Friday, March 24, 2006

Should Music be Free

I've been an artist for many years & know the music business pretty well. Never in my life have I ever seen any record label give away music for free. How many of you knew Elvis Presley before the record industry made him a house hold name. Did you ever once see the record label he was on, offer you one of his songs for free, because he was an unknown artist. No, they promoted the hell out of his music by having it played on radio stations & offered you the option to listen to his music in what were called listening booths in record stores. Then, if you liked what you heard, you purchased the record. What makes these days so different. There are people out there who seem to think that they should or deserve to get some artists music for free. How many things do we get for free in this life? How many things do you give away for free, especially after you've worked hard to optain them. I would have to guess, NONE! There are what I call music pirate sites out there that hijack artists music & offer it for free ( for a small fee of course) to anyone who wants it. Why these thieves are allowed to continue doing this, is beyond me. True, there are artists out there that give you one or more of their songs for free, but notice, the artists are giving their music away for free, not some music theif. This I don't understand & I'm trying to change that type of thinking. Think about it, some jerk takes something you worked hard to create, hikacks it & gives it away for free. Tell me, are you mad NOW! Maybe you're one of those people who think it's ok to take something free from someone else, but don't try that with me. Instead of searching for free music on the Internet, maybe you should take to heart what I've just shared with you & start looking for music to purchase, after all, what makes you think you deserve something for free. Are you more special than others or is it that you just don't care! Try putting yourself in other peoples shoes, otherwise you're just a music pirate yourself.

Here are some important facts to note:

The mp3 "Curse"

What is the mp3 curse?

The first time I heard the word mp3 was in the early nineties from my first Web page designer, whom I might ad, did an incredibly bad job! My response was, what’s an mp3? As you can see, it was all relatively new to me. His response was, an mp3 is a compressed song file that gives the listener a much better sound quality. They’re encouraging artists to give away one of their songs ( preferably their best song ) as a free download. My immediate reply was, What artist gives their music away for free! The thinking was, if a listener liked your song, they would come back and purchase the entire CD. All I could think at that point was, this is going to be a disaster. Well, there you have it, the mp3 curse. Give your music away for free. To me, that was like hearing a car salesman say, here’s a free Camaro to have and try out. Be sure to come back and purchase our other models. Yeah right! Think about it, if three neighbors are having a yard sale and one of the neighbors sign says, free items give away, which neighbors garage sale will people go to? Ask yourself, do I give things of mine away for free? How many free hours do you give to your employer? Let me guess, zero, right! I just built this Bird house and it’s yours for free. If you are an indie band or artist reading this article, I want you to pay strict attention to this fact. “There are millions of free music downloads on the Internet. “Millions”. Where does this leave you, in regards to people surfing to your web site or a music site where you have your music for sale and purchasing your music? It leaves you with possibly little or no CD sales! The question that music lovers ask, which is the answer that no serious indie artist wants to hear is, “why should I surf to sites that sell music, when I can spend my free time surfing to sites that give away free music downloads. Being an artist myself and having surfed, studied and utilized what I call the “In torment” ( Internet ), I found it to be very disorganized, especially when it came to music. Some of the Internet radio sites and music sites I visited were about as business savvy as a kids lemon aid stand. A lot of the radio stations are not operated in a professional manner, with live DJ’s voicing what artists music is playing and where to purchase their music. Although a lot of indie music sites claim they hate the major record labels, they run they’re sites very similar to the record labels. If you want to be a featured artist on the front page of their site, you have to pay to be one & of course those who get more music plays because of the music being a preferred genre. Preferred Genres get most of the exposure, while other less popular genres of music are kept in the background. This is the way major record labels work. They only promote popular genres of music. Preferred artists get front exposure. Maybe, now just maybe this is the reason music has been so stale for so long! A lot of these sites claim it’s about the music, not the money. I’ve got news for them, for serious artists, music is a serious “business”. They aren’t writing songs for good health reasons, they’re writing songs because it’s their talent, their living and they enjoy it and they work hard at creating and producing their songs and they deserve to be paid for their hard work, just like people who work hard at their jobs! Unfortunately, for some it’s just fun. These individuals are not serious about their music or a future in music. These individuals are the ones making it hard for serious, professional artists, who are trying to sell their music over the Internet. Music is a business & serious musicians treat it as such!

What about record label help for the serious indie artist?

Everybody seems to hate the major record labels these days and you might as well throw in the indie record labels as well, because they operate almost exactly as the major labels do. Major record label sales have fallen from 24 billion dollars per year to 12.5 billion dollars. This, because of music piracy. Thieving other artists music. This is why the Dragon blowith hot flames! The major labels have become very choosy about the artists they sign, because few artists now can write hit after hit songs. Of course the indie labels care more about their artists because after all, they’re artists are their bread and butter. Major labels only take on artists that have a following. They have talent scouts check with college radio stations to see which artists are popular amongst the students and have a following and then they check out the artists where they are playing. “If” they think they have what it takes, they’ll sign them to their label. If the artists that are signed do not sell well, they’re immediately dropped from the label and usually do not make any money from the CD sales because of the recording costs the group has generated. These fees are taken out up front & usually there is little or no monies left for the artist or band. Yes, when you sign a recording contract with a label, you pay for recording costs, everything! So you can see the amount of pressure these artists come under.

Indie labels operate on a small budget. If an indie band or artist can sell their CD into the thousands on their own, they “may” get signed to an indie label. But then again, it comes down to funds available and genre preference, music that sells well. Most indie labels already have their selected artists on their roster. Two or three artists, depending on their budget. These artists have been chosen because they have proven themselves to be music sellers, fit the labels criteria of what an artist should be and prove themselves to be professional. These artists sell CD’s for the label, because without CD sales there is no record label. Another thing you will not find any serious record label doing, is giving away their hard earned music. Most indie artists will never get signed to a record label, whether it’s a major label or indie label. With that in mind, the only hope for serious artists is to be able to sell their music through their web sites and music sites on the Internet. With Millions of free music downloads available on the Internet that only paints a dismal, blurry picture for music sales!


W. E.

Over forty years in the music business & a professional musician!

P.S. There are music sites out there that do not inform you that people can download your songs from their sites! If you right click on a song icon & then left click on “save target” a box will come up asking you what folder to save the song in! Once you choose what folder you want the song to go into, it will then start downloading the song. Once the song is saved, it can be uploaded to an ipod, or it can be burned onto a CD. Even if the song is only 128 bit rate, which is a good average sound quality, it can still be loaded into a wav editor or an mp3 editor & changed to a professional bit rate of 320 which is CD quality. You might want to check the sites you have your music on, to see if your music can be downloaded from that site! Also, there are music sites that allow you to decide whether to give one or more of you're songs away as a free download on their sites or only as a stream only(to listen to only). You should check you're music player, like Windows media player, to see if a listener can really download you're music or not when you have you're music set to stream only on their music site.. Once you get one of you're songs up on the Windows media player, click on the "copy to CD or Device" to the left side of the Windows media player. After doing so, look to the right side of the Windows player, if you see a red record button, it means you can download it to a CD or disk. This means you're song can be ripped off for free. The way to fix this problem, is to get a wave editor & cut some of the time off you're song(s). Them re upload them to the site where you have you're music. If a listener tries to download you're music, they will only get a partial song. That's how you get even with these types of sites.

Check out these statistics!

Look at these results of music downloads just from one search engine: Notice the free music downloads! There's thousands of dollars lost in music sales! I plan to work hard to stop this B.S. That's why I've been sending out my newsletter to artists, alerting them of this travesty! The days of music mooching are going to come to there end, if I can help it!








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