services such as Napster and Kazaa, stiff penalties in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars were imposed on ordinary working individuals with families (Electronic Frontier Foundation, 2008).  Since then, actually penalizing consumers who illegally download and share content which has illegally been uploaded in the first place has come to be seen as “heavy handed” and an abuse of the RIAA’s and the authorities power. In short, though it was legal, and the only remedy the RIAA could seek on behalf of rights holders it was a complete PR nightmare.
The public’s indifference to paying for music has lead to continued infringement on copyright holders rights. The stiff penalties imposed since 2003 have done little to discourage the people’s continued illegal downloads and sharing. When we combine these factors with the recent development of a very grim picture develops for content creators. Artist who would have tried to develop their careers utilizing these technologies are beginning to find that a career in the arts which depends on copyrights being respected, has come to be commercially impractical.
Streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify and Mog operate on algorithms. These equations calculate the numbers of plays by fractions of a cent paid back to copyright owners for streams, utilizing a constant divided by the amount consumers pay for membership into theses services. While these companies like to tout their legality and boast on their adherence to the law, The actual percentages paid to rights holders are said to be fractional and are often ate up in recoupment fees by record labels and distribution, leaving the artist out in the cold at the end of the day.In addition these services have yet to report a profit and are said to be hemorrhaging millions of dollars in fees paid back to the publishers and distributors of content (Sefton,2012) . Something doesn’t add up.
The Challenges Facing Everyone In The Music Business Toda...
As an independent artist who funds my own career, I have found that the best viable option for people like me, looking to create compelling content, is to build my brand by investing in increasing my value. First of all, I create what I consider Compelling well thought out content! I have released my music through digital distributors, which charge miniscule fees in my opinion. I utilize promoters to tweet email and blast my content across the world. I have registered my work with the U.S Copyright office, acquired ISRC Codes for royalty collection and Joined Performance rights organizations like ASCAP, SESAC, or BMI.  I do this in order to differentiate my self and my company from the millions of talentless dreamers who have been empowered to cloud up the airwaves and desensitize the public to good content, through utilizing the very same tool I do, the Internet. I invest heavily in the creation, design and dissemination of my brand yet without the simple honoring of my exclusive rights as a Copyright holder it may all be for naught. Every factor that I have identified, is a factor that an Independent artist and record label must consider in order to be properly informed and plan around to ensure survival in this bleak economy, industry and present day business paradigm.
 In order to harness the public’s indifference to the established covenants of our industry as opposed to fighting them, we must learn to turn window shoppers into paying customers by creating truly remarkable content. There has been a sharp rise in record labels signing artist to either “single” deals or overbearing 360° deals. This seems to be the effort of the ailing conglomerates to either generate as much revenue as they can from one song from an artist they don’t believe in very much, or squeeze the juice out of an established brand or artist.
If these same conglomerates would invest in developing some of those artist they sign to single deals and help them to create never before seen innovative content, maybe the public would be more apt to pay for something they can really respect and feel merits them spending their dwindling disposable income for. Major record labels get their panties in a bunch when they aren’t making as much as they used to from their “deep catalogue” and their newest content creators seem to be everywhere and popular but are selling fewer units. I think this is because you can put the artists content everywhere and play it non stop on the radio stations with payola, but you can’t truly make the public really, really like and support an artist with no real charisma, persona, stance, relevance or platform other than the one you are giving them. In essence, major record label conglomerates  are spamming the airwaves, internet and email with worthless flavor of the week content that is here today gone tomorrow, while old rockers like U-2 and Paul Mccartney can gross hundreds of millions of dollars on fewer and fewer world tours.It’s the content. It has always been the content. The only way to overcome any of these challenges is to create truly remarkable, compelling, quality content. Therein lies the solution.The Challenges Facing Everyone In The Music Business Toda...
DELIVERING TO A DIGITAL WORLD. (2012). Music Week, (17), 33-38.
Digital Music Cloud Dilemma: Poker Face, Go your own Way, and Imagine.(2011) The Media Institute.Menell ,Peter S.
Street, J. (2012). From Gigs to Giggs: politics, law and live music. Social Semiotics, 22(5), 575-585. doi:10.1080/10350330.2012.731901
HOW SHOULD WE CONTAIN THE CLOUD?. (2011). Print, 65(4), 46-47.
RIAA VS. The People: five Years Later.(2008) Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved from- https://www.eff.org/wp/riaa-v-people-five-years-later

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