That’s the promise of UKMusic.com, newly set up behind claims that it’s “Upfront” and “Ruthlessly Independent”.
The online music scene by the people in it? Really? heh.
And with that statement ringing loudly in the background, UKMusic.com also unblushingly admits to having Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony BMG’s BPI (British Phonographic Industry) , the Association of Independent Music, the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, the MCPS-PRS Alliance, the Music Managers Forum, the Music Publishers Association and the Musicians Union and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) as members.
With that group behind it, fair and unbiased representation for British musicians is absolutely guaranteed.
“Whenever I talk to a band who are about to sign with a major label, I always end up thinking of them in a particular context. I imagine a trench, about four feet wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with runny, decaying shit. I imagine these people, some of them good friends, some of them barely acquaintances, at one end of this trench. I also imagine a faceless industry lackey at the other end holding a fountain pen and a contract waiting to be signed. Nobody can see what’s printed on the contract. It’s too far away, and besides, the shit stench is making everybody’s eyes water. The lackey shouts to everybody that the first one to swim the trench gets to sign the contract. Everybody dives in the trench and they struggle furiously to get to the other end. Two people arrive simultaneously and begin wrestling furiously, clawing each other and dunking each other under the shit. Eventually, one of them capitulates, and there’s only one contestant left. He reaches for the pen, but the Lackey says ‘Actually, I think you need a little more development. Swim again, please. Backstroke’. And he does of course.”
Or, rather, where it doesn’t go, ie, to the people who make music in the first place.
But in 2008 things are much better. Correct? Like, now there’s a plethora of vested interests selflessly looking after artists’ interests.
Especially in the UK.
TorrentFreak sums it up thus »»»
Despite the growing ability to control their own destiny, thousands of artists and industry personnel still prefer the help and guidance of a recording label who, among other things, will take anti-piracy action where necessary. In turn, many of these labels feel that they themselves need some sort of support when trying to stamp out piracy, so they turn to a large umbrella group such as the BPI, the British equivalent of the RIAA.
There are many of these groups, all claiming to offer support to various parts of the music and recording industry. In addition to the BPI there is the Association of Independent Music which represents around 800 UK labels and distributors, The British Academy of Composers and Songwriters which claims to be A single voice for all music writers, and the MCPS-PRS Alliance, the outfit charged with the dignified collection of performance revenues. Not forgetting the Music Managers Forum of course, which represents the rights of pop music managers, and the self explanatory Musicians Union and Phonographic Performance Limited, which licenses recorded music on behalf of 3,500 labels and 37,000 performers.
Enter UKMusic.com. Run by Feargal Sharkey, it’ll, “represent Britain’s entire music industry will today promise to deliver a five-year plan to plot a safer course for a sector that has been battered in the past decade,” says The Guardian.
“UK Music intends to replace the disparate voices of the confusing tangle of bodies that previously represented the industry, frequently with conflicting viewpoints.”
Sharkey, ex-lead vocalist for pop punk band The Undertones, is already in charge of British Music Rights which earlier this year commissioned a report from the University of Hertfordshire to find out what Brits aged between 16 and 24 actually think about music and copyright and what their attitudes are towards the music industry.
Conclusion? Sneakernet may be far more dangerous to the corporate music industry than online file sharing, says a new study.
The story has Sharkey promising UK Music represents a, “bold new chapter for the UK’s commercial music industry”.
It comes complete with a manifesto and a collective submission to the government on illegal file sharing and, “Another early target will be to press for the extension of the copyright term, currently limited to 50 years,” says the story adding »»»
“The thing we all realised is that we all agree with each other 95% of the time. It’s looking at where the industry is going to be three, four or five years from now,” he told the Guardian. The recent memorandum of understanding brokered by the government and signed between record labels and internet service providers was an important moment in proving the effectiveness of co-operation, said Sharkey. Under the terms of the memorandum, the internet service providers agreed to pilot new ways of monitoring and cracking down on illegal file sharing and work with labels to develop new revenue models that will see unlimited access to music bundled into broadband subscriptions.
The new manifesto, to be delivered next year, will call for government support on a range of issues designed to safeguard the future of the industry. Sharkey said the fate of the music industry had risen up the political agenda in recent years and the government, recognising it as a British success story, had encouraged the establishment of a new organisation to represent it.
“Quite simply, music is one of the few areas where this nation continues to punch above its weight and something we should all be celebrating.”
Albini’s article was written back in 1993, but it still makes interesting reading — and it’d be interesting to know how the same figures stack up today.
It goes like this »»»
These figures are representative of amounts that appear in record contracts daily. There’s no need to skew the figures to make the scenario look bad, since real-life examples more than abound. income is underlined, expenses are not.Advance: $ 250,000 ^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ Manager's cut: $ 37,500 Legal fees: $ 10,000 Recording Budget: $ 150,000 Producer s advance: $ 50,000 Studio fee: $ 52,500 Drum. Amp, Mic and Phase "Doctors": $ 3,000 Recording tape: $ 8,000 Equipment rental: $ 5,000 Cartage and Transportation: $ 5,000 Lodgings while in studio: $ 10,000 Catering: $ 3,000 Mastering: $ 10,000 Tape copies, reference CDs, shipping tapes, misc. expenses: $ 2,000 Video budget: $ 30,000 Cameras: $ 8,000 Crew: $ 5,000 Processing and transfers: $ 3,000 Off-line: $ 2,000 On-line editing: $ 3,000 Catering: $ 1,000 Stage and construction: $ 3,000 Copies, couriers, transportation: $ 2,000 Director's fee: $ 3,000 Album Artwork: $ 5,000 Promotional photo shoot and duplication: $ 2,000 Band fund: $ 15,000 New fancy professional drum kit: $ 5,000 New fancy professional guitars : $ 3,000 New fancy professional guitar amp rigs : $ 4,000 New fancy potato-shaped bass guitar: $ 1,000 New fancy rack of lights bass amp: $ 1,000 Rehearsal space rental: $ 500 Big blowout party for their friends: $ 500 Tour expense [5 weeks]: $ 50,875 Bus: $ 25,000 Crew : $ 7,500 Food and per diems: $ 7,875 Fuel: $ 3,000 Consumable supplies: $ 3,500 Wardrobe: $ 1,000 Promotion: $ 3,000 Tour gross income: $ 50,000 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^ Agent's cut: $ 7,500 Manager's cut: $ 7,500 Merchandising advance: $ 20,000 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^ Manager's cut: $ 3,000 Lawyer's fee: $ 1,000 Publishing advance: $ 20,000 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^ Manager's cut: $ 3,000 Lawyer's fee: $ 1,000 Record sales: 250,000 @ $12 = $3,000,000 Gross retail revenue Royalty [13% of 90% of retail]: $ 351,000 Less advance: $ 250,000 Producer's points [3% less $50,000 advance]: $ 40,000 Promotional budget: $ 25,000 Recoupable buyout from previous label: $ 50,000 Net royalty: $ -14,000 ^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^ Record company income: Record wholesale price $6.50 x 250,000 = $1,625,000 gross income Artist Royalties: $ 351,000 Deficit from royalties: $ 14,000 Manufacturing, packaging and distribution @ $2.20 per record: $ 550,000 Gross profit: $ 7l0,000 The Balance Sheet: This is how much each player got paid at the end of the game. Record company: $ 710,000 Producer: $ 90,000 Manager: $ 51,000 Studio: $ 52,500 Previous label: $ 50,000 Agent: $ 7,500 Lawyer: $ 12,000 Band member net income each: $ 4,031.25
The band is now 1/4 of the way through its contract, has made the music industry more than 3 million dollars richer, but is in the hole $14,000 on royalties. The band members have each earned about 1/3 as much as they would working at a 7-11, but they got to ride in a tour bus for a month.
The next album will be about the same, except that the record company will insist they spend more time and money on it. Since the previous one never “recouped,” the band will have no leverage, and will oblige.
The next tour will be about the same, except the merchandising advance will have already been paid, and the band, strangely enough, won’t have earned any royalties from their T-shirts yet. Maybe the T-shirt guys have figured out how to count money like record company guys.
Some of your friends are probably already this fucked.
United, they’ll still fall.
P2P is here to stay.
No need to stay tuned.
TorrentFreak – UK Music Groups Launch Super Anti-Piracy Coalition, October 27, 2008
The Guardian – Music trade unites to fight against piracy, October 27, 2008
far more dangerous – Sneakernet bigger threat than P2P file sharing, April 7, 2008
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