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Old 01-07-2013, 09:54 PM   #1
karstaag666
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Notes from a music business lecture on 'successful bands'

I had a really interesting lecture today by a man who was in a signed band from 1991 to 1999 but was dropped by his label. He then went on to make his own record label and subsequently has become one of the leading smaller label companies. He is also a composer, session player, performer, and tutor at a university.

It was the first of his lectures for this term and briefly covered what we would be learning during the term with him. He also however went on to explain how the music industry had changed since record sales had become a product, such as the effects of the digital evolution, how record labels have adapted, how bands have adapted, and the statistical results it has had overall on the industry.

The numbers in the notes are just examples and not true figures mostly so don't take them as fact.


Here are my notes:
The average annual wage of a working person in United Kingdom is around 20-25,000.
This is the amount a person lives off. IE this is them 'earning a living'.


In the music industry before digital downloads, pirating, etc there was only one way a consumer could purchase an artists music. That was through CD's, Vinyls, Tapes etc. Record companies had security in being able to put money into artists, and in return both the artist and the record company earned a ton. The only downside was that the entry level for a band to earn a living as solely a band was incredibly difficult. They couldn't afford to go into studios and therefore missed out on the money opportunity of selling a record.
Here is an example of how the money would of worked:

Album Sells for 10, Artist gains 10%, rest goes elsewhere = 1 to the artist per album.
Amount of sales req. for earning a living = 20-25,000.
With the introduction of digital downloads and pirating all of this changed. People were no longer buying the music. Record sales went down. People were choosing to buy songs individually instead of albums meaning money made was severely reduced. The upside however is that the entry level is easier to get into since anyone can record at home, anyone can sell a song on the internet.
Album sales req. for earning a living become harder to achieve with more people stealing and less people buying.

Single track sales example:

Track sells for 1, Artist gains 10%, rest goes elsewhere = 10p per sale.
Amount of sales req. for earning a living = 250,000

As a result, Artists began to make more money through other sources of income than their record sales such as Live Performance and Merchandising. Since record labels were then struggling to keep alive, they changed the business plan they use when signing bands onto a contract. This business plan is called the 360 deal.

The 360 deal means the record label takes money from all aspects of income the Artist makes. Because of this, Artists found it harder to earn a living. The amount of bands being signed by a label and earning a living became slimmer and more like a lottery win.


So as a aspiring band, what are your choices? Well it can be split into two categories depending on what it is you wish to get from your band. Do you want to just earn a living? Or are you after world fame and lots of money?

If it is world fame, then you will need the contacts, financial aid, and overall backing that a label can provide. This would require you to first get noticed by record labels, and then to accept a 360 deal. Now the problem with this is a Record Label will typically sign more than one band at a time. Example:

Readygo Records temporarily sign 10 artists on 360 deals. They are each loaned 100,000 to fund Recording, Merch, Tours, and Promotion. At the end of it all, the label will drop the least successful bands whilst continuing with their most successful. How does this work financially?

Band 1 makes 70,000 - Dropped
Band 2 makes 100,000 - Dropped
Band 3 makes 300,000 - Dropped
Band 4 etc
Band 5 etc
Band 6 etc
Band 7 etc
Band 8 etc
Band 9 etc
Band 10 makes 2,000,000 - Signed.
To be one of these bands in the first place to get a 360 deal, you are required to be mainstream, a brand that sells, and profitable.

If you are simply just seeking a living then here is how it works.
If you work independently as an Artist, all the money from record sales, merch, gigs, etc is 100% YOURS. So instead of needing 250,000 sales of records to earn a living, you only need 25,000. Things became much easier in terms of target sales, however without the backing of a label you are left to get gigs, promote, get merch etc for yourself. In this business model your band is not very likely to receive world fame or huge amounts of money.


The thing is though that you can use a combination of these if the opportunity arises. For example:

Band A gets a 360 deal, gets a decent fanbase but is dropped by their label. They then use what they gained from being on the label independently and spin the wheel for themselves.
Band B sets themselves up independently and gains a fair amount of recognition to the point labels are interested in providing a longer contract.

================================================== ==========


I personally find this interesting myself. My thoughts overall on this is how whilst I wish to earn a living in my music, one of my ambitions is to share my music with a lot of people who enjoy it and will love what I love with me. Some could say this is desire for fame, in my eyes its just me wanting to share the feelings that certain music gives to me.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:59 PM   #2
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But all this doesn't answer the question: If I'm in a successful band, will I get lots of sax?
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Joshua Garcia
But all this doesn't answer the question: If I'm in a successful band, will I get lots of sax?

I'm sure someone would blow their trumpet for you
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:02 PM   #4
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So, what is the point of this thread again?
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by PoisonousNipple
So, what is the point of this thread again?


Because some people might actually have interest in something you perhaps don't.

You can do one of the following: Absorb, discuss, move on, or be a 16yr old superhero internet kid trying to be cool.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:17 PM   #6
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Cheers for sharing, much to my delight I actually know a lot about this already.

I find it particularly interesting how iTunes are actually a huge part of the problem now that you don't have to buy an album for one song. Although personally I rarely buy single tracks.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:27 PM   #7
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Kudos for sharing the notes. I used to be a music business major so this is all pretty burned into my head already. Although, there are more than just the 360 in terms of major model. I'm optimistic for a change for the better though.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChucklesMginty
Cheers for sharing, much to my delight I actually know a lot about this already.

I find it particularly interesting how iTunes are actually a huge part of the problem now that you don't have to buy an album for one song. Although personally I rarely buy single tracks.


You can look at it as a bad effect, however it also can be seen as a good thing. Take a unsigned band for example trying to independently do things for themselves. If they release 3 tracks on Itunes they can possibly make some money. No need to spend more than they can get from return on CD's, wallets, and posting.

I personally think a possible way to sell music as an artist is just sell a track at a time and just keep making good tracks that will sell. For example, if a fanbase really likes you and you release a single track by itself, they are more likely to buy it than if it is in a collection of other songs at the same time since its new content they can purchase. If you continuously release music in this fashion, eventually you reach a point that you released a whole albums worth of songs but had more sales because they were done individually over time.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:47 PM   #9
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Okay so where does one get started?

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Old 01-13-2013, 10:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ron666
Okay so where does one get started?

ron666

I don't even understand how you do this.
Do you come on to this site, find a bunch of threads you have an interest in, bookmark those threads and leave them alone to die for a week or two and then bump them all at once? Or do you have a really weird internet connection, where your posts take six days to be processed and uploaded and these messages actually come from the past?

Most of these threads you haven't already posted in, so it's not as if you've subscribed to them or checked the threads you've posted in for new posts. And they have all fallen off he front page of the pit long ago.
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Last edited by Hydra150 : 01-13-2013 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ron666
Okay so where does one get started?

ron666

Oh man this guy is serious. Not only did he just put his own username in his post in case we didn't know, but he also just put a devil-y smile at the end of it.

You know stuff is about to go down when you put your own username in your post with a devil-y smile.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Garcia

You know stuff is about to go down when you put your own username in your post with a devil-y smile.




@TS: interesting notes btw, thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:42 PM   #13
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TL;DR version: Screw labels, go independent.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:58 PM   #14
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I found this interesting because you might go to the same Uni as me. Do you go to UEA in Norwich or not?
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Cavalcade
TL;DR version: Screw labels, go independent.

AS if we didn't all know that anyway...gosh...
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:11 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EndTheRapture51
I found this interesting because you might go to the same Uni as me. Do you go to UEA in Norwich or not?


Nope, I live in London now sorry.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:56 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by EndTheRapture51
I found this interesting because you might go to the same Uni as me. Do you go to UEA in Norwich or not?


Creepy, I live in Norwich.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:10 AM   #18
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uh uhuh.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydra150
I don't even understand how you do this.
Do you come on to this site, find a bunch of threads you have an interest in, bookmark those threads and leave them alone to die for a week or two and then bump them all at once? Or do you have a really weird internet connection, where your posts take six days to be processed and uploaded and these messages actually come from the past?

Most of these threads you haven't already posted in, so it's not as if you've subscribed to them or checked the threads you've posted in for new posts. And they have all fallen off he front page of the pit long ago.


Okay just for your information, this is what I do. I look through some threads and if I see something interesting I post in them. Then I check back about a week later. All my postings are listed in my profile. So I click on them and then see if anyone has responded or not. Sometimes I respond, sometimes I don't it all depends.

Okay so what is wrong with this??

ron666
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ron666
Okay just for your information, this is what I do. I look through some threads and if I see something interesting I post in them. Then I check back about a week later. All my postings are listed in my profile. So I click on them and then see if anyone has responded or not. Sometimes I respond, sometimes I don't it all depends.

What about on the occasions that you have revfied an old thread that you hadn't previously posted in? The mystery deepens...

Quote:
Okay so what is wrong with this??

ron666

Apart from that it bumps old threads (which is generally frowned upon) it means that when someone replies to your post, and you don't check the thread for another week, by the time you have replied to that reply the user who replied has moved on with their lives and the thread has moved on to a different area of discussion. It's not condusive to a good conversation.
For example, you aren't going to read this for a few days and it will be bumped once again.
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Last edited by Hydra150 : 01-20-2013 at 11:50 PM.
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