Courtney Love's Manifesto : Surprisingly good read about Record Companies and Piracy

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Alex Spindler, Sep 6, 2002.

  1. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Did a search and didn't find this posted. Even if you don't like Hole or Courtney Love, you may find this to be a worthwhile perspective.
    Love's Manifesto
    Enjoy [​IMG]
     
  2. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

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    damn, that was good, i hope she raises some eyebrows. more power to her!
     
  3. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Thanks for the link![​IMG] The musicans I have known have alot of similar sentiments. You're damned if you do and damed if you don't sign with one of the "big five". I'd love to see that change or better yet the big five lose their music biz altogether. AS executives go, Clive Davis is the worst of the worst, IMO. Something to ponder, when John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame made a comeback album, his former record company sued him for copyright infringement. They said some of his new songs were too much like some of his old songs which they, of course, controlled all rights to. Atleast Fogarty won the case but it's a pretty absurd situation. It shows how greedy the big five really is. Best wishes!
     
  4. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    Wow, I had no idea it was that bad..But I do have one question. At what point do artists start making alot of money? I mean, I would assume that there are some VERY rich bands out there, Metallica for instance. I'm guessing that they don't get the shit deals that most other bands do. What kind of deals do they make? Do they just get a larger cut of the CD sales? Do they get a MUCH larger advance for recording or do they just record on their own and use the record companies for distribution?
     
  5. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Think of all of the multi-record multi-million dollar contracts. I think that is as close as they get to making the big time. I wouldn't, however, expect that the rules change. Just that they have a larger pool of money to promote themselves with. I would bet they still have to pay for most of their expenses.
     
  6. Paul D Young

    Paul D Young Second Unit

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    I think they they make the big dollars when they start doing the Monster Tours.
     
  7. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    The Widow Cobain raises many good points...

    I handily agree with her, and I wish her luck in her battle against the distributors.

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    Me, an 80s fan, agreeing with a 90s alterna-rocker...who would've thought it?
     
  8. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Of course, I'd have more respect for Courtney's opinions if she wasn't keeping the Nirvana catalogue in a legal stranglehold in her desire to make the most cash for herself out of it...
     
  9. Alex Shk

    Alex Shk Stunt Coordinator

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  10. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Actually, since the promotion budget is the only thing that comes exclusively out of the Label's pocket- they stop promoting bands the minute they can. Promo is the only pure expense for the label, everything else is a loan to the band (recoupable)- so the moment the band is "established" enough to have a built in base for record sales, the labels will cut the promo budget to maximize their profit. Even if they lose a few sales from lack of promo, the save millions of dollars and still get a majority of sales because of the built-in fanbase.

    -Vince
     
  11. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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  12. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Anyone can play songs once they have been published, not just the original artists - they just have to pay to do so. The promoters pay a performance licence fee to cover the cost of playing the songs live. This is a standard licence applicable to anyone wanting to play music (live or recorded) in a public place.

     
  13. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Whenever I consult bands- my first step is to show them that they should expect to never make any money with record sales, and that their bread and butter should be their live shows. I would advise any band to forget percentages and advances and all that nonsense and be willing to accept mediocre points in exchange for a guaranteed and audited promotions budget. Since promo is non-recoupable-- I always advise bands to give up a point or two on a deal to get a solid guarantee on promo budget.

    This promo budget will help the live thing, as buzz from the advertising will carry over to their ticket sales. Since a decent live seller can make tens of thousands of dollars per night, using the label's promo to make sure the world knows who you are is key. I would gladly take a $250,000 advance with 7.5 points (which is really a terrible deal in the Major Label world)-- if I could get the label to offer an audited $3 million promotion budget.

    I tend to think of the Major Lable deal as a stepping stone back to indie success. Many band I know did 3 records for a major and then got dropped, only to szpend another 10 years touring the country and banking a few grand per night. They got to make a living doing what they loved doing- and really established the 200-500 person per city fanbase due to the label exposure!

    I would think any smart band would sign to a major lable looking to set themselves up with a dcent livelyhood after they get dropped, as it is almost certain to happen!

    -Vince
     
  14. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    On the flip side of the coin, there are also plenty of artists (read:most) who get signed for big advances, the labels spend a ton on marketing & promotion and the album doesn't sell. Usually these artists are dropped and the record company eats the losses. 95% of all new releases fail to even go gold, so while yes, the record company makes more money of the back-end of big selling titles, they also spend plenty of money that is never recouped.

    It is definitely a risky investment on the record company's side, considering what a crap-shoot record sales are.

    I've worked countless records that had a terrific hit single, radio play, a touring spot opening for a big artist, etc that fails to Soundscan more than a few hundred copies a week.

    It is a big disappointing for the artist, but at that point at least they have not put up any of their own money. They will only have to pay that money back IF they ever sell records. Most artists do not end up selling enough. If they were smart, they didn't blow that big advance on something foolish.
     
  15. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    At the same time, unless your sound is something easily identifyable and popular, the majors won't know what to do with you. I keep thinking of one of my favorite bands, Echolyn. They were successful in the Philly area with a couple of independent releases, impressed an A&R guy, and got signed to Sony. Their album with them, "As The World", sells only 20,000, which is disappointing for Sony. They delay recording of the new album until the band breaks up on their own. It isn't until 5 years later when they get back together again as an independent. They are still trying to get back the rights to "As The World" from Sony.

    It is why I think smaller, specialized, record companies, are better for the record industries. Rather than buy 1000s of bands and hope that 100s of them are successful, have smaller labels for particular genres who understand what market they are selling to. It is part of the reason that Progressive Rock has made somewhat of a resurgence in the 90s. Hell, Atlantic is getting in the act by signing Porcupine Tree. All of this from 12 years+ of work by small labels.

    It doesn't mean any of these bands are rich, but it does mean that they can make a living doing what they love at least. Isn't that what is important anyways?

    Jason
     
  16. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    I agree, many acts would be considered a success story if they were on an independent label, but their sales are considered a failure on a major label.

    After Nirvana hid it big in the 90's majors fell over each other to sign a lot of really cool bands, who unfortunately would have been better served on an independent label that caters to a more niche audience.

    On the other hand, an independent label doe snot have the manpower or financing to really distribute a title to the masses. It is very hard for an indie to get a record to the next level. They are much better at selling the first 50 to 100,000. Even to get a gold record takes a remarkable amount of work (and luck). And to go from gold to platinum requires even more muscle than most indoes have.
     
  17. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Jodee,
    Yes, your description of the model is accurate. However, that very nature is my problem with it: why are 95% of the acts not selling? This is the issue. I believe it is because the record companies throw the bulk of their marketing money into a small number of acts. Instead, they could spread it around. Sure, maybe less will go quadruple platinum, but they wouldn't need that to turn a profit. Lower the sales demands and have more bands sell more CDs. Economically, it would bring in profits from resources that are currently being wasted- all those bands. Artistically, it would help bring some variety of music to the public.

    Jason,
    It's a shame Echolyn couldn't find a home at a label like Magna Carta, Laser's Edge or Metal Blade. It's small companies like that that have done wonders for progressive and underground music. Unfortunately, I have only heard As the World. I believe they also have a couple of albums that are no longer in print.

    NP: Joe Satriani, Engines of Creation, SACD
     
  18. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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  19. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Jodee, maybe it's the fact they're trying to make all of these acts be huge. That's what I'm talking about: a band shouldn't need to be popular with millions of people to be successful. Heck, look how many bands do just fine without radio play, and they make money for themselves and their small record labels. Can major labels not find a way to also make money that way?
    I think it's also because the process became backwards- it used to be that a band would first develop a following by touring. By the time they signed a record contract, they would already have a significant amount of peope who would buy their records. Maybe the first album would sell only tens of thousands, but that's OK, because that would create buzz, word of mouth, and a loyal fan base (rather than the fickly attitude of a lot of consumers today). The next albums would be bigger, also creating an interest for their earlier material.
    It seems like today, they rush throught the process, wanting that first album to sell millions. It is no wonder that people soon lose interest in the flavor of the month that way.
    NP: Marillion, Live at Caracas
    Marillion, by the way, is an excellent model of fan / band relations: they run their own label and even had fans pay for the production of their last album via pre-orders!
     
  20. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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