miércoles, 30 de mayo de 2007

Does the Music Industry Make Any Sense?

Around the internet over the the last week, the name of Trent Reznor (of the band Nine Inch Nails) has been circulating and gathering a lot of attention for an interview he had given with the Herald Sun of Australia. In it, he builds a sensation of the kind of hopelessness that apparently surrounds his position in the music industry.
"I've got a battle where I'm trying to put out quality material that matters and I've got fans that feel it's their right to steal it and I've got a company that's so bureaucratic and clumsy and ignorant and behind the times they don't know what to do, so they rip the people off."
He then tells the story of how he walked into a music store in Sydney, and found his new album on sale for $10 more than any other album around. After asking why, he was told the following...
"Basically it's because we know you've got a core audience that's gonna buy whatever you put out, so we can charge more for that. It's the pop stuff we have to discount to get people to buy it. True fans will pay whatever. "
His response...
"And I just said "That's the most insulting thing I've heard. I've garnered a core audience that you feel it's OK to rip off? .... I don't blame people for stealing music if this is the kind of s--- that they pull off.
Click for the entire interview with Trent Reznor

Does this kind of action by the distribution system have a negative affect on band reputation? Reznor says yes, and "that it's hard to position yourself in a place with the fans where you don't look like a greedy asshole".

The music industry is a mess, how can anyone navigate through this, and do it ethically? An answer that has always come up is to look forward to technology, a marvelous social construct that helps make most of our lives easier (and its a great "clave" or key for all those case studies). Yet, I think that the point needs to be made that the internet as technology is exactly what has changed the whole game from the way it had worked for decades. A more radical technology [probably won´t] come around for generations. All parties will need to face and deal with this.

The idea of internet record labels, recording software, and internet radio is amazing (I loved Pandora while it worked for me), but there are still the incentives of too many interested parties to consider and the potential competition between new options that result from them. I think that much of the new confusion for the majority of users stems from this.

But, I would still not want to have it any other way, even Reznor admits that he steals music. Though, now we hear about those stories of black lists and law suits from record companies every once in a while, and how stores justify charging $10 more unethically. What we have here is really a Catch-22 - essentially, both listeners to music and the right holders to music both feel they have a right to steal it. And neither party knows where to go from here.

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3 comentarios:

  1. Yes, this is a "catch 22" situation.
    But I really agree with Mark Cuban who thinks that nobody use the CD anymore. Music industry need changes and must change.

    The Cuban post: http://www.blogmaverick.com/2007/05/29/the-future-of-the-music-business-again/

  2. Good point by Cuban, but i think he could have taken his argument a step farther... Obviously, there is a problem in distribution, and the re-orientation through the PC has not helped that.

    But I also think something could be said that a lot of users are primarily interested in downloading one song only (singles), which will detract anyone from buying a CD while being able to access/steal it on the internet... this is the kind of activity that fills up those iPods he speaks of, and throws the CD industry downhill.

  3. I´m really rather fascinated by the internet radio option... and how the ability to skip tracks really kind of opens up my world to new and similar music... I think it could have a bright future, and I´ll post something about that pretty soon...