Artists are leaving the sinking ship

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 11, 2007
Updated • Dec 10, 2012
Music and Video

Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Oasis, Jamiroquai and even Madonna have something in common. They all decided to turn their backs on the Music Industry and either market their albums directly or - in the case of Madonna - use a company that is not related to the Music Industry.

Those bands are big and could influence others to try the same. I personally think it is time for a change. Bands earn (almost) nothing from record sales which is unexplainable to me. I read a nice essay from a music producer earlier who did produce a Nirvana record who said that while the Music Industry earned more than $1.5 Million from selling CDs the band actually made a minus from that.

I'm not an expert but I can predict that more artists will choose the risk of marketing albums on their own instead of making no money at all from it. The big ones will be first. Those who have enough fans and publicity to be able to do that.

But, musicians at the base are also already using the Internet to sell their records without Music Industry contracts. Marketplaces like eMusic or even Jamendo give them the publicity to reach an audience.

The question that arises is simply: Who needs the Record Companies, especially in times where the Internet is making distribution of music and other forms of art easier than ever. While store sales are still making up a big part of the revenue pie, it is dropping year after year while online sales are increasing in the same time period.



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  1. D3 said on October 16, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Even with video, 4TB is still a bit much ….don’t get me wrong it would be really sick to have 4 TB and I’d be right on board to getting one ;)

  2. Jesse said on October 16, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    4T could be overkill. But if you take into account
    video, all of a sudden 4T isn’t so much over kill if you are storing bluray discs. Plus you could back up everything in another place.

  3. D3 said on October 16, 2007 at 4:56 am

    4TB is a bit over kill, i have a 30 GB ipod and I’m finding it rather tough to fill it. Not to say that i have a very comprehensive selection of music, but it is a lot. Furthermore, Memory will always become cheaper with the advent of the next best thing. Not trying to spite anyone, just adding my 2 cents

  4. Mosey said on October 16, 2007 at 3:05 am

    I read on the BBC that a 4TB hard drive may become available in the future due to recent advances:

  5. Jesse said on October 14, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    I think the best solution is for storage to get cheaper so artists can be satisfied with the sound quality and fan can fit tons of lossless music on their players.

  6. Mosey said on October 14, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    I try and rip my CDs to the best possible MP3 compression possible (320kbps CBR) mainly because it’s just much more practical, as I can fit more songs into my older mp3 player this way as I love listening to music on-the-go.

    I would say agree that a lot of the people who buy CDs (and mp3s online from iTunes for instance) really can’t hear the difference between a compressed version and the original CD version of the song.

    Hopefully there will be an alternative route for artists to market their ‘original recordings’ (so it doesn’t get destroyed?) without the record company, but yet still offer smaller file sizes for fans who really just want to listen on-the-go.

  7. Me said on October 12, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Yes. I agree with you, Jessee, and we’re not gonna fight about that.
    But you will admit that if the music industry, in order to be able to survive and make money, would convert and sale music in monophonic vynils, there would be a problem, no ?

    My feeling isn’t the same as the kid who listens to his MP3 player on his skateboard because I make music and I can’t stand that it could be modified or damaged by any compression.

  8. Jesse said on October 12, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Of course you don’t know, I don’t know either, but really, the entire point that I am trying to make is just that the general music buying public has no clue about frequency response. They wouldn’t even know what an artifact of sound from a transcode is. They don’t know the difference between a 128kps vbr mp3 and a V0 mp3. They just want the music.

    Yes there are audiophiles out there. Yes there are people who can tell a difference. There are people who only buy vinyl.

    But I digress, I just looked up the specifications of the headphones and I found out that the ipod headphones are full frequency.

  9. Me said on October 12, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    I don’t know, Jessee, but 10 – 20 000 Hz headphones are common and not expensive.

  10. D3 said on October 12, 2007 at 12:19 am

    i don’t leave the bitrate that low. i usually encode or obtian music that is 192 kbps. nor will i stray to the 320 kbps. I think some people who have posted are correct about hearing the difference and such the others should just get off their fucking horse.

  11. Jesse said on October 11, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Yeah but you tell me how many people own headphone or speakers that have FULL SPECTRUM RESPONSE?

  12. Me said on October 11, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    “The majority of the music buying public are not audiophiles.”

    “They do not own equipment that even plays all sounds that are audible to the human ear.”
    They own a CD player, and 16 bits/44.1 KHz is Hi Fi. It is just what is needed to play with high fidelity what has been recorded, not more, not less.

  13. Jesse said on October 11, 2007 at 9:59 pm
  14. Jesse said on October 11, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    The majority of the music buying public are not audiophiles. They do not own equipment that even plays all sounds that are audible to the human ear.

    But I digress, the real issue here is how much money the labels make compared to what the artists make.

    Check out this post on my site that outlines the amount of money it takes make a record, the amount of money a record makes and the amount each party gets paid when it is all said and done.

  15. Me said on October 11, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    But what are you talking about ? I make music, I compose it and record it, and I know what I’m talking about.
    When I listen to music, the best for me is headphones. Anyone can afford headphones and just plug in directly to the CD player.
    I agree, most people can’t hear any difference between MP3 and an original CD track, but most of them can’t sing in time and in tune either.
    MP3 may be good for many people, but I say again that it’s a destruction of the original record.
    The majors don’t care, most of the people don’t care, but I care, as a musicien.

  16. Jesse said on October 11, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    The people who buy music don’t notice, most playback equipment is not high fidelity enough to make a noticeable difference.

  17. z0iid said on October 11, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    320kb CBR mp3 is good enough quality. I agree, 128, and even 160kb, I can tell a difference, noticeable, but most people can’t afford audio playback equipment that would benefit from anything above 320k. If you contradict me on this, you are delusional. But I predict there will be at least one delusional person responding to this post just for the sake of arguing on the internet.

  18. D3 said on October 11, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    I can’t tell the difference

  19. Me said on October 11, 2007 at 11:26 am


    If you’re a cooker, doesn’t it matter if what you cooked with care arrives cold on the table ?
    If you’re a painter, doesn’t it matter if your painting is damaged when you deliver it ?
    If you’re a writer, doesn’t it matter if your writing is hardly readable because of the bad quality of the printing ?

    The most important thing is not the act of creating, as you say. You have to respect the ones you created for, and your work has to be respected too.


    Yes, a destructive compression of 30 % is heard by me and many musiciens. Some formats are very good, but destructive compression is destructive anyway.

  20. Me said on October 11, 2007 at 11:04 am

    You’re right, Martin, but at 16 bits/44.1 MHz (the CD quality), a wav file takes 10 Mo per minute. This means around 40 Mo for a song, and around 500 Mo for an album. It’s possible to offer such downloads, but no one does yet.
    The music industry cares about money and nothing else. Such a shame to see artists doing the same !

    Martin, if I see you with your MP3 player, I shoot ! Last warning !

  21. Quasimodo said on October 11, 2007 at 11:03 am

    Use OGG (level 10 or 500 kbit) and you’ll get about half the file size of a lossless flac, which is already about 30-50% of the uncompressed original.
    The quality loss compared to the original can’t be heared by anyone, only measured.

    With todays big storage devices this is a perfect tradeoff between quality and filesize.

    I use it to store CD rips.

  22. Jerusalem Joe said on October 11, 2007 at 11:02 am

    If you are an artist then the most important thing is the act of creating.
    If you want to make a living from your art then sometimes you will have to compromise.
    What does it matter if people prefer one format over the other as long as they enjoy your music and are willing to pay for it, thereby giving you more time to do what you love?
    If money doesn’t matter to you then make your music and don’t let anyone else hear it, or distribute it only in your preferred format.

    Martin – it’s a big question who needs the RIAA.
    My guess is that the RIAA will attract people who need the hype and their vast PR machine, in other words people who are more entertainers than artists, or else just people desperate to make a buck.

  23. Martin said on October 11, 2007 at 10:20 am

    MP3 is not the only possible format. There are lossless formats available that could be used to distribute music. Remember, if you distribute your music by yourself you make the decisions.

    I personally prefer mp3 or ogg because those files tend to be a lot smaller than those lossless files which is better for putting them on my mp3 player and hard drive.

  24. Me said on October 11, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Hi !

    I am a musicien and I ask another question. How can a musicien accept to distribute his work in MP3 format ?
    It can take months to try and get the best sound as possible, it costs time and money and is an important part of the artistic work. All this destroyed by the compression of MP3 !
    This may not be understood by many people who can’t hear any difference between an original file and its MP3 version, but for a musicien who cares about the quality of his work, it’s anacceptable.
    Unless it’s only a matter of money…

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