Here We Are Again (The state of music 2010)


Well, here we go again. Many readers from back in the HSJ days remember when I wrote more opinion pieces here, but as time has gone on, it's been more about keeping up with news from a million different bands and labels. And just like the reason I don't do reviews (my opinion being no more meaningful than you the reader's) , I really don't like to step out and complain about things in music when there are so many good things happening. But sometimes things affect us all, and where we're headed.

First up... today, the man behind LoDubs Records decided to post this on his Facebook page...

With all honesty, we here at LoDubs release 12"s and full lengths as we believe it is the only way to properly document a particular moment of creativity, and preserve it for the future. As we are not based in any of the media anointed hotbeds (LA, London, ETC) we realize that regardless of how culturally important a record we release..., It will always be drowned out by the jet wash of releases coming from bigger labels and locales.

We do this because it must be done, and in turn, it is a constant struggle.

Furthermore, the trend we are now noticing is that each time a release comes out, that the physical release sales decline, and it does far better on illegal download sites that post it up than those 100 legitimate vendors of downloads such as Boomkat, Bleep, etc. It has gotten to the point where we are actually beginning to question whether this can even be done anymore without it leading to our personal ruin.
We do what we can to ask these people to remove these links. Most of the time these individuals act as though they are doing us a favour, and much of the time are quite insulting both to us and to our artists in their conversation, reviews, and general insinuation.
This utter disregard and hurtful behaviour has spilled out and over onto the shoutbox at Last FM. We have, in as clear and eloquent of a way possible, expressed to those on their who where responsible for these download blogs how their actions prevent future creativity, and contribute to monoculture. They have done nothing but attack us in kind.
We encourage you to read the thread at the link below, and please express you opinion there, should you feel like it. We wrote such thorough arguments on their as a hope that just like the records, over time the right people would see the reasoning, and see how bad this is on a label like ours.
http://www.last.fm/music/Clubroot

Okay, so it's something I've heard a lot of lately. I love Clubroot (LoDubs recording act) and have bought both of his CDs so far. Regardless of whether you like that kind of music is irrelevant. It's going on everywhere across the board. Now the thing that really bothers me are the people in that thread talking shit back to this guy for his stance. These people believe it is their right to this music... that it is public property.

Again, old readers already know where I stand on this. One of the most amazing pieces of music I've ever experienced was Irezumi's "Endurance" CD from 2008. Unfortunately, the man behind the project was so disheartened by the Russian pirates giving his music away that he gave up making music under the Irezumi moniker. Keep in mind, we're not talking Metallica/Napster level shit here. We're talking a beautiful digipak limited to 1000 copies. This CD got great press everywhere, but the pirates got out of the gate fast, and they couldn't even sell a grand in Europe, where ambient stuff is huge.

Again, even I understand that Manu from Irezumi made a rash decision. It's the fact that it even got to that point that is so sad.

Understand that right now, we are all privy to more free music than ever before. You don't even need old cassettes like we did back in the day. What I really don't understand from a listener's point of view is this... how much is enough of a "preview"? You can easily go to a million places (MySpace, Youtube, etc.) and hear half of a record. If you like that half, why wouldn't you pay for the rest?

Now, again... I'm not talking about the bigger labels. That is not a world I live in or understand. Most people believe that they fucked everyone over in the 90's and are now getting what they deserve. Again, I don't know. BUT, I do have a young daughter, and if she wants a CD from the hot young pop star, we go and we buy it. Just how I am I guess.

Again, I really don't have too many solutions at this point, so unfortunately I feel that I'm pissing in the wind. My only solution to all these bands and labels is to put a number on your shit. We live amongst a society of hardcore collectors who are more apt to snatch up your shit first if it's a limited, numbered collectible. Sounds slimy and shitty but what else can you do? Tell em it's a limited edition CD or something.

And on that note I'm going to take on a few sacred cows that will probably have me fucking burnt at the stake.

First up... download blogs who "spread the word". Stop it. Fucking stop it. Is it any wonder that when I recently posted info about the new Orthrelm CD, Weasel Walter posted a comment asking me to remove the album? There was no download link! But now I'm bundled in with the rest of the bloggers ripping off bands. Also... do you know that the Sludgeswamp started right about the same time as me? I watched as their readership went through the roof, while mine went up oh so slowly. I wasn't in a competition to have a ton of readers. It just illustrated to me exactly what was happening in music. Hey Sludgeswamp, I know you get the word out from small bands who ask for the coverage, and that's fine. But how about keep it to that? You love 16, High On Fire, Nadja... stop giving their shit away. You too AttilatheHun. New bands need a break? Fine... but leave it at that.

The other sacred cow? Vinyl, and record collectors. And I know I will take heat for this, and I don't mind. Let me just say this. You absolutely have the right to spend your hard-earned dough the way you want to. But just think about this. Many labels are using it as an exercise to get more money out of you per-release. They have taken your love of feeling "underground" and turned it against you. They wouldn't dare ask you for $20 for a CD, but if it's a double LP, then $20, $25, hell even $50 for the Lotus Eaters or KTL. Again it is your choice, but just think of it like this... you could've bought more tapes or CDs, and thereby supported a few more bands with your dollars. Spread that shit around.

Again, that is just a suggestion. I see people spending less on music overall, but more on just a few records. Like I said, you guys work very hard for your dollars. I get that. But next time you want that Nuclear War Now die-hard, just think of all the other bands you could be supporting, and what it would mean to them. Again, people have a lot less spending money nowadays but are paying waay more per release.

BUT, I understand that labels almost HAVE to press vinyl LPs nowadays because people aren't buying CDs. The thing is, while vinyl keeps getting bigger, it will NEVER be a big enough format to support all the bands out there. Kids with Ipods and Droid phones and XBoxes don't collect vinyl most of the time.

Goddamn, I hope this shit doesn't sound preachy, because I don't know any more than the next guy. Maybe we can just consider it the beginning of an ongoing dialogue here about ideas moving forward. And this post is just my opinions and thoughts... not necessarily the other dudes here at HSS.

Cheers...

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

i just left a comment in support of clubroot- it is a tricky area though- i do download demos, out of print albums, stuff i've bought on vinyl etc illegally which i feel no guilt about but, on the other hand, who am i to decide that it's ok for me to steal ANYTHING from these bands? i guess we each set our own moral compass and then look in the mirror...

bzx002 said...

Too true brother. I also DL out-of-print stuff... but if it's reissued I grab it.

Al said...

Very well said! Not having enough money to pay my rent at the end of the month because I've spent every penny I have on putting out an LP I know has sold 20 copies that I can see on download sites a week after it came out is hard to take. There's a very selfish attitude amongst a lot of underground "consumers" who seem to forget that the people putting out these records do not live in gold-plated castles and who struggle to get by just like everyone else!
Al/At War With False Noise

Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion labels or artists should be more versatile regarding selling their music. For example I very much welcomed GTT's download-only "The Blotched And The Unwanted" release. I just can't (and not just me) buy all the physical releases though I want to support the artist. Thats were a lossless audio download with a fair pricetag (not the iTunes Music Store "fair") comes in. Its not "trve" but still better than screwing people over.

bzx002 said...

I have a shitload of respect for what you do Al. One of the best labels ever, and I grab that shit from AQ or US sources whenever I can.

Really hoping all the good labels make it out alive. Seems as though Slimm/Archive may have already bit the dust?

Emil said...

Let us all take a step back, from this digital age of myspace 'relationships' and binary code illustions of 'having' a painting, into an earlier age where hand made object were valued. Beening an artist yourself really makes you realise how imporant this issue is. Call it what you will; energy, vibrations, karma etc. I dont care how many files you may have compromised to 11001010010010110 ones and zeros binary code you have, IT IS NOT REAL! its a copy of a copy of a copy, ad infinitum. there is nothing like having the physical analog recording and album art/lyrics in your hand. Every computer and Ipod WILL die on you over time. A tape, cd or lp will never 'crash' (if properly treated). And bottom line is, if you like what an artist do, support it! otherwise the best peice of work you will ever hear, might not be created due to lack of resources and motivation. Majority of kids now a days do more damage to the Arts then any other generation ever has.

Anonymous said...

well emil, a record is a copy in the end aswell... also, records wear out, cds dont last forever and shit gets broken when shipped.


i for one buy but also download alot... why? i dont have infinite amount of cash lying around. im sorry for the labels/artist who struggle but in the end of the day its always the risk they take. im from europe so i usual pay alot more then the us folks thanks to shipping so i dont end up buying every release (if its a single one) just for the fact it mostly doubles the cost, if i get multiple records - no problem.

i dont mean to offend anyone but its sometimes wrong to expect that every release that you put out will be bought. if you follow various labels you see that there are tons of records coming out every week. sometimes you have to choose between them...
also, do you expect us to buy all of it? my shelves are stuffed with vinyl, tapes and cds. do i listen to all of them multiple times? hardly. do i need all of those? not really. according to my friends this is the biggest money dump ever, they dont even have an interst in buying records. hell, i hardly know anyone who even buys music regulary (and then maybe a cd a month). people get by knowing like 20 bands and are happy, how come its to be expected that all your records break even?

im sorry if anyone gets pissed off but thats my opinion. if one of the records doesnt sell well you might have to check if its something on your side and try to improve (samples, marketing in general) but maybe its just not that good...
that said, the people who download your stuff also buy it (as multiple studies showed). this wont go away, neither will ipods etc...

ps: i feel bad for archive, he put out great things - but then again, with his snobbish blog he did more harm then good.

bzx002 said...

Your opinions are respected here,anonymous. Honestly being in Europe I think you've had the better end of the currency exchanges for the past few years.

As for downloading, it is true that people often buy what they download, but more often they don't.

Also, the argument that something can be downloaded and not bought because it isn't any good is a dangerous one. Taste is subjective, and most people on the street think the music we metalheads all enjoy is shit.

So maybe someday you will love something that no one else does, and when they hang it up because of no sales, you will be bummed.

Just some thoughts. Thanx for poppin in. Appreciated.

Black Leclere said...

Compact Discs and Cassette Tapes are inferior formats in comparison to Vinyl; it's that simple. Who cares about the bands, I buy records for the music. The people in the bands are probably some nerds that I have nothing in common with and probably wouldn't even like. If you don't want your music to be uploaded on the internet don't give it to anyone. If you want to make money or break even from music start a marketable pop group or just be in a goth band and cry about it.

Rainbath said...

"Black Leclere" Has a good point. If you don't want your music to be stolen don't release it. I mean think about how over saturated the world is in millions of obscure bands trying to release some LP or Cd. I think its flattering if someone wants to steal my music from the internet with a simple mediafire click... and people will always buy a release if the packaging is creative and interesting. Its the collector/art side of it that will always exist. Who cares about some basic Cd digipak or jewel case release? Who in the world would ever pay for a digital download? Sure tapes and vinyl are more interesting..but like Emil said..everything dies. I might be recycling words here but untill vinyl pressing plants get with the times, we need to find more affordable / creative ways to release things and sell them at a affordable price. That way the collectors will be happy and the labels will be happy.

Anonymous said...

Black Leclere - "The people in the bands are probably some nerds that I have nothing in common with and probably wouldn't even like". This is a arrogant statement. as Aquarius Records wrote in a burzum review 'if you eliminated every record from your collection based on if the person has politically correct views or is an asshole, you would probably end up having to throw away atleast half of your collection'. It is a fact that alot of the greatest artist in this genre is eccentric, weird, different from the norm, socially akward and sometimes deranged. Arent most of histories geniuses? Just because you pressume that you personally wouldnt have a comperable lifestyle with an artist, does that prevent you from enjoying a killer tune? Ferniz was a complete musick 'nerd' growing up and still is, does this make Darkthrone any less awesome? Seems like you got it all backwards. Its easier to dismiss people then it is to understand them

Secondly you say that and artist should not release any of their material if it bothers them that a bunch of people leech on it for free? well that would just be a sad world to live in if people lived by this. Great art should be released, its almost criminal not to, and hopefully there will be enought descent people that will support the artist to continue their path of performing their true Will, and restore some faith in humanity. There will always be assholes that dont see the big picture and just think of themselves and try to get over as much as they can. all i can say is what goes around comes around.

Black Leclere said...

My statement of, "I buy records for the music" should have already answered your question of...

"Just because you pressume that you personally wouldnt have a comperable lifestyle with an artist, does that prevent you from enjoying a killer tune?"

Plus I think Dark Throne sucks, I would never buy a Dark Throne record, ever!

"Great art should be released, its almost criminal not to, and hopefully there will be enought descent people that will support the artist to continue their path of performing their true Will, and restore some faith in humanity."

Um obviously there aren't enough people willing to spend 50% of their income on records that is why this topic started.

There are a millions of bands out there and most suck. I can candy coat it for you and say there are many original bands out there but most are duplicates of the originators idea that fail in comparison. I like the former better but I am an asshole that does not see the bigger picture. Regardless, you can't buy all of those records or even a fraction of what you would like to; so one must take it if they want to hear it.

I pay for all my bands (non metal BTW) shit and I don't care if someone downloads it because that means more people at shows. I lose money on it but I am not in it for the money merely the music.

"What goes around comes around"

Yeah I guess your right, I have to deal with bullshit like this from nerds on the internet to get decent records. I pay more than just money to get records. In fact I was banned by some internerd on DFFD a couple months ago; a site that I actually did business on and supported peoples struggling bands.

Some time ago metal was tough, it was music music for warriors and had balls of fire; what the fuck happend? I blame the internet... What do you blame?


I hope that clears things up "Anonymous".

Rainbath said...

We could all blame the crazy internet world we live in. It farts on everyone. Might as well use it wisely, if such a thing. It seems that when someone is offering their music for free on the internet, no one wants it. Its almost like its cheap. People would rather download a rip from a physical release because its more sought after in some weird way. What i don't see enough is labels offering free download compilations of stuff they are putting out. Its kind of hard to market to a over saturated internet society. No one cares about anything anymore. Oh well!

Emil said...

Black Leclere - "Darkthrone sucks"? i am not too big on their later catalogue either and havnt been buying them, but their first 4 demos and that frostland compilation box set simply ruled. Some of the best early death/black I've ever heard. But each one to his own i guess, their demos were 'unique'.

"Some time ago metal was tough, it was music music for warriors and had balls of fire; what the fuck happend? I blame the internet... What do you blame?" I know man, I grew up in Sweden during the end of the death metal glory era and start of black metal era. 'Though guys with balls of fire' where all around, but this is a youthful, self destructive attitude that is hard to sustain in the long-run. Later days it has become a laughtable cliche in too many cases. I belive alot of BM artist now a days put on their face paint and stage persona before a show but few truely live this way of life when coming home at the end of the day. Opposite, we now have people like Kim Carlsson (lifelover, hypothermia, life is pain, kyla) who for example does not play the 'though guy with fire balls', if you have ever talked to him he is the nicest, well mannered, humble guy. However very few can channel the 'true emotions and spirit of black metal' he does on stage or in the recording process. The scars tell it all.

But enought with peoples opposing opinions and piety chatter. This site deserves a more respect then that. Beau started a thread about gettin back to older ways, supporting the artists and encourage people to buy records, this i think we can both totally agree with. And as far as musickal prefference; each one to his own. after all if we all liked the same thing, that wouldnt be very good now would it.

bzx002 said...

Thanx Emil.

Support the artists, period. To Black Leclere... to say any band "sucks" is to fight a losing battle with someone else's heart and mind. People are different and that's a good thing. My daughter loves bubbly pop music. She loves it in a true way with no pretense. How many of us can say the same?

Also, do you not buy groceries if the cashier is not someone you would hang out with? Do you not pay your bills because the companies are run by selfish pricks? Artists should get paid for consumption. If you don't believe that then someday there won't be much art to consume.

The Path Less Traveled Records said...

I've started documenting the cost of putting our music on my blog. My label isn't large by any means, but I'm doing my best to show folks the time and money that goes into putting music out. I don't expect anyone to rush out and buy everything on my label. I took the risk and in reality, if I was doing it just for the money, I'd put out Justin Bieber records. Vinyl is more expensive to press.

Anyway, great write up and very thought provoking.

SSS said...

everything i do for music i do for the love. nobody pays me to drive 150 miles round trip every week or two to play music over the radio for a handful of people who enjoy the shit we like. i have brought shows to montana at a loss. all this money adds up to shit to me. i will continue to love music until the day i die with no expectation of reward or reimbursement. music and art are in the blood not the dollar bill.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the problem is illegal filesharing. The problem is people not buying, never.
I just think about the incredible great moments music has gave me over the years. It's not about buying or paying or conforming to the laws, it's about retribution, about giving back for those great moments, that's why I buy, and I hope I will always be buying, because that means those great moments will always go on.
That's how I see it.

DamagedMike said...

I don’t think I’m being cynical when I say it’s too late. Blogs come and go. Some reincarnate themselves. A lot of file sharing happens outside of actual blogs in forums and other such places. People have a taste for free music, so it will never go away. Bands and labels have to come up with something radically different to stay alive. I’ve nothing to offer as a solution.

I offer this thought: maybe this is necessary for the evolution of good music. Survival of the fittest if you will. People will support that bands making good music. Is it enough to keep them and their labels afloat, perhaps, probably not? However, they will continue nonetheless. Meanwhile all of this free music will (and arguably has) led to the decline of the quality of music available. Everyone wants their fifteen minutes, more so than their fifteen bucks is my guess. It’s gotten to the point you could put out the best album ever and only a few people will hear it because it’s lost is a vast sea of mediocrity. The motivation and desire to create is going to be lost. People will stop (re)producing music. I don’t think people will stop making music, but I do think there will be a sharp and drastic decline of those recording it. Even as technology gets cheaper and the proliferation of home recordings continues to rise, there’s a cost associated. Individuals need recoup their costs unless they’re doing it purely for the love of the music.

People who create music on that level always make better music. They will continue to do so. Remember the term “starving artist?” The strong will survive and eventually the desire to create will re-populate, this time with the emphasis being on quality by those who are in it for the right reasons. What will the state of the music business be in that time? I would not dare predict. However, I will say what we have today is a dinosaur whose days are numbered.

I myself struggle with illegal downloading. I do it. A lot. Why? Because I am addicted to music. My tastes continue to evolve. I need variety. I like hearing music that’s new to me. I am also a responsible adult, with a family, who must make responsible decisions about how to spend my money. As time goes by there’s less and less available to spend on music. There’s some though. I do buy stuff I like (I try as much as possibly to buy from the local independent record store as well), just not all of it. I’ve considered not downloading anymore. The addiction is strong and I’ve no desire to fight it. My struggle comes with being a part of sharing music. Is it ok to download it if I don’t share it? It’s an ethical question I struggle with. Will I continue to share music? I don’t know. I feel increasingly guilty for sharing the music by signed bands and indie labels or self-released stuff.

I started to filter what I share. I won’t share this because my friend released it, but I will share this because I don’t know you. I am not comfortable with that. Maybe it’s my conscience. I won’t post music by this label because they have asked nicely, but this other label hasn’t said squat so their stuff gets posted. Yeah, it ain’t right. I know. Hypocrite.

I would not think of trying to defend blogs who illegally share music. Nor would I condone anyone for doing it. For me this is personal. If friends of mine do it, they are still my friends. I wouldn’t try to force my religious views on anyone, so why would I…

On last point I would like to make is how the music industry is seemingly growing more and more indifferent to music blogs. Maybe the key to a blog’s success is how they post music. It would be hard to imagine some of the more popular blogs who have been around for a few years are unknown to industry insiders, but the person who started one a month ago is shut down for one post. What makes one more ok than another?

It is a crazy time right now. What to do?

I know what I will probably get: loads of harsh criticism from both sides.

DamagedMike said...

I don’t think I’m being cynical when I say it’s too late. Blogs come and go. Some reincarnate themselves. A lot of file sharing happens outside of actual blogs in forums and other such places. People have a taste for free music, so it will never go away. Bands and labels have to come up with something radically different to stay alive. I’ve nothing to offer as a solution.

I offer this thought: maybe this is necessary for the evolution of good music. Survival of the fittest if you will. People will support that bands making good music. Is it enough to keep them and their labels afloat, perhaps, probably not? However, they will continue nonetheless. Meanwhile all of this free music will (and arguably has) led to the decline of the quality of music available. Everyone wants their fifteen minutes, more so than their fifteen bucks is my guess. It’s gotten to the point you could put out the best album ever and only a few people will hear it because it’s lost is a vast sea of mediocrity. The motivation and desire to create is going to be lost. People will stop (re)producing music. I don’t think people will stop making music, but I do think there will be a sharp and drastic decline of those recording it. Even as technology gets cheaper and the proliferation of home recordings continues to rise, there’s a cost associated. Individuals need recoup their costs unless they’re doing it purely for the love of the music.

People who create music on that level always make better music. They will continue to do so. Remember the term “starving artist?” The strong will survive and eventually the desire to create will re-populate, this time with the emphasis being on quality by those who are in it for the right reasons. What will the state of the music business be in that time? I would not dare predict. However, I will say what we have today is a dinosaur whose days are numbered.

I myself struggle with illegal downloading. I do it. A lot. Why? Because I am addicted to music. My tastes continue to evolve. I need variety. I like hearing music that’s new to me. I am also a responsible adult, with a family, who must make responsible decisions about how to spend my money. As time goes by there’s less and less available to spend on music. There’s some though. I do buy stuff I like (I try as much as possibly to buy from the local independent record store as well), just not all of it. I’ve considered not downloading anymore. The addiction is strong and I’ve no desire to fight it. My struggle comes with being a part of sharing music. Is it ok to download it if I don’t share it? It’s an ethical question I struggle with. Will I continue to share music? I don’t know. I feel increasingly guilty for sharing the music by signed bands and indie labels or self-released stuff.

I started to filter what I share. I won’t share this because my friend released it, but I will share this because I don’t know you. I am not comfortable with that. Maybe it’s my conscience. I won’t post music by this label because they have asked nicely, but this other label hasn’t said squat so their stuff gets posted. Yeah, it ain’t right. I know. Hypocrite.

I would not think of trying to defend blogs who illegally share music. Nor would I condone anyone for doing it. For me this is personal. If friends of mine do it, they are still my friends. I wouldn’t try to force my religious views on anyone, so why would I…

On last point I would like to make is how the music industry is seemingly growing more and more indifferent to music blogs. Maybe the key to a blog’s success is how they post music. It would be hard to imagine some of the more popular blogs who have been around for a few years are unknown to industry insiders, but the person who started one a month ago is shut down for one post. What makes one more ok than another?

It is a crazy time right now. What to do?

I know what I will probably get: loads of harsh criticism from both sides.

DamagedMike said...

I don’t think I’m being cynical when I say it’s too late. Blogs come and go. Some reincarnate themselves. A lot of file sharing happens outside of actual blogs in forums and other such places. People have a taste for free music, so it will never go away. Bands and labels have to come up with something radically different to stay alive. I’ve nothing to offer as a solution.

I offer this thought: maybe this is necessary for the evolution of good music. Survival of the fittest if you will. People will support that bands making good music. Is it enough to keep them and their labels afloat, perhaps, probably not? However, they will continue nonetheless. Meanwhile all of this free music will (and arguably has) led to the decline of the quality of music available. Everyone wants their fifteen minutes, more so than their fifteen bucks is my guess. It’s gotten to the point you could put out the best album ever and only a few people will hear it because it’s lost is a vast sea of mediocrity. The motivation and desire to create is going to be lost. People will stop (re)producing music. I don’t think people will stop making music, but I do think there will be a sharp and drastic decline of those recording it. Even as technology gets cheaper and the proliferation of home recordings continues to rise, there’s a cost associated. Individuals need recoup their costs unless they’re doing it purely for the love of the music.

People who create music on that level always make better music. They will continue to do so. Remember the term “starving artist?” The strong will survive and eventually the desire to create will re-populate, this time with the emphasis being on quality by those who are in it for the right reasons. What will the state of the music business be in that time? I would not dare predict. However, I will say what we have today is a dinosaur whose days are numbered.

I myself struggle with illegal downloading. I do it. A lot. Why? Because I am addicted to music. My tastes continue to evolve. I need variety. I like hearing music that’s new to me. I am also a responsible adult, with a family, who must make responsible decisions about how to spend my money. As time goes by there’s less and less available to spend on music. There’s some though. I do buy stuff I like (I try as much as possibly to buy from the local independent record store as well), just not all of it. I’ve considered not downloading anymore. The addiction is strong and I’ve no desire to fight it. My struggle comes with being a part of sharing music. Is it ok to download it if I don’t share it? It’s an ethical question I struggle with. Will I continue to share music? I don’t know. I feel increasingly guilty for sharing the music by signed bands and indie labels or self-released stuff.

I started to filter what I share. I won’t share this because my friend released it, but I will share this because I don’t know you. I am not comfortable with that. Maybe it’s my conscience. I won’t post music by this label because they have asked nicely, but this other label hasn’t said squat so their stuff gets posted. Yeah, it ain’t right. I know. Hypocrite.

I would not think of trying to defend blogs who illegally share music. Nor would I condone anyone for doing it. For me this is personal. If friends of mine do it, they are still my friends. I wouldn’t try to force my religious views on anyone, so why would I…

On last point I would like to make is how the music industry is seemingly growing more and more indifferent to music blogs. Maybe the key to a blog’s success is how they post music. It would be hard to imagine some of the more popular blogs who have been around for a few years are unknown to industry insiders, but the person who started one a month ago is shut down for one post. What makes one more ok than another?

It is a crazy time right now. What to do?

I know what I will probably get: loads of harsh criticism from both sides.

Aesop said...

A lot of rude and unscrupulous blogs out there. I see the medium as a way to cross things off long standing wishlists and cut the throats of dirty eBay whores, NOT to undermine the efforts of hard working bands who make fantastic albums.

Anonymous said...

People will pay for something if they really want it and can't get it another way. It's seems clear that the days of paying for music are over. If you want to commission a live performance or new composition, it will cost you. If you want to download a copy of a file that has almost zero cost to distribute, you can get it for free. It sucks for record stores and labels, and for bands that hoped to make money selling recordings, but them's the breaks.

LeeBx said...

" ps: i feel bad for archive, he put out great things - but then again, with his snobbish blog he did more harm then good. "

how so? people stopped buy his product (let's call it...) so he stop providing it. and told people so.

granted, his label was/is quite specific. and the earlier releases were subjectively more interesting than the later ones.

Pagan Flames said...

Truly interesting comments, everybody!

Some advice to new labels/bands from an undeground label for almost a decade:

1) Don't start a record label if you cannot afford to do so. (Have a good-paying day job and don't expect to support yourself from selling music - it is almost impossible)

2) Release ONLY the music you truly love and believe in and you will never regret "losing" money on it. Go to bed each night with the knowledge that you supported an artist that you really believed in and enjoyed.

3) Our best-selling releases, ironically were those that had been shared all over the blogs
before they were even released = "Leaked". I suppose for every 10 that downloaded, one person bought it. And NO, we do not purposely leak any of our releases.

4) Promotion is very important, no matter how you do it. What's the difference between
giving away free mp3s on blogs and buying advertising? Advertising is expensive. Free mp3s are free.

David said...

I love music. Period. But the fact that so many people think, nay, expect to make a living from music without being a kick ass live band/artist that draws the crowd (cause that's where the money is and has always been) completely mystifies me.

There has been a fact since the dawn of time: artists rarely 'make it'. You want another fact? own the rights to your own art. You just did something that almost all the 'artists' that came before you totally missed.

Record label? Hah. Whatever dude, are you the artist or the distribution channel, and which one is complaining? Oh, I see, you're 'documenting a scene'. Why expect to profit from it then? For posterity's sake?

Let me drop one other little nugget of science. Remember when Sam Phillips pulled Elvis outta the Podunk and had him dance the Jailhouse Rock? Those dudes didn't invent shit. Every single musical element that made Elvis a star and made Sam his millions had already been done, repeatedly, by mostly black artist and musicians over previous previous 10 years, and most of THOSE bands and musicians(which you never heard of) never made any money, other than playing live. Still, all that great and innovative music was just sitting there waiting for Sam to Cherry pick: "I'll just take that riff, and this other chorus, and that backbeat, and this other verse...Elvis, you shake you hips a little and, viola! Magic!"

It's guys like that that made their fortunes in music. Guys with a genius for marketing that repackaged it and sold it to the general populace. Plus, you know, a few very lucky and/or very business savvy individuals who are the exception.

Is that you?

casper said...

I buy 90% of stuff. I dl like a mofo, and buy like a mofo as a result. I wouldn't buy anywhere near as much music if it weren't for blogs and me hitting the mediafire's super hard. Overall my collection is about 4000 cds, with perhaps 400 mp3 albums that I haven't got around to buying/deleting yet.

The blogs that publish exclusively mainstream-ish, easily available music have the wrong attitude. Incidentally, you've got a whiny attitude. Heard of tape-trading? I still have some super old tapes of early Metallica records floating around somewhere... (not to say I'm that old! I traded tapes back in '97 with my year 8 friends, haha!)

Finally, I'd say big, major label bands have FAR more to lose with illegal downloading then the smaller, part-time artists do, so whining about big-band greed is a silly idea.

Re: your readership going up slowly compared to Sludgeswamp, have you considered that maybe that's because 90% of your posts are short blurbs with a picture and very little comment? If you're not offering downloads, then you've got to offer something else. Currently, you're not.