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Old 05-26-2011, 06:47 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by Enkidu of Abydos View Post
I'm really sorry for the lady. But have you (or her) considered other explanations for the decrease in sales other than piracy (not saying piracy doesn't have something to do with it) ?
Like the economic crisis / recession, a change of public taste, or maybe CDs are just going out of fashion ?
I'm assuming when she said CDs and singles that the singles were downloadable at places like iTunes. If they're not then they really need to be. Most folks just don't want CDs these days. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot more people are pirating in these stressed economic times, though.
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:54 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by MrsJoseph View Post
Well, what do you think of this situation? I have left my opinion out of it, I really want to know what your take on this situation is.
We don't have a lot of details here (and I don't blame you for not providing more), but a couple of thoughts besides the obvious recession issues:

Is she still producing new songs at a steady rate? If not, there's a fan saturation factor - people will come to the live gigs, but they're not going to re-buy songs they've already bought.

If I discover a new artist tomorrow that I like, I will buy all 40 of their backlist, but then if they aren't producing new pieces for me to buy, I've run out of money to give them.

Sure, if someone else discovers them tomorrow, that's another 40 sales, but it's MUCH easier to get money out of your fans than to make new fans.

Just wondering if that might be part of the problem.
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:01 PM   #153
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I have an example - I'd love to hear you guys take on it.

I have a friend who is a full time indie singer/entertainer. She isn't huge, no mega hits, recording contracts or anything, but she was making enough money between CD/singles sales and gigs to help support her family. She has/had a rather dedicated following in her genre for over 10 years now. She has numerous fans on facebook, twitter, etc.

A few years ago (I think 4?) she started noticing her CD/singles sales dropping, a little at a time each month but steady. She found out that her music was being pirated but it didn't bother her too much as she has a loyal following. She hoped to get additional fans from it, to be honest.

In the last few years her CD/singles sales have dropped dramatically but her gigs attendance has increased somewhat but not enough to make up for the difference. In addition she has had some family issues that require her to stop performing on a regular basis. The lack of income has driven a wedge in her family and may require that she stop creating music.

She feels that the pirating of her music (if you knew who she was you could get every song she's created from the darknet) has increased her fan base but has hurt her earning potential. She said that while a lot of people like to attend live shows, those people are not in the majority and that most people who would have bought her music now just grab a copy and then follow her on twitter (she's rather bitter about that, actually). She says that people are always telling her how they are a new fan and love her work and waiting for the next album but she hasn't sold very much.


Well, what do you think of this situation? I have left my opinion out of it, I really want to know what your take on this situation is.
I expect that piracy is cutting into her cashflow and may drive her out of business. I derive no joy from that statement. At the same time, my favorite songwriter gave up the professional ghost after ten years of modest success. that was in the early 1980's. Couldn't make a living at it. (Garfield French, for the musicalratti.) His music has still never been released on commercial CD.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:02 PM   #154
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I'm sorry that this has happened to her. However, I think it is probably a mix of all the factors having an impact. Yes, piracy probably is one, but so is the economy, and the price of cd's. With the economy being in such rough shape for quite a few years & so many people out of jobs, people have to find ways to cut back. Buying new cd's & going to performances are not essentials they are luxuries, and most luxuries are the first things that get cut from the budget.

Those same people expressing their appreciation online, probably can't afford new cd's or attend performances right now.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:23 PM   #155
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Another point, though:

If the economy is cutting into her sales (and I highly suspect it is), then piracy can't hurt her and could potentially help her in the long run. If people can't afford the CDs, period, then they're not going to buy the CDs - regardless of whether or not there are pirated versions floating around.

However, not everyone is going to be poor forever (or rather, if we are, she's in bigger trouble as are we all), and when the upturn kicks in, people will often buy legal versions of those pirated tunes once they have the cash flow to support the arts again.

[insert anecdata here]

Furthermore, it's also important to note that piracy is a fact of life. She's not going to be able to get rid of it. The best thing she can do at this point is make it clear to her fans - in a classy way - that she is struggling and that any extra help, Paypal tips, buying-cds-for-a-friend, etc. would be a major help at this point in her life. That's the sort of thing that fans WANT to know so that they can help.

[insert personal story about Heather Alexander here]
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:28 PM   #156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsJoseph View Post
I have an example - I'd love to hear you guys take on it.

I have a friend who is a full time indie singer/entertainer. She isn't huge, no mega hits, recording contracts or anything, but she was making enough money between CD/singles sales and gigs to help support her family. She has/had a rather dedicated following in her genre for over 10 years now. She has numerous fans on facebook, twitter, etc.

A few years ago (I think 4?) she started noticing her CD/singles sales dropping, a little at a time each month but steady. She found out that her music was being pirated but it didn't bother her too much as she has a loyal following. She hoped to get additional fans from it, to be honest.

In the last few years her CD/singles sales have dropped dramatically but her gigs attendance has increased somewhat but not enough to make up for the difference.

I think that the key bits are:
  • she's a genre singer
  • she's had a loyal following for about 10 years
  • her CD sales have dropped in the last 4 years
  • her gig attendance has increased somewhat


If she's a genre singer, then she's dependent upon people wanting to hear that particular genre. If that genre is out-of-fashion, dedicated new fans are going to be hard to come by. People might like a song or two, but not enough to pay for a CD.

Her "loyal following" is starting to age. A decade into things, real life circumstances change and financial priorities may shift.

I think that everyone's CD sales have dropped in the last four years, due to both the economy and the increased ability to buy single-song MP3's for a reasonable price. I know that I've rarely bought an actual CD in the past few years; I just buy the individual songs I want or buy and MP3 album from Amazon.

Some people also reach a point where they're more interested in hearing their old favorites rather than new songs from their favorite artists, so they go to the live shows to hear them and relive the glory days. So much of liking a particular bit of music or an artist, I think, is hearing them for the first time when you were precisely in the right mood to be moved by their music.

I consider myself a big fan of Jimmy Buffett and Bruce Springsteen, but I haven't bought any of their recent albums, nor have I attended their recent concerts. I just mentally reached a point where I felt that I had given them enough of my money, where the new songs they were putting out didn't have the same emotional resonance to me. It was a matter of prioritizing my expenditures and they didn't make the cut.

You describe her as being "a full time indie singer/entertainer...She isn't huge, no mega hits, recording contracts or anything...". She's apparently never attracted the attention of people who could have boosted her career up a few levels for whatever reason, so isn't it also possible that she's just run her course in her chosen field? That she's gotten all of the money and attention and fame that she's ever going to garner? It's rare that an entertainer can make a life-long living as such. Perhaps her shelf-life is just expiring.

She may have lost some sales due to downloads of her music, but just from your description of her, it sounds to me like the people who would have downloaded her music are the curious ones, not necessarily people who would have actually paid money for a CD, so there's really no way of judging how much she's really been affected.

I think that there are too many variables in her particular situation to use her as an example of someone whose career has taken a downward turn strictly due to copyright infringement.

Don't know about the rest of you, but back in the day, I would buy a CD if I liked just one song on it. Now, for me to buy a CD or an entire MP3 CD, I've got to like most of the music on it to justify buying it.
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:52 AM   #157
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Well, what do you think of this situation? I have left my opinion out of it, I really want to know what your take on this situation is.
What price does she put on her digital downloads? Does she keep them artificially high so that they don't compete with CD sales?
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:00 AM   #158
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Sure, if someone else discovers them tomorrow, that's another 40 sales, but it's MUCH easier to get money out of your fans than to make new fans.
What she should do is reach out to all those twitterers and offer them new songs on a subscription model. Pay x per month and have them sent straight to your inbox as soon as they're finished.

If Mark Astronaut did something like that I'd be on it straight away. He's in the same situation as your friend, but the difference is he's not interested in money.
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:00 AM   #159
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She feels that the pirating of her music (if you knew who she was you could get every song she's created from the darknet) has increased her fan base but has hurt her earning potential. She said that while a lot of people like to attend live shows, those people are not in the majority and that most people who would have bought her music now just grab a copy and then follow her on twitter (she's rather bitter about that, actually). She says that people are always telling her how they are a new fan and love her work and waiting for the next album but she hasn't sold very much.
Are her songs on youtube? Are her live performances? Does she consider listening to music on youtube to be the same as pirating?
I like the playlists that they have especially because you can I can look for a band and listen to their best songs, as well as the best songs of other bands from the same genre.
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:13 PM   #160
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It does really seem as though she needs to revamp her business model. There have been a lot of good suggestions here for what she can do.

She might also follow the lead of some writers and use the subscription model. Put up a teaser of a new song or album, set a goal regarding the number of subscriptions to be sold before she releases it that has to be met by a certain date. If the goal is met, then the people who subscribed get the music. If it isn't met, the money is refunded.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:51 AM   #161
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I am a granny (eldest grandchild 23). I also favour intellectual property rights. IMO to say that making an unauthorised digital copy is not stealing is simplistic. I used to be in the software business and know how much money, time and effort had to go into creating products. I don't see why the creators should then be expected to give away the fruits of their investment and labours any more than any other workers. Sometimes the people who are downloading the free copies are capable of paying for them and may be much better off than the producers who are trying to make a living through their work. They're not doing it because they're poor but because they have a sense of entitlement.

Having said that, I'm not sure exactly what constitutes ebook "piracy" (a rather silly term if you think about it). If, say, I buy an ebook in ePub format, strip its DRM and then convert it for reading on my Kindle, is that piracy? I imagine it might be illegal, but if I paid for the book and am not giving away copies of it, I would feel justified.

How about if a book is unavailable in eformat in one country but does not exist in another? If I pay for it, whom am I defrauding?
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:58 PM   #162
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I am a granny (eldest grandchild 23). I also favour intellectual property rights. IMO to say that making an unauthorised digital copy is not stealing is simplistic. I used to be in the software business and know how much money, time and effort had to go into creating products. I don't see why the creators should then be expected to give away the fruits of their investment and labours any more than any other workers. Sometimes the people who are downloading the free copies are capable of paying for them and may be much better off than the producers who are trying to make a living through their work. They're not doing it because they're poor but because they have a sense of entitlement.

Having said that, I'm not sure exactly what constitutes ebook "piracy" (a rather silly term if you think about it). If, say, I buy an ebook in ePub format, strip its DRM and then convert it for reading on my Kindle, is that piracy? I imagine it might be illegal, but if I paid for the book and am not giving away copies of it, I would feel justified.

How about if a book is unavailable in eformat in one country but does not exist in another? If I pay for it, whom am I defrauding?
Actually, so is Intellectual Property. It's not property, it's a legally granted limited monopoly. But Intellectual Monopoly wouldn't sound nearly as nice...and make people start to ask questions...

"Piracy" is anything that prevents an intermediary from getting the profit off of a potentail sale. (In their minds, any use is a potential sale, it's the "Hollywood buy a ticket, each time you watch mindset".
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:28 AM   #163
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"Piracy" is anything that prevents an intermediary from getting the profit off of a potentail (sic!) sale. (In their minds, any use is a potential sale, it's the "Hollywood buy a ticket, each time you watch mindset".
So that includes borrowing or buying a used copy.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:25 AM   #164
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So that includes borrowing or buying a used copy.
Buying things second hand sounds like legalised murder to me.

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Old 06-01-2011, 09:03 AM   #165
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Pirating the Harry Potter books is not damaging anyone's sales, because there are no digital versions to buy.
That's not right. It could harm paperback book sales.
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