John Perry Barlow
June 2, 2000 4:30 PM   Subscribe

John Perry Barlow tries to grapple with the Napster thang, with his usual interesting writing. A buried revelation: Bands are only getting about 5% of retail, rather than the 10% I thought.
posted by aurelian (1 comment total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Those artists who are contracted with RIAA moguls are perhaps akin metaphorically to a person who is stuck in a romantic relationship and isn't getting what they need out of it, but they fear abandoning the relationship because the alternative of breaking out on one's own is rather frightening.

Most of the money we pay for a CD goes to the infrastructure of the music industry. A piddly amount goes to the artist. Now many of these big name artists are not complaining, because that piddly amount is still rather big comparatively speaking. And the alternative of leaving the big label means losing a lot of gigs and not having that chauffeur or maid or administrative assistants. There are pros and cons to the establishment.

Barlow is speaking of a "musician and audience business" and I for one would love to see that happen. The music BECOMES the advertising as well as the product and service. A band may come from Boston to play here in Dallas and I'd never know about it, but if they were able to get a copy of their music to me first, and then tell me where they were playing in my area next month, if I like their music, I'll be there. And I'll buy their CD cuz I want to support them.

As Barlow points out from personal experience, it was by sharing music between Deadheads (and everyone the Deadheads ran into) that the Grateful Dead achieved it's popularity. It certaintly wasn't by the help of big record companies. The Grateful Dead has always been a predominantly word of mouth venture, and it served them well.

RIAA is scared cuz this means they are no longer needed. They are out of the loop. Audience members can seek out what they personally like to hear, rather than wait for RIAA to churn out yet another lot of "top 40" crap.

The sooner RIAA becomes extinct, the better. It will not solve all problems. In fact this creates a whole slew of new problems, but it puts the power of music back into the hands of those who make it and those who listen to it. It cuts out the expensive middleman.

And I'm sure there's a lot of fans that would be happy to be their favorite band's chauffeur for the night. Things will work out much better than many may fear at the moment.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:47 PM on June 2, 2000

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