Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 0
J.T., Thanks for an excellent post, but I think you make some fundamental assumptions that need to be examined.

The first complication with your basic scenario is that it is very likely to be applicable to a label contract in a pre-Napster world. Their first album will not make enough to cover Concrete Block's expenses and they will end up in debt to the Label, even though the Label itself made a profit. The debts then obligate them to make another album for the Label, again with little profit. This happens all the time, as I am sure you are aware, but look to TLC (who declared bankruptcy), Prince, Courtney Love, Elton John and others for examples or testamonials of this soul-destroying proces.

Your second assumption is that downloads, dubs, and mp3 rips represent instances where commercial CDs were not purchased. This is known as the myth of lost sales. In reality this turns out not to be the case. Instead, exposure on Napster or through sharing dubs, etc. has the same effect as exposure on the radio and actually increases the sales of commercial CDs.

People who are captivated by Concrete Block's sound will want to have the entire album, and not just the 2 or 3 songs widely available on Napster. The assumption that every song from their album will be avaliable on Napster is also in error. This is the myth of the complete tracklist. In reality, sharing of the most popular track will be plentiful, but over half of the cuts will be only sparsely available.

My final criticism of your scenario is a harsh and cruel one but reflects a resentment widely felt by purchasers of commercial music. Although you do not state this directly, the implication remains that a Concrete Block album with only 3 good songs on it is still worth $15 dollars. If their musicianship and message are compelling, Napster will improve their album sales. If they are hanging their commercial prospects on a single viable hit, Napster will hasten their demise by informing the listening public. This is less of an intellectual property issue and more of a 'truth in advertising' problem.

As a vocalist (who also get no respect: as in "the musicians are here, now where are the singers?") I also know musicians who face Sally and Teresa's difficulty; who are tickled to sell a few CDs at a concert or festival venue and would rather self-produce than become Label-slaves. Are you saying that none of your musician friends has expressed such a sentiment? Napster is their ally and a return to the RIAA overlords is not what will help Artists.
Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.