I saw a video of a great talk someone gave about business ideas for creatives. He used to be a major player in the music business, a good guy, enabling musicians to make money directly from what they did. I won’t name names. I wrote back to him with feedback about his beautiful talk and then thought I’d share it here.

Fabulous talk. Funny, wise, thought provoking.
I bet when you ran your company, allowing musicians to make direct money for what they do, you never realised that 2 pirate guys would start a company called Spotify (and others followed) taking it all away.
The ‘industry’, i.e. the few major labels, own the entire planets’ songs and make millions from simply offering streaming, keeping the money for themselves by:
a. being shareholders in the streaming companies and pocketing that money
b. pocketing most of the royalties form streaming as well
c. getting millions in advances for dishing out the back catalogues, and suing anyone who won’t cough up

Artists now have no way to make money any more.
There’s no nurturing of talent or music, just engines to stream stuff others made, with 3 major companies profiting and nothing much ending up with artists.

The internet didn’t deliver what it promised some years ago: If you get featured on a bunch of blogs everyone will love you, and you will at least get profitable gigs and all record companies will bang your door down to shower you with money. Never happened.
The game is over.

The only way to make money for independent artists, be they young or old, is to perhaps create novelty products and sell them for more. I.e. I press up 200 Vinyl records (once I’ve taken out a loan to produce the expensive vinyl) and sell it to fans for say, 100 Euro. I will have handmade the artwork and whatnot to create interest.
Or, if I’m Wutang Clan, I do the same, but charge 5 Million.

That’s it really.

So I guess this means that what you talk about still applies in some ways, and not in others, for musicians. I know you talk more to startups anyway, but I have actually found your advice useful on a personal level, as a musician too.
It’s just that I don’t see any ways forward any more, because the majors and their streaming buddies have this firmly in their hands.
I have been a speaker a few times at major music conferences about the whole thing, where I have found myself on panels next to the big cheeses of the Streaming companies and some bigger cheeses of major record companies, and have been aghast at the aggressiveness, cynical attitude, and self-congratulating tone they display when artists dare mentioning the fact that they get paid … say… 0.00001 cent for a stream, and that even this amount doesn’t arrive in their account either really.
This also goes for one of the main independent conglamerates, who are also shareholders in Spotify.
The are laughing all the way to the bank and they have a firm hold on the entire industry as it displays itself now. They are nothing but automated administrators of back catalogues and new stuff.

So, thank you for being the good guy for a while, while that was still possible. You made a big difference to the industry as it presented itself for some hopeful years.

Billie

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