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YEStalk Discussion Forums • View topic - The era of free music is upon us

The era of free music is upon us



The era of free music is upon us

Postby happytheman » Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:34 pm

The Era Of Free Music Is Upon Us. J-Ro

I can see the writing on the wall. The album is dying.
Highly successful artists have started abandoning albums as a way to make money. They are now giving away their music for free. Instead of selling albums, they are concentrating on building their fan bases, putting out quality art, and making their bread through touring and merchandising.

First, Prince decided to give away his latest album Planet Earth in copies of the British tabloid The Mail this past summer. Predictably, the record industry was scared, with music retailers launching lawsuits and investigations and pulling Prince’s other records from the shelves.

Next, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails urged fans to steal his albums, saying, “If I could do what I want right now, I would put out my next album, you could download it from my site at as high a bit-rate as you want, [and] pay $4 through PayPal.”
Finally, Radiohead has told the world that we should pay what we want for their upcoming album In Rainbows. The album will be available as a download and users will really be able to name their price, or even pay nothing at all.
Together, these artists have sold over 55 million albums. They have dozens of top 10 hits to their names. These artists arguably understand the record business better than anyone and they’ve collectively decided that the album isn’t for making money anymore. This isn’t an isolated incident. This is a trend.

Small bands have never made money off albums because they can’t get signed or get a distribution deal. Now, the big guys are foregoing the album as well, giving up what was once their major source of income. The fans aren’t moaning the loss either, being happy to download content piecemeal. In short, nobody has a use for albums anymore besides the record companies. It’s pretty clear to anyone following musical trends that the era of the album is over. The file sharers have won and the era of free music is upon us.
I hope the music industry is ready for this change. I’m sure they see it coming, as they’ve taken steps to deal with the changing marketplace by selling digital downloads and ringtones on one hand and suing their file sharing customers on the other. But I wonder if a record exec has ever seriously thought, “What if nobody will buy albums anymore? What if the album goes extinct?”
The record industry is mammoth, corrupt, greedy, and above all, slow to change. They’ve already been caught flat footed by the digital music revolution. For their sake, let’s hope they are looking a little farther into the future.
I personally won’t morn the death of the album. If it does become extinct, so much the better. Do you think the future of the record industry lies with the album?
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Kalingzeye » Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:32 pm

Being 19, I'm smack dab in the middle of this "revolution" of sorts. I completely agree, whether the music industry likes it or not, the CD album is on its last legs. I rarely touch a music CD now, and only buy ones that are older / hard to find online. Which isn't often, but if I like an artist I will absolutely shell out the money. I've been downloading music for at least 7 years, and most other people my age have as well. I don't know a single person my age that hasn't downloaded music from somewhere. That was way back in the day, and as much as companies like Napster and AllofMp3 have been shut down and stomped on, there has been no stopping this trend.
And I'm quite happy. I think it's definitely bringing about a new musical revolution, as well as the industrial one- the music's getting noticeably better. Small bands have the new opportunity to get discovered online and gain a devoted fanbase long before they get signed to a label (if they choose to do that at all) and it's changing the tides from a time where money came first- then the music. Now, I don't doubt the industry is going to fight this tooth and fist till the bitter end, but I think they're going to have to admit sooner or later that there's nothing that they can do to stop this trend- they're going to have to follow suit sooner or later or risk losing everything. :eek:
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby tardistraveler » Thu Nov 08, 2007 5:16 pm

I always enjoyed the concept of an album . . . songs packaged together for some reason . . . and listening to them as a whole, rather than just individual songs.

The method of distribution isn't as important. I used to really enjoy the artwork that came with an album, but that has been less spectacular since the advent of the CD. I would download an album if that were the only way to obtain it.

But, there's something to be said about browsing a record store . . . all that music in one place . . . all the possibilities . . . it's easier flipping through the racks than trying to search the net for things you may not even know about . . . ;)
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Kalingzeye » Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:31 pm

Yes, for me what I really miss about CDs is the album art and the pamphlet stuff inside... Man, I miss that. But starting to replace all those physical things is the loads of multimedia and web-iverse stuff that's getting popular now. Websites, podcasts, artist/video blogs, and all that goodness. Yeah, the vastness of music available online may be bewildering at times, but I get such a great rush when I discover something new and amazing. You never know what awesome music is out there till ya browse around and sample everything... :D
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby child-of-the-light » Fri Nov 09, 2007 1:06 am

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Kalingzeye » Fri Nov 09, 2007 8:13 am

Hm... what can kill an mp3? That's just like... raw data. Can't imagine it now, but there probably will be something to take the mp3's place soon enough... :eek:

Well, as much as physical album artwork is declining, cover art is still a very popular thing. I don't see why Roger Dean wouldn't be able to continue doing artwork, just cause it's not going to be printed? I know I'm quite obsessed with keeping the album art on my iPod complete and orderly, even for random files that don't even have art. I just make my own. I think CD booklets are a thing of the past, but I sincerely hope that album art will be here for a long time. Just cause it's not printed on paper doesn't mean it can't be distributed, I guess~ :\
And ya know what, I've seen some really fantastic / artistic / timeless cover art coming out recently. The field may be changing, but I think there's still a lot of room for it to keep growing~ :)
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby child-of-the-light » Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:42 pm

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Tomfoolery » Sun Nov 11, 2007 11:49 pm

My brother sent me this link this morning... check it out... an editorial on just this topic... quite interesting....

"The word is love and the time is now, and it's right for me"
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Kalingzeye » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:26 am

Yeah, Tom, that was quite the experiment on their part! I'm very proud of Radiohead for doing something so bold. And didn't it work out well for them! :O I'm super glad they were brave enough to do this, for the sake of all recording artists out there. And I do think it's going to make an impact- everyone's going to be seeing and hearing about this and who knows who else will follow suit.

This type of digital distribution would be a great new way of making money for certain bands who have been notoriously bothered by the economics and limitations regarding certain labels... *cough cough*... I mean.......
(Seriously, though. Us YESfans know ourselves, and we all know what we would be willing to give for another YESalbum. God knows I would pay. And HOW. I'd bet it would make em more money, hands down, than they'd ever get jumping through all the legal and monitary loops at the record company.)

:cool:
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby happytheman » Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:50 pm

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Kalingzeye » Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:04 am

I suppose that Gene may not realize that this is NOT "one person" or band trying to create a "new business model". This is an entire generation, and whether or not Gene likes it, there is no way these changes can be undone by any means short of a massive, controlled lock down of the entire internet AND everyone who makes music of any kind. And even that might not stop it. So basically, what these artists are trying to do is adapt, and good for them for having the courage to try new ways of distributing their music. I also think Gene, however awesome Kiss was, is, as we all know, an extremely arrogant and greedy person who has always seemed to care more about money than anything.

I still think one of the great parts about this digital music revolution is that it's been bringing the love and attention back into the creation of music. Lessen the importance of money and constant struggle to get discovered / deal with record labels, bands can (and are) spending much more time creating music for the sake of the music. In the 90s, when the music business was at it's greediest, I felt there was such a huge decline in the quality of what was being released (especially for the price it was being sold for). I've been much more active in discovering new music lately namely for the reason that there's much better music to be discovered! Actual bands now, who write and play their own songs, and are extremely inventive in doing so- not just like... fabricated, fake pop stars who can't even write lyrics, much less compose an actual song, and who can't perform on stage without having to lip sync. (Not to say there isn't a niche in the music market for those people, but REAL music is always much more impressive and enjoyable to listen to.) Just from my personal experience, I do feel there's starting to be a renewal or renaissance of really talented and music-loving artists and bands out there who really put a lot of effort into what they make. And it really shows. :O (((I think I'm much more optimistic about this "era" than Gene is, and I guess I can see why. The poor multi-millionaire (is he a billionaire yet? I don't know) might make (GASP!) slightly less money in royalties than he's used to. Cause God knows he aint got in in him to make new or decent stuff himself anymore. Yeaaaah, "it's all about the MUSIC" my ass. :\ Just my opinion, though, heh. Sigh.)))
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Relayer » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:39 am

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Relayer » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:39 am

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Relayer » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:42 am

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Kalingzeye » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:05 pm

Exactly. I know I'd pay at LEAST $20, but very probably more to support YES. Just for their trouble, if they ever did make another album. And that's coming from a money-starved college student. And I think a lot of YESfans would do the same, but could maybe afford more. Or at least download it, listen to it, and then pay whatever they thought the album was worth. I don't really think YESfans are a cheap bunch; we regard YESmusic very highly and understand the effort that goes into it. Or at least I do, there's always gonna be some cheapskates out there. ;)

EH! I just hope this digital age isn't too new to YESfans (who, you have to admit, might not all be computer savvy) so that they are turned off just by the idea of downloading. I would certainly hope that would never stop any real fans from downloading the album, but I do know some older people who just don't like to download no matter what I tell them. Some would still rather go buy CDs because they're not yet into the computer / mp3-player age. I'd be really interested to see what would happen and who would download if YES chose to go down this route. :)

How bout everyone else? You're obviously computer savvy enough to be online and chatting here, so how about it? Now I'm really interested on everyone's take on this. Would YOU download a new YESalbum if it were offered exclusively online without a record label? If not, why, and if so, how much would you be willing to pay? :D
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Relayer » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:30 am

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Relayer » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:30 am

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Greenglade's Frog » Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:44 pm

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby kirk » Sat Jan 19, 2008 9:55 pm

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(hear my latest, "Mamaya")

now at towerrecordsonline,
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Kalingzeye » Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:29 pm

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Kalingzeye » Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:59 pm

ALSO! :p To clarify further, yeah, I do agree a lot with what you and Nick Barrett are saying. I totally understand his point of view. Music is supposed to be precious and treasured, something of high value that people should deeply respect. But like Barrett said, this sort of "McDonald's mentality" has already taken over. I see no way to stop it, and things are quickly spiraling. The best I can see happening is a last-minute save, something like DRM-free sales.
So yeah, all this being said, this whole thing is just one big mess, in my opinion. I can only just keep going on as I can and hope for the best. I do understand that these people- musicians I mean- still have to make money. It just not going to be through CDs anymore. Digital is going to be the way to go- and although there may always be people downloading and sharing songs, if record labels and companies like iTunes can offer reasonably-priced DRM-free files, I see no reason why profits can't continue just the same as always. :confused:
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby kirk » Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:10 am

IOMA award winner "best producer" 2004


(hear my latest, "Mamaya")

now at towerrecordsonline,
itunes, bestbuyonline, sonydirect,
MSN, Rhapsody....
in rotation at most PRRN stations!


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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Kalingzeye » Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:08 am

Haha, yep you're right, there~ iTunes'll be around for a while, I think.

Well, from what I understand, I don't think prog was ever really mainstream. (...was it? I sadly haven't been alive long enough to know, lol. :p ) I don't think prog's going to die just because of all this music industry mess, I'm sure there will always be people making it and there'll always be people wanting to listen to it. It'll may just be more scarce, now that music is quickly globalizing (along with everything else). The more global music becomes, the more sub-categories are being created every day (I can't keep up with em, myself!)- who knows now where prog will fit in the big picture, but I'm sure there will be a place for it. But it will continue living, that's for sure- one of the real advantages of the digital age is that nothing really dies. ;)



...rambling, this sortof reminds me of like... art. Art used to be worth SO much back in the day, and it was highly revered, as were those who created it. But ever since the photograph and things like printmaking (and now digital copies), the value of art has gone down dramatically. Now anybody can go to a crappy store and buy a cheap copy of a Rembrant or Picasso for $10-20. So I've always been used to the idea of the "starving artist". I realize that some people can still make a lot of money in the visual arts, but that's mainly for original work. And few ever really get there. So there are just tons of artists who create, just for the sake of creating, because that's what they love. We may be starving or have various other jobs, but we'll always be doing what we love to do. Just as there are musicians who hold day jobs doing who-knows-what and by night they compose and play~ Just like writers and the demise of books. Just like actors. Artists seem to be a dime a dozen nowadays. I figure, hey, man, it's the arts. It comes with the territory. If you like music so much, make it. Do whatever it takes. Would you give up making music just if it meant you had less of a chance of getting rich? Not if it's what you really loved to do. ;)

God this is all so... bohemian... :p
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby kirk » Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:40 am

IOMA award winner "best producer" 2004


(hear my latest, "Mamaya")

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby yesman90125 » Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:26 pm

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby psychopomp95 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:02 pm

I think Kalingzeye gets it, completely!! The de-commodification of art will, I truly believe, be one of the best things to happen to humanity in the 21st century.
Art, when it gets down to it, is for us to be able to 'communicate' with one another, and create understanding, or at least cause an emotional response. Having money as a barrier for all of that, it can be argued, has held humanity back. Art being so much more accessible will be a boon to all of us!

In case anyone thinks I'm being callous, I will point out (standard disclaimer) that I AM a musician/writer, someone who has just spent some money putting together my first album. Did I HAVE to spend the money to make the album? No, I chose to as I thought it would be better for the end result. A labour of love, I guess! If I don't make a cent off of it, I can live with that... I've created something that will, with any luck, be around for a LONG time. Hopefully, in 100 years when I'm gone, my great-great grandchildren will still be able to hear my songs! Isn't that the idea, to "leave your mark" with your art, regardless of how financially successful you are?
Now, all of this said, I'd love it if I could become successful enough with music to do it for a living. Strong odds are, if that does happen, it'll be in the form of playing other songs, not my own. I can live with that!


I feel for Nick Barrett, and others like him, as it's been his liveliehood for many years. I like Pendragon, too, but the sad fact is change can have a negative impact on some while it benefits others. The strong will survive, in any case! And really, he IS talented enough to make it work, I think.
My last thought: why don't some bands put up a PayPal account on their page, or something like it, that lets fans leave outright donations? If you're not paying for their music, at least "leave a tip"... I'm not saying this would be a perfect solution, far from it, but it might help...?
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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Kalingzeye » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:43 pm

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby yesman90125 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:02 pm

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

Postby Kalingzeye » Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:14 am

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Re: The era of free music is upon us

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Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2001 6:00 pm

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