Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The King drove MUSIC to a very high place and the infrastructure was further exploded by the talents of The Beatles. When 331/3 married FM radio the postmodern record business became big business. The symbiotic relationship between concerts and records blew it up even bigger. All of this was MUSIC driven.
It is culturally impossible for the old infrastructure to survive without an artist geometrically more appealing than Elvis or The Beatles. Even in this era of FREE MUSIC and niche markets, such an avatar could draw an ubiquitous audience. Lacking a superstar to attract their interest the people will go back to the street and start over. The exodus has already begun.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
HOLOGRAM: Hartmann Returns to UCLA for Fall 2010
Holodigm Music CEO, and music industry veteran, John Hartmann has been engaged to repeat "The Insiders Guide to Music Management" for UCLA Extension this Fall. Hartmann who is a three time professor of the year at Loyola Marymount University will bring his new digital music industry paradigm to the Westwood campus for the second time. The Holodigm system is attracting musicians and entrepreneurs from all over the world who are dedicated to building careers in the music renaissance.
The Insider's Guide to Music Management
X 447.31 Music 4 units $550
The music manager's role is crucial to a musician's career success. Yet very few people who enter the entertainment industry have any idea what a manager does or how one can help their career. This course is designed to explain the management side of the music business. Find out what music managers do, why they are important, and how to avoid management pitfalls. Lectures, discussion, and industry guests address such topics as when to get a manager, the role of the manager in the indie world, and going up the ladder with a manager. Internet access required to retrieve course materials.
UCLA: 2214 School of Public Affairs Bldg.
Saturdays: 12PM -4PM - 9 Meetings
Sep 25 - Nov 20
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
QUOTE ME: Bob Lefsetz
"We live in a confusing, crazy world. But one thing is constant. The winners
pay their dues. And it's not solely time on the chain gang. No, there's a
ton of anxiety involved. Questioning yourself, taking risks, sticking to your
guns when no one believes in you."
Monday, June 14, 2010
MIND + BODY SYMMETRY TRAINING
"A Youthing System for the 21st Century"
Aging is not about time, it is an accumulation of symptoms. BioMatrix Training reverses the aging process by eliminating the symptoms. Close the Mind + Body gap and realize your full potential.
Stretch, torque and meditate your way to peace, harmony and a stress free life. Empower your goals with integrated action. Position your mind to dominate and control your bodies agenda.
Find your personal balance before you are endangered, before pain masters you and your mind loses its keenness. Seek the truth and serve the light. Strive to master only yourself.
Pax et Amo. Hartmann
SUNDAYS - 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM - YOGA DESA @ PINE TREE CIRCLE - 120 Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Topanga, CA 90290
FIRST CLASS - July 11 - All ages and all stages welcome. Yoga mat required. Donation: $5
BioMatrix Coach: John Hartmann - email@example.com
Friday, June 11, 2010
MAKE THEM SING BARBARA SKYDEL MAKE THEM PLAY
Barb was the best of the best. She brought dignity, class and style to the profession of booking agent. Her honesty, integrity and humility set a standard that only she could achieve. Either at Premier Talent, or the Morris office, she represented every act I managed for the past four decades.
Yesterday I called a number only she had answered for over forty years. I was just checking on her health which had been distressed. Not waiting for a "hello" I immediately went into my song: "I am HartSky and you are SkyBlue, I'm just callin' to say I love you..."
"I presume you are calling for Barbara," replied a very dignified Nurse Genvieve. "I am sorry to inform you that Barbara died this morning." She didn't sugar coat the word as if there were some flavor that might turn the pill sweet.
Genvieve was a professional and she had done this many times before. She told me the truth with love, I swallowed hard, could think of nothing to say, thanked her and cried.
"I an HartSky and you are SkyBlue, I'm just callin to say I love you."
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Ryan Gosling - Dead Man's Bones - on Pitchfork:
"It seems like an interesting time to come into music, because it seems like everybody's leaving, every office we go into the guy's packing up, and pulling all the final things from his desk in a box," Gosling said. "It seems like, you can't make money anymore, so people are trying to figure out how it all should work. My impression just seems to be like, it's kind of the Wild West in a way. Whatever you think of you can do, and that's really terrifying but also an exciting situation to be in, because you realize that you can create the way that this goes down for you...So people are in it because they want to be, and not because they think it'll be profitable for them. It seems like it's good creatively, but you also have to figure out how you want to present your music, because the old model doesn't work anymore."
Posted by Amy Phillips on January 11, 2009 at 4:20 p.m.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
A Literary Agent asks:
Will book publishing suffer the same fate as the record business?
The handwriting is on the wall and there is no god powerful enough to stop digimodernization. Reading from paper is too expensive to survive as a great American pastime. Furthermore, it is economically and ecologically unsound.
The big publishers will gobble up the little ones in a vain attempt to grab a few more high profit sales. But, just like the fate the ones and zeros imposed on the record business they will die, crushed under their own weight. So what's new? This is what technology does to everything sooner or later. Somebody builds a better mouse trap and everybody wants one.
Well guess what, everybody has one and the more they play with their computers the faster the old paradigm shifts. And as scary as that may sound to you, it's the best thing that ever happened to authors of creative works. When the price dust settles reading on screen will get millions more people into the mix. More words are read online every day than are accessed from all other sources combined.
It is so Socratic that each and every dreamer can write a book. Why not? Eeverybody is the star of his own movie and all this reading is going to produce a different kind of author. For lack of a term, lets call it "reality writing." Unfettered by the editorial process, the new writers will shred the envelope. The will break all the rules, because they don't know them.
What these cyber-writers bring to the table is freedom. Freedom to create, freedom to publish and most importantly freedom to collect if they write something truly great. Yes, millions will publish a few copies for their friends and family, but think about the potential if you produce something everybody loves. After all it is the entertainment business and only the very best stuff makes the best seller lists.
It is impossible to say what the public will embrace in the long term. History shows that everything just keeps changing. The good news is that if a great book is written and published by the author it will find an audience eager to play and willing to pay. What they won't buy is marginal work.
When the good stuff hits the Internet millions will acquire it for free. A fraction will pay out of appreciation and respect. That minority will be infinitely greater in size than the entire extant book market. The author could sell millions of digital copies in a day. There will be no commissions and no publishers share. The price will be less than five dollars and the author will never have to work again. Of course, he will and he will keep the profit.
Some people will always read from paper books, but they probably ride horses and have eight-track players as well. It's time that the corporate money machines were eliminated from the process and their well demonstrated greed insures their demise. No assasination is required, they shot themselves in the foot and now they are frantically watching themselves bleed out.
Let authors stand on their talents and when they deliver let them keep the money. The world of publishers is doomed, the world of authors is born anew and it is the most exciting time in reading. Some brilliant agents will reinvent the monetization of the business model and all will be well in the land. The winners are the readers and writers. The losers are the powers that used to be and within a decade all that will remain is the ashes of the status quo doused by zeros and ones.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Holodigm artists The Reflectacles will be performing live at Dakota Lounge this Wednesday.
4 GREAT BANDS STARTING at 8:30 PM
The Refelctacles Showtime: 10:30 PM
Location: 1026 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica
Unless something goes terribly wrong with the United States Postal Service, we will have our debut, "The Wiley Post EP," available for sale!
Please help support your local Rock 'n' Roll movement. Music, herself, needs you!
Monday, May 17, 2010
HoloGram - Pearls of Wisdom from a Master Songwriter
"If I were to take a young band, I would have them listen to four people: Burt
Bacharach, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson and Paul Simon, or maybe Laura Nyro.
Listen to the construction of those songs. I mean, the Beatles - so simple, but
I get everything they're saying to me. When I hear these new bands, I don't get
it. And it's because they don't know how to tell a story within those musical
boundaries. That three-minute musical boundary." ALICE COOPER
Friday, May 7, 2010
Kissing is invited, but not mandatory. All kissing will be conducted at the discretion of the kissee, not the kisser. The Reflectacles Music Company, LLC assumes no liability for the after effects of short or long term kissing. Thank you for your cooperation. Bring your dancing shoes and lips.
The Air Conditioned Supper Club is located @ 625 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, CA 90291SHOW STARTS @ 8:00 pm
THE REFLECTACLES @ 10:00 PM
DINNER RESERVATIONS: 310-250-5343
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Valerie Walsh asks:
What the hell is going on in the music business? Is everybody fiddling as Rome burns? Is there a plan for the future?
Welcome to The Gold Rush - The Digital Music Business
When no bag is ubiquitous all genres are viable. We have entered The Music Renaissance and the future of the Music Industry has never been brighter. The thousands of years old concert business will not evaporate because the postmodern record business has reached the end of its dominant era. The double edged sword of the Internet has cut the big four labels to their knees. It is also the instrument carving the future of recorded music. The paradigm shift is toward the artist. No longer will popular music be dictated from corporate board rooms. The next great star will rise up from the cyber-grass-roots and suddenly explode on the web. Should only the degree of affection we held for The Beatles land on a new artist, a monumental windfall could make such an act instantly famous and vastly rich in one day. Would you have stolen from Elvis or The Beatles?
It would defy the historical trajectory for such a phenomenon not to occur. If everybody with an iPod decided to purchase rather than "share" a particular song a multi million dollar fortune would be made instantly. The pursuit of this potential has a fertile garden and an army of contestants. Millions post their music online every day. This creates a giant hay stack of brass needles. Everybody with a Guitar Hero badge and a Mac can write a song and make a record. But they are not necessarily talented. The challenge is to find the golden needles among the brass. It can't be done by surfing the web. The battle is fought in the live arena.
The digital convergence has vastly expanded the core audience for music. Every song ever recorded is available online for free. Nothing can stop the tide of peer-to-peer file sharing. It is not regarded by the participants as theft. The music is "shared" for the benefit of artist and fan. They regard record companies as the enemy of the artist and they are correct in that presumption. Since the moral quotient has no consideration nothing can stop the practice. The new music industry entrepreneur must accept the fact that paying for music is a choice not a necessity.
The listening experience has come full circle. Music lovers are addressing one song at a time. They no longer have to buy ten songs they don't want to get the one they like. After all, they are not paying for it and nobody steals something he doesn't want. The record business is over, and bands must give their music away to create a following. Downloads are easy to distribute. If enough people "share" your music they will come to your gig out of curiosity.
If you have a great live act they will fall in love and buy the CD from you even though they already have the music or they wouldn't be there. If they go for a t-shirt as well good for you. They saw MTV and are aware that purchasing your merch is a gesture of admiration, affection and support. The artist and the audience are now directly linked and the new infrastructure for the monetization of music will be constructed according to this principal. The artist is the publisher, manager and label and he must own and control all income streams just to survive. Ten percent of the artists will split one hundred percent of the money.
The big four record labels will continue to shrink and ultimately become banking institutions. They will try to buy the acts that succeed. By the time the labels know what is happening the artists won't need them. Their distribution system evaporated with the brick and mortar stores. Radio has been their long time weapon of justification but everybody listens to his iPod.
There is only one template for how to pursue careers in the current environment. If you are going to turn your music into a survival mechanism you must first learn how to play the digital music business game. You must play perfectly well, have talent and get lucky to win. The process begins with education. The systems, mechanics, protocols and politics of how to get started can be found at The Holodigm. The golden needles are invited to join the revolution in the digital music renaissance. Make music your business. Make business your music. Learn how, right now at: http://www.holodigmmusic.com/.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Get a jump on graduation celebrations - Join us at:
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Underground vs. Mainstream
I was wondering if the indie and folk genres have what it takes to produce a musician comparable to a group like The Beatles or Bob Dylan. I question this because I see groups, such as Bright Eyes, who have the ability to sell out the Hollywood Bowl at a ticket cost of $100 + and yet, they are still very "underground" in a sense. What is keeping bands like these from surfacing into the mainstream and gaining a dedicated international fan base?
Every generation puts a hero up the pop charts. The evolution of music is deeply attached to the cultural phenomenon we call "coming of age." Growing up is a process that nobody escapes; it just happens. Technology gave birth to the record business with the invention of Edison's phonograph. In the beginning recorded music was a luxury enjoyed by those able to afford the cost of the hardware and the records were essentially loss leaders designed to sell the machines.
In the early nineteen hundreds terrestrial, broadcast radio became the primary delivery system for recorded music. The stations were small and their audiences regional. The music itself focused on the genres and styles indigenous to the immediate locale. There was no mainstream music format. Each region of the country presented the music most likely to attract the largest audience in the broadcast radius of the station. Jazz, Ragtime and The Blues dominated in the deep South. Moving North, Country music proliferated. In the North East and West big band music reigned.
During World War II the record business suffered its first major decline. Seventy eight RPM records were pressed in shellac, a substance produced in a handful of Pacific countries. The war precluded access to this essential material and the business was stopped cold in its tracks. Pun intended. However, the war effort generated enormous advances in source materials, recording technology and manufacturing mechanics. Low cost, 45 RPM record players arrived.
This new playback systems liberated teenagers from their parent's music. Young people now had the unique ability to choose their own music one song at a time. The collecting and trading of singles became the primary bonding mechanism for the baby boomer generation. Searching the radio dial young people discovered the latest hits and scrambled to own them. Into this fertile marketplace exploded Rock & Roll music. The fuel was the beat and the superstar was Elvis.
The enormous popularity of The king of Rock & Roll and the consolidation of radio stations into broadcast networks enabled national exploitation of regional artists. The mainstream was born. For more than fifty years national radio formats have successfully serviced a ubiquitous audience. Technical changes introduced thirty-three and one-third RPM albums just in time to flood the exploitation of FM radio. The Beatles led the parade and rock music dominated the airwaves.
The tremendous success of John, Paul, George and Ringo enthralled the world and every young musician yearned to start a band just like The Beatles. Millions tried and many succeeded, but none quite as well as The Fab Four. Regardless of the degree of success enjoyed by any given artist, high fidelity and stereophonic sound kept the public engaged and the music industry flourished behind its two primary activities performing and recording. The concert business nourished the record business and the sale of records precipitated attendance at live events.
The music industry was strong and a myriad of record companies emerged as the dominant marketing force. They controlled both radio formats and built vast distribution systems to service the thousands of record stores across the country and around the world. In the mid-seventies an extraordinary breakthrough shocked the industry. The vast number of record players extant, combined with efficient delivery systems and massive airplay to provoke a new phenomenon.
A young artist named Peter Frampton sold twenty-five million copies of the album "Frampton Comes Alive." This seminal event changed the record business forever. Lured by the huge profits attached to gigantic album sales, and the booming concert business, giant multi-national corporations began a process of acquisition and merger. This has resulted in hundreds of record labels being shrunk down to four major companies. With the record business under the control and direction of a few executives it didn't take much to bring the whole thing crashing down.
One fatal choice brought the postmodern era to an end and obliterated the mainstream. The decision of the Recording Industry Association of America, to destroy peer-to-peer file sharing and to sue their customers for doing it sealed their fate. In an effort to maintain the high profit CD as the prime delivery system for music, the big four walked away from digital downloading and denied their customer base. For the past decade CD sales have been in a constant decline.
The game has come full circle. The public has consistently demonstrated an interest in individual songs as opposed to the album format. This return to the singles game has resulted in music fans refusing to buy ten or more songs to get the one they want. With the loss of high profit CDs the infrastructure of the postmodern era could not stand. The loss of the record business is the music fans gain. More importantly, it places the power in the hands of the artists and music producers.
Radio is no longer the primary delivery system for music. The brick and mortar record stores have all but disappeared and the record companies are stuck in the old paradigm with no rescue in sight. Digimodernization has opened up the Internet and provided every artist with the same power tool to exploit their music. The major labels can no longer justify the enormous costs associated with artist development. Sales can not support the old record business paradigm.
The good news is that a small group of corporate executives, lawyers and bean counters are no longer in charge of popular music. The former dictators of content, and arbiters of taste, must now wait to see what the fan base is embracing on the world wide web. Recording costs are low, distribution and promotion are free and every style of music has a well established fan base.
There is a channel open for every genre and each one has a clear path for artists and managers to follow. Success is no longer measured in multi-platinum sales. A platinum album is every bit as rare and unique as it was in the beginning of the postmodern era. Only a handful of artists have enjoyed million unit sales in recent years, and the number is declining rapidly. What the RIAA calls theft is, in the minds of the cyber-kids, no such thing. If it is on the Internet, it's free for all.
The liberation of the artist community from the iron handed control of the record labels is a sign of progress. The future is clearly in the hands of the creative community once again. Many artists are enjoying relative success in the music renaissance. Bands like Bright Eyes selling out The Hollywood Bowl, at $100+ ticket prices is no small achievement. They are making good money. This has been accomplished through a long process of nurturing their following through live performances. Their fan base grew without the benefit of massive, mainstream radio airplay.
Making a living from music is the first level of success and it is only accomplished by ten percent of the artists competing. The digital stage is set. The cultural interest in music is at its highest level in history. More songs are in play to more people than ever before. Into this environment a young artist will eventually explode. The fans will fall in love, just like we loved The Beatles.
This new found musical hero will inspire the public who will voluntarily pay for the music, when they could "share" it for free. This transition in thinking will only be provoked by a great talent, with a timely image and a lot of charisma. Such a superstar will make millions of dollars from the sale of downloads on a single day. Then the same monolithic corporations, who are running for cover today, will reassert themselves, buy up all the players willing to sell, and crash it all again.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The Holodigm Seminars @ UCLA - Saturdays from Noon to 4:00 PM
Three time Loyola Marymount University Professor of the Year, John Hartmann, will be presenting a nine week course at UCLA Extension starting Saturday, April 3 at 12:00 Noon. This four unit course is called "The Insiders Guide to Music Management."
It is the first time The Holodigm Seminars have been available to the general public.
Please forward this message to any friends who may be interested in learning how to build bands in the digital age.
All artists and entrepreneurs engaged in creating careers in the music renaissance can benefit from this comprehensive lecture series on the systems, mechanics, protocols and politics of personal management in the music industry.
The course includes "A" list guest speakers from the eight core professions of entertainment.
You are all invited to participate in the first class at no charge. Just show up.
We meet in room 1234 of the School of Public Affairs Building on the Westwood campus this Saturday at 12: 00 PM. Use easy access at parking lot 3 and walk South to the SPA building.
You may register at www.uclaextension.edu. The course registration number is: V5990.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
WHAT IS THE HOLODIGM ?
The Holodigm Corporation is based in a one room cabin high in the Santa Monica Mountains. It is run entirely on volunteer and collegiate intern labor. It is also the fastest moving force in the creation of a new music industry paradigm. The central product is the first on line, audio-visual, interactive text book.
The Holodigm System provides a comprehensive training in the eight core professions of entertainment. Our online education program presents an industry overview and analysis of the systems, mechanics, protocols and politics of the contemporary music Industry. It is part higher education and part coaching and mentoring. Holodigm Society members gain access to a myriad of products and support services.
The Holodigm Seminars course provides the initial income stream, it is generating a loyal customer platform from which a myriad of production and manufacturing systems previously, provided by record companies, will be launched. The digital convergence has imposed a severe decline in the century old record business. This does not mean that the ancient concert business will suffer a similar fate. Those same digital forces, that have decimated the postmodern record business, are presently engaged in carving a new business model to address the future direction of millions of music professionals and fans.
Established in 2008, by veteran agent, manager and record executive John Hartmann, The Holodigm is an on line sanctuary for artists and entrepreneurs seeking to build careers in the music renaissance. The core demographic of our customer base is the millions of bands posting music on the Internet every day.
The infrastructure of the music industry is built around publishing, concert and record commerce. Every generation chooses a musical hero. The contest to be the one at the top of the charts generates the global music industry mechanism. As a new paradigm evolves the creative community has no template for how to launch a career. The Holodigm provides a map, strategy and method for bringing the band from the garage to the professional realm. We are the missing link in the evolution of digital and music.
With just one full time employee, and a free-lance, part-time staff of interns and professional advisers, The Holodigm has established a marketing position with its central product, The Holodigm Seminars. We have proven the profitability and scalability of our business model. An array of ancillary tools, text books, DVDs and interactive programs are in development. The on line “Songworks” and “Coaches” services will connect aspiring songwriters and bands with world class record production and song craft.
Over the next 36 months, the Company intends to replicate its success by:
• Expanding its promotional and Internet marketing strategy
• Increasing the on line content for The Holodigm Music “Academy” division
• Developing enrollment in The Holodigm Music “Society”division
• Continuing to develop the Holodigm Music “Media” division
• Creating reciprocal trade agreements with the primary music manufacturers.
• Building the infrastructure to provide full time Web rejuvenation and repair.
The business model leverages an extremely large industry with enormous systems that will not expire from the loss of one of its components. All economies considered equal, digimodernization will turn out to be a great thing for the entertainment industry.
The advent of free music and low cost infrastructure has brought the extant universal library of music to the widest audience in history. Collegiate level education in music and business is creating a higher standard and it will produce a music renaissance.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Making It Big
Lindsay Stanger asks:
It seems as though... 30 years ago when a band got signed to a major record label they were bound to at least be a one hit wonder if not a superstar. I have some friends that are either solo artists or in bands that were signed to major record labels and some even received a pretty hefty signing bonus...why is it that nothing ever seems to happen for them after they are signed?? Does the record label give up on them even after originally seeing potential? Is this common?
All size is relative. "Big" is in the mind of the beholder and "making it" is a very nebulous term that has unique connotations to different people. One of the phrases most often used by music fans to describe their favorite artists is to say "they are making it big." But what does that really mean today? For a thing to be described as big something else must be regarded as smaller. The big four record companies have lost their way and the old system is no longer cost effective. The small artist owned and operated record company will emerge as the next big thing in music.
The standards of success in the old music industry paradigm were much more clearly defined than they are in the digital music renaissance. For more than one hundred years the concert business evolved in a symbiotic union with the growth and development of the record business. The technical link that bonded these two businesses together was terrestrial broadcast radio.
From the late eighteen hundreds, into the nineteen twenties and thirties, the antiquarian record business progressed from printed sheet music, to Edison's cylinders to shellac discs vulnerable to breakage. This was the acoustic period for recorded music. The play back systems of the day did not utilize electricity in their drive train or amplification mechanics. Radio receivers came in all shapes and sizes from simple crystal head sets to larger more elaborate pieces of furniture.
Music was forced to compete with comedy and dramatic programming for a share of the limited air time. Local stations operated at most twelve hours a day. Eventually radio replaced singing around the piano as the dominant form of in home entertainment. The "Great" Caruso, Rudy Vallee, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and many of their contemporaries sold millions of records on the strength of radio airplay. This led them to extensive film and personal appearance careers.
The process was rudely interrupted during World War II when the distant sources of shellac were no longer readily accessible. Manufacturing techniques and materials developed during the war enabled huge leaps forward in the analog recording and hardware delivery systems. By the mid fifties the modern record business was born out of the marriage of AM radio and forty-five RPM records. The low cost record player was easily acquired by the baby boomer generation.
Millions of teenagers were engaged in the collection and trading of "singles" as the seven inch, vinyl discs with the doughnut hole in the middle were called. Into this musical sanctuary of the young exploded the dynamic force that would drive the record business to unprecedented heights of popularity. Elvis Presley, The Hillbilly Cat, who would eventually be regarded as the King of Rock & Roll brought charisma, sex appeal and an incredible singing voice to an entire generation.
The infrastructure that was created to service Elvis and his contemporaries provided a vast public platform from which the postmodern record business would emerge. It was technology once again that pushed the envelope and prepared the way for the marriage of FM radio and thirty-three and a third RPM long playing albums. The driving force in this era was The Beatles.
Rock & Roll music eventually consumed more radio air time than all other content combined. The record business infused free recorded music and vast advertising and "payola" dollars into the system. A music hungry public fully engaged their heroes who reached the top of the charts and embraced the artist's records and personal appearances as their primary source of entertainment.
The process was slick and smoothly run. Hundreds of small record companies proliferated with many enjoying critical and financial success. As fame and fortune accrued to a steadily growing coterie of artists the public clamored to see their favorite rock stars in concert. The first to take advantage of this demand were the disk jockeys. Many gained enormous credibility with the radio audience by being the voice of the promotional vehicle and the self appointed arbiters of taste.
A disk jockey out of Cleveland named Alan Freed coined the term Rock & Roll and produced many of the earliest rock concerts and tours. A platter spinner from Philadelphia produced the first major touring events with "Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars" which were bolstered by his enormously popular "American Bandstand" television show. Both were caught up in the "payola" scandals of the fifties. Although no particular guilt was ever established, Freed was destroyed by them and died destitute. Clark went on to dominate music TV for fifty years.
During the last half of the twentieth century the infrastructures of radio, records and concerts became inter dependant and all three activities flourished together. During this time period there was a reasonable expectation that if you could get a record deal, mount a live act and demonstrate a modicum of talent and charisma you could have a productive career in the music industry.
This did not mean that everybody in the game became a superstar, far from it. In fact a core principal developed over time that prevails today. About ten percent of the artists competing at the professional level achieved financial success. This was enough to keep the industry healthy and growing. The remaining ninety percent of the artists failed to make a profit and moved on.
Today digimodernization has imposed a harsh new system on the music industry. Digital distribution of music has decimated the record industry. Low cost production and post Napster file sharing have drastically reduced the number of records purchased, while simultaneously putting more music in play than ever before. Mom and Pop record stores have disappeared along with the major chains. Within a decade ninety percent of recorded music will be acquired on line.
The myriad of record companies have been merged and consolidated down to four primary record groups that dominate the business. With the loss of control over the radio promotion and brick and mortar distribution systems they once dominated these four giants are engaged in a free fall of their own creation. Short sighted executive decisions vainly attempting to preserve the high profit, album oriented CD. The RIAA sued their customers and lost direct access to the fan base.
This accounts for the very small number of new artists achieving extraordinary success in the music renaissance. Only a handful of new acts have reached financial profitability in the past decade. The number of units sold to reach the top of the Billboard magazine charts has plunged from over a million units to slightly more than a hundred thousand. These facts reduce the investment dollars available to promote new acts. The cost of traditional radio promotion has remained the same or increased. Without the potential to sell a large volume of product the game, as we know it, is over.
While the record business struggles to find its digital life preserver, the concert business marches on, and continues to grow at a healthy pace. With all the recorded music ever produced readily available on line without the imposition of economics the fan base is building at an enormously accelerated rate. This new "free" form of promotion has created a global forum for fans to share music on a peer-to-peer basis eliminating the middle man and insuring the demise of the labels.
The next big superstar will be discovered and nurtured through the Internet and the potential for success is greater than ever. As a promotional tool the world-wide-web is infinitely more powerful than AM and FM radio combined. It allows artists and their managers to be proactive and independent about how they expose their music to the public. The musicians and producers can also market their music and branded products through low cost on line systems. More importantly they can capitalize on high profit margins by selling CDs directly to their fan base.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Redondo Beach, CA.
Come and support your local Rock n' Roll movement. Tickets are $10 in advance, so please contact Hartmann or your favorite Reflectacle for purchases. We do, indeed, deliver!
Friday, March 5, 2010
The Stairway To Heaven
In a recent lecture you talked about how an artist can make it to the big top through an alternative means, through climbing "the stairway to heaven". What are the advantages of taking this route as opposed to other more "conventional" methods. Is one way more preferable over others in order to ensure an artist long run success?
The ancient music industry has evolved a system of mechanics and protocols that govern its traditional activities. The performance of live music in front of paying audiences can be as simple as one person singing in the street, for donations, and as complicated as tens of thousands crowding into sports arenas for major music events. The singular difference is measured by gross box-office potential. The dollar bills and loose change that land in the troubadour's guitar case are just as vital to his survival as the million dollar pay days that superstars take from larger venues.
The street musician is providing the very same service, from rock bottom, as the major artists provide from the big top. The primary difference is how many zeroes follow the number of dollars earned from the performance. The concert production business is the primary activity of the music industry and provides the core infrastructure around which the rest of the game is conducted. Every performing artist is in competition with all the other artists great and small.
Singers, musicians and bands seeking fame and fortune in showbiz must overcome the gravity in the elevator to the big top. There is a natural resistance from those in power to relinquish the rewards to the new contender. The baby band is competing for the same entertainment dollars as the established artist. Those earning the most, at any given time, fiercely resist the emerging artist's success by holding on to their spot in the ever changing music market place.
The competition is conducted by entrepreneurs and the creators of music through the traditional relationship between artists and personal mangers. Regardless of the nature of their financial arrangement this marriage of careers makes the manager the CEO of the artist's corporation.
The pursuit of their shared goals creates the commercial activity that generates box-office receipts and ancillary income streams through marketing of branded merchandise and recorded music.
Although every management team faces the same challenges in overcoming the circumstantial resistance to their success, each career has its own unique set of characteristics. Some are enabled by extraordinary talent, beauty and charisma. Often fledgling artists are supported by circumstances that have nothing to do with their inherent talent. They have access to the big top through one of the pathways on the stairway to heaven. Accessing these alternate routes is more about luck and natural selection than the artistic or entrepreneurial skills of the core team.
There are five paths on the stairway to heaven. The most powerful is "nepotism." If your father is an established star with proven talent and popularity, you as his offspring will be given an opportunity to demonstrate your craft. If you reveal prodigious creative and technical ability the public may embrace you as a star not having fallen far from the parental tree. Such public appreciation can lead to instant access to the star making machinery and insure your success.
A second route to the big top is "personal wealth." If you are a trust fund baby with deep pockets, you can invest your capital in the development and maintenance of your career. During the postmodern era the costs of mounting a live act were traditionally born by the record companies. With the advent of digital downloading the major labels can no longer justify huge investment in new artists. The loss of this financial source does not effect an artist who can fund his enterprise.
Corporate "sponsorship" can also provide an alternate route to the big top. As the digital convergence continues to erode the traditional systems for marketing and promotion, more and more business enterprises are seeking a direct connection to their customer base. By providing vehicles, cash and equipment to musical attractions many companies are actively engaged in the growth and development of new artists. This will increase as Internet advertising proliferates.
The fourth pathway is the slippery slope of "talent TV." There is no question that the talent contest television format has catapulted a handful of artists to the top of the charts. A few of them have even built what appears to be enduring careers. Conversely, it has brought the dreams and aspirations of many thousands of aspirants to a dead halt. Regardless of how far into the process one evolves, the careers produced are more about celebrity than talent. The notoriety accumulated in a few television exposures does not form the basis of an enduring career in music.
There is a long established tradition in showbiz that performers can sometimes "sleep" their way to the top. This is probably the riskiest and most painful method of building executive access to the people, systems and mechanics of the music industry. However, its efficacy cannot be denied. If you are an artist married to the president of the record company, it is reasonable to assume that you will get productive attention from the vice-presidents and staff, thus ensuring a concerted effort. There is a recent case that proves even in divorce such an artist can come out well ahead.
Regardless of how one gains a place in the elite fraternity that occupies the top ten percent of the music industry, surviving there is a daunting process. There are no guarantees in showbiz and in a game where duration is the primary goal, very few careers last a lifetime. The ones that endure are built one performance at a time by establishing a personal rapport with their fans through the concert arena. Artists starting their careers on the stairway to heaven must build the same management team, to stay on top, that would have been required to get there in the first place.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
THE REFLECTACLES - Tribal Stomp - Put on your dancing shoes and come on down.
The Reflectacles in concert. Get out of the rain and into The Mint at 10:30 PM:
Friday, February 26, 2010
Where Have All The Dylans Gone?
Dmitry Popov asks:
Lately, I've been listening to the radio almost everyday and am I'm quite surprised by the quality of lyrics. Some new songs have poor lyrics and some of them are plain awful. With the rise of electronic music it seems that today a lot of people enjoy beat more than the actual message of a song. What do you think about that? Is it reasonable to believe that we are going to hear a new superstar song writer such as Bob Dylan?
Rhythm was the first musical discovery. Our paleolithic ancestors danced, chanted and eventually sang. They started with meter, mixed in melody and fused their message into song. Long before producers crafted tempo, tune and tale into records the beat was deeply ingrained in the human psyche. Songwriting evolved along with man's cognitive skills as the concept of story led to the creation of spoken language. Music is the universal mathematics of the masses.
The computerized genre popular today is not dependant on lyrical content, it embraces that primordial ingredient in music that compels us to dance. It could just as easily be all instrumental. It is the lack of a lyrical ingredient that has kept electronica from producing a superstar, unless Lady Ga Ga is it. If so, at least she has reasonably appropriate lyrics for her image in most songs. Whatever her mass appeal, or success, certainly she will never be classified as a great songwriter.
The Hip Hop culture dominated popular music in the eighties and nineties The lyrical content of rap music is a primal ingredient but mostly demonstrate a rebellious attitude and social observation than a story with a beginning, middle and end. The folk, country and singer songwriter traditions are all lyric intensive embracing musical choices indigenous to each style.
The crafting of an effective lyric that communicates some identifiable truth is the highest art form in music. Although it can happen, rarely does a song spring full blown from the head of Zeus. Most often a universally appealing song is created over weeks and often months of careful experimentation. The end product is ultimately dependant on the writer's artistic choices.
Knowledge and experience in crafting musical compositions does not make one a songwriter For lyrics to resonate on an emotional level with the public, they must first emanate from someone with a point of view. When the public embraces any given tune they are identifying with the truth they perceive in the song's story. The goal is to tell the most story in the least least number of words. Every note, metaphor and simile must be shaped to support the song's central theme.
Songwriting is the core art form at the center the music industry. It is the source of the one true thing, music publishing. The most enduring material is produced by the greatest poets with the most prodigious musical skills. The writer describes the life and times of a specific segment of society and he exploits his work through an established music tradition. The message is infused with the romance, angst and rage embraced by the performers personal community. Regardless of genre or style it is the music fan who dictates the degree to which the words matter. Each generation discovers its personal poet laureate and ultimately identifies him as their Bob Dylan.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
HOLOGRAM: Trust is not assigned, or awarded, it is purchased by action, earned through achievement and reinforced over time. jh
Thursday, February 18, 2010
George Gavin asks:
Do you believe that as the recording industry continues to lose money, and may eventually fold, that a popular mainstream will be able to survive in the face of millions of bands and no superstar to represent them? I know you say that the music world is waiting for a superstar, but there is no guarantee it will come (I think).
The postmodern record business is in a state of explosion. All the pieces of shrapnel are flying toward the perimeter at the speed of light. As the old reliable systems and mechanics break down confusion remains for the survivors. Massive staff cuts at the big four labels are justified by the revenues lost to peer-to-peer file sharing, a cultural phenomenon that is not going to go away.
The label A&R, publicity, promotion, video and marketing divisions barely exist. Most remaining employees are at the executive level. They are charged with "saving" the record business. But they don't know what to do and it cannot be salvaged by trying to revive the compact disk. The CD will be sold by artists to their fans and it will be more of a souvenir than a music source. Most hard copy record sales will occur as a gesture of support generated by fans at the band's live events.
When no genre is ubiquitous all genres become viable. There is no mainstream music market. Every artist must project his music and live act toward the core audience that follows his particular style and musical niche. If a band cannot dominate its genre, it will never generate crossover appeal to fans of other styles. This is actually a good thing. It means that if you are truly talented, you can market to the group most likely to embrace your music and build a following.
The record companies had their day and they abused their power. Now, neither the fans nor the bands care much about what happens to them. They will continue to shrink and eventually become licensing and downloading systems with very little infrastructure. The labels will continue to push the few artists they do sign into the radio system but as the buyers disappear selling CDs will not be a profitable enough venture to survive. Bands will sell directly to the fans.
Perhaps the digital sword will cut even deeper into the record business and all the catalogs of masters will be sold or licensed to the phone companies, ISPs or new ventures formed specifically to exploit mid level artists and old product. The superstars will probably avoid the big four labels altogether and deal directly with the distribution systems. The high cost of developing baby bands will make the labels second stage players who will try to buy acts that can succeed on their own.
Every major historical advance in the music business has revolved around a superstar emerging in synch with changes in technology. Nobody is debating that the influence of dgimodernization has had a profound effect on the music industry. The loss of a primary income stream has forced artists back to the drawing board. They must now survive the old fashioned way, by excelling at the symbiotic art and science of performing and recording. A universal star could still emerge.
It is reasonable to assume that many of the Guitar Hero fans will graduate to real instruments. With sophisticated music programs available at most universities it is logical that college kids will learn many more chords than the three Elvis Presley used to generate his career. These young musicians are not going to graduate from college and give up. Music business curricula will teach them how to market and brand their product. The realistic progression for the next era in music is that quality would rise to previously unimagined heights. From this collegiate rock movement a new universal star could rise, or not. Perhaps music itself is THE superstar of the digital age.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
R. Monahan asks:
Do you feel that there is any one act or artist already around today that could potentially rise up to being the face of our generation or are we still waiting on that star to appear? And also, if there is not anything established yet, what genre do you believe this act will rise out of?
Every displaced record executive in the world is dreaming and scheming about how to reinvent the music industry. But, it is not the music "industry" that is suffering. It is the record "business" that is in a stew of its own making. The concert "business" is the second, and most enduring, component of the "industry" of music. The live music business will not sustain the same long-term, deleterious damage as has befallen the record business. Regardless of cost, profit, packaging, or how it is marketed, the music industry is here to stay and will be bigger than ever.
Digimodernization has fired the shot heard round the world. The transition is in motion, the industry will adapt. The evolution of it cannot be stopped. The artist and the audience are forever connected without imposition of middle-men who may have less than artistic motives. Cross cultural communication is exploding across the Internet and music is at its forefront.
Vast digital systems are hyper-linking social networks and enabling the exchange of millions of songs and videos every day. This "sharing" of music is expanding the global audience at an accelerating rate. The net result will be an increased interest in musicians and their work. The perceived values will accrue to the artistic side and the business of music will be redefined. This progression is moving at an explosive pace and the sound it makes is music.
There are hundreds of artist and repertoire services on the Internet that all offer "expert" guidance from seasoned professionals. The problem is that the expertize they purvey almost always relates to the old paradigm. There is a distinct lack of vision about exactly how to pursue the development of new talent in the music renaissance. One thing is for certain, reliance on record companies is no longer a viable option.
Newly minted Internet entrepreneurs must function within the parameters of their personal experience. This usually means finding someone to invest in the act. With very few record companies still in the artist development business, no artists get signed until they have a strong online following. By then, the potential contribution of a label is questionable. They can't guarantee much money, because the return on investment is not secure. The 360 degree formula is yet unproven; not one single act has come to prominence under this type of arrangement.
The music industry has been forced to take a digital leap backwards in order to surge forward into the new paradigm. The record business is collapsing under the weight of it's own infrastructure. This demise of the labels does not portend the end of recording as an art form. The two primary activities of the music industry will always prevail. Recording and performing are the symbiotic partners that created the postmodern record business; and they will continue to flourish as new music is discovered and shared across the Internet. The promotion will be freely generated by the global fan base.
The development of a new system for the monetization of music will endure a myriad of possibilities and some will prevail. There is a plethora of business models, some actualized and others in development. These include subscription, advertising based and bundling concepts that despite enormous investment, can at best be considered experimental. Nobody knows how the music fans will ultimately react to the sudden freedom the world wide web has provided. Their ability to choose any amount of music, from any genre, on demand at no charge must not be taken lightly.
The concept of "free" music is very powerful and deeply entrenched in the youth culture. It will not be easy to get them to pay when they are accustomed to sharing music without fees. This makes for a low threshold for entry; but immediately raises the bar for artists reaching for square two. It is easy to get into the game, but very difficult to progress. Only the most talented will build a large enough following to sustain a career. That is the way it has always been. Only ten percent of the competitors will survive as ninety-nine percent of the money is earned by this elite group.
The first level of success is survival. Artists who reach this plateau will be competing with the best of the best. One percent of them will earn ninety percent of the money. The bands that cannot generate a following through their live performances will be doomed to keep their day jobs. Their music will become a hobby, not their business. Artists who have the talent to inspire an audience and bring them back for more will have a chance to continue in the game. This will require the appication of artistic and business skill in equal proportion. Virtuoso talent combined with good theater, trmendous desire, and enormous personal effort could still produce a monumental star.
Each new enterprise will be built around a body of music that appeals to a niche market. When no genre is ubiquitous, every genre is viable. It does not matter which style of music you perform, there is an audience for every established style and there is even room for a new genre if it should emerge. Although they all follow a similar trajectory, each career has its own signature components. They all face the same obstacles and every one has to be built up from rock bottom.
The shock wave of digimodernization has not only rocked the record business, it has fragmented the fan base. As music lovers adjust to the new found freedoms and have access to every song ever recorded, they will discover the wonders and delights of the global music pool. Within the millions of possibilities there lurks some inspired artist struggling to find his voice and direction.
Although no such artist is evident and none is on the horizon, it would defy history for a superstar not to evolve. When that phenomenon arrives everyone will learn about it on the same day. There will be a roar of acclamation and affection that will streak around the planet by instant messages, tweets and friends Facebooking friends. YouTube and MySpace will light up like Christmas trees. The new superstar's web site will crash for lack of server power; and everybody with an iPod will embrace the song and choose to pay instead of "sharing" the file. This will result in the single biggest financial windfall in the history of popular music.
A hard core fan base, who discovered this artist years previously in their home town will rise up and inspire universal support. Needless to say the unknown, subject artist will make millions of dollars that day. The impact of the event will bring world-wide attention and the acclaim will be unprecedented. At this juncture the monolithic, multi-national corporations will move in and try to capture the beast.
There will be an enormous effort to try to duplicate the process in order to seize and control the golden egg. However, the new addition to the pantheon of mega stars will already be rich and famous and have no need for unnecessary partners. The success will inspire thousands of lesser stars to compete within the infrastructure created to contain the new universally appealing musical hero. Many will emulate the style and characteristics of the messiah and a new paradigm will be born.
It will only require the same measure of identity, appreciation and personal attachment that previous generations have awarded Caruso, Valli, Sinatra, Elvis, The Beatles and Michael Jackson to turn the economic tide. The fans of these artists would not have "shared" their music for free. And, although no such star is present, or even on the horizon, history shows that such a musical force always arrives at a time just like this, a time when nobody can imagine how it could possibly happen.
Friday, February 12, 2010
HoloGram: Lefsetz Says:
The way to success is to win the hearts and minds of the customer
and build from there. Anything else is just a waste of time. BL
Thursday, February 11, 2010
An Open Letter to Tommy Silverman:
Hi Tom: Thank you for your gracious letter. As I had originally suspected we are almost on the same page. I was in High School when "Rock Around The Clock" started the avalanche that propelled Elvis to the big top and established rock & roll as a permanent part of popular culture.
I made my first money selling music in 1957 and have been doing it ever since. I cannot remember a time when I did not manage at least one band. Over my fifty plus years in the postmodern record business I have been fortunate to serve many artists great and small.
Today I manage a baby band called The Reflectacles, so my interest in the new music industry paradigm is not casual or merely academic. I have a real job to do building a business around this six piece Americana folk rock band that formed out of my classroom at Loyola Marymount University.
Seven years ago when I was teaching personal management at Musicians Institute a student asked me, "How would you build an act today when the music is free?" I must admit that for the first time in my life I did not have an immediate answer to a question. The Holodigm is the continuing answer to that question. After due consideration, my students and I embarked on an extensive analysis of the problem. When I joined the faculty at LMU we continued the research and development of a new music industry paradigm.
Now, six years and more than 2000 students later, we believe we have perfected a working model that the industry will follow, knowingly, or not. It is organic and based primarily on the historical trajectory and a clear vision of the future. More importantly, it deals with the broadest range of participants. The millions of bands registered on myspace.com. They all deserve a chance to compete.
The concept is presented as the first interactive, audio-visual, online text book and addresses the fact that a kid would rather watch a movie than read a book. It is a training, mentoring and coaching system for musicians and entrepreneurs that addresses every aspect of the ancient alchemy of turning music into gold. It functions on a simple mathematical formula: One Artist + One Manager = One enterprise.
The manager is the CEO of the artists company and he owns an equal share of the enterprise. Fifty/fifty partnerships a la Elvis and The Colonel for solo artists and an equal share with bands. He cannot be fired because his contracts ran out or somebody will do it for less. He is an equity owner of the business he helps build and can only be bought out at the fair market value of his shares.
All are exclusive employees of the corporation or LLC. Record producers can also be invited to join as partners since their skills will always be needed. We invited recording legend Eric E.T. Thorngren to be a full partner in The Reflectacles Music Co. ensuring that we will make world class records from day one. Everybody works for free until there are dividends to declare.
This form of partnership will ensure that everyone on the board of directors has an incentive to make the business successful. Each member has a role beyond the stage. In the case of The Reflectacles, each man is either an officer of the company or a vice president of a division. They apply the business skills they acquired in the classroom to their real life career pursuits.
How many CEOs get to indoctrinate their employees for sixteen weeks, three hours a week? Not many. But Holodigm Artists get that training before they start the arduous climb to artistic and financial success. Thy do not run blindly, lost in the fog of showbiz. Their goals are clearly defined and supported by a game plan that can be conducted at a livable pace, under their direct control.
The Holodigm is their sanctuary and provides continuous career direction as each enterprise grows. We hold no equity interest in the activities or entities produced by "Academy" and "Society" members. When appropriate, we may invite partnerships with promising talent through our professional division Holodigm Media. The business that is built will belong to those who build it.
Our staff of coaches and consultants is being implemented at this time and will provide a constant source of seasoned professional advice to our members online. Additional services and products provided below market price will facilitate production and marketing activities ensuring a faster rise to profitability. Individual successes and failures will be shared among the membership through The Holodigm Forums, Blogs, Social Network and Chat Rooms. The members, pursuing the same goals, each get to benefit from the other's learning experience. There is no template to follow; it is a real-time live experiment.
With a clear focus on the two primary activities of recording and performing, combined with effective Internet marketing, the team can build and operate its own business. The mystical fuel of "talent" drives the engine and combined with other "star" factors, like, great songs, charisma, sex appeal, hero worship, authenticity, passion and desire, they can build a fan base.
Nepotism, personal wealth, sponsorship, talent TV and personal relationships can enhance and accelerate the process. However, these are stairway to heaven possibilities that will not exist in most cases. Generally speaking, The bands and managers will have to do the work themselves.
Traditionally, investors want something for the risk they take. And that is only fair. However, during my fifty plus years in the music industry I have never seen a record company make a fair deal with an artist. And, I have never seen private investment pay off for the artist or the investor.
The money will want a permanent piece of the company. Unless they contribute something else to the artist's enterprise this will become inequitable eventually. In an industry where only ten percent of the artists will survive there won't be much venture capital available.
The Holodigm concept concentrates the artists and managers on the job of building a viable live act, in local and regional markets, around which products can be developed and sold. It focuses on do-it-yourself systems, mechanics and protocols. And, it forces the players to run their enterprise as a business without giving away equity to third party service providers.
Artists who wait for investors will be doomed to fail. Those who take action on their dreams will create their own destiny and they will reap the reward. They will own their masters and publishing and the most talented will build a permanent annuity to support them in their old age.
I totally understand the pressure you were under the day we met. I am a long time observer of your significant accomplishments and hold you in the highest regard. The work you do in support of the continued growth and development of our business is significant and necessary. In time the labels will let go of the old paradigm and embrace digital download distribution for their catalogs. And, they may even be able to buy up a few new acts as they emerge. But, it will never be the same.
The music industry is thousands of years old and will not expire under the weight of digimodernization. The record business is just over a hundred years old and will surrender to the digital sword. In the transition the business of recording will fall to the hands in which it belongs, the men and women who create music.
New artists will no longer be imposed by record company moguls or A&R producers of the month. They will be discovered, nurtured and revered from the fan base up. The information super highway is the arena and the Internet is the rocket.
I hope you will visit www.HolodigmMusic.com and consider that perhaps the new paradigm exists and only has to be implemented. This concept evolved from an historical observation of the effect of new technologies on the record business pre Napster; and, on my personal experience directing careers as an agent and personal manager in the postmodern era.
The invitation to speak to my class still stands.
Pax et Amo. Hartmann
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
L. Grandy asks:
You mentioned in your blog in 12/10/09 that, "The big four stalled at Napster and allowed download distribution to be developed by others. By trying to preserve the highly lucrative CD market they let the big cyber-bucks get away." Do you think there is any way for the 'big four' to regain the cyber market? or are they doomed to control the less lucrative CD market?
The Big Four record companies attempted to destroy Napster before they understood what it was truly all about. The governing executive corps of the postmodern label system lacked the long term vision to imagine a music world without plastic and paper. RIAA lobbyists attached the appellation "theft" to the file "sharing" process and sued their customers. The backlash from this futile tactic ensured their eventual demise. By the time the dust settled, Napster was a shadow of its former self and various similar systems took up the slack and made music free for the taking.
The old paradigm could only have been preserved if the global fan base embraced the idea that sharing was stealing. However, that did not resonate with the cyber-youth culture that simply and irrevocably considers the information super highway their indomitable domain. If it is on the web, its free for the taking. This is demonstrated millions of times a day, as music lovers explore the myriad of genres and styles instantly accessible and forward their discoveries to their friends.
Never in recording history has so much music been available to so many people at such a low cost. The obligation to pay lays between the mind set of the consumers and their affection for the act. Everybody under thirty knows how to load a song on their iPod or install it on their computer. They can stream it any time they want and pass it on at will. There is no guilt or hesitation involved in the exchange. The participants recognize that they are supporting the artist by distributing their music to a wider audience and no power on Earth can stop this practice.
This places the advantage clearly in the hands of the musicians and bands that are willing to recognize the Internet as the new radio. Except the airplay is free and record companies have no control over the system. The power now belongs to the artists who accept the challenge to create their own business enterprises, without investment from third parties. In the end, ownership of their masters and copyrights will far outweigh the value of a label's contribution to a band's career development. A tight bond with the fan base is all their survival will recquire.
The artist + fan connection is forged in the crucible of concert performance. Without a strong and entertaining live show an enduring relationship between the two will never form. When it does happen, it must be nourished and maintained through direct communication on the Internet. A band's fans are the lifeline to their survival. Once acquired a fan must be invited to join the act's support mechanism. Membership should be valued and specific. Symbols of partnership and specific identification of status and priority must be awarded to the most ardent supporters.
No major paradigm shift happens in a vacuum. The transition out of the postmodern era into the music renaissance will not be accomplished by the flip of a switch. The major labels will endure for another decade as digimodernization slowly swallows their extant catalogs. The older generation might repurchase their favorites for awhile longer, but in the end downloads will be the only delivery system for music. The artists will market their CDs and ancillary products directly to their fans from self owned and operated web sites and at live events. Only the most talented will make a profit and survive. The less talented will give up and join the army.
Thousands of laid-off record company employees will lead the vanguard of entrepreneurs who will attempt to revive the old way or try to invent the new paradigm. The Big Four have the most incentive to create a new system, but are not likely to accept the loss of high profit CDs as part of their formula. This lack of imagination will precipitate their downfall. The concept of 360 degree participation is a good idea, but an act doesn't really need a label to establish such a program.
The artists will be better served to create their own record companies dedicated to their success. New bands will be built one at a time by managers in partnership with the act. If the CEO's survival depends on the artist's success a band's business will be assured of full time attention.
The labels are the traditional enemy of the artist and they are not going to have a long term place at the table. The subscription and advertising based distribution models being devised today will slip away and artist direct streaming will dominate. The labels will die off because of their failure to engage in artist development and the participation of big business will fall to the ISPs and telephone companies. The big winner is the music fan who will decide where it all goes form here.