Thursday, September 28, 2006

Yes, Because Your Bands Need LESS Exposure

According to the fine folks over at PaidContent, Universal has pulled their company videos from Fuse and WEA has pulled videos from Yahoo. While Universal seems to be looking to monetize every ounce of content and build a proprietary network, I'm a little surprised at the Warner Bros. thing.

Why be stingy with video? Because the music has pretty moving pictures with it they're worth "more" than music? I thought that they are "promotional" video clips. Certainly in most major record contracts I've been aware of, videos are 100% recoupable from the bands share of royalties. So how can videos, ostensibly made for "promotion" be sold in this way? Don't the bands feel a little cheated because they've been deprived of the promotional value they paid for? I really just don't understand. But I also don't understand DRM or the way the digital format has been handled at all by the big companies.

Content is king. Keep it flowing, there are so many bands out there that the only way to rise above the din is to keep up a consistent stream of free media for fans to enjoy. Free discovery is the only way to make things happen. Once fans are loyal to your b(r)and, MAYBE they'll pay for something, but not before.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Story Behind The Music

People who weren't there during the mid 80's NYHC hardcore scene don't really understand what it was really like back then. In fact, by the time I started becoming a regular matinee rat at CBGB in late '85/ early '86, most of the early bands including Minor Threat, The Misfits (w/ Danzig), and Dead Kennedys (w/Jello) had already played their final NYC shows and were on to different things. By the time I arrived, the influx of B&T kids (like myself) was already changing the direction of the downtown scene.

One of the earliest bands I can remember being schooled on was Major Conflict, fronted by the charismatic Dito Montiel. Dito was somewhat of a legend, especially to the Astoria kids. By the time I hung around he was in a band with some of the ex-members of Kraut, called Gutterboy. After that fizzled in a spectacular way, he made his way out to LA to seek fame and fortune in the film world.

A few years ago Dito contacted me for a copy of the Killing Time "The Method" CD, because there was a Major Conflict cover on it. In trade he sent me a copy of his book, called A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints. More than about hardcore, It was a memoir of sorts, about growing up in a tough city and looking to escape the economic and social barriers of a lower-middle class upbringing.

That book is now a movie starring Robert Downey Jr., Chaz Palminteri, and Rosario Dawson, and will be released on September 29. It's already won a few awards at Caan, and from what I saw of the trailer, it looks way more worthwhile than most of the Hollywood schlock out there. I encourage everyone to go and see the movie, support one of the founding fathers of NYHC, and get a window into a world that most people never even knew existed.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

So MySpace Is Selling Downloads

MySpace has now joined the digital music retail war by announcing plans to create a non-DRM download store where artists can sell their own music. Liz Gaines at Gigaom offers the following details:

This isn’t a challenger to iTunes because the songs will be unrestricted MP3s, therefore leaving out the DRM-obsessed major labels. But it’s a great way to play into the allure of being part of the cool crowd — one of MySpace’s greatest strengths. Bands will be able to set their prices, with MySpace and Snocap each getting a cut. Fans can syndicate the stores on their MySpace pages, but it’s not clear if they will be able to take a share of the revenue as well.

While this a cool widget, I don't see this ala-carte MySpace store catching fire unless the larger independents and majors hop on board. Would I consider having Blackout! artists selling music through individual stores on MySpace? Absolutely, provided the labels rights were protected.

By using this somewhat traditional model of digital commerce, MySpace missed a huge opportunity to really seize the hearts and minds of music lovers. Instead of the pay per download model, they could have set up a low cost monthly subscription plan, that would rival eMusic. For a few dollars a month (or other incremental micropayment users) could dowload up to X amount of releases. I believe this would have ultimately created more long term value for labels, artists, and MySpace itself.