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File Sharing & Record labels

Posted on October 29, 2010 at 6:30 AM

The legalities of file sharing are obviously complex and the minutiae of the defence and prosecution cases have taken the argument away from something most of us can easily comprehend .


However, I would like to state that the idea that the record labels assisted the artists is flawed.


Consider their marketing strategies….every week on Spotify (legally free) a label launches a “new” artist with their “amazing” debut album.


That is one of their strategies i.e. paid advertising telling the record buying public how “amazing” is the new artist .


99 out of 100 of these artists slips back into anonymity… because the public is not fooled.


Artists that develop careers do so through either hard work, or uniqueness or a combination of both. The label pays them an advance but the real promotion is done by the band/artist.

Therefore in earlier times the label were bankrolling the artists success and thereafter providing a distribution channel…i.e. records.


In the digital age…..this has surely changed.


1) Artists no longer need a month long lock out sessions in studios to create an album

2) Artists no longer need the label’s distribution channel - are there many music shops left….?

3) Artists have never needed the label’s publicity machine because mostly all the label did was fuel a buzz that already existed. I don’t know if there are many instances where the buzz and the success were created by the label.

4) Artists probably still need the bankroll (advance)…but actually it is inequitable…..you’d get better rates from a commercial lending organisation (if you could be confident that you’re music had a market - even in these credit crunch times).


In actual fact if you borrowed a record label advance of say $1m over 10 years…..you would only pay back a fraction of your earnings as a middle earning rock or pop band that you would if you signed to a label.


ergo…labels have missed the boat…(around 1998 )

ergo they had to take action against file sharers because their business model is crumbling - raining in the desert is taking business from the water sellers. Has I-tunes got them back on track - I don't know?


In fact what they should have done, as one of the lines of defence intimated…is use file sharing as a promotional tool, not solely an income stream


Still it seems like it's all over now baby blue.....

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