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The Future Of Independent Music

Discussion in 'Music, punk scene & subcultures' started by Hefty, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. Hefty

    HeftyMember Forum Member


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    Aug 14, 2009
     
    What do you think is the future of truly indie music? By "Indie" I mean any form of music released on independent and/or DIY methods.

    I, for one, actually celebrated the fact that every single major music business corporation was virtually crippled by internet piracy. I honestly don't think any popular musical entities are deserving of multi-million dollar paychecks for recording and promoting radio crap. In my opinion, "music" and "business" are two things that shouldn't be intermingled. But because it has been perpetuated as such for so many years, it is just considered the norm.

    Despite the joy I felt by seeing the corporate music industry hurt so badly by piracy, it is quite painful to see very honest, reputable, sincere, and hard-working DIY labels hurt and downright destroyed by the same internet piracy. We are all aware of labels that truly fought the good fight for decades with spreading anarcho/crust/hardcore/etc... and are no longer here because they simply could not make ends meet when releasing music to the public because for every record sold there were probably 50 downloads of that same record.

    I was once in a band, and even before internet piracy was so rampant, it was virtually impossible to break even financially after releasing a DIY 7" (with no label involvement). Admittedly, we had a webpage at that time and we also had free downloads of all the songs on the 7" just because we wanted to get the noise out there and didn't actually have any intention of profiting from it.

    Regardless, even if labels and bands are more concerned about getting their message out, how dedicated do you think they would be over time if they never financially recovered after each release? Forget the idea of making a profit... who cares about that... I can't think of any anarcho- band out there that has any real intention of making money.

    Recording and pressing your band's music is NOT cheap. Especially if the members are pretty much broke to begin with. Every record that is sold goes back to pay for the recording and pressing and other related expenses. For every copy of a record that is downloaded instead of purchased, that is money the band doesn't make back... which reduces the likelihood of the band being able to afford recording and pressing another record. Yes, I know that this is a labor of love, but for some there comes a point where the financial sacrifices are just to great to continue.

    Sure, the band makes money touring, but once you calculate the expenses of traveling, it is rare for them to break even on tour.

    I had mentioned elsewhere that I only download music here that I already own on vinyl (because I don't have a way to convert my vinyl to digital yet). I am adamant about supporting these bands by purchasing their recordings whenever possible and even seeing them on tour if possible.

    So, what do you think is the future of DIY or indie-label music? Will the trend continue to be free downloading? Paying for downloads? Continuing vinyl releases even though they are dwindling in sales more and more every year? Is it still feasable? Personally, I love the packaging and size of vinyl releases... and nothing beats the sound of a vinyl record.
     

  2. ghost in the void

    ghost in the voidExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Aug 8, 2009
     
    there's been quite a lot of debate on this over on the PE board.

    personally, i think the whole culture of music consumers is rapidly changing. if i was an adventure capitalist (meaning someone into the funding of new emerging technologies etc in case you didn't know) i would be investing in a new kind of mp3 style format, made so the bands can tailor make their own digital media. i'd make an "mp3 player" that displays band artwork and scrolls the lyrics as they are sung. i'd rig the device so it can interlace with a projector, so it can be used at live shows as well. punk bands are notorious for obscuring their message with growled or screamed vocals, and this kind of thing would be really useful in this sense. people would pick up the words faster, and wouldn't need to stare at the projection rather than the band for long. and everyone would know what to sing too!

    that's the future. you read it here first. hahaha.
     
  3. NGNM85

    NGNM85Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Sep 8, 2009
     
    I think we're in the middle of a massive transformation in the music industry and the dissemination of art, like film, and also books. The biggest revolution right now seems to be in music, "illegal" downloading or file-sharing is drastically outpacing sales through official marketers and companies.
    This is going to transform the music industry, it's already started. Film is right behind with people downloading movies and tv programs via file-sharing programs or whatever. Most classic literature is available on the web, the sale of e-books, and e-readers is growing. The latter are just a little too pricey so far, and, on a more personal note, I must admit a certain affection for the printed page. Macbeth might be just as brilliantly written in cyberspace as on paper, but it just seems so antiseptic, so cold. Regardless, I think this is the way all media will be consumed or disseminated in the future. How the industries will adapt is anybody's guess.
     
  4. BanJoeT

    BanJoeTNew Member New Member


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    Oct 12, 2009
     
    My band members and I own our own co-op recording studio. To pay the bills, just to keep the studio open, we record other peoples music. We rarely make any profit from it. All net income goes to pay for our initial investment.

    When we are not recording other people's music, we record our own. This is an extremely valuable resource for an independent band to have. It costs a lot of money to record... even if you own your own studio. We spend nearly 30 hours a week recording and writing music. Its a full time job... that we don't get paid for.

    We recently released our first 7" record. It cost us nearly $1000 for 300 copies and we are selling them for $6 each. That means even if we sell out the first pressing, we will only "profit" $800. Our next release, which is going to be a 10" record with 6 songs, is going to cost us $1500 or more to release. We are trying to release that record by the time we tour in December, but we have only sold about 20 copies of our 7" since its release.

    Its not that the music is bad or we are not promoting it, but people are just not buying music.

    Now my band is going to have to front the $1500 to release our next record. That is money that would could have gone to pay my rent or feed me!

    When you download music that you don't already own (without paying for it), you are taking food out of the mouths of hardworking musicians, audio engineers, and music producers.

    I often hear the following arguements about why people download music for free:

    1. Music sucks now-a-days and it isnt worth paying for.

    -Music sucks because you are not paying for it. Its hard to put together a good record if you don't put time into it and its hard to find the time to do it you have to work at Starbucks 40 hours a week to make a living. If musicians can make a living from their music, their music would be better and their recordings better quality.

    2. I don't have the money to buy music, so I have to download it for free.

    -Think about where else you are spending your money. A 12-pack of PBR costs the same as a record You can only enjoy that 12-pack for a night... a record will last you your lifetime.

    3. Music should be about the message, not the money. If you want to get your message out, you have to give your music away for free.

    -If a band doesn't have any money, they cannot get their message out at all because they cannot afford to record or press their records. Sure, you can record your own record, but its going to sound a hell of a lot better if you have an engineer who knows what they are doing record you. A home-recorded record will not reach a large audience because it will never be played on the radio and you will not get on shows with large audiences. Audio engineering is an art of its own... and the tools are expensive. If you don't buy music, the message will not be heard except by people who just want to listen to the message. The key to sending a message, is sending it to people who don't already know what you are talking about. Playing an anarcho-punk record to an anarcho-punk isn't going to change anything. Playing it to a kid in the middle of Oklahoma who has only ever listened to Pantera and Kid Rock, is sending a message. However, if supporters of anarcho-punk don't pay for anarcho-punk records, an anarcho-punk band will never make it to the middle of Oklahoma.

    ---
    What I'm trying to say is that, if you want bands to keep producing music with a message, support those bands that have a good message and they will be able to keep producing recordings and keep playing shows.

    If a band wants their music to be heard, they've got to make a full time job of it. People who listen to music are the band's boss. Like any job, if the boss isn't giving his workers a paycheck, the worker's are not going to keep doing the job. We have bills to pay and mouths to feed.

    ---
    One last thing, if you are going to download music from here, make it a point to find that band online and buy the record or a t-shirt or something.

    Likewise, if you are not sure if a band is ok with their music being downloaded for free, don't upload their music online. When you do that, you might as well be breaking into that musician's house and giving all of their groceries away.

    REMEMBER CONSENT... its not just about sex.
     
  5. Anxiety69

    Anxiety69Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 18, 2009
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    Long Beach CA United States
    I think it is far easier to record music now then ever before, thanks to computers... anyone can fairly easily record anything, and like the music itself it is easy to find programs to record with (which u can pay for or find elsewhere for free..) True the quality won't be quite that of a recording studio, but honestly, how much of the music that you listen to really does? Most the anarcho bands I like sound like their music was recorded on the fly, and it doesnt bother me one bit.

    Also, what about downloading music that is not commercially available otherwise? (by that I do not mean ebay where you can by a so called "collectible record" from some capitalist who doesn't care about the music, just wants a profit on some out of print album? (I used to work at a used record store, and have seen how that works first hand) Also what about bootlegs? Do you feel that live recordings are infringing on bands as well?

    -The Anxietist
     
  6. Solidaridad

    SolidaridadExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Oct 5, 2009
     
    Even in a capitalist system the anarchists should not be able to live from their music. If they could they are overpaid. If you have the money you can achieve a qiet good sound quality with computer technic. You can offer free download and thousands worldwide could hear it. Or you sell your stuff for realy fair prices. If you want to have the best sound, it is your decision- go in a studio and pay for it. But do not let us pay for it....
    I have often discussions if LP format is better or CD and a lot of people are against the digital possibility because of the sound. But I always think that a CD-r is such a great thing because you can record CD-R quiet easy on your own. That means such a lot for our community.

    I know an anarchopunk band from greece (but forget their name) wich never want(ed) to sell because they do not think that their music should be a product. Qiet interesting point of view.
     
  7. ASA

    ASAExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Nov 2, 2009
     
    It's a matter of respect, if their isn't any, would you want these people in your're community, i often download mp3s but like tape trading often get the album later if i can but i was taught respect, crapitalism teaches you none and fuck that as i and u wud say, as it were fahfahfah.
     
  8. Link K2B

    Link K2BExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Oct 27, 2009
     
    I download music cos I can't be arsed buyin it. If I like a band enough, I buy some of their records eventually. If I don't, they weren't good enough for me to pay for. End of story.
     
  9. ASA

    ASAExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Nov 2, 2009
     
    Maybe in a community such as this, an artist cud be requested if it can be uploaded, as could end up literally in the wrong hands, you'd quickly find out whether you agree with their bolotix or not but i ain't like the systo that sez divide and CONQUER, naaa

    bit like a braindead kid coming uptya and sayin 'i eat mcdonalds', thats nice i don't rely kare, i hope ya die quicker, guess we'll see
     
  10. Rabbit

    RabbitExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 26, 2009
     
    I'll download a band to see if i like them. If I do, I'll try to see them live and buy a CD or a shirt or something if I have the money. I'm in favor of supporting artists that I like, but you can support them in other ways besides buying their albums.
     
  11. vince

    vinceMember New Member


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    Oct 17, 2009
     
    There is no authority but yourself.
    By vince.
     
  12. Spider

    SpiderExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Sep 3, 2009
     
    Buy independent, download major label releases.

    It's that simple. If something is released on a major label, that label has payed for the record and all the promotion, and payed the artist an advance (usually about $100 000 for the whole band, more if bigger profile)

    The label takes 90% of the PPD (after the publishing royalties have been payed) and the costs of production, marketing and recording are taken from that 10% oweed to the artist.
    The artist doesn't have to pay that money back out of pocket, but by recoupable income out of that 10%, and usually they will also have to pay for a number of other future recordings from the same 10%. The likelihood of any artist on a major label deal ever seeing any of their 10% is almost non-existent, so buying a major release is just giving money to a huge corporation, and not really supporting the band at all. by downloading free music by them, they are getting free promotion for you to go to their shows and buy their merch( both of which usually can't be touched by the label, although they are starting to try and sneak these things into their 1000+ page contracts) therefore financially supporting the artist and giving a big fuck you to the label.

    Independent releases are much different and should be supported at all costs through purchasing, as this is the only way independent recordings can survive and prevent major corporations from having a complete monopoly on recorded music.

    /rant
     
  13. Anxiety69

    Anxiety69Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 18, 2009
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    I'm afraid i have to disagree, when the cost of pressing a cd is relatively cheap, and the markup is insanely high, i say don't buy a cd, major or indie, with such a huge markup. there is no reason for any new cd to cost more than $7.00, and though it has been a long time since i have been in a music store or even shopped for a new cd, it seems to me the average cost of a new cd was around $15 - $18? So I think until they figure it out (unlikely) keep downloading music unless the cost of the CD is reasonable. (I used to work at a indie record shop which sold cd's on consignment, and those were generally the only reasonably priced cd's in the store... and the majority of them were not on any label, but produced by the artists themselves. They would tell us how much they wanted pers sold disc and we would mark them up accordingly, and they usually only wanted maybe $3 -$4 per disc.)
     
  14. Spider

    SpiderExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Sep 3, 2009
     
    ie they were independent. That is what I mean. Buy from bands/independent DIY labels. "independent" is a term often describing subsidiary labels. learn to differentiate but definitely support your fave bands.
     
  15. Rathryn

    RathrynExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 21, 2009
     
    To get back on track, I actually think the 'future' of indie releases will make a shift towards electronic music.
    Way back when, you had to know how to play an instrument. Practice with it, take care of it, etc. Nowadays any retard with a mouse can create a song using an (il)legally obtained program like FruityLoops or even Music Maker.

    As for the entire downloading-issue. For me it's quite simple actually. I LOVE records... period. But I like to know what I'm buying first. And on top of that I love my drinks and drugs more than records... yes... I am technically an addict ;)
     
  16. ASA

    ASAExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Nov 2, 2009
     
    adicts don't call themselves adicts ha, indy denoted an industry nto itself but it can also mean community, respect musicians as you would respect yourself hopefully by having a symbiotic relationship with them but not am imposing one as though they aren't human or they may just hunt you down if you live next door ha if u fek with them fo realz as i'm not in2 theft, nobody owns anyone.

    Imagine if nobody made any sounz or the sounz u luv, hmmm, wat a stupid world.

    i feel most electronic music (people continously hippy high) often has no soul but then peolpe with no soul make souless music and i will defend art to my dying day or else everything will turn to grey, I won't stop people ,just defend art.
     
  17. kaoskat

    kaoskatActive Member Forum Member


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    Nov 16, 2009
     
    i'm mostly with spider on this one--if/when i buy, i buy diy and independent, i buy t-shirts, i'll drop a donation at their sites. i'm not with a band, because i can't make that commitment, but at this point, i'd say Be Smart. i wouldn't bother with vinyl at all until i had such cult following that the demand actually justified it. otherwise, it'd all be streaming songs imbedded in my site, a paypal and p.o. box addy for donations, downloads for pay. cds i made myself, in small batches, for the cost of the cds, the stickers to put on 'em, and some extra to help replace the burner on my comp when it burns out from so much work! -- at least until the number of fans justifies me paying a company to do it. but yeah, i'd make my case on my site, there would be freebies, and i'd encourage people to donate what they felt this was worth. all of my mp3s would have a comment directing people back to the site and a read-only file stating who we are, what we do, and why it'd be cool if you supported us. design your own shirts, of if you have no skills, hopefully you can either set up a contest or maybe even find someone that will volunteer their art in exchange for swag or something. there's diy sceeen-printing too. the more things you can do yourself, the better off you are, and the more you can spin to make that something special, the more likely you'll get a response. it's a model that tends to work better the more successful/known/established you are, and how well you sell yourself, which is, essentially, why labels justify their existence. you have to do for yourself what a label would do. people are not obligated to support you, but they'll do what they can if they really like you and want to keep you around, making music.

    the book publishing industry has been in that state for a long time. writers have to spend as much time promoting themselves as they do writing, if they have any hope of supporting themselves doing it--which is generally why writers get told to never quit their day jobs.
     
  18. Rathryn

    RathrynExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 21, 2009
     
    Hence the addition 'technically' :p
     
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