Ok, here's my rant... and it will be a good one....
I am a 25 year old singer/songwriter/musician who has a development deal with Warner Bros. in the US. Being a "rock star" has always been my dream... well not to be a "rock star" necessarily, but to make a living doing what I love; making music.
To the average “Joe”, downloading music is not a big deal. Heck, I've downloaded my share of music over the last few years. Copying your buddy's entire cd collection ain't too shabby either. Saves you a ton of cash and you get a whack load of cd's for next to nothing. That does sound like a great deal. But it's still stealing. Even if record companies are multi-billion dollar industries that charge too much for a cd, they still own that product. Just because Walmart makes a load of cash, is it cool to steal all of the Lord Of The Rings dolls that will fit in your pocket? Nope. Why? Because they own them and not you. Taking what's not yours IS stealing.
People have the attitude that hurting the record companies will somehow benefit them. How is that? Do you not enjoy music? Do you want all of the record companies to go broke so that we're stuck listening to $hitty local bands 24/7? And trust me, there are a lot more $hitty ones than good ones.
Sure the "biz" and it's higher ups make a lot of money. They make that money because they are capable of doing a very specialized job; recognizing and marketing talent. Not as easy as it sounds. Yes there are a bunch of "talentless" artists who get more than their share of fame and money but they DO earn that money. There IS a market for that music even if it's not your thing. There are also hundreds of talented artists who count on album sales to earn them their money. Even if they DO earn a lot of money… it’s THEIR money! Does someone tell you, “Earning $12/hour is more than you need to survive. I’m going to steal from the company you work for!”? I doubt it.
Most people don't know that it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a record. Warner Bros’ budget to record 3 demos for me is $18'000 USD... for 3 songs!!! And they are JUST demos!!! To hire a good producer can cost almost a million dollars, Add to that studio time, musicians, mastering and etc. The list of expenses goes on and on and before you know it, a record costs over a million dollars to make and a lot more to market. That's money that has to be made back. That's what being a business is about.
Now, I’m not sure if this is public knowledge or not but two major record labels (there are only 5 major labels) are about to merge. Money making scheme? Not at all. They are merging because album sales are down... really down. Will this mean music will get back to its roots? Not even close. It will mean even further commercialization of music. More cookie cutter crap filling the airways because record companies will be forced to record and produce whatever is the trend at the time. Real artists will suffer and be cut out of the loop because they will be too much of a risk for the record labels to take.
So what do I think needs to be done? Not a clue. But vowing to “never buy a cd again” helps nobody…especially not the artist. One thing is true. Downloading music is a fact and it’s not going to go away anytime soon. Record companies will just have to find a way to regulate it. I would expect to see the price of CDRs go up. I would expect to see record companies trying new things to attract people to buy cd’s like lowering prices. I would expect the “Free sharing” of music as we know it to stop. I bet we’ll see a lot things change over the next little while. That’s what technology brings; change. But the fall of major labels would not be a good thing.
That’s my rant… for now. It may not be well thought out but I guess that’s ok because it was a rant.
Now go out and support your favorite artists! Then go feed your herps!