Tuesday, January 08, 2008

'David Byrne's Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists...' (WN0009)

'What is called the music business today, however, is not the business of producing music. At some point it became the business of selling CDs in plastic cases, and that business will soon be over. But that's not bad news for music, and it's certainly not bad news for musicians. Indeed, with all the ways to reach an audience, there have never been more opportunities for artists.'

Former Talking Head David Byrne has written a fascinating article about the state of play in the music industry and opportunities for musicians today, published over at Wired.com.

In the article, he defines well what we mean when we talk about music, describes exactly what it is that record companies do and outlines six models of operation for musicians, including ways to look to the future.

These six models are as follows:
  • The 'equity deal', where the artist is wholeheartedly owned by the companies and managers.
  • The 'standard distribution deal', where the record company bankrolls the recording and retains the copyright forever.
  • The 'license deal', similar to the above yet where the artist retains the copyrights and ownership of the master recording.
  • The 'profit-sharing deal', where the artist gets a minimal advance from the label and profits are shared equally between the artist and the label.
  • The 'manufacturing and distribution deal', where the artist does everything bar the manufacturing and distribution.
  • The 'self-distribution model', where the music is self-produced, self-written, self-played, and self-marketed.
The article provides some invaluable advice for upcoming musicians and some very useful insights into the direction that the 'music industry' is heading. A worthwhile read for anybody interested in making a career somehow from music and many useful insights for those that already do.

The full article can be read here.

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