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Getting your music, how do you do it?

posted October 20, 2008, 5:50 pm by dscanland | Filed Under Editorial | comment 4 Comments

Tags: music, digital, MP3, bittorrent, itunes

It seems like if you download music via Bittorrent or Limewire or any other leak site and it comes to talking about it, it’s a little like porn. You don’t like to readily admit that you partake. Porn and Music are the backbone of the internet. This isn’t a porn site so lets tackle the music acquisition question and what ethics issues might be at play.

First off, music acquisition: These days there are a few different ways to get music.

  • Buying New CDs
  • Buying Used CDs
  • Buying Vinyl
  • Buying Digitally (Amazon, iTunes…)
  • Downloading Torrents or using other P2P software
  • Downloading free MP3s from artist or MP3 blogs

Buying new CDs means the artist gets a small cut. Very small. Most CDs run $12-20. The artist is usually lucky to see $1 of this. Buying digitally, is this much better? If you happen to know what an artist gets from a $.99 MP3 please comment below. Downloading Torrents the artist see’s nothing but they might possibly gain a fan.

Is buying used CDs any better than downloading illegally? The artist doesn’t see anything from the second sale of a CD.
Secondly, bands and their take:

  • There are those artists who don’t care how a future fan gets their music. The more people listening to their music, the more people out at their concerts (which they see a bigger cut anyway), the more people buying merchandise.
  • There are those that don’t support illegal downloads saying that the fans are stealing from them.
  • Then there are those who give their music away right from their website.

I’d like to throw a third topic in, management, promotions, labels etc. Moving forward do we really need these services? Sure, you need the infrastructure to get the music to the fans but there are lots of these popping up. Look at TuneCore who gets an artists music to all the digital distribution points. But let’s go one step further, let’s take digital distribution out of the fold and just have P2P access to music. No one profits from music. NO ONE! Is this better? Well, that’s up to the eye of the beholder. I like sampling thousands of different songs without having to take a loan out to do so.

One final point supporting torrents AND digital sales: The Environment. I think this is a move in the right direction, whether you pay for music or not. I’ve got 3000 CDs at home that I am slowly digitizing. But what the hell do I do with them? The used music store that I frequent is hardly buying CDs anymore. They are moving strictly to vinyl. Any advice? So moving forward I’m not buying ANY cds. My CD wall will slowly decrease as I get more hard drive space.

Your thoughts on music and where we are headed:


4 Responses to “Getting your music, how do you do it?”

  1. Profile photo of SolitaryMan on October 21st, 2008 4:49 am

    Eventually I think the whole idea of making hard copies of albums will disappear, leaving us with 100% digital music. I can’t see this happening anytime soon, though, because too many people still depend on those outlets of distribution to survive. Also, I still think there are more than a few music fans out there in love with the CD concept. I know I still am to a degree; nothing beats the feeling of fumbling around the plastic wrap, looking for a seam to start tearing it open and then smelling the old familiar smell of new plastic, slipping the booklet out for the first time, gazing at every detail in the artwork. I get all sentimental just thinking about the day when I’ll only be able to buy used CDs. But that day is coming methinks.

  2. Profile photo of theryanexpress on October 21st, 2008 4:56 pm

    I think digital is a better way to go. I’m releasing my next album titled ‘Pacific’ purely as a free digital download and cutting my costs for manufacturing cds and encouraging folks to share which in turn adds more exposure. I might run with some of the mp3 vendors for a little bit longer, but I’m not really seeing much activity there. I distributed my last album ‘Please Be Seated’ to Rhapsody, iTunes, Amazon Mp3 and many more. They take a cut and give out on average 60-70 cents per download is what i’ve been told. Depending on how many middlemen there are there might be some other cuts before it gets to the artist but with Tunecore they pay 100% of the vendors payout directly to the artist. CDbaby on the other hand takes a 9% cut on each download on top of the what the vendor takes. The downside to Tunecore however is the flat annual amount which is just a loss if your not making anything back in downloads. It seems giving out music free is really the best solution, but keep in mind for the artist there are still recording costs and depending on the studio those can get pretty pricey. I have done well to make music on a very cost effective budget by doing my own recording so I can afford to make what is not manufactured in CD form free. That helps and I would encourage more artists to do this. The procedures of recording are not that difficult to learn and you get all the creative freedom in the world… my favorite part :)

  3. Profile photo of dscanland dscanland on October 22nd, 2008 1:16 pm

    Good feedback Ryan! Thanks.
    Question then, how do you make a living from music? Is it done strictly by touring and licensing your music?

  4. Profile photo of theryanexpress on October 22nd, 2008 2:47 pm

    personally speaking I am more of a studio artist than a performing artist and having an outlet for my creativity is great, but in time I also hope to expand my studio and upgrade my equipment to record bands and make a sustainable business out of that. I don’t believe its going to get any easier for artists to make a buck on selling music alone. I think all avenues of revenue have to be persued in order to have a chance. Even then alot of care is needed persay when touring that gas prices are not exceeding your income and it is an affordable venture. Promotion is a big part of getting the return you want and that power lies in the hands of the almighty labels. I prefer to stay underground even if it means, profitability is out of reach

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