View Full Version : New paradigms in music sales--parallels to publishing? (Article by David Byrne)

Dustry Joe
12-30-2007, 06:10 PM
Okay, this article from "Wired" (written by ex-Talking Heads genius/weirdo David Byrne) is about the music industry, not writing. But I think it has some very interesting parallels and contrasts to the spreading of models in publishing. I'd like to see a similar workup on the publishing industry: which paints an even more complex pictures than this one.

One thing I like is what I've been saying for some time in response to people who have black and white attitudes about traditional vs self publishing: it portrays a spectrum of what Byrne identifies as 6 models ranging from virtual career "enslavement" to total independence.

Of course there aren't really direct equivalence in music to something lulu.com or whiskey creek or bewrite so, as I say, the writing spectrum is wider, with more (and less distinct) "colors".

Another thing to think about, as musicians break away from the traditional models (he cites Radiohead releasing it's album online and Madonna switching from Warner to a concert promotor, but think also of the thousands of musicians/composers who put all their work online to sell downloads or CD's) nobody says they are "cheating" or "pretending" when they publish their own work. For some reason, it's easily accepted that musicians go "indie", but viewed with suspicion, disdain or sheer ignorance if writers do.

Anyway, here's the article:

http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/16-01/ff_byrne?currentPage=all (http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/16-01/ff_byrne?currentPage=all)

01-02-2008, 01:55 AM
I find the music industry more of a cautionary tale--given what has happened to the income of most sub-super star (e.g. "need the money" pro) recording artists. Last I heard Radiohead were doing the big 'no comment' on whether 60% of the downloaders paid nothing at all for the album. They may actually have released that album at a loss.

Other less futurist magazines have called 2007 'the year the music died'.

Dustry Joe
01-02-2008, 12:00 PM
What I thought was amazing about that was that given the choice of paying nothing or something, 40% of the people paid.

01-02-2008, 09:07 PM
I wouldn't go crying for Radiohead. Even though they hoped more people paid, they definitely made a profit. There was almost no overhead and studio time costs very little these days. Of those who paid, $6 was the average price. This guy does an interesting breakout of how much Radiohead may have made off the deal. http://djchall.com/2007/11/was_radioheads_name_your_own_p.html

Dustry Joe
01-02-2008, 10:01 PM
Exactly. They took a chance, provided an experiment for shifting the industry. And think about that..... 40% of people, offered the choice to pay or take it for free, paid an average of $6 apiece. How many products could make that claim??????

01-02-2008, 10:28 PM
Exactly. They took a chance, provided an experiment for shifting the industry. And think about that..... 40% of people, offered the choice to pay or take it for free, paid an average of $6 apiece. How many products could make that claim??????

If you figure in for the people who didn't pay Radiohead still made about $2.40 per "sale". That is almost twice as much as the normal pressed CD royalty. There are still some expenses to factor for, but Radiohead isn't going to starve.

What isn't mentioned is the percentage increase in various add-on merchandise. Perhaps some people who didn't pay picked up a shirt, can cozy, hat, wrist bands, etc.

03-05-2008, 09:13 PM
I thought I'd chime in on the discussion since my first three books are about the music business -Music Industry Connection Book Series (http://www.gomusicconnection.com). I'm a motivational speaker/author/consultant. As I attend a number of music conferences I remind other professionals and attendees that in the age of the Internet where many people believe they should get a lot for nothing the goal is to build a solid brand. A brand that will cause people to want to pay for live performances, merchandise, membership only websites, etc.

Authors like artists must build their brands in ways they didn't have to in years past. They must use online videos, chat rooms, forums, blogs and social networking sites to build their following of readers and fans. They must link the online world with the off-line reality. Some of their writings must be given away either through free ebooks (http://www.makemoneyselfpublishing.com), blogs or other mediums in an effort to tap their target market. Authors like artists must pound the pavement. Unlike artist, authors/writers are in a much better position to make money online (http://www.moneygoldmine.blogspot.com) from their creative work, because of the many ways to monetize one's web presence using various pay-per-click advertising and affiliate programs.

The bigger your brand the greater your ability to turn that brand into a profit at some point.

03-06-2008, 05:24 AM
Dustry Joe,

I've written a couple of articles on my blogspot about the comparisons between the music business and POD subsidy publishing you might be interested in.

Mick Rooney