You don’t have to wait until October 20th. You don’t even have to drive
to Wal-Mart! Why waste all that gas and time when you can fire up your
browser and download AC/DC’s "Black Ice" RIGHT NOW! In superior 320 kbps
quality! With no DRM!
Record companies no longer care about customers. They just care about
business. Extracting the most dollars possible. Labels don’t even give
a shit about careers. What’s a career? My tenure at the label and my
severance pay? The acts? We last longer than the acts. The acts are
grist for the mill. Whatever it takes to meet our numbers, that’s our
philosophy. And you wonder why the manager is the new label.
Because the manager truly cares about all 360 degrees of the act. In
PERPETUITY, or at least until the cessation of his sunset clause. The
manager’s not going to do something expedient. That would be like
squandering your child’s college fund on a Cadillac. Something with a
distinct lifespan, whereas an education lasts a lifetime, with an
education you can ADJUST TO THE FUTURE!
And what is the future we’re presently experiencing? One in which
there’s too much music, most of it crap or niche, and even the young ‘uns
are turning to the classics. Like AC/DC. The Internet keeps aged acts
alive. What would the Doors be without the Internet? Better yet, PINK
FLOYD! All those kids hearing "Dark Side Of The Moon" for the first
time… Where do you think they got it? Fingering albums at the record
store? In most towns, THERE IS NO RECORD STORE! And Wal-Mart doesn’t
carry "Ummagumma" and the rest of the catalogue. Why can’t labels see
that the hardest thing is to get people hooked, and they must do
everything in their power to aid in this process?
Sure, you can listen to tunes on MySpace Music. But you can’t take them
with you. Like you’re supposed to take the CD of "Black Ice" on a trip.
If you’re under the age of twenty and show up with a CD binder you’re
going to be a social outcast, if you’re not one already. Where were you
that you didn’t get the memo? Living under a rock? Even HOME SCHOOLED
kids have computers. That’s how you communicate with the outside world!
But the major labels know nothing about the outside world. And to the
degree they do, they want to deny it.
If you don’t want your album leaked, traded in advance before release
date, then you cannot let anybody hear it. You can’t even let it be
duplicated. Then again, if you’re manufacturing, you’re asking for
leaks… Unless you get the FBI to police your plant. Instead of putting
useless FBI logos on CDs, the labels would be better off looking within.
The customer is not the enemy, the customer didn’t leak the album, YOUR
Or maybe you need no physical distribution. The day the CD is dead is
not far off. 548,052 of Coldplay’s 1,773,932 albums have been sold
digitally. And they own the second biggest album of the year. I’d say
that’s a true indicator. That soon people will only want the file.
But somehow, Down Under, AC/DC has not realized all this. I’d hate to
believe Angus Young is that dumb, but never underestimate the ignorance
of a musician, some of the best live in a bubble. But those days are
numbered. Today’s musician MUST BE TECH-SAVVY! Because that’s how you
make a record, with Pro Tools and hard drives. Maybe even GarageBand.
And when the act comes to the label and the guy working there doesn’t
know what they’re talking about, do you really think this new band is
going to sign with the company?
I’ve got a question for you… The four major label groups own a large
percentage of MySpace Music. WHO GETS THE PROFITS? Are they going to
trickle down to the acts? What, did you just fall off the turnip truck?
With enough pressure, maybe they’ll kick some pennies to the performers,
but I haven’t heard any rumblings yet. THERE IS NO MYSPACE MUSIC WITHOUT
THE ACTS? How come they’re getting screwed? How come they don’t get the
lion’s share of the profits of MySpace Music? Probably for the same
reason they get less than a dime for iTunes sales. Isn’t that a laugh.
They took a hit to promote the CD, left their royalty rates low, and now
there are no manufacturing and shipping costs and they’re STILL getting
screwed. Those 360 deals? The ones the majors sign ignorant acts to?
Is the royalty rate still a pittance on iTunes? Why? The old logic was
the label can screw you because they’re building your name and you’re
going to make money elsewhere, they’re only profiting from music sales.
But if the label’s taking a piece of everything, shouldn’t the act get a
fair shake for music sales? Not in the topsy-turvy, Wall Street-like
major label world.
Instead of mortgages, we’ve got acts who’ve sold their souls, who’ve
profited from rocket trips to the stratosphere via MTV and have crashed
back to earth and have been left with nothing soon thereafter. Where are
all the acts the majors have built in the last fifteen years? Backstreet
Boys play theatres, at best. While AC/DC can sell out STADIUMS! Yes,
the acts got a raw deal. In exchange for brief fame, they gave
everything to the label. And the heads of said organizations profited
mightily. Doug Morris and Jimmy Iovine work for a public company, why
are they so handsomely remunerated? They presided over a drastic decline
in the value of their operations. They shouldn’t be rewarded, they
should be castigated, FIRED! For missing the revolution!
Just because AC/DC says their productions must be listened to as albums,
that doesn’t make it so. That’s like TV stations saying you’ve got to
watch every episode of the season, that you can’t view "30 Rock" out of
order. The consumer gets to choose. If you produce something incredibly
good, people will want to hear it all. If they don’t… Then maybe they’re
just not interested, maybe what you think is so great is really a turd.
So what has AC/DC accomplished here? The Internet kept their fame alive
and they’ve decided to deny it. They got in bed with the oppressor, the
retailer who censors records. Meanwhile, their fan base will just
download the damn album for free. The hypocrisy is stunning. They don’t
care about their fans, they just care about money. Their handlers should
have drilled into them that their album should be sold on iTunes. Hell,
Kid Rock didn’t and interlopers covered his hit track and it went to the
top of the chart. That’s not smart business, that’s dumb. It’s one
thing if you’re Gucci, some high end manufacturer who wants exclusivity.
But the goal of a band is to be heard by as many people as possible. So
you’re going to keep your product OUT OF THE STORE? Away from the
future? Bottom line, people are going to steal it anyway.
And if iTunes is only about the singles, how come Coldplay sold all those
fucking albums? Because THEY’RE SEEN AS AN ALBUM BAND! It’s about
credibility and music more than the ability to cherry-pick on iTunes.
Metallica’s biggest single track sits at number 90 on the digital chart,
having moved 153,295 copies, but the complete album sits at number 4 and
has sold 108,803 digital copies. It’s not rocket science. It’s only a
singles world if you’re a singles band. And the future is digital. And
kids want portability. If you’re spewing this horseshit about CDs and
keeping your albums from Apple to protect their integrity, you’re just
signaling you’re a greedy fuck. And this greed leads your fans to steal
your music. It’s like denying there’s a drug problem because you don’t
sell dope. That’s got nothing to do with the rest of the world. The
record business used to be the hippest on the planet. Now it’s completely
backwards, and untrusted by the public. The goal used to be to work at
Warner Brothers, now you want to go north, to Google. Where intelligence
and innovation are rewarded. Where they live in the present and care
about the future, not the past, like the labels.