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(Cracked)   Five things record labels don't want you to know. Also, Lars Ulrich is still a douche (but you already knew that)   (cracked.com) divider line 104
    More: Asinine, Lars Ulrich, record labels, MS Paint, douche bags, airplay, Nielsen SoundScan, bikini models, Carly Rae Jepsen  
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13121 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 20 Feb 2013 at 9:50 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-20 09:03:09 AM  
Generally, I'm someone who likes owning a hard copy of something... music, TV, movies, whatever, and have no problem paying for it.

But, fark the RIAA and the music industry. Artists see virtually nothing from album sales, so don't feel too bad about buying used, or just downloading music for free. Go see a live show by your favorite artists, instead. That's where they actually see money for their work, and the record companies aren't pocketing 99.9% of the profits.

/again, fark the RIAA.
 
2013-02-20 09:57:48 AM  
nice link to the second page, subby, kinda made that suck
 
2013-02-20 10:02:56 AM  
It's widely known you get very little royalties for recording a pop album.

If you want the big chunk of royalties from releasing an album, you'll need to write your own music. If you're just singing someone else's music, you're little more than just another instrument (why should you get royalties and not the backing singers and studio guitarists?).

Do concerts, release merchandise, (ghost)write your autobiography, work for the money and don't expect it to roll in after releasing an album.
 
2013-02-20 10:03:38 AM  
I don't think Lars Ulrich is a douche.
 
2013-02-20 10:06:58 AM  

PanicMan: I don't think Lars Ulrich is a douche.


Nice try, Lars.
 
2013-02-20 10:09:42 AM  
Hey guys, I've got a great idea! Let's link the last page of a multi-page thing!
 
2013-02-20 10:13:26 AM  

busy chillin': nice link to the second page, subby, kinda made that suck


Glad I'm not the only one. For a second there I thought I had blacked out and forgot about reading the first page
 
2013-02-20 10:14:05 AM  
Saw this yesterday, interesting read.
I've heard horror stories about bands getting "Signed", then learning that they have to almost pay the company, so they try to leave, except now the company owns the band's name and its songs. Scary sh*t.

Go subscribe to a guy named Bob Lefsetz. He writes a daily/weekly coloumn and sends it via email. I have no idea how he gets paid, but he's a friggin genius. Almost 60 yrs old and he gets it. Hates record companies, and knows that you DON'T NEED them anymore to make it. YouTube is the new promoter and music delivery service. Radio hasn't been it for years (not a stab at radio, it just isn't for 'new' music anymore. Radio is now a product of success, not an avenue to it).
 
2013-02-20 10:19:30 AM  

busy chillin': nice link to the second page, subby, kinda made that suck


randroid: Hey guys, I've got a great idea! Let's link the last page of a multi-page thing!


Obiwontaun: For a second there I thought I had blacked out and forgot about reading the first page


My understanding is people do this because someone has already tried to link the first page and it was red-lighted. Who knows why. Who knows what twisted reason lurks in the hearts of Fark moderators. Bent and twisted in ash and shadow. We will never know.
But that's why people link second/third pages, etc.
 
2013-02-20 10:21:27 AM  

sure haven't: busy chillin': nice link to the second page, subby, kinda made that suck

randroid: Hey guys, I've got a great idea! Let's link the last page of a multi-page thing!

Obiwontaun: For a second there I thought I had blacked out and forgot about reading the first page

My understanding is people do this because someone has already tried to link the first page and it was red-lighted. Who knows why. Who knows what twisted reason lurks in the hearts of Fark moderators. Bent and twisted in ash and shadow. We will never know.
But that's why people link second/third pages, etc.


why can't they just do that www.url.com/?ImAStupidPoopieHead thing?

Also; fark redlights cracked article? sounds unlikely
 
2013-02-20 10:23:42 AM  

sure haven't: I've heard horror stories about bands getting "Signed", then learning that they have to almost pay the company, so they try to leave, except now the company owns the band's name and its songs. Scary sh*t.


Often they don't even really get signed... they essentially get optioned. The record company will get them to sign something that basically means the band can't take a contract with a different record company without paying that one off, but that record company doesn't actually have to do anything with/for the band. For lots of bands with no legal knowledge or lawyer, they sign it thinking they're striking it rich and are really just farking themselves over.
 
2013-02-20 10:24:03 AM  

PanicMan: I don't think Lars Ulrich is a douche.


This.  Hasn't it now become cool to say Lars is not a douche?  I thought I heard that somewhere....

/he's a massive douche
 
2013-02-20 10:25:27 AM  

sure haven't: I've heard horror stories about bands getting "Signed", then learning that they have to almost pay the company, so they try to leave, except now the company owns the band's name and its songs. Scary sh*t.


Lots of Naive/poorly advised acts get their $500,000 advance and think it's a signing on fee rather than royalties up front. They want to change labels after their first album only to be told that they hadn't earnt $500k in royalties yet so would need to pay back some of their advance to leave.

I've read quite a few articles saying this is an example of how evil record companies are when really its just people not knowing what an advance is.
 
2013-02-20 10:28:54 AM  

abigsmurf: sure haven't: I've heard horror stories about bands getting "Signed", then learning that they have to almost pay the company, so they try to leave, except now the company owns the band's name and its songs. Scary sh*t.

Lots of Naive/poorly advised acts get their $500,000 advance and think it's a signing on fee rather than royalties up front. They want to change labels after their first album only to be told that they hadn't earnt $500k in royalties yet so would need to pay back some of their advance to leave.

I've read quite a few articles saying this is an example of how evil record companies are when really its just people not knowing what an advance is.


When Jewel was on Stern a couple weeks back, she explained that exact deal was why she wound up going with whatever record company she wound up with, for a much lower dollar amount upfront, than to take an astronomical advance she may never make back.
 
2013-02-20 10:29:40 AM  

sure haven't: Radio hasn't been it for years (not a stab at radio, it just isn't for 'new' music anymore. Radio is now a product of success, not an avenue to it).


I'd agree for most radio, but the diversity of Sirius/XM is an exception. I've heard some awesome tunes on Alt Nation, Underground Garage, and The Coffeehouse from obscure bands that now have a place in my iTunes collection. I agree that self-promotion & publication is king and that labels are going the way of the dodo, but satellite radio seems to be more of a willing participant than just a series of commercials with some songs tossed in. I know it's still not easy to get on Sirius, but certainly easier than the business of bullish*t that terrestrial radio has become.
 
2013-02-20 10:31:02 AM  
Photoshop, anyone?

i.crackedcdn.com
 
2013-02-20 10:31:53 AM  

dc0012c: sure haven't: Radio hasn't been it for years (not a stab at radio, it just isn't for 'new' music anymore. Radio is now a product of success, not an avenue to it).

I'd agree for most radio, but the diversity of Sirius/XM is an exception. I've heard some awesome tunes on Alt Nation, Underground Garage, and The Coffeehouse from obscure bands that now have a place in my iTunes collection. I agree that self-promotion & publication is king and that labels are going the way of the dodo, but satellite radio seems to be more of a willing participant than just a series of commercials with some songs tossed in. I know it's still not easy to get on Sirius, but certainly easier than the business of bullish*t that terrestrial radio has become.


Ah, but Satellite was sooooo much better pre-merger.

Although I do agree that SiriusXM has a more diverse playlist, digs into more genres than terrestrial, and you do stand a better chance of finding something new and interesting, or old and cool you had never heard before, than you will find on bland, homogenized, piece of shiat terrestrial radio.
 
2013-02-20 10:35:09 AM  
Lars was a douche long before the Netflix thing.
 
2013-02-20 10:42:49 AM  

dc0012c: sure haven't: Radio hasn't been it for years (not a stab at radio, it just isn't for 'new' music anymore. Radio is now a product of success, not an avenue to it).

I'd agree for most radio, but the diversity of Sirius/XM is an exception. I've heard some awesome tunes on Alt Nation, Underground Garage, and The Coffeehouse from obscure bands that now have a place in my iTunes collection. I agree that self-promotion & publication is king and that labels are going the way of the dodo, but satellite radio seems to be more of a willing participant than just a series of commercials with some songs tossed in. I know it's still not easy to get on Sirius, but certainly easier than the business of bullish*t that terrestrial radio has become.


Actually yeah I'd agree with that, they have a ton of 'signals', whereas FM radio has to get it right. And the reason they don't play that unknown or un'proven' music, is because no one listens. They try to play "new" music, and it fails in the ratings. Hard truth: Fark is not an accurate sample of what people think of music and FM radio.
 
2013-02-20 10:44:54 AM  

Mugato: Photoshop, anyone?

[i.crackedcdn.com image 220x320]


If I had any skills, I'd faceswap Lars Ulrich onto the woman, then put Xzibit in the corner.
 
2013-02-20 10:51:31 AM  

sure haven't: Hard truth: Fark is not an accurate sample of what people think of music and FM radio.


Thank you for saying that.

We don't play Nickelback because all the "wacky DJs" LOVE them some Nickelback.  It is because the general public does.  If they didn't sell millions of albums and sell out arenas left and right, then we wouldn't play them as much.

Black folks are even worse.  I've known black record store owners.  Customers literally come in and ASK what's charting, and the answer steers their purchase.

But, this thread will devolve into HURRR DURR CLEARCHANNEL HURR DURR NICKELBACK by this afternoon.
 
2013-02-20 10:53:08 AM  
You'd think that artists would make their own distribution company to get around this.  There's already a billion record labels owned by rappers to feed the distribution companies.  Wasn't United Artists created to combat this kind of thing in the movie industry?  You'd think money grubbers like Bono or Jagger would've tried to start something up
 
2013-02-20 10:54:51 AM  

FirstNationalBastard: Go see a live show by your favorite artists, instead.


this
 
2013-02-20 11:02:42 AM  

Champion of the Sun: You'd think that artists would make their own distribution company to get around this.  There's already a billion record labels owned by rappers to feed the distribution companies.  Wasn't United Artists created to combat this kind of thing in the movie industry?  You'd think money grubbers like Bono or Jagger would've tried to start something up


The record label stuff is the worst.  Young bands have this goal of getting "signed".  Which is in reality a high interest loan.  The label wants a piece of EVERYTHING.

Want to do a guest slot on your buddy's CD?  Even if they're a local act that MIGHT sell a few thousand copies?  Better do it anonymously, because the 360 deal you(r band) signed gives the label a cut.

Band breaks up?  Doesn't matter, the label STILL gets  a cut of whatever you end up doing because of the deal you signed.

It used to be that bands made money touring and selling merch.  Now, you can't get signed to a big record contract without signing away slices of that stuff, too.

This will be the end of big record companies.  The playing field is getting level, and self-distribution is becoming more common.  Or, you foot the bill with your own money up front, or give the studio/producer a few percentage points, and the label's function is merely distribution, not total ownership of your art.  Or, you hire a licensing group to get you paid for using your self-produced song in a video game or movie, and use THAT money as seed money to produce the rest of your album.

Record labels are the real criminals in all this.
 
2013-02-20 11:19:56 AM  
This is a decent, quick synopsis of the record industry today, although it didn't discuss the internet platform. It still points out some of the key points of what's wrong; my main gripe being the Loudness Wars, which began 20 years ago (It just gets worse as it we go along, cite the point from TFA regarding the Metallica album). I also used to run a small Indy label 20 years ago, I released 36 vinyl record by different bands, was able to make just enough to fund the next project kind of thing.  Once people could DL music, I was out within a year.
The whole game has already changed, the current record industry are just trying to hold on and the probably will... for awhile.  But now any Hesher can now record an album on their iMac in their bedroom and that's not necessarily a good thing either.  I have to now double check all of my final mixes for 128bps mp3 because that's how 30-50% of people are going to listen to it.  And it always sounds like garbage.  Dre's Beats are popular because they compensate for this.
I just had a client send a long-term recording project I engineered/co-produced over six months to the mastering house and they just applied the generic smash and bash Loudness sound to it; I'm still upset.
/ex pro-musician/A&R rep
//current studio owner/engineer
///always have YOUR lawyer read a recording deal contract before you sign ANYTHING.
 
2013-02-20 11:25:37 AM  
I think we should clarify that there are 2 types of record labels these days. Giant corporations that eat the soul of every artist in exchange for making some old dude in an ivory tower rich and the small labels who are essentially one or a small group of fans that decided to invest in bands. No one really makes much money out of the deal but independent artists get music distributed. Right now I just finalized deals with 2 such labels and it's pretty cool. You get to personally know who you deal with, the small label gets a bunch of your physical copies/merchandise made for you and you get a percentage of what they have made to sell yourself. It's a win win for everyone involved. There are no crazy back stabbing contracts to sign, after the label sells what they have I can take my music to someone else and do what I want with it because I still own all the songs.
 
2013-02-20 11:29:27 AM  
Nope -- for the most part, the artist doesn't make shiat from record sales. Not only can the label wind up keeping all of the profits on even an album that goes platinum, but the band can actually wind up deeply in debt to the label.


Exactly ^^^THIS^^^

I did my semester project on the recording industry in my Media Concepts class. The artists get screwed. The advance isn't some kind of pre-signing bonus, it's just what it says-and advance, so they get billed for that. They also have to pay for the studio time, the promotion of their album(Advertising, posters, commercial, etc.), and they have to pay for the pressing of their own music. The industry doesn't end up on the hook for anything. I used to have a link to a webpage that broke it down beautifully, using a mythical new band as an illustration of the issue. The RIAA farks these people, and doesn't even give them a towel to clean up with after it's over.
 
2013-02-20 11:31:50 AM  
well, I know you can't work in fast food all your life
but don't sign that paper tonight, she said,
but it's too late.

And I don't remember what I read,
don't remember what they said,
I guess it doesn't matter,
I guess it doesn't matter anymore.

you're gonna go to the record store
you're gonna give 'em all your money
radio plays what they want you to hear
they tell me it's cool but I just don't believe it...


and then years later...

And even if you make it
All the way to MTV
I don't think you could take it
All the bullshiat and the greed
Everyone is so fake when they shake you hand
And they kiss your ass 'cause then they get cash
And the business end will turn every friend
To an enemy oh you will see
They'll turn their their backs and they'll be gone
Faster than can say 'what did I do wrong'
 
2013-02-20 11:53:00 AM  

peewinkle: This is a decent, quick synopsis of the record industry today, although it didn't discuss the internet platform. It still points out some of the key points of what's wrong; my main gripe being the Loudness Wars, which began 20 years ago (It just gets worse as it we go along, cite the point from TFA regarding the Metallica album). I also used to run a small Indy label 20 years ago, I released 36 vinyl record by different bands, was able to make just enough to fund the next project kind of thing.  Once people could DL music, I was out within a year.
The whole game has already changed, the current record industry are just trying to hold on and the probably will... for awhile.  But now any Hesher can now record an album on their iMac in their bedroom and that's not necessarily a good thing either.  I have to now double check all of my final mixes for 128bps mp3 because that's how 30-50% of people are going to listen to it.  And it always sounds like garbage.  Dre's Beats are popular because they compensate for this.
I just had a client send a long-term recording project I engineered/co-produced over six months to the mastering house and they just applied the generic smash and bash Loudness sound to it; I'm still upset.
/ex pro-musician/A&R rep
//current studio owner/engineer
///always have YOUR lawyer read a recording deal contract before you sign ANYTHING.


I'm very interested in your input regarding the loudness wars. This is something probably the majority of music listeners will ignore but a fine example of this is Death Magnetic. I can't listen to that album at all.

Also a question I have is how much do artists know/care/fight about their records being mastered too loud? do they even have control over it?
 
2013-02-20 11:53:17 AM  

Champion of the Sun: You'd think that artists would make their own distribution company to get around this.  There's already a billion record labels owned by rappers to feed the distribution companies.  Wasn't United Artists created to combat this kind of thing in the movie industry?  You'd think money grubbers like Bono or Jagger would've tried to start something up


Because then they get rich and rip off other artists. It's the circle of life.
 
2013-02-20 12:00:33 PM  

ModernPrimitive01: I think we should clarify that there are 2 types of record labels these days. Giant corporations that eat the soul of every artist in exchange for making some old dude in an ivory tower rich and the small labels who are essentially one or a small group of fans that decided to invest in bands. No one really makes much money out of the deal but independent artists get music distributed. Right now I just finalized deals with 2 such labels and it's pretty cool. You get to personally know who you deal with, the small label gets a bunch of your physical copies/merchandise made for you and you get a percentage of what they have made to sell yourself. It's a win win for everyone involved. There are no crazy back stabbing contracts to sign, after the label sells what they have I can take my music to someone else and do what I want with it because I still own all the songs.


Sounds similar to what my friends' band have done.  They signed with a small label.  The band is paying for their own record, so they still own the songs, but the label gets a cut of the sales.  In return, the label assists the band by helping make connections for marketing, booking managers, producers, etc.  The agreement is very friendly to the band.
 
2013-02-20 12:07:31 PM  

neritz: ModernPrimitive01: I think we should clarify that there are 2 types of record labels these days. Giant corporations that eat the soul of every artist in exchange for making some old dude in an ivory tower rich and the small labels who are essentially one or a small group of fans that decided to invest in bands. No one really makes much money out of the deal but independent artists get music distributed. Right now I just finalized deals with 2 such labels and it's pretty cool. You get to personally know who you deal with, the small label gets a bunch of your physical copies/merchandise made for you and you get a percentage of what they have made to sell yourself. It's a win win for everyone involved. There are no crazy back stabbing contracts to sign, after the label sells what they have I can take my music to someone else and do what I want with it because I still own all the songs.

Sounds similar to what my friends' band have done.  They signed with a small label.  The band is paying for their own record, so they still own the songs, but the label gets a cut of the sales.  In return, the label assists the band by helping make connections for marketing, booking managers, producers, etc.  The agreement is very friendly to the band.


yeah for small labels to stay in business they figure out really quickly that treating musicians decently is the best way to stay in business especially if you specialize in a specific type of music because these days bands can keep in contact with one another. Screw a band and word spreads pretty quickly that you're not reputable. For the two deals I just did, there wasn't even a contract involved, it is just a verbal agreement. One because we trust each other and two because work would spread like wildfire if I didn't get my cut and in a small underground music genre, it's a close knit community
 
2013-02-20 12:25:19 PM  

Mikey1969: ...and doesn't even give them a towel to clean up with after it's over.


But it'll lease one to them!
 
2013-02-20 12:27:26 PM  

buttsmckracken: PanicMan: I don't think Lars Ulrich is a douche.

Nice try, Lars.


Curses! Foiled again!
 
2013-02-20 12:34:32 PM  
Shania Twain's fourth studio album, Up! It was released as a two-CD set featuring the exact same album presented in a "pop" version and a "country" version -- and every time somebody buys it, it counts as two copies sold.

Garth Brooks took all of his albums that didn't sell much anymore and put them into a box set at Walmart, and sold millions of them for 20 bucks. Every one sold counted for 5 or 6 units. Think of that the next time some article talks about how Garth Brooks has sold more albums than the Beatles or Led Zeppelin in America. That's the very reason he did it.
 
2013-02-20 12:40:46 PM  
Anyone with a modicum of talent and more than two brain cells to rub together should just start their own label, or team up with other artists to start one.

You can, with a $3000 investment in hardware and software, get a multitrack recording setup that's easily good enough to make a sellable record. The most expensive thing would be a couple of good microphones and a studio-quality playback system (great speakers or a really great set of headphones). Sure, if you want the sooper-dooper high-tech neatokeen stuff, it will cost a lot, but most music doesn't need that at all.

Selling and marketing are the hardest parts - and there are so many channels (from iTunes on down) that the biggest challenge is getting some promotion out there. There's a huge potential for someone to do "music marketing" in a plain and transparent fashion (a cut of sales, for example - or a flat fee with guarantees of increased sales of X%).

An example of how to do it: Lindsey Stirling. Appeared on "America's Got Talent," didn't win, recorded an album and released it as an independent, and made some YouTube videos (a couple of hundred million views so far). Topped the Billboard Dance/Electronic and Classical charts with her first album. She's currently touring and recording with a lot of other artists. Not bad for a non-label fiddle player...
 
2013-02-20 12:41:17 PM  

peewinkle: This is a decent, quick synopsis of the record industry today, although it didn't discuss the internet platform. It still points out some of the key points of what's wrong; my main gripe being the Loudness Wars, which began 20 years ago (It just gets worse as it we go along, cite the point from TFA regarding the Metallica album). I also used to run a small Indy label 20 years ago, I released 36 vinyl record by different bands, was able to make just enough to fund the next project kind of thing.  Once people could DL music, I was out within a year.
The whole game has already changed, the current record industry are just trying to hold on and the probably will... for awhile.  But now any Hesher can now record an album on their iMac in their bedroom and that's not necessarily a good thing either.  I have to now double check all of my final mixes for 128bps mp3 because that's how 30-50% of people are going to listen to it.  And it always sounds like garbage.  Dre's Beats are popular because they compensate for this.
I just had a client send a long-term recording project I engineered/co-produced over six months to the mastering house and they just applied the generic smash and bash Loudness sound to it; I'm still upset.
/ex pro-musician/A&R rep
//current studio owner/engineer
///always have YOUR lawyer read a recording deal contract before you sign ANYTHING.


This doesn't make sense to me. You were releasing vinyl up until digital, which suddenly make you obsolete? There was a 10-15 year period of tapes and CDs well before pure digital was practical, were you skipping stuff or using hyperbole?

Also: if I want to buy albums in a way to benefit the artists, what's the way to do that? Since buying doesn't really.

And/or anyone recommend a place to grab tunes free now adays? All the websites I used for .tor have either died, dried up, or have nothing.
 
2013-02-20 12:47:31 PM  
kroonermanblack:

Also: if I want to buy albums in a way to benefit the artists, what's the way to do that? Since buying doesn't really.

And/or anyone recommend a place to grab tunes free now adays? All the websites I used for .tor have either died, dried up, or have nothing.


Go look at Bandcamp.com , lots of independent artists put stuff up there, many offer free downloads. You can still pay artists when you feel the music is worth it and lots of artists also sell physical merchandise through it as well. Bandcamp takes a small portion of sells but most of it goes directly to the artist
 
2013-02-20 12:54:10 PM  
I'm in two bands at the moment, and I have no interest in either of them getting signed. We all have jobs. Music is purely passion for us. We're going to distribute online and perform live shows. We'll pocket whatever comes out of that minus costs.
 
2013-02-20 12:54:23 PM  

neritz: ModernPrimitive01: I think we should clarify that there are 2 types of record labels these days. Giant corporations that eat the soul of every artist in exchange for making some old dude in an ivory tower rich and the small labels who are essentially one or a small group of fans that decided to invest in bands. No one really makes much money out of the deal but independent artists get music distributed. Right now I just finalized deals with 2 such labels and it's pretty cool. You get to personally know who you deal with, the small label gets a bunch of your physical copies/merchandise made for you and you get a percentage of what they have made to sell yourself. It's a win win for everyone involved. There are no crazy back stabbing contracts to sign, after the label sells what they have I can take my music to someone else and do what I want with it because I still own all the songs.

Sounds similar to what my friends' band have done.  They signed with a small label.  The band is paying for their own record, so they still own the songs, but the label gets a cut of the sales.  In return, the label assists the band by helping make connections for marketing, booking managers, producers, etc.  The agreement is very friendly to the band.


A bunch of things the band could have just done themselves without having to pay anyone else for it.
 
2013-02-20 01:09:15 PM  
I don't really understand why anyone signs to a "label" now. I get that in the 1960s or 1970s that recording in a studio cost a shiatload of money, making a pressing cost a shiatload of money, and getting it known meant having the guys who could grease the palms of the very limited number of channels for music.

Nowadays, there are people out there like the folk singer Kate Rusby who did the whole thing. She got a following by gigging, and selling CDs to people and built it up via word-of-mouth. You can make a record in your bedroom (or at least, hire a studio that costs very little). You can sell it via iTunes (who take a cut, but it's a small cut on each item sold). You don't even need the payola now. Gangnam Style had almost no play on UK radio, but got to #1 because it went viral on YouTube.
 
2013-02-20 01:09:15 PM  

sure haven't: Saw this yesterday, interesting read.
I've heard horror stories about bands getting "Signed", then learning that they have to almost pay the company, so they try to leave, except now the company owns the band's name and its songs. Scary sh*t.
.


The life and premature death of Mary's Danish

/one of my favorite "could have been huge" bands of the early 90's
 
2013-02-20 01:09:56 PM  
roflmaonow:

I'm very interested in your input regarding the loudness wars. This is something probably the majority of music listeners will ignore but a fine example of this is Death Magnetic. I can't listen to that album at all.

Also a question I have is how much do artists know/care/fight about their records being mastered too loud? do they even have control over it?


if the artists cares about their music, they will be take at least some role in the mastering process, at least offering opinions if not direct input.  But it's all dependent on who is paying for the album/fronting the money.  I have seen a few great bands put their heart and souls and three years worth of material into an album, painstakingly creating it, only to have Charlie the co-producer the label assigned to the project send it put to his buddy that has a cracked version of Isotope (the evil software that will make you sound like everything else) and it just ruined the sound/album. Said label elected to not release the album and the band ended up owing $30K to the label... as a SETTLEMENT.  And they couldn't buy their songs back if they could have afforded to.  Two band members got out of the business completely and these were some somewhat seasoned pros.  It was heartbreaking and I heard a lot of stories but to see it happen to people you grew up with is pretty shiatty.

The Loudness Wars are ruining music.  It started out (well, sort of) with the advent of digital technology, but then got really bad with the advent of the popularity of the .MP3 format.  It's been all downhill from there.  The sad thing is, is that digitally recorded and reproduced music CAN sound better than the older analog stuff but no one cares.  What ever is cheap and easy (see: cassette tapes).

"Mastering" is simply fixing final mixes so that sound good on any system that it's played back on.  It's quite voodoo, the process.  Most artists anymore "self-master" themselves (the worst thing they can do) or it gets sent somewhere where they have little to no input.

It's all changing, but it's a mess right now.
 
2013-02-20 01:15:46 PM  
I thought Lars Ulrich was highly likable in the Monster documentary. He seems like he would be fun to hang out with and I think his drumming is very creative. Just wanted you all to know how I felt.
 
2013-02-20 01:15:48 PM  

kroonermanblack: peewinkle: This is a decent, quick synopsis of the record industry today, although it didn't discuss the internet platform. It still points out some of the key points of what's wrong; my main gripe being the Loudness Wars, which began 20 years ago (It just gets worse as it we go along, cite the point from TFA regarding the Metallica album). I also used to run a small Indy label 20 years ago, I released 36 vinyl record by different bands, was able to make just enough to fund the next project kind of thing.  Once people could DL music, I was out within a year.
The whole game has already changed, the current record industry are just trying to hold on and the probably will... for awhile.  But now any Hesher can now record an album on their iMac in their bedroom and that's not necessarily a good thing either.  I have to now double check all of my final mixes for 128bps mp3 because that's how 30-50% of people are going to listen to it.  And it always sounds like garbage.  Dre's Beats are popular because they compensate for this.
I just had a client send a long-term recording project I engineered/co-produced over six months to the mastering house and they just applied the generic smash and bash Loudness sound to it; I'm still upset.
/ex pro-musician/A&R rep
//current studio owner/engineer
///always have YOUR lawyer read a recording deal contract before you sign ANYTHING.

This doesn't make sense to me. You were releasing vinyl up until digital, which suddenly make you obsolete? There was a 10-15 year period of tapes and CDs well before pure digital was practical, were you skipping stuff or using hyperbole?

Also: if I want to buy albums in a way to benefit the artists, what's the way to do that? Since buying doesn't really.

And/or anyone recommend a place to grab tunes free now adays? All the websites I used for .tor have either died, dried up, or have nothing.


I was pressing 500-1000 records for each release, one every 3-4 months.  Some I repressed up to 5,000 copies of.  Once people could start downloading music (read: the punks), my sales dropped 80% in a 14-month period.  I have since sold the remaining stuff on Ebay, but that's no way to run a record label.  I went from 18 indy distributors/stores down to four.  It just did warrant the hassle at that point.

The best thing you can do to support an artist is try and buy directly from them- either via their website or at their concert.

I still use Soulseek :/
 
2013-02-20 01:16:47 PM  

abigsmurf: sure haven't: I've heard horror stories about bands getting "Signed", then learning that they have to almost pay the company, so they try to leave, except now the company owns the band's name and its songs. Scary sh*t.

Lots of Naive/poorly advised acts get their $500,000 advance and think it's a signing on fee rather than royalties up front. They want to change labels after their first album only to be told that they hadn't earnt $500k in royalties yet so would need to pay back some of their advance to leave.

I've read quite a few articles saying this is an example of how evil record companies are when really its just people not knowing what an advance is.


I work in book publishing.  You might know that we're the industry where advances pretty much originated, or at least where they became most commonplace and widespread, and they're still given all the time.

What the record labels call an advance is a farking joke and also, in my opinion, it's evil bull crap that our society shouldn't put up with.

Instead of fronting advance money to the author/artist and then putting more money into production and then splitting the profits like we do, record company "advances" are loans to musicians that they have to pay all of their own production and marketing costs out of, and then the record labels pay them a smaller share of profit split than book publishers do.

Also, in book publishing, you keep the money in the advance even if the book doesn't make back that amount in royalties.  If it falls short, the publishing company takes the loss (as well as the loss on the production costs, which are usually a lot more).  That encourages the publisher to make a bigger effort on the part of marketing the book because if it doesn't sell they won't make money either.

What the record companies do should be illegal.  It's basically robbing artists and calling it an "industry."
 
2013-02-20 01:19:25 PM  
damn comment preview, how does it work?


/it is possible to subside as a musician, I did it for years and still make my living in the business
//albeit a meek and meager living
///I do it for the beer
 
2013-02-20 01:35:58 PM  

verbaltoxin: I'm in two bands at the moment, and I have no interest in either of them getting signed. We all have jobs. Music is purely passion for us. We're going to distribute online and perform live shows. We'll pocket whatever comes out of that minus costs.


The funny thing about the term "we" when you use it in reference to a band is that not everyone will always be on the same page.

In the early 2000's I joined a band, made a demo and it got some airplay.  We had interest from a management company to record a full length album with a 20k budget if we signed exclusively to them to shop it around to labels.

"We" thought it seemed like a pretty good idea.  Once the contract was in our hands "we" stopped existing.

My first reaction was to get the contract to a lawyer.  Everyone else was ready to sign that night.

That was when it stopped being "we."

The lawyer told me the implications of what would happen if we signed the contract.  In short, we could be on the hook for more than two decades to recoup all costs with nearly criminal amounts of interest if the band failed to live up to damned-near the whim of the management company.  He said it was the worst contract he had seen in over thirty years of working entertainment law.

I walked in to rehearsal with what I had found out and there were three guys putting even more pressure on me to sign what they all knew what a terrible contract.  I spent around $900 to have the lawyer negotiate a good deal for us that would give them a year to shop it around and would leave us with a clean break after a year.

It was never really "we" after that no matter how hard everyone tried for it to be.

The management company didn't like the new contarct but since the basic tracks had already been laid down in good faith they ate the contract and we got to work.

Within three months the head of the company dropped off the map.  We later found he'd been busted for fraud.  During that time he spent hours on the phone with the lead-singer trying to get him to unload the rest of us and go as a solo artist because "we were holding him back."  The recording studio never got paid, the second run of CD's never got made and after a year it was all done.  I got to send a registered letter to a P.O. Box notifying them that we were terminating the agreement.

"We" got to walk away from it all because I had common sense.  Years later I found out they were close to just firing me because they thought my actions were going to sour the deal.  They'd actually tried to set it up so they could get together and sign before I showed up to rehearsal one night.

They had all these dreams of the "record contract" fairy coming down and waving her wand and limos and guitars and gear would just appear.  Considering they were all blue-collar guys I can't begrudge them for wanting better.  But it's just something to think about when you use the term "we" in reference to a band; at best it can only represent a span of unknown time.
 
2013-02-20 01:42:43 PM  

Champion of the Sun: You'd think that artists would make their own distribution company to get around this.


I dont know about the music industry, but their fellow artists in the comedy world are catching on. Guys like Louis CK have basically said 'fark you' to Comedy Central, HBO, etc in terms of production. He now makes and produces his own albums and stand-up videos, and then after he produces them himself, he then shops it to the highest bidder and on his own terms. There are many others following his lead now.

It used to be you need the studios and theirs $500,000 production rigs, but if you have a dSLR that can shoot at 1080 and a Macbook, you can get 95% of the way there. Why keep giving them a cut?
 
2013-02-20 01:50:49 PM  

Even With A Chainsaw: neritz: ModernPrimitive01: I think we should clarify that there are 2 types of record labels these days. Giant corporations that eat the soul of every artist in exchange for making some old dude in an ivory tower rich and the small labels who are essentially one or a small group of fans that decided to invest in bands. No one really makes much money out of the deal but independent artists get music distributed. Right now I just finalized deals with 2 such labels and it's pretty cool. You get to personally know who you deal with, the small label gets a bunch of your physical copies/merchandise made for you and you get a percentage of what they have made to sell yourself. It's a win win for everyone involved. There are no crazy back stabbing contracts to sign, after the label sells what they have I can take my music to someone else and do what I want with it because I still own all the songs.

Sounds similar to what my friends' band have done.  They signed with a small label.  The band is paying for their own record, so they still own the songs, but the label gets a cut of the sales.  In return, the label assists the band by helping make connections for marketing, booking managers, producers, etc.  The agreement is very friendly to the band.

A bunch of things the band could have just done themselves without having to pay anyone else for it.


They were already doing most of those things, and for a long time.  What they were lacking were the connections to be able to go nationwide.  Without the label, they would not have been able to get someone like him and him to produce/engineer their next album.
 
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