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Why are record sales truly falling? (a conspiracy theory rant inside.)

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Deano Destructo, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. Deano Destructo

    Deano Destructo MusicMan & Upton addict. Hasn't slept since 1979. Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA.
    Really there's no theory at all. Though I did just have a strange idea. Maybe the fact of the matter rest in that music sales have dropped in the last three years is not simply based on "downloading and piracy" but on the fact that the current state of popular music sucks at the moment. Think about it for a minute.

    How many labels have jumped on band wagons of signing similiar artist to what the jones next door have signed. They instead of taking a risk on truly unique artist that might break into something new to begin the next big thing go with the same old thing from next door, just repackaged. Type A record company signs Brittany Spears only to have Type B sign Christina Aguilara. Type C trying to be truly inovative signs J-Lo (after all one can never have to many "divas":rolleyes: ) and to keep up Type D signs Beyonce. RIDICULOUS....

    So please right your congress man and try to put a stop to the madness. After watching the VMA awards the other night I can truly say all art is lost in popular music and one must search like a mad man to find music that actual means something. I for one don't believe kissing on stage and guest appearances by other artist do an artist make :mad: .

    The only thing I can attribute this to is the late 80's hairband movement that saw it's share of cookie cutter bands also. Does anyone else see this type of pattern in music today or am I all alone? :confused:

    Sorry I had to get these frustrations off my chest:( .....
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Additionally the preference of projects/casted groups etc. over "conventional" bands that are "developed" over time has resulted in a decrease of "product loyalty" on the customer (and distributor) side.

    When you really love a band you buy their CDs, if it's just the "latest thing" that's gone tomorrow, you probably just download it and delete it when it's out of fashion.
    Some genres, especially electronic ambient music for example, just work over compilations where it's not even important what artists are on there, you just get the "latest Cafe del Mar" or Mojo Club. The artist is largely insignificant.

    Certain age groups, e.g. 30+, are neglected, and ironically those are the people who generally still want to buy CDs and/or are hesitant/unable to download music.

    The majors only cater to teens, and they have to divide their pocket money between clothes and cell phone fees...guess what they gonna do...

    [edited for some orthographic and structural errors]
  3. ryuujin


    Jun 1, 2003
    Delaware, OH
    Ya well I completely agree with what both of you said. I still buy cds but its not the ones that the big record companies want me to. :D
  4. IMO, most of the music that has been released in the last 6 months is just shiite. Nothing on the radio catches my attention these days...

    So I agree with what your're saying basically.
  5. SHB


    Mar 25, 2003
    Maryland USA
    Aisle 1, we showcase CD's with female singers moaning in every possible note in their range, like they're still trying to impress the talent show judges, over a soundtrack that goes boom-boom-clicky-clicky-boom-boom.

    Aisle 2, specially priced for 18.95, the new one by that band than screams every song telling us that their life sucks. Cheers, all!

    Aisle 3, latest releases by songwriters displaying their lyrical imaginings with words like "booty" and "m.th.rf...".
  6. that's a good one! LOL!!!

    Seriously, I think the RIAA and the record labels are using downloading as an excuse...I mean, did record sales fall this much when the cassette tape was introduced? It's a bunch of crap and they know it. If they would sign some quality acts I would start buying CDs again. Only things that I bought recently were the new Wayne Shorter, which I love, and the Audioslave, which to me sounds like rehashed RATM with a little bit of melody thrown in.
  7. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    ...that there is nothing new under the sun. And he was right.

    As far back as I can remember, there have been crappy, derivative, cookie-cutter acts and manufactured, packaged "talent." This goes back to even before I was born, to when pop music was first becoming a big deal in the 1950s.

    When I was in my teens and twenties (when we pay a lot of attention to new music) I would avoid the top 40 (does that even exist any more?) like the plague, because that's where all the crap was.

    The problem we have today is simple: Recorded music has to compete with more noise than ever before, so it's become a back-burner commodity.

    Back in the stone age, when we'd tape pennies to the record player tone arm to keep it from skipping, there was no cable TV...even the biggest markets had three networks and two or three local channels, and that was IT...no Internet, no cell phones, no personal stereos, no video games...no VIDEO (tape or dvd)...and first-run movies didn't wind up on television three months after initial release.

    Back then, an album release from a big-name band was a BIG DEAL and could carry the band for a year or more. WHOLE ALBUMS were important, not just the single that manages to make it onto MTV.

    So albums like, say, Led Zeppelin IV or (shudder) Boston were heavily anticipated, played to death in dorm rooms and on the radio, and in EVERYONE'S collection. That just doesn't happen any more.

    Today, 12-year-olds are spending hours text-messaging one another when they're not chatting on the net, or surfing 150 channels of BS on television. Who has time to actually pay attention to music any more?
  8. Deano Destructo

    Deano Destructo MusicMan & Upton addict. Hasn't slept since 1979. Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA.
    One of the major problems that record labels are loosing money is easily remedied. Stop giving the artist such a big budget to record with. Example? KoRn. These cats spend $4 million to record the last album Untouchables which sells what 400,000 copies if that (thats almost gold, is'nt it?). Most major label albums cost between $250,000 and 1.5 million to record and produce at most. Where did the rest of said money go you might ask? In Fieldy's own words-

    “We moved to Phoenix and rented five houses for $10,000 apiece for four months,” explains Korn bassist Reginald “Fieldy Snuts” Arvizu when quizzed about the cost. “We came to L.A., rented five houses for $10,000 apiece for four more months. We went to Canada and rented a house for $8,000 a week. That’s a week, not a month. Does that help explain it?” :rolleyes:

    This is not meant to "bash" Korn or the way they handle business since they're obviously doing better than I in that department. I'm mearly trying to show that record labels are not being very wise or frugel with their money now. Are they? Don't attempt to blame the public or "pirates" for your bad business choices listed in this thread. I feel no sympathy for you at all. :spit:

    If I'd been the CEO of epic record I'd have planted my foot in Fieldy's a$$ for spending that amount of cash to "record" much less for releasing that statment publicly.:eek:
  9. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I can agree that the "quality" of the entertainment offered may be one of the reasons that music sales are down.

    Another reason could be other entertainment competition, such as the internet, computer/TV "Game Cube type" games, TV, and books:eek: . Maybe, but not entirely.

    I think some of it is the price of music Cd's. Considering, one could download what music they wanted and skip the "crud".

    Some people may just have media, entertainment burnout. I mean it's everywhere.
  10. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    1) Lack of choice. If record compnies could churn out the same music on every album with a different name on it, they would do so. They even engineer every album to sound the same as well. Some of the biggest producers out there have certain settings they use on ever piece of gear for every mix. They do this because of pressures from the industry bigwigs. I have engineer friends that have quit high profile engineering gigs to deliver pizzas over stuff like this.

    2) Musical subversion. When was the last time you could say there was truly a musical revolution, or at least a drastic change? My thoughts go to Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine. They almost singlehandedly killed hairmetal and the like. That was over ten years ago. Since then, record companies have learned how to mold bands into what they want them to be: punk has never been more commercial, bands like Default, Nickelback, Staind, etc. are interchangable and disposable, metal bands wear masks and makeup to get attention (because their music sure won't do it for them), hip-hop artists have the shortest shelf life of any genre, prog groups all aspire to sound like Dream Theatre. Any group that tries to break out of these molds and starts gaining populatrity because of it, are nipped in the bud and forced to sound like what the record companies want them to be.

    3) Price. Everybody knows that it doesn't cost that much to make a CD. $20?! If CDs were priced at $10-13, more people would be inclined to buy. I think people would still prefer to own a CD as opposed to just the mp3s. There's something about it being tangible that attracts people to buy them still. Until prices come down, people will continue to download. Which brings me to...

    4) Resentment. People are becoming pissed at the music industry at large, for many of the reasons listed above. You don't gain customers support by suing them for downloading music, especially when you didn't give them much choice in the matter. Most people don't know how the industry works; they just want music. It angers them when CDs cost so much, musicians seemingly are all millionaires, and they have to shell out $20 for a CD that only has one or two good songs on it.

    On the plus side of things, it's a great time for music right now. Recording technology is cheap and easy to use, and the internet makes it easy to present music to the world. Music has never been more accessable, which is great. It is a really bad time for the music industry though, which is also good for music. The less music is effected by commerce, the better. My prediction is that eventually music super-stars will be a thing of the past. No more super millionaires, just some guys in the basement making music for music's sake, and selling songs on the internet for $1 a peice. Yeah, I kind of like that.
  11. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    sorry, dude. pop music has almost always sucked.

    the sad thing is that the big labels and the sucky pop music will be the last ones to feel the pain of downloaders and kazaa-oids.

    as for labels giving big budgets, you can't use korn as an example of big label budgets. the majority of artists get way less than what was standard 30 years ago as their advance.
  12. 1-pop always sucks
    2-the economy sucks
    3-$20 a cd? are you kidding?
    4-even if there are very few people downloading music, nobody was downloading before, so it may be a small dent but it's still a dent
    5-seriously, you want twenty bucks for this thing?
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    if we charged $20 a cd, we would have to sell almost 2k to recoup our personal investment :). of course, we have no delusions about recouping our investment :D
  14. Ok, I agree, there's nothing new out, no cds actually worth buying and they cost way too frieking much. But you still have to admit that a drop of 30% in sales over the last 2-3 years (i forgot which, lol) is pretty big, and a lot of that probably is due to song pirating and cd burning.
    I would like to believe otherwise, I mean it would help lessen the guilt of having stolen over 430 songs, but its the truth. Now that i mention it though, there really isn't any guilt, because all this hurts is the f*cked up record industry and the overpaid pop stars that can't feel the consequences anyways. Kazaa and the like never have been used prominently to discover new bands as they claim, and they never will.
    My take on it is that music serves a greater purpose here than to make money for people, and this should just make bands tour more to make money. Wait, that's a huge contradicion. Oh well.
  15. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    It's great for artistry to be free of artistic constraints, some degree of commerce is needed if musicians are to be able to do it for a living... The commerce aspect of making and selling music can easily be seen as being there to support musicians in making music. I'm sure that's part of the argument that the Majors would use, though obviously none of us would believe a word of it, knowing only too well what a load of uncreative manufactured crap so much of what comes out of 'the machine' really is...

    However, if you do have 'some guys in a basement selling songs for a buck a piece', then someone's got to let the world know about it, someone's got to pay for the bandwidth for all the downloads, someone's got to be marketing it to other sites in order to get that stuff heard and played. I don't think that means that we need the kind of puppet show that we've got at the moment in the charts, but it does mean that there needs to be routes for musicians to travel in order to get stuff out there.

    The interesting thing is that precisely because of the crapness of so much music on mainstream radio these days, these are great times for indie artists - as you say, the tech side is getting cheaper, no-one is slave to a label any more just to get the damn thing recorded. Now we can make albums at home, for a tiny budget, and even do artwork and photography at home too. The rubbishness of Britney's World (tm) has sent people looking for music of substance in their millions. Indie sales account for a bigger and bigger percentage of record sales each year. www.cdbaby.com have now paid out over four million dollars direct to artists for CD sales in the last few years. and there are lots of sites doing those kinds of sales. The major shops have woken up, and are starting to stock indie music (you can get my stuff at www.tower.com and www.hmv.co.uk now!) and radio stations are opening up as 'the alternative' and everyone knows what it's the alternative to.

    As some social theorist once said, you can have a mass movement with a god, but not without a devil. The Majors and the Mainstream provide us with a very convenient target for all the crap that they throw at us. So we are able to engender all the loyalty stuff that JMX was talking about, because our audience appreciates that we care, and can't survive without them. I'm very appreciative of anyone who buys one of my CDs, in a way that Metallica seemed to miss with the whole napster mess.

    ...just a few thoughts...

  16. ryuujin


    Jun 1, 2003
    Delaware, OH
    actually I have used Kazaa to discover bands that I have never heard of, until I read about them on a message board, more times than I can remember. I would never have heard Porcupine Tree, Pain of Salvation, Children of Bodom, Sonata Arctica, Dimmu Borgir, etc., etc. if it weren't for the ability to download songs and see if I like the music. I am certainly not going to buy a cd if I won't like the majority of it. Buying a whole cd just because of one or two songs that were on the radio is stupid. That is largely the problem now because most albums from big new "artists" are just the single(s) and some filler. its just sad.
  17. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i guess you missed the part where i said "has almost always sucked", huh? :)
  18. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Your frustration and disillusionment are well-founded, IMO, Fixer. There are several dynamics at work, which others have touched on, and I'll try to give you references for them to give a deeper understanding of how sick the music biz, major label, is these days.

    > In the 70's and early 80's, my bands had very good success, financially, playing our originals. As time went on and I got older, I found, to my surprise, that playing in good cover bands was steady employment that afforded a decent living.

    > It used to be about "unit sales" through record stores. Then, I saw what Widespread Panic was doing just touring..... it blew my mind! They totally changed my brain about how to approach the biz.
    Last year, Widespread Panic was among the Top 100 grossing touring acts in the USA, topping Limp Bizkit, Britney Spears and Bob Dylan.

    As their lead singer, John Bell said about one of their reasons for their success,
    "In our world, playing rock 'n' roll in the clubs, you see bands that have a different bass player each week. The name remains the same but the players aren't ."

    So, the moral of the story is - CD sales/downloads can be secondary income to ticket sales.

    > Whenever a total stooge like Fred "the bitch" Durst gets to be a VP of a major label like Innerscope, you know that world is sicko. Please refer to one of my favorite exposes on the stupidity of major labels at - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/interviews/mcchesney.html
  19. darkjoker667


    Apr 21, 2003
    Uuhhhh, aren't we in a recession? I would imagine everything is down.

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