Alot of people talk about a post-file sharing business plan. I’m curious of how you could actually do this.
What most people care about is the music. The problem is if the music itself is free do you really think that a Shongle video game or Shpongle wallpaper are going to pay the band’s expenses? I give alot more of a shit that Shpongle is putting out a new album than if they sold branded cup holders.
Where I am not seeing the business model not working here is basic economics: The music takes time and money to make, but people aren’t paying for it. For most of us these days (superstar dj’s aside) making music is generally a losing investment. Money for software,hardware, hard drives, effects processors/plugins, mic preamps, etc. Then you can expect maybe a hundred or so for a show every few weeks. Meanwhile, you work another job to pay the rent. Where does this pay off?
I’ve been hearing of artists these days giving up on music as a career and instead making free offerings from time to time and asking for donations.(Bluetech for ex) Many artists would probably be better off as a street performers.
So if the music doesn’t directly make the money, let us think about the consequences of this: To make money on peripheral items entails investing LESS in the music and music production. I find it ironic people blaming Twisted for pulling the stops on albums and concerts, and then ask for more quality recordings and shows.
If Twisted Records’ primary focus was something other than the music, something which according to this new business model would be necessary for profit, would we be ok with fewer, more rushed and low budget releases, and more stripped down live shows?
Would fans feel that the time and money for a Shpongle lunchbox or whatever was worth skimping on the recordings and concert production? Major labels made this transitions long ago, bastardizing and commercializing the art until all you have left are model tv/film crossover artists with clothing lines gracing generic auto-tuned radio garbage tracks. That is what happens when the music ceases to matter and becomes a means to sell other things.
What you’re talking about is merchandise; not a business model. And you certainly don’t want to sell out with that tripe (i.e. merchandise). But regardless of what you create, if you want to get it out there and make a career out of it, you have to use a business model. Not all business model products are lunchboxes and mugs and shit like that. A good music business model is about creating a musical project that is designed to be worth buying; so the artist enjoys making it, and the fans enjoying purchasing it.
Here’s an example: You make the music; you want to release it. Given today’s p2p swell, you decide it’s probably best to try giving it away for free on popular (not torrent) sites (like soundcloud). People get interested in it. You make a package for a physical release, and you promote it as a limited edition thing with nice artwork, lovely packaging and a few bonuses (maybe some extra tracks or a DVD). People love it! And because it’s limited edition, you sell all the copies, make a profit and somewhere along the line the bonus tracks get put on the internet. Everybody’s happy! You - the artist - get a little more popular. People are downloading your tracks. You do some free lance work on the side as a sound designer - get some cred and money for that. Make a new EP; better promotion; larger fan base. Again, people download and you create a limited physical release. Only demand is higher this time. And you carry on like that. It could be a success or a failure - just like any recording contract, or if you setup an imprint.
This isn’t a sellout scheme. It’s about making music and getting it out there the way you want to. It’s tough and the money probably isn’t that great. But that’s why lot’s of artists do other sonic projects on the side; like orchestration, or sound design for film, TV and games.