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The State of The Music Industry
11 February 2015
6.59am
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C.R.A.
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This topic will start out with an article specifically relating to The Beatles, but it really pertains to the Music Industry as a whole.

I've used an fb page as a platform to vent and rail against the state of the music industry and the effects it's having on new artists who endeavor to create and be heard.  More often than not, fans (and followers) contend there will never be any new "good" music (particularly Rock) because... these kids, today.  They suck!

I don't believe that for a moment.  The talent is out there.  But it's lacking guidance, mentorship, support and (probably, most importantly) The Long And Winding Road that was so readily available to the artists of yesteryear; the grind of the road, the venues, the appearances...  The primary culprit in all of this is -of course- thieves and the resulting loss of revenue from record sales.  But the industry is just as complicit, in that they either lacked the foresight to overcome the degraded control of music (granted, difficult) or they were just apathetic to the environment and withdrew what was once a powerful network that sought out, fostered and (detrimentally) even created new artists to shift their focus on bankable "artists."  Yes, I used quotes there as suggestive.  You take it from there.

There is a lot of material on this subject.  Some of you may have already come across much of it.  And I'm sure plenty have already formed an opinion on the state of new music.  These kids, today.  But it's apparent that this forum is populated by intelligent people and the demographic is particularly interesting.  So, I'd like to hear your view.  What do you think of new music today (particularly Rock) and why do you suppose it's where it is?

To kick things off, I'm posting a link to an article on music.mic.  If you have the time, I would be very grateful.

We'll Never See a Band as Big as The Beatles Again — Here's Why

 

We got a telling glimpse of the state of the music industry this weekend during the 2015 Grammys. Max Martin won producer of the year for having co-written and produced seven of the year's top 10 tracks, proving how standardized our taste in pop has become. The Beyoncé/Beck album of the year snub drama showed how intractably divided our culture's most popular artists' fan bases have gotten. The music industry is just too scattered, and the listening the public too divided, to support a band able to exercise the reach and creativity the Beatles enjoyed at their peak.

 

Sales numbers illustrate the point. Taylor Swift's 1989, our current number one album, only sold 71,000 copies last week. That figure makes 1989 "the lowest-selling No. 1 album since Sia's 1000 Forms of Fear hit No. 1 over the summer and sold just 52,000 copies," according to Mic's Kate Beaudoin. In contrast, the Beatles Please Please Me  wasn't considered a success until it broke the 250,000 sales mark. Artists instead must tour relentlessly and monetize every possible aspect of their merchandising in order to turn a profit.

 

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ someone said it, dammit.

Memphis, 1966

11 February 2015
10.36am
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Ron Nasty
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Oh dear! Just where to begin!

I'll start with the stupid article, and probably revisit and comment on the theme.

Opening line of the article:

Fifty-one years ago on Saturday, Beatlemania began.

BS! NOBODY sitting on this side of the Atlantic (the UK side of the ocean) and I doubt few on that side of the Atlantic (the US side) believes Beatlemania began with their Ed Sullivan appearance, which is obviously the reference.

Yes, it kicked up a gear, but Beatlemania had been raging in the UK, Europe, and other parts of the world (like Australia) long before they appeared on Ed. The idea that Beatlemania began with their appearance on Ed's "really big shew" is palpable nonsense, especially since the description had been in place for months, since their appearance on the UK's Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

Important as Sullivan's show was, and nice as it was for them to take the American market, it really was just the Americans joining a party late that had been building for a year in other parts of the planet (see also two world wars!).

Another paragraph:

We got a telling glimpse of the state of the music industry this weekend during the 2015 Grammys. Max Martin won producer of the year for having co-written and produced seven of the year's top 10 tracks, proving how standardized our taste in pop has become.

Another Martin, George, dominated the UK charts in '63, and the world's charts in '64. The argument isn't made that his domination of the charts (including being the only producer to have the top 5 slots on Billboard in April 1964) proved a standardisation of pop. Sorry, but another BS statement.

Much as I love The Beatles, and much as I hate much modern pop, going through the article there is BS on top of BS. I can destroy almost every line in the article. A dreadful piece of writing that collapses under any informed scrutiny!

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty

 

The Beatles Non-Canon Poll List

11 February 2015
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Starr Shine?
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C.R.A. said
I've used a fb page as a platform to vent and rail against the state of the music industry and the effects it's having on new artists who endeavor to create and be heard.  More often than not, fans (and followers) contend there will never be any new "good" music (particularly Rock) because... these kids, today.  They suck!

So just because they have a diffrent taste in music means they suck? Modern music evolves as people do. Rock has changed along with many other genres over time and just because you might not like the change doesn't mean the people who like it suck

I don't believe that for a moment.  The talent is out there.  But it's lacking guidance, mentorship, support and (probably, most importantly) The Long And Winding Road that was so readily available to the artists of yesteryear; the grind of the road, the venues, the appearances...  The primary culprit in all of this is -of course- thieves and the resulting loss of revenue from record sales.  But the industry is just as complicit, in that they either lacked the foresight to overcome the degraded control of music (granted, difficult) or they were just apathetic to the environment and withdrew what was once a powerful network that sought out, fostered and (detrimentally) even created new artists to shift their focus on bankable "artists."  Yes, I used quotes there as suggestive.  You take it from there.

It make sense to use bankable artists since that is how they make money. The Beatles were a marketable group.There is nothing wrong with being marketable.

For modern aspiring artists, now they can use YouTube or something like it to share your music independently and gain money and a following with out the industry. Heck if they are really popular, they could be picked up from YouTube.

 

Sales numbers illustrate the point. Taylor Swift's 1989, our current number one album, only sold 71,000 copies last week. That figure makes 1989 "the lowest-selling No. 1 album since Sia's 1000 Forms of Fear hit No. 1 over the summer and sold just 52,000 copies," according to Mic's Kate Beaudoin. In contrast, the Beatles Please Please Me  wasn't considered a success until it broke the 250,000 sales mark. Artists instead must tour relentlessly and monetize every possible aspect of their merchandising in order to turn a profit.

 

That's because modern people don't buy albums as much.

 

I am not a fan of the whole peoples music tastes suck just because I don't like there music. Just because it's not your thing doesn't mean it can't be someone else's thing.

https://youtu.be/52nwiTs7bk8

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11 February 2015
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Years ago 20 million people were watching Eastenders every night on BBC 1 now they are delighted to get 8 million an episode. Times change and so does how we access tv, music and everything else so you cant accurately compare such todays figures with those from decades ago.

 

Everything goes in a cycle.

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

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11 February 2015
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We have some similar threads on this theme in case anyone wants to review them for ideas.

Will there ever be another Beatles?

Why do you think The Beatles were so popular?

11 February 2015
6.03pm
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Necko
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This conversation gets had on this forum so often that I'm frankly a bit tired of "hearing" it.

 

(Also, I pretty much agree with what @Starr Shine? says.)

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11 February 2015
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Zig
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I was a bit disappointed - thought it was thread about Tennessee. a-hard-days-night-george-10

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11 February 2015
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Mr. Kite
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The thing about using YouTube as a platform for sharing your music is that it is a niche now. Everyone is on YouTube now and it's hard to be successful unless you were there when it started. You have to market it to be successful which means you have to already have a following somewhere to get your channel publicity to get your music heard.

I watched a documentary about the top concert organizer/promoter, and that really is where the industry has gone. Tours and merchandise are where money comes from now, not the albums.

To ensure record sales, you'd need to sell protected CD's that you can't rip. Just like DVD's. That and not make your music digitally available. That's not practical these days as no one will go out just to buy an album, especially a new artist.

I read an article with a similar title a while ago on why Beatlemania (US Version) would be impossible now. A big part of the excitement when The Beatles came to America was the anticipation. They'd heard of this great British band, maybe a few records, and waited in excitement. These days that would be impossible. Today's Cavern would be full of young people posting pictures, audio, and video of The Beatles online. There wouldn't be as much excitement... As much mystery.

The claim the article makes that many acts are debuting at #1 seems true. All these artists seem to appear out of nowhere.

HOWEVER, as easy as it is to look at this negatively (which I'm inclined to do, but won't) there are artists who worked their way up slowly and are still innovative and artistic that are popular now. St Vincent for example.

The problem with new music is probably that it's not marketed well enough. There are probably good bands out there that I would like, but I don't hear about them so I don't know.

I think if an artist really works though, if they dedicate their life to the music, they'll succeed.

That's the hope! a-hard-days-night-george-10

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11 February 2015
11.06pm
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Annadog40 said

So just because they have a diffrent taste in music means they suck? Modern music evolves as people do. Rock has changed along with many other genres over time and just because you might not like the change doesn't mean the people who like it suck

Well, I certainly hope you saw my follow-on paragraph (you quoted it) where I said that I am in agreement with you and new music doesn't suck.  In fact, it's a pet peeve of mine to hear people say that.  It just paints them as being stubborn.  Just so we're clear; my post was not in support of the notion that new music sucks.  It doesn't.  And I stand firmly against those who support that notion.

Annadog40 said

It make sense to use bankable artists since that is how they make money. The Beatles were a marketable group.There is nothing wrong with being marketable.

For modern aspiring artists, now they can use YouTube or something like it to share your music independently and gain money and a following with out the industry. Heck if they are really popular, they could be picked up from YouTube.

It does make sense from the corporate perspective, so there would be no use in arguing against that point.  But place yourself in the shoes of an aspiring artist of today as compared to yesteryear.  You're dependent on yourself.  The 'road to stardom' has nearly evaporated precisely because of things like Youtube and independent music sharing.  There's very little money to be gained from music sharing, as it's largely dependent on those honest enough to actually purchase the product.  There's absolutely no financial gain from being on Youtube; you're just another user with another channel.

Annadog40 said

That's because modern people don't buy albums as much.

This is true!  And crucial.  Let's be honest; nobody pays for music now.

Annadog40 said
I am not a fan of the whole peoples music tastes suck just because I don't like there music. Just because it's not your thing doesn't mean it can't be someone else's thing.

Can't argue with that.  We're all sporting opinions and some are just beyond being wrong.  While I'm not a fan of all genres (and don't believe anyone else is), that doesn't make it a bad thing.  You won't find any Kanye West recordings in my possession and I think his off-record antics are ... curious.  But I also won't label his fanbase as being stupid simply because they happen to like his efforts.

My intent here was to open a discussion of the music industry as a whole; not just about the rock genre or even just The Beatles.  For every 'rock' act that can't catch a break, there are an equal number of any genre you can think of who are pinned down under similar circumstances.

I contend the problem is the recording industry and their abandoning of a thriving culture that was in place all through the late 60's, all of the 70's, 80's and 90's, and then literally crashed after the advent of file sharing, resulting in the unmitigated loss of revenue to the artists from all the free music we're enjoying today.

For perspective; name all the major record labels today.

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ someone said it, dammit.

Memphis, 1966

11 February 2015
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Mr. Kite said
The thing about using YouTube as a platform for sharing your music is that it is a niche now. Everyone is on YouTube now and it's hard to be successful unless you were there when it started. You have to market it to be successful which means you have to already have a following somewhere to get your channel publicity to get your music heard.

I watched a documentary about the top concert organizer/promoter, and that really is where the industry has gone. Tours and merchandise are where money comes from now, not the albums.

To ensure record sales, you'd need to sell protected CD's that you can't rip. Just like DVD's. That and not make your music digitally available. That's not practical these days as no one will go out just to buy an album, especially a new artist.

Bingo!

Adding to this dilemma is a standard the recording industry continues to maintain; a band (popular enough from all those Youtube hits to get signed) goes into a studio, works until they're done and then the record is released and distributed.

Soon after, the artist is charged -by the label- with recovering the costs of producing the recording; studio time, fees for engineers and producers, distribution, A&R, etc., because the label knows they're not going to make any money from sales.  Nobody buys music.

The only real place an artist makes money is from appearances and merchandising.  They've got to hit the road, get booked as often as possible, sell enough t-shirts and hats, and hope they at least earn enough to pay back the label and their manager before they start shopping for that mansion in Bel Air.

The differences today is that record labels aren't willing to take risks like they used to.  There are far less label-pushed promotions.  There are no label people out there pushing new 'undiscovered' artists as they used to.  Concert promoters aren't staging 5-act shows.  Because the public has become fickle.  And cheap.  And why not.  We can afford to be now.  We shop for music a'la cart, picking certain songs and leaving the rest of an album behind.  We don't have to actually attend shows because we can see it posted to Youtube 45 minutes later by someone who actually bought a ticket.

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Memphis, 1966

12 February 2015
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Ron Nasty said
Oh dear! Just where to begin!

Oh, I don't know.  How about the part where I said I'll start with an article using The Beatles as a model, but the topic is really about the music industry.

Ron Nasty said

I'll start with the stupid article, and probably revisit and comment on the theme.

 Of course!

Ron Nasty said

Opening line of the article:

Fifty-one years ago on Saturday, Beatlemania began.

BS! NOBODY sitting on this side of the Atlantic (the UK side of the ocean) and I doubt few on that side of the Atlantic (the US side) believes Beatlemania began with their Ed Sullivan appearance, which is obviously the reference.

Yes, it kicked up a gear, but Beatlemania had been raging in the UK, Europe, and other parts of the world (like Australia) long before they appeared on Ed. The idea that Beatlemania began with their appearance on Ed's "really big shew" is palpable nonsense, especially since the description had been in place for months, since their appearance on the UK's Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

Important as Sullivan's show was, and nice as it was for them to take the American market, it really was just the Americans joining a party late that had been building for a year in other parts of the planet (see also two world wars!).

Okay, you've taken the article to task for it's perception of when Beatlemania commenced and corrected it in a fashion conducive to reception by those who may not have been previously aware of those facts and are now thankful for your non-corrosive insight and knowledge. But I was hoping the discussion would be about the music industry.  Maybe I shouldn't have used that article.  There are many, many others on this subject.

Ron Nasty said
Another paragraph:

We got a telling glimpse of the state of the music industry this weekend during the 2015 Grammys. Max Martin won producer of the year for having co-written and produced seven of the year's top 10 tracks, proving how standardized our taste in pop has become.

Another Martin, George, dominated the UK charts in '63, and the world's charts in '64. The argument isn't made that his domination of the charts (including being the only producer to have the top 5 slots on Billboard in April 1964) proved a standardisation of pop. Sorry, but another BS statement.

George Martin dominated in the early 60's when Rock (as we would come to know it) was still relatively finding it's feet.  Having the Top 5 Billboard slots in 1964 was due to a phenomenon.  I'm not sure of your counterpoint; since George Martin, modern music expanded rapidly, resulting in countless producers who had a hand in countless artists reaching the pinnacle of their respective fields.  The argument could also be made that, at one time, some of rock's main producers (Ted Templeman, Bob Rock, Mutt Lange) had similar circumstances.  But you would have to ignore the fact that they were all achieving their individual successes at the same time.

The argument is that it's now regressed.  Max Martin isn't producing one solitary band that is captivating the world.  The author created a weak point by using this as an example, since there are more than a few producers who are responsible for major song successes.  The point remains that the recording industry has either lost it's footing or has become apathetic and is no longer populated with the idealists who once controlled the purse strings in music.

Ron Nasty said

Much as I love The Beatles, and much as I hate much modern pop, going through the article there is BS on top of BS. I can destroy almost every line in the article. A dreadful piece of writing that collapses under any informed scrutiny!

 You're so awesome.

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ someone said it, dammit.

Memphis, 1966

12 February 2015
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Zig said
I was a bit disappointed - thought it was thread about Tennessee. a-hard-days-night-george-10

Y'got me.  Good one.

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“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ someone said it, dammit.

Memphis, 1966

12 February 2015
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meanmistermustard said
Years ago 20 million people were watching Eastenders every night on BBC 1 now they are delighted to get 8 million an episode. Times change and so does how we access tv, music and everything else so you cant accurately compare such todays figures with those from decades ago.

Everything goes in a cycle.

Years ago, there weren't 500 channels on the TV.  And it was free.

Before file sharing, there was far more music availability than in the 60's, and they sold.

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ someone said it, dammit.

Memphis, 1966

12 February 2015
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Ahhh Girl said
We have some similar threads on this theme in case anyone wants to review them for ideas.

Will there ever be another Beatles?
Why do you think The Beatles were so popular?

I looked those over.  There were a few mentions of the music industry, but -by and large- it was about if there will ever be another Beatles.

That isn't the discussion I was looking for, so I didn't see the harm in starting this one.

Necko said
This conversation gets had on this forum so often that I'm frankly a bit tired of "hearing" it.

(Also, I pretty much agree with what @Starr Shine? says.)

Really?  That often, eh.  Well, thanks for your opinion.

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ someone said it, dammit.

Memphis, 1966

12 February 2015
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ahdn_paul_06 It's more their have been a few thread that were talking about how modern music is terrible lately. Like when people were talking about Paul's recent collaborations.

https://youtu.be/52nwiTs7bk8

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12 February 2015
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Well, there was this topic recently about modern music in general, and not Beatle-specific.

parlance

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12 February 2015
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I understand, but it wasn't my intent start another topic on terrible modern music.

My intent was to start a topic on a terrible music industry.

I wasn't intending to solely discuss artists or music.

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ someone said it, dammit.

Memphis, 1966

12 February 2015
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C.R.A. said

...it wasn't my intent start another topic on terrible modern music...My intent was to start a topic on a terrible music industry.

And a good topic it is. Up until now, most of the discussions mentioned upthread were on the music/artist not the industry. Now that the thread has been better defined, members can present their discussions more relavant to the topic.
apple01

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13 February 2015
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This article is on musicbusinessworldwide.com

43 THINGS THAT SCARE A MAJOR RECORD COMPANY IN 2015

 

It’s tough running a major music company today. For starters, you’re reliant on off-the-wall creative types to help you hit your ever-stricter targets.

Then there’s piracy, cost-cutting and that big question mark over whether streaming, in reality, can ever really take this industry back to the promised land.

In fact, you might not realise just how many fears play on the mind of a major label boss every single day.

Earlier today, Warner Music Group announced its fiscal results for the last quarter of 2014, recording Q1 net losses of $41m against a 1.7% revenue jump to $829m.

Buried within the company’s investor information lay something rather revealing about its biggest fears for the future: a list of what it deems its ‘risks, uncertainties and other important factors’.

It's beginning to hit home with these people.  They should have taken action when Napster opened the door and only the artists fought back.

Does anyone in this forum actually go into a store to buy music?  If you do, where do you go?

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ someone said it, dammit.

Memphis, 1966

13 February 2015
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I bought maybe a dozen-or-so CDs (and as many DVDs) last year at my crappy local HMV, the only record store within walking distance (I don't drive). I would've bought many more there if it had as good a selection as some of the shops in downtown Toronto, where I usually make a point of going when visiting my friend. But even those stores (both new AND used) don't have in stock everything I purchased through amazon or ebay or otherwise online.

 

It seems that most of the 20th century was a magical time for musicians - a time when they could make a decent living through their music, or even strike it rich if they were very lucky. It appears that this time may have been an anomaly in musical history. But even if it becomes completely impossible to make music a professional livelihood, I don't think this should discourage artists who are driven to perform/compose/record. (Regardless of their level of talent.) Think of the millions of people around the world who love, say, golf. Yet virtually none of them intend or expect to become pros; they own a set of clubs and get out there on the weekends, and spend the week working a normal job to pay for greens fees since they enjoy it so much. 

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
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