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#958423 - 05/06/12 12:32 PM Sunday, May 6th, 2012  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


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Joined: Apr 2001
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Indianapolis, IN USA
Hi Folks,

I've been reading over recent posts and have sensed a major shift that has been coming like a runaway train but which I think is already locked in around us.

The Internet and new music delivery systems, which in the 1990's opened the door to freedom for artists has been slammed shut and are now controlled by the very same, or new replacement, gatekeepers that reined us all in in the first place. So within about a 15 year period, or essentially a generation, the door opened up wide and is now being slammed tightly shut on us all over again. I think we always feared it would happen, but in our ecstasy of being momentarily unleashed, we weren't watching closely enough to see it was all an illusion, a mere blip or speed bump, or to be put in sports terms "a rebuilding season" of the massive major gatekeepers. Look no further than the same 4 major record companies (or is it 3 now, it's always hard to tell) and Apple and Google, who we all thought were our friends, but through design (most likely) or natural attraction (if I am being naive) they have become the new gatekeeper sheriffs in town.

Technology freed us and then more powerfully placed the chains that binds ever stronger right back on. Sure, several layers of middlemen have been removed, but in a way, it's even harder to be heard than it ever was, either through unfair or fair means.

Does anyone else see this as clearly as I do? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#958439 - 05/06/12 01:20 PM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Dec 2008
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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PA
Hmm... a quote from Independence Day comes to mind: "aliens are using our own satellite system against us and will destroy the world in a short period".

Like mostly everything of value, the powers-to-be will eventually control it and shape it into an entity favorable to them.

Thanks for pointed this out Brian. I guess I've been so stunned by the scope of the Internet and technology, I missed the counter sneak attack by the controllers.

Best, John smile

#958441 - 05/06/12 01:35 PM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


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Indianapolis, IN USA
Well, I though I have been warning of much of this as we went, today when I woke up it was all so obvious to me I wanted to scream. Look, it's not news to others who are paying attention and I bet others somewhere have written about it (though I haven't seen it yet) but they've already got all us cattle roped in and headed towards the kill floor. All the parts are locked in so tight around us. And sure, companies we all think we love (Apple, Google) are new people on the block, but their scope and power is frightening more to me than the cold war when I was a kid. Could they do good and the "right" things still? Sure. Humans ALWAYS do that right?

The concept of freedom is wholly American. Everyone else came into existence under the thumb of the power brokers. And though we've had some ourselves in our relatively short history, we've also lived more freely in the past 100+ years than any people in world history. But our government (both sides) are ruining that, and what we all thought would FREE us again, technology, has been swallowed up by super powers that dwarf even our governments. And musicians are less than specs of dust in this giant dome of control. Though I can still help map out ways to make music and maybe make a living doing it, in context, it's all for naught unless some new freedom awaits us that isn't apparent. We had a small window that opened and it's slammed almost 100% shut right now. So how might we squeak through the opening? That's the question.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#958444 - 05/06/12 01:41 PM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: May 2006
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Colin Ward Online content
Colin Ward  Online Content

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Not sure whether I agree with that statement or not.....here are a few of my observations.

As far as songwriting and pitching is concerned, the doors are closed unless you are personally acquainted with the artist or his/her people, or if you are an established writer of hit material. Hit songwriters usually have multiple hit songs because the doors swing open for them.

Artists and musicians have the ability to buy a competent recording studio for their bedroom for under $1,000. If they learn how to use it, they can have a CD or downloads available for sale on iTunes and CD Baby for little investment. This means the supply of good and bad recordings is huge and growing, and there is no way the demand for music can come close to paying all these people for their efforts. Only the record companies that can advertise their artists and CDs (to the tune of $1 million each) can generate significant sales.

Live music is going strong in my area and there are some terrific artists locally who are able to gig regularly and earn decent money - but only the good ones who establish a reputation.

There are thousands of people who are trying to make a buck from the new music business. A new site where you can upload music tracks and "sell" your songs on line pops up daily. Each of these sites plans to retain a percentage of the sales and make a fortune. That of course will only work if there are any sales. Personally, my music today is way better than it was 3 years ago, but my on-line sales are way less.

There is actually not much need to buy music because there is so much available for free (legally?). If you want to hear a particular song by a particular artist, Google it and you can more than likely hear it for free on their website, or YouTube, or one of hundreds of other sites.

Not sure if any of this really applies to the controls you are referring to. I think the bottom line is that the supply of music far outstrips the demand, and if you are going to get anywhere, all the stars have to align.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#958459 - 05/06/12 03:31 PM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Feb 2007
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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I am planning on releasing a couple of CD over the next couple of months (hopefully before 50/90 starts on July 4th!).

Although I don't how I can expect any sales (I'll buy one so I can call my a professional -- ha, ha), but even if I do I won't make any money.

If I sell a CD for 10$, here would be my cost breakdown
CD's: $1.75 per CD (kunaki and maybe as low as a $1),
CD-Baby: $4 per CD
paypal: $1 per CD


Off the top that is: $6.75 leaving me $3.25 gross profit.

Compared to a record contract where a band might get $0.50 to $1 per CD sold, it looks OK -- but the record company does advertising and promotion (I saw about 10 articles on how much money CD sales generate and they were all wildly different, but the link above seemed in line with the other "reasonable ones").

If I did a single for $1, i-tunes takes $0.30 and paypal takes $0.10 -- there are probably other charges in there, too (like setup).

My main issue is that I am not a performer and I won't develop that ever important "local following". The other strike is that I can't/won't shell out the bucks required to record or master professionally. My home made CD's will sound OK -- but nowhere near the pros. OK, I might get to 80% or 90% of a pro level, but that last 10%-20% makes a huge difference.

I can't really speak to Brian's topic because I don't have knowledge in that area, but I thought I would add this part to the conversation.

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2016)
#958486 - 05/06/12 06:05 PM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: Feb 2005
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Dave Rice Offline
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Dave Rice  Offline
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Brian:

I share your mistrust of Apple and Google when it comes to music and distribution. The iPod is filled with hidden music tracking information I have been told... and long suspected... and I don't use Google (Gargoyle) for anything unless there is absolutely no other choice. ("Ask" is a reasonable substitute.)
I don't trust Microsoft either.

If I had it all to do over again, I don't think I would join ASCAP. All they do is promote their own agenda, try to tell the membership how to think, and send information regarding events they want us to sign up and pay for. Pay, schmay... when they start promoting my songs to some of the artists under their umbrella, I might be able to flit out to LA or up to NYC or Nashville for an event every now and then.

My "plight" is similar to Kevin E's situation. I don't consider myself a performer. I'd faint if I had to sing in public... therfore, developing a "following" of any magnitude is all but impossible. I don't use Facebook or Twitter for all the same security reasons stated above. Hell, the internet is a dangerous place. One must be constantly on guard against all manner of scams and fly-by-night schemes.

So what else is new?

My best to everyone,

Dave

#958494 - 05/06/12 06:55 PM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Dave Rice]  
Joined: Sep 2003
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scottandrew Offline
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I'm not sure I understand what this has to do with freedom. If anything musicians have more freedom than ever before. I'd say the music business of the 80s and 90s gave us far, far less freedom.

Exactly what are Apple and Google doing to harm our freedom as musicians?

#958497 - 05/06/12 07:10 PM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,725
Colin Ward Online content
Colin Ward  Online Content

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Saint Petersburg. FL
Originally Posted by Brian Austin Whitney
Could they do good and the "right" things still? Sure. Humans ALWAYS do that right?

The concept of freedom is wholly American. Everyone else came into existence under the thumb of the power brokers. And though we've had some ourselves in our relatively short history, we've also lived more freely in the past 100+ years than any people in world history. But our government (both sides) are ruining that, and what we all thought would FREE us again, technology, has been swallowed up by super powers that dwarf even our governments. And musicians are less than specs of dust in this giant dome of control. Though I can still help map out ways to make music and maybe make a living doing it, in context, it's all for naught unless some new freedom awaits us that isn't apparent. We had a small window that opened and it's slammed almost 100% shut right now. So how might we squeak through the opening? That's the question.

Brian


mmmmm.... Large companies are in business to make a profit and keep their shareholders happy. They are not interested in controlling us as people beyond getting us to buy their products. Having said that, large companies will do anything legal to beat their competition and maximize profits. Our recourse as individuals is to make sure our government does not allow monopolies to exist so there is a lot of competition in every business arena, and to make sure the government regulates things like accounting practices, environmental abuse, workplace safety, and so on and set appropriate limits.

I would take issue with the statement about freedom. America was and is not any more free than are many European countries and countries like Australia, although the flavors of freedom might differ.

I was reminiscing with some friends recently about the 60s and how cool they were.....the Beatles, etc. But then we started talking about Viet Nam and the draft, Civil Rights (talk about not free!), the cold war, the murders of Martin, Bobby and John, Kent State, and a lot of other nasty crap that went on, and we realized that we saw it through the rose colored glasses of youth.

To squeak through the opening? Better count on education and being able to run with those who are creating the new environment. You will not be successful as a musician who never looks beyond the keyboard of his piano. You will have to learn to utilize the tools that Facebook, iTunes, Google are giving us, or you will be left in the dust.

Sticking your head in the sand is not a strategy, Dave. Why should someone be taken seriously as a musician (it is, after all, the entertainment business), if you are scared to perform? People who are succeeding in the music business today can play half a dozen instruments, write great songs including lyrics and music, sing reasonably well, and deal with the social media and fans, book gigs, etc. etc. Someone who can only perform one of those functions does not stand a chance of success because the cream that rises to the top can do it all.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#958579 - 05/07/12 02:29 PM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Dec 2006
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niteshift Online content
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niteshift  Online Content
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Sydney, Australia
Yep, I get what you're saying Brian.

I'm a bit tired to fire off at the moment, but essentially, if you're not with a large distributor with deep advertising pockets, your music will be drowned out by the white noise of those around you.

As Colin says, there is more product than you can shake a stcik at. And damn good stuff too.

BUT, without a filtering mechanism to sort it all out, nothing will happen, and hence you will get the the return of the gate keepers, just in a different format.

Now they want you to pay for critiques, now they want you to build your own fan base, now they want you to play gigs for free and pay for spins on Spotify.

It is only established artists who have done well from the digital age by taking control of their already established business.

The little guy ? I'm afraid the white noise is just too loud.

cheers, niteshift

PS - my income form royalties last month ? $48.37

#958619 - 05/07/12 07:14 PM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: niteshift]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,058
Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


Top 10 Poster

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Posts: 18,058
Indianapolis, IN USA
I had a very long response, but I decided that people either get it or they don't and no amount of reason and examples will change their mind. If you're a lover of these new gatekeepers (the Google empire, Apple empire, Facebook empire and the traditional multinational media companies) and/or you're making a living with it currently and choose not to see the massive control and clampdown that has just surrounded us all, then I am not going to change your mind.

But folks, our new freedom is mirage. As I said before, meet the new boss, worse than the old boss.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#958679 - 05/08/12 12:37 AM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: May 2006
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Colin Ward Online content
Colin Ward  Online Content

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Saint Petersburg. FL
Brian,

I would like to read the long response!


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#958774 - 05/08/12 02:17 PM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Sep 2004
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Doug Barnett Offline
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Doug Barnett  Offline
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Glendale, AZ, USA
Hi Brian,
It was to be expected. Power corrupts. Control is power.
Elimination of viable competition means ultimate control.
Microsoft knows this very well. Apple, Facebook and Google know this too.
I fully expect to find CDbaby owned by Sony or Viacom in the not too distant future. Then I figure the doors to distribution will be slammed closed once again. The old class structure was the rich land owners in a fortified castle and the rest working hard all their lives with little to show for it.
The folks at the top want to keep it that way and the standard method is to either kill or welcome the new power brokers into the fold. Then teach them the rules of power as you pull up the drawbridge.


#958877 - 05/09/12 12:59 AM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Doug Barnett]  
Joined: Feb 2005
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Dave Rice Offline
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Dave Rice  Offline
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Texas
Colin, old stud:

You must have missed my point. I'm not an entertainer. I'm a songwriter. I sing because I can't afford to waste my money on having songs demoed by others. I want people with real talent to sing my songs. Hoagy Carmichael sang and sometimes performed but his main goal was the same as mine. I understand what living out of a suitcase is like... and it's not for me. IMHO, I sing nearly as well as you... but I don't enjoy it. I enjoy writing songs.

Make no bones about it... I wish you all the success in the world if performing is something you want to do. I'm hoping someday to hear your music and songs all over the radio dial and in Carnegie Hall. Then maybe, I'll be able to tell my old geezer friends, "Hey, I knew that guy back when he hung out at JPF."
I'd rather be on the veranda, mint julip in hand, with that old radio entertaining me... or writing a song.

Best wishes,

Dave

Last edited by Dave Rice; 05/09/12 02:40 AM.
#958914 - 05/09/12 04:02 AM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Dave Rice]  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


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I think our future is going to look a lot like what Dave just described. Music going back to your front porch swing with family and friends listening in. Only in the new world, those folks may be scattered around the world watching from their porches or cubes or brains in a jar. = )

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#959005 - 05/09/12 08:12 PM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Dave Rice]  
Joined: May 2006
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Colin Ward Online content
Colin Ward  Online Content

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Saint Petersburg. FL
Originally Posted by Dave Rice
Colin, old stud:

You must have missed my point. I'm not an entertainer. I'm a songwriter. I sing because I can't afford to waste my money on having songs demoed by others. I want people with real talent to sing my songs. Hoagy Carmichael sang and sometimes performed but his main goal was the same as mine. I understand what living out of a suitcase is like... and it's not for me. IMHO, I sing nearly as well as you... but I don't enjoy it. I enjoy writing songs.

Make no bones about it... I wish you all the success in the world if performing is something you want to do. I'm hoping someday to hear your music and songs all over the radio dial and in Carnegie Hall. Then maybe, I'll be able to tell my old geezer friends, "Hey, I knew that guy back when he hung out at JPF."
I'd rather be on the veranda, mint julip in hand, with that old radio entertaining me... or writing a song.

Best wishes,

Dave


Well Dave....don't hold your breath waiting to hear me on the radio!

Sorry - I did not mean to go off on you. I wish you success with your songwriting whether you do it for fun or for profit.



Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#960765 - 05/21/12 06:07 PM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,550
Rick Heenan Offline
Rick Heenan  Offline

Top 200 Poster

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,550
Lockport NY, usa
Things are changing. I went to a local B & K bookstore only to find they don't carry CDs anymore. So I guess my next opus will be on a flash drive or entirely online. Downloads for $.99. seems thats what I paid for a single 45, 40 yrs ago.

#961220 - 05/25/12 08:17 AM Re: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 [Re: Rick Heenan]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,058
Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,058
Indianapolis, IN USA
Rick,

Yeah, and for that .99 cents, you got a sleeve and an actual plastic record. And I looked up what .99 cents in 1972 would be worth in today's dollars: (drum roll) $5.50!!!!!

That's SAD! Not to mention the artists share is only a fraction of that .99 cents to start with!

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
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jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney



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