It is no secret that mainstream music today is controlled by the major labels. By controlled, I mean owned. They decide what comes out, when it comes out, and who it reaches. They also control how much the artists get paid from their music. Effectively, this mean the labels, not the artists(the people truly responsible) own the music.
The artists, though they’ve long had feuds with the label executives over extent of control, still need the labels to do 2 jobs: Mass Promotion and Mass Distribution. The labels, with their big budgets and bigger connections, essentially control mass promotion and distribution, thus giving them an excessive amount of control over the people who need those two things the most: the artists.
This situation of control, which borders on extortion, because the artists have little other choice, has created the occurrence of a silent salary cap in music.
This can all be led back to the fans. The fans either don’t know, or don’t care enough, where the money for the music actually goes. Because the fans don’t care, there’s nothing pushing the labels to give artists better deals. They own control over mass promotion and distribution, thus control over the artists, and nobody has a clue about what they’re doing, except for the artists.
This means the labels can offer the artists anything they want and almost always, the artists are going to be forced to take it because there’s no other way to get heard. And of course, the labels wouldn’t do the right thing and give the artists what they truly deserve, but they’ve been lowballing them, the majority of the time, to the point of a 95-5% split. They have, for a while now, been blatantly taking advantage of the artists, but it has become the norm over the last 60 years, and so nothing is done.
Surprisingly, even the artists haven’t fought this to the level where any major changes have been made. It seems as though it’s every artist for themselves, and this also, is a dangerous result of this unbalanced system.
But there are solutions to these long standing problems now, and they come about only with the help of technology, and more specifically, the internet. The fans have figured out how to use the internet to get music for free from those same artists that the labels have made famous. This, though it is essentially an alternative outlet of distribution, makes the situation worse for the artists. The labels won’t get paid, but neither will the artists. However, a certain level of power still remains in the label’s hands.
People won’t pirate music from artists that nobody knows, and it’s the labels that still hold this power to launch artists into stardom. However, monetizing this service has proven difficult for the labels, being that they made all of their money on distribution, and there is no doubt that the labels have been frantically trying to figure out new models with new revenue streams since piracy has put a dent in their old model. For some new artists they have even begun building rights to artist’s live performances into the contracts, a practice that was never done before, and also a practice that cuts into the artist’s last real source of revenue generation. The labels are truly hitting rock bottom, and dragging everyone else down with them.
It seems as though the solution can only come from the artists, and it must involve the internet as well, the only real alternative option for accomplishing mass promotion and distribution. This solution wouldn’t just be for the label artists then, but for indie artists as well, who deserve the same shot that the label artists do, but might not have as many connections.
However, in order for a new model to work, it must be perfect. It must effectively promote the music, without spamming. It must distribute the music as effectively as piracy, while still allowing the artists to get paid. However the fans have grown used to free music, and so keeping the music free would also be a desirable trait of this new model. It sounds like this solution may be pretty hard to come by, but it turns out, that by approaching it from the right angles, the perfect solution can become visible.
I, an independent artist, have created this model. My model fits all of the criteria above, AND it allows artists to maintain full control over every aspect of their music and careers, including setting prices, getting rid of the silent salary cap once and for all, and allowing artists to directly keep track of, and engage with their fans. This solution is called Beatplay.com, and it will be in beta in several weeks now!
To learn more about how exactly Beat-Play will solve problems like piracy, effective online promotion without spamming, mass distribution, the uneven playing field, and how Beat-Play will make an increased number of revenue streams available to the artists for the first time ever, check out our About us page on this blog. Also, to sign up to beta test, go to http://MusicWithoutLables.com. We will notify you when the beta is ready, which according to our lead developer, will be in about 3 weeks.
If you can’t change the current environment, now, with the internet, you can create your own! That’s what Beat-Play is for artists and musicians all over the world. Pass it on!!
Written by: Dante Cullari Founder and President Beat-Play, LLC