Friday, October 27, 2006

Or you'll sink like a stone

The Chairman of EMI, one of the last five (or is it three? two?) major labels, says that the CD is dead. This realization may be a bit late, but at least he, and the other majors, are finally getting it. Maybe he read about all the Tower Record stores closing in “Ye Olde Newsprinte

Labels are branching out and trying to make money anyway they can. Sometimes it works (ring-tones) and other times not so much (value added CDs, Janet Jackson). Record labels are an industry rooted in the 1950s and for years, they have been trying to put the genie of technology back into the bottle with poor results (RIAA). It seems like they have finally turned the corner and are efforting to find a new path that doesn’t lead to Bankruptcyville.

When iTunes started selling videos – everyone in the MV world was excited that some of that cash would start to trickle back down to us peons. Have you got your check yet?

Selling videos on-line may never work as a way for directors to get money. The whole structure of the contracts directors sign with labels would have to change and THEN they would have to make their way through the “convoluted” accounting system to actually receive royalties or residuals. Ask the old Motown artists how that record label accounting works. The Four Tops are still waiting on their checks, too.

My point is, don’t count on the old system to provide the new answers.

There will always be music. But there may not always be record labels. Is that bad news? Not really, it just means that things will be different. The hardship and confusion for folks thinking that things will be as they have been may create more opportunity out there for young directors.

Just like there was more “opportunity” for cheap castles and downtown Parisian real estate after the Black Plague swept through. Assuming of course you survived.

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can we talk about happy/fun things again?
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