artists who release music for free online

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Re: artists who release music for free online

Postby flashman » Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:25 pm

I hate Spotify too. And not necessarily from a financial standpoint, but as a consumer of music. I think it is made for people who don't care about music, and helps groom new people to stop caring about music. I thought mp3 downloads made music more disposable than ever, but streaming doubles or triples that. The myth of the desirability of endless choice and convenience. It sounds crazy, I guess, but listening to music inconveniently is far more rewarding, because you make a conscious choice to listen to a discreet selection of songs released as a coherent unit. You put that effort in, and that immediately means you've taken a conscious interest in what you're doing. If you just type in a genre and stream **** and are happy with that, then you don't really care, it seems to me. Streaming and or ipod shuffling is good when you can't do it any other way, like during travel, camping, etc.

Somehow, I don't guess the younger generation feels this way. I could be wrong and it just seems this way to me because I grew up in a different era. I do sometimes hate the fact that two of my lifelong favorite activities: going to record stores and book stores, and buying physical items, seems to be something that has died or is dying. It was way more fun and exciting to stumble on some record you'd never heard of in a used shop, then to go on eBay and You tube and find damn near everything that exists. The hyper availability of everything is somehow nowhere near as gratifying to me as it seems like it would be.
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Re: artists who release music for free online

Postby Ital Dokta » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:37 pm

flashman wrote:I hate Spotify too. And not necessarily from a financial standpoint, but as a consumer of music. I think it is made for people who don't care about music, and helps groom new people to stop caring about music. I thought mp3 downloads made music more disposable than ever, but streaming doubles or triples that. The myth of the desirability of endless choice and convenience. It sounds crazy, I guess, but listening to music inconveniently is far more rewarding, because you make a conscious choice to listen to a discreet selection of songs released as a coherent unit. You put that effort in, and that immediately means you've taken a conscious interest in what you're doing. If you just type in a genre and stream **** and are happy with that, then you don't really care, it seems to me. Streaming and or ipod shuffling is good when you can't do it any other way, like during travel, camping, etc.

Somehow, I don't guess the younger generation feels this way. I could be wrong and it just seems this way to me because I grew up in a different era. I do sometimes hate the fact that two of my lifelong favorite activities: going to record stores and book stores, and buying physical items, seems to be something that has died or is dying. It was way more fun and exciting to stumble on some record you'd never heard of in a used shop, then to go on eBay and You tube and find damn near everything that exists. The hyper availability of everything is somehow nowhere near as gratifying to me as it seems like it would be.


Spot on, spent many years myself trawling record stores, book stores etc., now all of that stuff related to discovering any sort of physical media seems to be going the way of the dinosaurs which takes a lot of the fun out of it. The resurgence of vinyl the last few years is one bright spot, hopefully it isn't just a fad/fashion/hype thing that will fade away in a while. One reason I got back into vinyl several years ago was due to how much of a background activity music listening had become, I remember as a youth I had to actually make the effort to put a record on and sit and listen to it instead of doing something else while it was playing, as sooner or later it had to be flipped to the other side. Plus time was an issue, just can't sit through a 70+ minute CD anymore but a 30-40 minute LP is a different story. Probably a generational thing but digital media just doesn't interest me at all except for being away as you say. Still, many people don't care too passionately about music like those who are real connoisseurs and enthusiasts/collectors, this is nothing new, just the technology has changed. Many people are quite content with their disposable music, nothing really wrong with that, to each their own, in the end I think those with a real interest in it will still keep coming up. I see lots of young people digging for vinyl at shops and shows, male, female and from all backgrounds so some people do still care about their music.
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Re: artists who release music for free online

Postby adrians wall » Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:25 am

Right this is a big topic with lots of different points that can be made.

First off in general music is making considerably less money that it used to say 20 years ago. The days of selling 2 million copies of a single are gone and even hugely popular artists like Beyonce have suffered huge reductions in album sales. Beyonce's first album in 2003 sold a total of 11 million official copies world wide pretty much all as cd's with no downloads. Her most recent album despite going to number 1 in the album charts and being the most successful album of 2013 has only sold 4 million copies world wide including copies sold online which outsold physical copies by quite a margin, in fact it was release on iTunes a week before you could even buy it in a store on a CD and in that week it sold more than 1 million copies. The main culprit for this seems to be streaming services such as spotify, pandora & even youtube which allow consumers to listen to music for free with minimal return to the artist. There are a few majorly successful producers who have put out their earnings from streaming sites and its minimal, not enough to make a living off for sure.

As music has become cheaper and easier to produce the market has changed, there is a lot of stuff out there and very little to separate one tune from another from a marketing perspective. This makes it very hard for people to break out and find success, typically to actually make any sort of return you will need for a tune to go "viral" which when you consider the number of tunes that do go viral to the number being produced you have better odds of winning the lottery.

All of this has lead to a resurgence in live performances in order to make money back on the investment put into creating the music. Look at hugely successful pop acts and you will see them pushing live events as they can make much more money performing 20 shows that they would from the album release. You have people like Lady Gaga who is averaging 1 show every 2.85 days which is a huge number compared to equivalent artists in the 90's.

Obviously trends in pop music don't necessarily apply to niche music like reggae in the same way but I think it is fair to say that the internet has had a huge effect on the economics of our chosen genre. The money to be made as a singer in reggae music is from live shows and dubplate sales. You take an artist who has a hit song and then 20 sounds want a dubplate at $100 each thats 2 grand profit from the tune, which is going to be more than they ever received for recording it in the first place or in royalties from the initial release. That hit song also rises the artists profile and allows them to get better placing on festival line ups, more shows on their own and so forth.

As a producer there is also money in live shows but there is some money to made from the release of vinyl as in the reggae scene there is still a demand for physical copies of music, a much much higher demand than any other genre I know collectors of, especially when you consider new release stuff. Even the soul scene doesn't come close to the amount of new music coming out on vinyl as reggae does, sure they have a lot of reissues but the new stuff is mainly small run vinyl & CD with digital download. The demand for reggae on vinyl seems to run hand in hand with the demand for the tunes to not be available to stream or download, or even on CD as the desired exclusivity that has always been at the forefront of the record buying public's mind is still there. I also think that online web stores have massively increased the numbers of consumers who actually have access to the music and as such increases the number of sales. previously you had to go to a dance or a record shop to get your tunes and that meant if you lived on the other side of the earth you simply couldn't get access to lots of the music.

Incidentally another genre that seems to be doing well on the sales front compared to others styles is Country & Western music in the USA. This is still bought mainly on CD and doesn't seem to have suffered the same fate as pop, rock & hip hop moving to online.

So the question as to why do artists release music on line for free?

The simple answer is exposure, putting music out there for free gets you known by people who would have otherwise passed over your music. I will use the example of Randy Valentine, he released his album online for free from his website, I downloaded it and enjoyed some of the tunes, when I saw his name on a 7" a year or 2 later on out of the hundred or so tunes in the box I was digging through his tune was one of the ones I selected to go and have a listen to. Had I not have downloaded that album for free I wouldn't have pulled his tune out of the box to listen to and in the end buy. Now weather he actually made any money from me buying that 7" is another matter but Id like to think that he got more than if I had simply streamed it off youtube.

The other thing to note is that the overheads of making music have been significantly reduced as technology has improved. All you need now is a laptop & a mic and away you go. You can now download the software for free and there is a wealth of free information out there to teach you how to use it. The days of hiring a studio to record a demo are done, you go round your mates house, link up to his laptop and go. Its the time that's the killer now days. I remember being 16 and going to record a 3 track, 12 minute demo with a band that took us 3 days and cost about 2000 pounds in total to record & master. 14 years later those same mates who were in that band have recorded a complete album of 12 songs totaling over an hour at home for the price of a handful of microphones (most of which where borrowed from various people) and a digital input box for a laptop. They have since released the album on iTunes and its sold a couple of thousand copies & about 1000 phsyical CD copies. Still the only way this band makes any money is from shows and even then as its a 7 piece the profit after expenses from a show is minimal and all gets invested back into merchandising, pressing CD's, T-shirts, hoodies etc. The point of the band is not to make money or become famous, its so a bunch of mates can hang out playing music and have a good time doing so. I do have this feeling that there are people out there who are making music with the express intention of becoming rich and famous which to me is terrible, you should make music because you feel it, if you become rich and famous from it then enjoy your success but humble yourself.

I guess the question I feel that needs to be answered is do you think people should be able to make a living exclusively from making music and if so how many people should be able to do so? 1%, 10% or 100% of the population cause if 100% of the population are relying on music who is going to buy it? Still today the vast majority of sound system owners, producers, singers & record label owners have an alternate source of income.
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Re: artists who release music for free online

Postby John Eden » Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:08 am

guillaumebougard wrote:For a song streamed (not sold), Spotify pays about one hundredth of a cent!!!!

So Spotify, Deezers, and so forth are the big a$$hole$

I make good money selling music on itunes
Spotify pays me $hit and I f$cking hate them


Possibly a stupid question, but why is your music on Spotify if it's such a **** deal?
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Re: artists who release music for free online

Postby AC » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:27 am

adrians wall wrote:The simple answer is exposure, putting music out there for free gets you known by people who would have otherwise passed over your music. I will use the example of Randy Valentine, he released his album online for free from his website, I downloaded it and enjoyed some of the tunes, when I saw his name on a 7" a year or 2 later on out of the hundred or so tunes in the box I was digging through his tune was one of the ones I selected to go and have a listen to. Had I not have downloaded that album for free I wouldn't have pulled his tune out of the box to listen to and in the end buy. Now weather he actually made any money from me buying that 7" is another matter but Id like to think that he got more than if I had simply streamed it off youtube.


That's exactly how i discovered Randy Valentine. I liked the album and now sought out everything he puts out on vinyl. His new cut for Maximum Sound riding the Bunny Lee cut of the Ali Baba riddim is great!
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Re: artists who release music for free online

Postby Reggaemusicstore » Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:56 pm

adrians wall wrote: I also think that online web stores have massively increased the numbers of consumers who actually have access to the music and as such increases the number of sales.


That's incorrect Adrian, certainly when it comes to the claim of increasing sales. It's theoretically true that more people now may have easier opportunities to buy reggae given the increase in online stores but the sales figures don't point to any increase - in fact the opposite is true, they're falling. There was a discussion on one of the radio shows about 10 years ago, can't remember which one it was though I think it was a London station. Mad Professor was one of the guests and he was talking about how in the 80's any 12" single he released sold a minimum of 20,000 copies, going on to say that if it got played on Rodigan's show that would guarantee an extra 2000 sales, the same with Tony Williams show on Radio London etc. When it comes to vinyl singles now most labels are pressing in the region of 500 copies, you'll get the odd tune here and there that might do 1000 or more but generally that's the level of pressing runs, and that doesn't even guarantee they'll all sell. I've spoken to producers of some good modern tunes who've pressed 500 and only sold half that quantity after a few months. I honestly don't know where people get the idea of vinyl sales increasing from, maybe they are in some genres but they certainly aren't in reggae. I was involved in a discussion about this on Facebook a while ago and someone was trying to use tunes like Dubkasm's Victory to argue that sales were increasing but tunes like that are the exception not the rule. Another thing to bear in mind is that now we've got a plethora of online stores, how many copies of most tunes do you think they're selling when there are so many other sellers all trying to sell the same limited number of copies?
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Re: artists who release music for free online

Postby jah_vaults » Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:07 pm

Reggaemusicstore wrote:
adrians wall wrote: I also think that online web stores have massively increased the numbers of consumers who actually have access to the music and as such increases the number of sales.


That's incorrect Adrian, certainly when it comes to the claim of increasing sales. It's theoretically true that more people now may have easier opportunities to buy reggae given the increase in online stores but the sales figures don't point to any increase - in fact the opposite is true, they're falling. There was a discussion on one of the radio shows about 10 years ago, can't remember which one it was though I think it was a London station. Mad Professor was one of the guests and he was talking about how in the 80's any 12" single he released sold a minimum of 20,000 copies, going on to say that if it got played on Rodigan's show that would guarantee an extra 2000 sales, the same with Tony Williams show on Radio London etc. When it comes to vinyl singles now most labels are pressing in the region of 500 copies, you'll get the odd tune here and there that might do 1000 or more but generally that's the level of pressing runs, and that doesn't even guarantee they'll all sell. I've spoken to producers of some good modern tunes who've pressed 500 and only sold half that quantity after a few months. I honestly don't know where people get the idea of vinyl sales increasing from, maybe they are in some genres but they certainly aren't in reggae. I was involved in a discussion about this on Facebook a while ago and someone was trying to use tunes like Dubkasm's Victory to argue that sales were increasing but tunes like that are the exception not the rule. Another thing to bear in mind is that now we've got a plethora of online stores, how many copies of most tunes do you think they're selling when there are so many other sellers all trying to sell the same limited number of copies?


I think I understand what you mean Reggamusicstore this may sound silly but I think maybe the best way around this will be to take control of the whole 300 seven inches which are pressed therefore stopping any competition from stocking the same product and title and you should be able to sell all the product as nobody else will have stock of it thus stopping so many other seller all trying to sell the same limited number of copies.

Maybe even blocking out the corporate distributor and making a deal directly with the little producer before he even trys to give product to a distributor and stopping any extra distiribution charges the corporate distributor is also trying to add before selling the vinyl to the online record stores which is making the prices even higher.

But you would only have to stock the tunes which you know you will definitely sell all 300 units this is the only catch and you would have to make sure you are the only online store stocking that specific tune or product. I think the major underlying problem is the now highly inflated price of vinyl must drop back to what they were a few years ago then the products would start to sell well again until the prices don't return to normal its going to be very hard to sell even 300 units.

Maybe start to petition the main big distributors of vinyl who have caused theses price hikes and let them know you as a seller will go directly to producers to cut them off and stop vinyl prices going even higher and stop corporate distributors from forcefully dominating and collapsing the market and causing poor sales.
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Re: artists who release music for free online

Postby jb welda » Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:46 pm

"main big distributors"

I really think anyone pressing up 500 copies of a 7" is going to essentially distribute them himself. I wouldn't think any "main big distributors" are going to bother themselves with numbers that small.

unless you are talking about ernie b, or reggaemusicstore, or dub vendor, who else is there who distributes reggae music on this level?

not to speak for them, but I doubt any of them want to sit on 500 copies that may or may not sell...they want them gone in batches and hence you get your competition at the next step in the chain to the ultimate buyer.

or is that not the way it works?

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Re: artists who release music for free online

Postby Reggaemusicstore » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:15 am

Jah Vaults, there are no corporate distributors involved in reggae vinyl. With the CD market, most of the larger distribution companies have now gone bankrupt due to the decline of the physical stores where they used to sell their products. It's a vicious circle and there are no easy answers but the idea that we can go back in time to how things used to be 10 or more years ago is pure fantasy and will not happen.
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Re: artists who release music for free online

Postby Vinnie » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:15 am

jb welda wrote:"main big distributors"

I really think anyone pressing up 500 copies of a 7" is going to essentially distribute them himself. I wouldn't think any "main big distributors" are going to bother themselves with numbers that small.

unless you are talking about ernie b, or reggaemusicstore, or dub vendor, who else is there who distributes reggae music on this level?

not to speak for them, but I doubt any of them want to sit on 500 copies that may or may not sell...they want them gone in batches and hence you get your competition at the next step in the chain to the ultimate buyer.

or is that not the way it works?

one love
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isnt slayen doing the distribution to all local shops in london anymore?
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