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Mike and Ipods

Discussion in 'Opeth (Archived)' started by nat0, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. Frosties

    Frosties Blind @ heart

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    Loss of cd sales -> No more backing from record labels -> No more funding for tours and/or next album



    In the past, illegal downloading DID help with bands exposure, since a lot of people didn't want to blindly buy albums. But these days when you have Myspace and official band sites where you can check out music for free (not counting the countless sites where you can preview song segments), that excuse of "just checking out a band, so I'll download their entire discography" is not relevant.

    You people who use the excuse that buying music is expensive - don't you feel like little children? "Well, I know I shouldn't have it, but I want it, so I'll just take it". It's fucking selfish, that's what it is.
     
  2. biggsy

    biggsy New Metal Member

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    bands are no longer judged solely by how many albums they sell. i download all the time, gb worth of the stuff, illegally. and i have no qualms about it. i dont feel i have to justify myself to anybody. if the artist impresses me, i buy the album. if they dont, i delete it.
     
  3. Lateralus14

    Lateralus14 New Metal Member

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    Another thing to consider is that with downloads, it's not really stealing in the same sense that robbing some place is. There is essentially an infinite supply of the product as anyone can download it. Thus, by downloading, you aren't diminishing the supply of the product as you are if you just robbed a CD store, and you therefore aren't hurting anyone unless you had the money to buy all the music in the first place.
     
  4. Albert R

    Albert R Yorkshire

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    That's just another poor justification. I'll refrain from giving you a simple lesson in business, but there is still a an effective cost involved to the artist when you download for free. Any illegal download can be classed as lost income. You may not be stealing a physical item, but if everybody took your view, how would artists/record companies pay for touring, finance the next record, etc.? Where would they get the money from?
     
  5. Kamel

    Kamel Trollhunter

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    Well, I think the bands should tour more, looking for some independent producers who are interested in funding their gigs, so they shouldn't worry about the sales or stealing. That if, they don't want to sit their sorry asses in a leather coach drinking expensive whiskey with a couple of slut groupies trying to live like a rockstar, we all work, we're all robbed, we're all blackmailed; they should be grateful if anyone bought their cd's. I also play, My band might be almost as good as my favorite bands are, but I dont cry about the fact that someone stole my album from the internet, cause I assumed the loss a long time ago and I'm only worried about gathering money from my own incomes to afford myself a gig for my band.

    I'm not really sure what i meant, anyway I wanted to say something about it...
     
  6. Prophet178

    Prophet178 Member

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    These are the times we live in today. Independent record shops aren't attractive to customers any more (unfortunately). The digital download sales are outselling CDs and vinyl right now, and seems to be the number one place for people to buy music nowadays. When you sell a product that doesn't have as much demand as it did it the past, its only a matter of time before sales drop and stores close. Its a harsh way of looking at it, but things aren't what they were 20 years ago. The same thing could happen to the video game industry in a few years when hard drive space catches up with bandwidth and digital game downloads take over physical game purchases. Or what the Kindle is doing to the book industry. Its just the times are changing, theres no stopping that. Not everyone can win, but the winners this time are the consumers.

    Again, if I bought all of the albums in my digital library, I would have to be rich, and I would've bought a countless amount of bad albums. I'm sorry that people 20 years ago had to blindly buy an album based on word of mouth or what color the cover is, but today, I can decide whether an album is worth my money or not. This year alone i've probably listened to over 50 albums, I only bought about 20. If I had bought all 50 of those records, it would've cost me hundreds of dollars and I would have 30 records I would never listen to again. The artists that put out quality music this year got my money, and will continue to if they keep putting out good music. I'm sure not everyone in the world does what I do, but i'm sure more often than not, when a great new album comes out from one of your favorite artists, you rush out and get the album. I'm sure almost everyone here got Watershed physically or digitally because Opeth continues to put out great music. When Metallica put out St. Anger, sales dropped because the music sucked, if people couldn't download that album before hand, they would've blindly went out and gave the money to the band. Did they deserve the money? Hell no. Does a good band deserve the money? Hell yes.

    Well heres a whole nother problem. Ticket prices are way more expensive than they used to be thanks to Ticketmaster. I wanted to see Mastodon this year when they came to New York, but guess what, tickets were over $50 and I had just bought their latest vinyl for just under that, guess who's not going to the show now. When tickets never reached over $20 and there weren't ridiculous fees sure you may have been able to buy a CD and a ticket for you and your friend, it just isn't the case anymore. If I bought that vinyl, the ticket, and say a shirt at the show, I would've shelled out well over $100. If I had downloaded the album I could have went to the show then bought the CD later when I had some more money to throw around. Now the roles have changed, bands tour in support of their album, not to sell it. Ticket prices are way more expensive than the price of a CD right now. Again, if you put out a good product, people will come out and see your band on tour.

    The times have changed, and the record labels need to get with those times. They are still trying to push CDs sales and completely ignoring the internet. If record labels focused on how the times are today, sales wouldn't be as bad. They need to make digital downloading attractive to the customer, give people some incentive to buy instead of download. Before, there was only one way of getting new music, going to the store and buying a CD; now there are many ways. Its just as much the fault of the labels as it is the consumers.
     
  7. Mikael Åkerfeldt

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    I can't really lecture anyone on the subject of illegal downloading as I'm simply from the wrong generation. People download music because it's for free, that must be the main reason. Generally I don't think anyone spend any time thinking about how it effect the bands, the record labels with its employees (big and small), record stores, warehouse employees, regular people just like you and me.

    Ultimately it will affect the music industry in a devastaing way I think. Bands will split up since they simply won't be able to afford keeping the band going. Record labels will fold, new artists won't get signed since the risk of investing in unknowns is too big. All YOUR chances of "making it" with your bands are fading with each new download as it is now.

    Many of you see Opeth as a big band. Yet we're only just making enough money to support ourselves. We get a monthly wage of £1200, 1 annual bonus of maybe £3000 but that's it. Personally I also get STIM which is mechanical royalties (writing songs and lyrics) so I'm better off financially than the other guys in the band.

    We're hardly living it large. Every tour we do is expected to be a loss, we're lucky if we break even, we're beyond happy if we turn it into a profit.

    Record sales don't generate much money at all these days, so in order to be able to keep it going, we need to tour all the time. Many tours (not ours anymore) are funded by record labels, but this is only a loan. Ultimately, most bands are still hugely in debt to their labels after a 10-15 year career.

    As a financial career, having a band is a lousy idea to be honest. It's very frustrating sometimes. I spent around the first 10 years of the band in without a penny in my pocket. That was even before downloading started going wild.

    There's only one reason I managed to keep my head cool during all these years, and that's because I love music so much. I'd make more money, way more in fact, being a plumber.

    Yet, I don't regret anything and I don't want this to come across as complaints. I'm a lucky bastard and I love what we do. But unless you're in the biz yourself, your idea on how it "works" are just empty speculations.

    Most of your favourite bands are clutching at straws in order to keep it together, believe me. Support them if you still want them around. Yes, it's that bad.

    How about that little sunny jolly message?
    Cheers
    Mike
     
  8. Prophet178

    Prophet178 Member

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    Wow, thanks for the reply Mike. Its tough to see things from all angles, and most people don't get to hear it from the musicians standpoint, so I'm really glad that you post around here.

    I'm not really sure what to say after that. You said that it was tough before downloading even started, and its still tough now. I still think the record labels need to start making digital downloading more attractive to the consumers, since that is the top way that people are getting music today. Recently, Rx Bandits put their latest album up a week early exclusively on amazon.com for $2.99, and it made it to the top sellers list in under 2 days beating out huge records like The Dead Weather and U2. If record labels reached directly to the masses and gave them an incentive to buy instead of download, then things might not be as bad. It seems like the labels are stuck in the past and are ignoring the problem instead of facing it. Maybe you can shed a little more light on something like that since you deal with them directly, but thats just my observations.

    Thanks again for the post, its kind of depressing to read, and makes me want to go buy your discography over again, but you don't get to see that side of the story too often, and I appreciate your insight greatly.
     
  9. Space Butler

    Space Butler Varg stabbed first

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    Mike, I really respect you and other metal bands for creating the music you love instead of what will sell. It is good to see people with integrity in this world.

    :worship:
     
  10. NicholasDWolfwood

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    Gonna have to agree with this entire post here. I personally have no experience in the music business - but having talked to various musicians in various scenes around the world, I can understand how this post really does sum up the harsh reality of it.

    Yes, I download music. But at the same time, I buy the CD as soon as I am able to afford it (with my paychecks coming bi-weekly.) Often times I'll get a ticket to the show, generally I'll buy a shirt or two or a hoodie or whatever. For example, when I saw Mastodon in May, I bought $120 in merch - a shirt from each Mastodon and Kylesa (for both me and my younger brother, so 4 shirts total) plus a Mastodon hoodie for myself. I've also bought their entire discography over the last 3 years or so that I've liked them.

    Same thing with Opeth. Saw you guys on both the GR tour and the WS tour. Bought a shirt at both GR dates I saw, plus a hoodie at one. Also bought a shirt at the WS date I saw. I've also bought your entire discography over the last, what, like 6-7 years I've been listening to you guys.

    What people don't realize, and most people don't make this distinction - is that (illegally) downloading music itself doesn't hurt the record industry. From what I understand, downloading music and then not buying it if you like it, is what hurts.

    Think about it. By the time an album is recorded, mixed, mastered, and put on the shelves of your local store (whether it be a Best Buy, FYE, or an independent store) - that album just cost the label anywhere from $10k-$50k to make (generally. These figures may not be exact.) Then, the label is also booking the tours (further advancing money), perhaps helping to get merch printed (more money) etc etc.

    By the time a record cycle is over, the band would be lucky to make even half of the money back that the label lost (unless you're a Nickelback or a Metallica etc, of course.)

    Now you also have to figure in that a majority of smaller bands also have to pay fees to the people who designed their merch or printed their merch. So not always does buying a shirt help support the band.

    There's many things to think about in the downloading debate, but ultimately the cause of the recording industry's downfall will rest both upon the labels, and the consumers alike.

    With digital download sales going up, wouldn't it be smart for the labels to seize that opportunity? Sell an entire album for maybe $8-12 on amazon, itunes, whatever. Include hi-res files of the artwork, lyrics, etc since a lot of people love looking at the booklet and reading the lyrics as they listen.



    On an unrelated note, Mike, does that £1200/month get split between the entire band (equaling £240 per member), or is it £1200 per member? Just for pure curiosity's sake...I'm assuming, though, that it's £1200 split 5 ways.
     
  11. Antyman

    Antyman En Ful Jävel

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    I wonder what music genre is makin the greatest financial loss on people downloading their music. it has to be techno and such, as that's what computer geeks listen to?

    the best way of making selling records is to start a "dansband", directed to 60+ people. the Swedish king of this kind of music, Christer Sjögren is gettin rich as a bitch from it.

    go make yourself a dansbands-record Mikael, and earn some cash!

    btw, he means 1200 per member. it's still under the average I believe.
     
  12. Kamel

    Kamel Trollhunter

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    Everything mikael said is the truth uncovered behind the veil of piracy, but it gives me the creeps even to think about living off metal or rock, which is, the music I love and the music I create; I'd die of starvation in a month; I'm not comparing to Opeth, not at all, but here in Chile things are so different; most of the musicians record their albums independently, and I haven't heard of anyone who made profits out of it..

    How could we create conscious among us about the crisis of metal if we are also suffering it?
     
  13. Mikael Åkerfeldt

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    To be honest, I've realized the Cd will go away, and I am not really all that upset about it. I never liked Cd's as a format. Chances of vinyl coming back to dominate are slim to say the least, unfortinately. But it has made somewhat of a return. I always spend time taking to record store owner, the few that are left. Especially in the US I spent shitloads of time (and money) record stores and all of them said Cd's sales are at an all time low, while vinyl has really taken off. Maybe it's a nostalgia trend, but the signs are certainly good.

    What I wonder is what the next format will be. I refuse to accept that the new Opeth album will be nothing more than a URL, hopefully we'll see something more refined than that, something more interesting.

    I'm talking to my colleagues about this all the time, and everyone's worried. I mean, my friends in Katatonia, Enslaved (who takes active part in a anti download/piracy campaign), Porcupine of course...we're all on the same page. None of us are wealthy by any means, but we're seriously contemplating how the hell we can continue doing what we do if piracy escalates more.

    For me, music and culture overall is such a valuable thing, and I refuse to reduce it to "products", which I know in a way it is. But for me it's a....religion, really. It's such an important thing for me that I could literally not live without it I think. Films, music, books, art, everything is available for free and I've yet to encounter an artist who's genuinely alright with being world famous for their art yet left with nothing.

    I found it very interesting, sad, yet amusing when the results came in regarding the Radiohead "self-cost" Cd. I wasn't very surprised that most people, fans, downloaded the album without paying anything whatsoever. Yet they we're given the choice, they could have paid £1 or even less, but chose to pay nothing.

    Not blaming anyone, or pointing fingers, but the whole illegal-downloaders-self-defense-excuse about music being "too expensive" (which I don't think it is) clearly didn't apply to this case.

    Well well...interesting. Either way, I'll continue to write music, only someday maybe it'll never be available outside my house.

    Cheers
    Mike
     
  14. Mikael Åkerfeldt

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    And no, it's £1200 each which equals around 15000 SEK, minus taxes which is almost 35% I think. Generally renting a 3 room flat in the suburbs here costs between 4 and 6000 SEK a month. So as you can tell, some months it's porrage all the way baby.

    For me, I have a mortgage and pay ridicilous amounts of money every month. To be honest I don't know how I afford it but I do sell some Lp's every now and then to make ends meet + Anna brings in some dough as well....

    Mike
     
  15. Prophet178

    Prophet178 Member

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    I'm glad vinyl is starting to come back because it is my preferred format as well. I don't think there will be a next format unfortunately. With everything going digital, and digital downloads expected to overtake CD sales in the next few years, I think that is the way music is going. I hope that vinyl (and CDs) will stay around, because there really is nothing like holding the physical thing in your hands, and watching the record spin, you just can't get that when you hit play on a file. Artwork would just be a jpg file that you can bring up and look at. Not the way I would like things to turn out either.

    I think the only way to salvage sales now would be for the record labels to capitalize on digital downloads, and put more money into marketing. Getting people hyped up about a bands new release around the internet would get people interested in getting it.

    The most interesting thing about the Radiohead record, was that when they released it in physical form (CD and the 2 vinyl versions), people still bought it. Which proved that even though people got the product for free, they still were interested enough to buy it in physical form. That shows that there is still some hope left.
     
  16. NicholasDWolfwood

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    Perhaps it's a nostalgia trend, perhaps people actually really do enjoy vinyls. I mean, when you think about it, vinyls offer so much more than a CD does in a way. Bigger artwork (that's more than likely clearer because it's probably closer to the original size rather than shrunk down). Higher quality in some cases. If everything was done by tape (in the case of 70s records etc) then there's not going to be any loss from the analogue->digital->analogue (or digital->analogue) conversions.

    Maybe the ones who are buying vinyls are actually starting to realize that CDs don't offer the best bang for your buck. Personally the only reason why I don't buy vinyls is because I don't have a record player, and I don't have the money to spend (right now) on all that high quality, high tech equipment (like speakers, a good preamp, a good deck, etc.)

    Further down the line I'd think the next Opeth album would be a URL, but not the immediate next one, not by any means. CD sales may be floundering but since most labels haven't realized that they need to catch up with the times, I doubt CDs will be obsolete by the time the next Opeth album is released.

    What people fail to understand is exactly what everyone who gets it, have been saying all along. Labels will advance a band anywhere from $10k-$50k (probably even more, I'm not well-versed in the specific numbers and I'm sure I'm grossly understating the amount) to record an album and do a tour. Without a label, there is no band. And without record sales (be it from vinyl, CD, or downloads via itunes/Amazon/etc), there is no label.

    In this day and age when any numbskull can get a Pro-Tools rig and make an album in their bedroom, the studio aspect of an advance really isn't that big of a deal anymore (other than hiring someone or outsourcing to a Sneap or Jens or whomever may be mixing/mastering/engineering.) But that's really it - everything else, tour advances, merch, etc, depends on a record label. And that's where it hurts.

    People like Trent Reznor or Radiohead can afford to give away their albums - after having been in the industry for 10-15+ years, selling millions of records and actually making a profit. But anyone who's not NIN/Radiohead/Metallica/etc cannot survive without a label, especially not a metal band.

    I mean, I think that there's definitely a difference in opinions as far as actual piracy goes. On one hand, I know that without piracy I would have never gotten into many of the bands that I have (that range from Opeth to Camel to Deathspell Omega to Shpongle.) But on the other hand, I don't expect music for free - hence why I buy the albums when I can afford to, or I get a ticket to the shows and buy some merch when I can afford to. I also know that with piracy, I would have wasted a whole bunch of money on records I'd listen to once then never listen to again because they're terrible.

    That's the difference that needs to be addressed imo.

    And I agree with this. I know that if I were in a high-profile (metal) band, I wouldn't be okay with writing material for hours on end, then recording it for days on end - barely breaking even at the end of a tour, only to find out that I didn't even get many sales at all.

    This is sad too. And it just shows how greedy the majority of the world is, on a slightly smaller scale. Even though they grossed almost $1million I believe, it's still very sad that they could have done more if it weren't for greed.

    Maybe not in that specific case, but something also needs to be said about these cases where you walk into a store, want to buy an album, and it's...$20. Or however high it may be (which is especially prevalent in the US with all these chain stores like FYE and Best Buy.)

    Even at $12 an album it'd be more affordable for people in the current economical climate, and in the long run I'd like to think that labels would benefit from that as it'd bring in more total sales.

    Yeah on second thought, that £1200 split 5 ways was kinda low to me when I really thought about it.


    Would like to hear your thoughts on the points I've raised, it's certainly interesting to talk to someone as prolific as you are (in the metal world) about these issues. I've really only talked to lower level musicians, who are on independent labels and have a full-time day job etc and they share somewhat of the same sentiments as I do.
     
  17. Space Butler

    Space Butler Varg stabbed first

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    Wow, this is sad... I'm sorry Mike. I'll buy another shirt to help!
     
  18. greasyboat

    greasyboat Member

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    this is sad indeed, didn't know mike had it so hard... seems so unjust considering his accomplishments.
     
  19. Kamel

    Kamel Trollhunter

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    Actually mike, as for me, here in Chile music is really expensive, cause there's a considerable tax on it, as well as on books; everytime I order a cd i feel completely robbed!

    when you import CD's, they extra charge you a lot of custom taxes. I didn't want to talk about money here, but I feel "in my time of need" (boring nerdy joke)

    for the ghost reveries CD I paid 22 US dollars
    for the watershed pack cd+dvd I paid 40 US dollars!!
    40 US dollars!!

    I'm a family man for god's sake and it is a luxury I'm affording

    The goverment should not motivate free-downloading by reducing or eliminating the taxes
    I BLAME THEM
     
  20. Antyman

    Antyman En Ful Jävel

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    speaking of nothing, Mikael, have you been to the vinyl store in Borlänge? I noticed it during the Peace & Love festival. it's kind of awesome, even found some rare Pekka Pohjola stuff there.

    the only solution as I see it is to make somekind of disc that can't be played on computer, like a cd with a fuckin virus or something in it :) and then when you make files of the tracks, an evil Erik-monster (axe's alter ego) will appear and fuckin rip the computer to pieces.. or something! (I'm not very handy with computers).

    could also release the CDs on your own. I know I'd pay hundreds of bucks for some unreleased stuff, as long as it doesn't get released for the world-public (I've done this with some bands, and I love my rare tracks/conserts which I won't share with anyone).

    I hope I won't regret this post tomorrow when I'm sober.
     

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