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  •  The EvO:R Street Journal

    The EvO:R Street Journal
    Editorial statement
    Dedicated to the culture, business and interests of the indie artist. EVJ delivers controversial points of view, hard-news commentary, Industry Insites, artistic prose and photography and welcomes responses (pro or con), feedback and topic suggestions from readers. If you would like to submit an opinionated article, inspired poem, photo or essay to EVJ, forward all copy to Editor ESJ and put To the Editor in the subject field.


    Where did the music industry go so wrong?
    By Patrick Faucher
    Published: March 15, 2007, 4:00 AM PDT

    Wasn't it all so gloriously simple back when people listened to top 40 radio and obediently paid $20 for discs at record store chains?

    Labels set the deal terms for artists. Managers handled the "biz." The touring circuits were maintained by well-mannered warlords that politely divvied up the venues. And everyone had their place in the pond.

    So where did it all go wrong with the music business? Somehow, the pond became stagnant over time, mucked up with greed, laziness, contempt and excess. People got bored with music. Then, someone threw a rock into the middle of it called the Internet, and nothing will ever be the same. Today, anyone can hum a tune, mix it with a rhythm track and some samples on their Mac at home, put it up on MySpace.com, and end up with a publishing deal from Moby, which will then sell it to the next Super Bowl sponsor.

    Somehow, the pond became stagnant over time, mucked up with greed, laziness, contempt and excess. The industry has become decentralized. Major labels no longer have the market muscle or control over the distribution channels as they once did. Technology and consumer choice have caused a shift from the traditional music business model of major labels throwing copious amounts of money behind a few big hits to that of a vast collection of individual artists creating pockets of more moderate success among passionate fan bases.

    This shift requires a different approach to the development and monetization of music by the producers and promoters--one that more directly resembles that of more traditional venture-backed business. The entrepreneurs (artists) create new intellectual property (music, artistic brand) that has a demonstrated market (fans) that is robust enough to attract investors (for example, a label) that wants to own some equity in that IP and wishes to put money into the asset to enable it to engage in value-building activities (distribution, merchandising, licensing, and so on). Oddly enough, this "new" model is, in fact, not new.

    We've all heard of The Grateful Dead, Phish, Ani DiFranco, Aimee Mann and the Barenaked Ladies. These great artists have grassroots beginnings. They all employed clever uses of the technology available to them at the time to find fans and create direct distribution channels (from bootleg cassettes and toll-free phone orders to MP3s and e-mail distributions). Using these methods, these "artist-entrepreneurs" have circumvented the traditional channel gatekeepers and have blazed a trail for the rank-and-file working artists and the weekend warriors to follow.

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    ESJ is looking for writers/poets for our next issues. All work is appreciated and will be published (with the exception of articles containing racism, bigotry or other demeaning topics) Also, this is a PG-13 rating and will be censored if you do not edit it. Please e-mail The EvO:R Street Journal.
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