Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Music Industry and the Net

Artisan News Interview with Lemmy from Motorhead, 2011

Interviewer: Have you ever seen the record industry in such decline?

Lemmy: It’s never been at this point before. It’s never been at the point where the record companies are strangling themselves at the last gasp. And in 10 years they’re all going to be gone, a thing of the past, you know. Unless some of them learn to work with the internet, right, because that’s the way it is. And all they could do was sue people. How are you going to sue like 55 million people? It’s not going to work is it? Imagine the court costs, you know. It’s just stupid that. You’ve got to learn to work with it. It’s all-pervasive, all-knowing, all-seeing, you know. It’s like God in a box, you know. So you’ve got to work with it. You can’t work against it. We just release downloads as well as albums, you know. That’s all. We’re selling pretty well in both mediums. Fine with me. I don’t mind how people hear it. I just want them to hear it, you know. The bad thing about the internet is people think we should give them the music for nothing which I think is vastly naive , you know. How the fuck are you supposed to keep going if you give your music away for nothing? How do they think we get the money? They think we’ve got rich parents or something? [laughs]

Excerpt from 'The Effects of the Internet and Digital Downloading on the Music Industry' by Ultius  

"The rise of the Internet would seem to have hurt record labels more than it has actual musicians."

"As Herstand has pointed out: major label musicians "always had to rely on alternative sources of income (like touring and merch) to offset what their labels didn't pay them in royalties...Why are people silent when record companies (legally) steal from artists, but raise hell when fans do it?" (paragraph 10). In other words, it is possible that musicians, while no doubt affected by the developments within the music industry discussed above, may in fact be less affected than the record labels themselves. Musicians may be making less money in these times from record sales; but in truth, it would seem that they never really made all that much to begin with. 

In addition, if the rise of the Internet has hurt musicians in some ways, it has also surely helped them in others by providing them with unprecedented avenues through which they can reach out to their target audiences. As Mansick has pointed out, for example, "there's been an astounding 510% increase in independent musicians making their full time living from music in just the past decade" (paragraph 1). Moreover, given that most musicians cannot make their actual livings in this way, the actual number of active independent musicians has likely skyrocketed even further. An independent musician is someone who is not signed with any record label. This implies that musicians are now finding it more and more possible to reach out to their audiences for support and sales without the assistance of record labels."



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