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Moby is a rich idiot June 21, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.

Musician Moby has weighed in on the jusgment in favor of the recording industry and against the Minnesota mom:


In spite of making millions from his recordings, Moby just does not get it. He focuses only on the fan wanting to listen to the music, Pure populist BS or he is a narrow-minded idiot. The woman did not just want to listen to the music. Thay only costs a paltry $23.76 for the two dozen songs in question.

The award was for the blatant and unrepenant sharing of the 24. Filesharing means millions of music listeners get the files for free. In this brave new world that Moby espouses, the next time his music comes out, one listener will pay $0.99 for a song or $9.99 for the whole album. Then that person shares it freely and nobody else ever pays.

Yeah, Moby already has made his fortune and can sit on his piles of cash and sanctimoniously say the music industry is greedy. But he is a hypocrite in doing so. Lots of other artists are struggling, thinking they are making it if they make money for rent or meals from their sales of music. He has gotten his, so screw the newer artists.

If people want to buy music to listen to, fine. The iStore and Amazon and loads of other places do that and all is fine. But to allow open copying and distribution will kill the whole system – and not just in music. Movies and TV shows are routinely pirated now. Books will be the next wave, and a lot of that filesharing goes on now. Creative people will end up only making music, films, shows, writing books only for the one-time pop of getting it out. Living on your artistry will be dead.



1. Sinbad - June 24, 2009

Your example about books is an interesting one. Over 95% of the cost of producing a book is in the printing and distributing. If books are distributed electronically on Kindles etc the cost can decrease enormously and still be profitable for the artist/author. And that’s the key to the whole digital piracy issue in my view. The new technology requires a new business model.

Take music. Once created a song costs zero to reproduce. Hence, every sale is essentially 100% profit. It’s better for the artist to sell a song 1000,000 times at 5 cents than 1000 times at 99 cents, obviously. The business model needs to be cheap and convenient such that it competes with “free”. Same for books.

Another consideration is that people are listening to artists that they otherwise wouldn’t if they had to pay $10 for an album. What’s better for the artist? Surely getting heard and buildind a fan base is the aim of the game. I’ve “pirated” music that someone told me was good, and it was so I subsequently bought the music and attended a concert. A win for the artist. As I said, new technology requires new business models.

2. fetzthechemist - June 24, 2009

(I agree that downloading music ought to be inexpensive. A nickel or dime a song ought to be the norm – an album cost $9.99, so it ought to be cheaper, too. An album at $2 would get no argument from me, if people would not be so freewheeling at filesharing. If you want to sample something, maybe a free download for a set period of time, then it goes POOF! Or if you buy downloads, you get points towards more.

The book royalties system needs to change. It is not a flat fee, but a percentage of the sales figure. So, even now, if a book is discounted, the author gets less. They’d get pennies per copy for an electronic book (mine are not yet, so I do not know).

The business models might change somewhat, but the big thing is to get the huge profit portions out of CDs, downloads, whatever. Take reasonable cuts and then limit filesharing.

I still content concerts are the biggest ripoff. No matter how much you like an artist, paying $200 to $300 for two tickets (the norm) plus handling fees and taxes for two or three hours of entertainment is ridiculous. Greedy companies get more than any cut you get from recorded music. If a band plays 50 concerts at 15,000 fans each at only $100 per ticket, that is $75 million. The venues get a slice. The band gets something, but the huge rest is to companies. CDs sales are not on that scale since a million seller might bring in $15 million retail – and half goes to the store.

3. Sinbad - June 27, 2009

Yes I agree that ticket prices are expensive but that’s partially the free market. AC-DC tickets went on sale here recently, for a concert in 6 months. $150 per ticket in a huge stadium. Sold out in 20 minutes. A concert is an experience to remember for a lifetime. Digital music can be copied and shared, experiences cannot.
The old model of selling music relied on a physical product and everybody accepts paying for physical products. But you don’t pay to listen to music on the radio (advertising aside) and no-one makes any noise about recording music odd the radio. What is the difference between that and ripping an MP3? Convenience. And the record companies in their greed are unable to reconcile this change.

4. fetzthechemist - June 27, 2009

The new model is downloading music for a fee. That fee makes the old model look cheap. You buy opne song for $0.99, more if it is a hot hit. A whole friggin’ solid CD of 15 to 20 songs costs maybe $12, or usyally less per song. You advocate all non-linve music be given away for free, but not all artists have the draw like AC-DC or a few other groups.

As far as concert prices, companies like Ticketron start selling at $150 per ticket. Most of the blocks of tickets go to broker who resell, but those are now often subsidiaries of Ticketmaster and the other ticket brokers. You end up paying for a scarcity they control and create. Ripoff on top of ripoff.

I think music ought to sell for a fraction of what it does, $.10 to $.30 a song, $3 to #5 per album. That is affordable and reasonable if the record companies take the smaller cut. It ain’t going to happen, just like your ticket scheme will freeze out most fans. It is all about big companies milking people for as mucch money as they can for as long as they can.

5. Sinbad - June 27, 2009

Mostly what we say is conjecture of course. This essay from the Harvard Business School is interesting and based on evidence, rather than the usual vested interest of record labels or college students.

6. fetzthechemist - June 27, 2009

I read through this. Not know the authors, since their listing at the beginning is rather sparse, I cannot tell if they are true scholars trying to be objective or posers trying to prove a point. Are they professors or grad students?

The analysis itself has flaws. They talk about micxed effects of filesharing by comparing movies (2.5% lower) to music (20% lower), when their own review says that the latter started much earlier. Movies were on pirated much online until BitTorrent because the files are so large. If this just a difference in timing? Most likely so.

They carve the music market only in the 1% who become megastars and everyone else. This, of course, leads to their conclusion that filesharing affects that 1% very little because they make it up through concerts. The other 99% is ignored. Everyone knows they cannot sellout arenas and stadiums in hundreds of concerts, but screw all those musicians – I want my free music.

That 99% loses the modest dollars from a few tens or even hundreds of thousands of albums – which at a dollar per album for the artists is real money. They do not live in a 100-room mansion somewhere like the 1% does. The 99% get live performances in clubs, which pays didley squat. So filsharing forces 99% of musicians into being artists only for the arts sake, no money from albums, little money from performances.

The lifetime of an artist or band in this mode is short, probably 5 to 10 years. Then they quit. Everyone loses that talent. Thousands of popular bands die like that, even with CD sales going to them. Now that is gone. I am listening to a band that has been extremely popular in the alternative genre, Neutral Milk Hotel (thanks to psi#psi!). They did not like touring much, broke up because of that, yet their few albums continue being heard, even if they are not making much money from them.

Even the Beatles hated touring after a while and the albums that people like most came after they stopped touring and could focus on recording only – Sgt. Pepper’s, the White album, Abbey Road, plus songs like Strawberry Fields Forever, Across the Universe, Hey Jude. Any chance of that ever happening again for a band?

7. Sinbad - June 28, 2009

No they’re from the Harvard Business School I think.
What ever makes you think the 99% of struggling bands will sell hundreds or even tens of thousands of songs? Dream on. The only way to make it in music is to build a big fan base. That’s not going to happen if an unknown band is expecting $1 each time someone wants to hear their song.
We may have to agree to disagree, but I think you’re taking the same Luddite position that the media companies did when radio started, or TV, or VCRs, or mp3. Artists survived and prospered under all of these “sky is falling” scenarios. They will with Bit torrent as well.

8. fetzthechemist - June 28, 2009

There are lots of bands who used to sell albums in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Millions sellers were big hits. That is why they called them million sellers. So a lot of bands got to split and get several thousands per album, On concerts they were opening acts, who DO NOT get the megabucks, but the total was OK. Remove the album royalties, and they make a lot less.

I am far from Luddite. If you use your other examples, yeah, new media came in, lots of artists’ careers ended. Poof.Those suited for the new medium succeeded. Your model says that the only new artists who survive, like in that analysis, are megastars who can sell out arenas. Right now that is established acts, who will dwindle.

There is no mechanism for making new megastars except for American Idol, America’s got Talent and such shows. Your scholars say so. So we have that limited cariety of mass-appeal, nigh teeny-bopper crap that has come out of those shows so far. You think AC-DC would have developed and thrived enough in this environment to be the big band in 5 or 10 years? Get real. No good bands even have a chance today to get noticed and then succeed selling out concerts of the type you suggest.

Good music will be the first to die. New talent cannot make it anymore. The pablum like Kelly Clarkson, and such will be it.

9. fetzthechemist - June 28, 2009

As far as music, I have the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, to still enjoy and find a lot of talent that was just in that range of not quite superstars. In 5 years, the music scene will not have that. You have a hundred million songs to wade through since any garage band or for-crap singer will have equal footing to be enjoyed. The record companies did have one great value – finding talent amongst the vast hordes of not very good artists.

The move into movies and books will hurt those areas even more. Movies are very high bidget to get quality – writers, actors, special effects. Book authors actually live off their royalties. The superstars get wealthy, but a lot earn a moderate living. It takes a hell of a lot of time to create a book. You cannot do it piecemeal, part-time.

10. Sinbad - June 29, 2009

I think the “sky is falling” rhetoric about new bands not getting a chance doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. There’s lots of hot new bands around that are getting much more exposure because of file sharing than they ever would in the old days. Your mistake is thinking that bands build fans and make money by selling records. They don’t. They build a fan base by performing and record sales are a by-product. Proper musicians live to perform and can make a decent living at it. File sharing assists in giving them the breaks in my view.
Let me give you an example. My daughter downloaded an album by a new indie performer from New York called Ingrid Michaelson. I heard it, loved it, and copied it to my iPod. She performed one of Michelsons songs at a school concert – her teachers loved it and some of them bought the CD. Now how would an obscure NY indie performer ever get recognition, exposure and fans in Australia (where we are) without file sharing? Next time I’m in NY I’ll even check if she’s performing and go see her. It works.
By the way, how is file sharing music any different than getting free music on radio, Utube, MTV, or streaming through PlayStation Network?

11. fetzthechemist - July 1, 2009

File sharing from radio is probably the worst sound quality any music lover will accept. It reminds you of songs you already know or gets you familiar with new songs and artists (legally), but you’ve never stand listening to much of it because it loses too much in the broadcast and reception.

As far as getting known, file sharing works. But what does the unknown artist get out of it? If a million people listen to a song, get free copies, and like it, the artist only know secondarily about it (YouTube views or some such). But they do not get more popular enough to justify a concert tour unless there is some way for concert promoters to know that putting on concerts in Houston ot Toronto or Portland will make lots of money. CDs sales and radio play were the old metrics. Neither is a big deal in a file sharing world. A concert promoter will not gamble on a tour with an unknown who has no proven fan base.

12. Sinbad - July 1, 2009

Digital radio is as good as an iPod. PlayStation Network streams music, actually music videos, in high quality. I think you’re splitting hairs with the quality argument. Nevertheless, the comment about promotors taking a risk on a gig based on uTube hits is an interesting thought. I’ll bet we see that in the future. Interestingly, that brings up the issue of “free” versus “access”, the topic of a really great blog post on exactly this issue. Have a read and see what yo think.

By the way, thanks for the discussion. Non-chemistry and all.

13. fetzthechemist - July 1, 2009

You are welcome. I like the discussion. Are views differ, but we are getting to a few points where we see the other’s ideas.

Yes, digital radio does have its advantages. But it is not free, per se. There are subscriptions that you either pay for directly or as part of a greater package (like as part of your ISP or TV or telephone services). Those radio stations pay the artist royalties. The last I heard, this moght be a few hundredths or tenths of a penny per song. But it adds up and does benefit the artists.

The music world is not ready for the full repercushions of filesharing. I know people in lots of bands, big and small. They are trying to cope, getting back into selling CDs at club shows and other ways. Record labels are cutting way back on budgets, so talent scouts are fewer and promotion is mainly for the established blockbuster acts.

Since I like alternative and indier music, that scares me because those genres will get hit harder than the more highly popular ones. There are thousands of wannabe Justin Tinberlakes who can get on American Idol. I could care less. I dislike that music. But will the next Thom Yorke be lost? It is now more likely.

14. Sinbad - July 2, 2009

Well I guess we will see over the next decade if your fears are justifed. For now there seems to be more music variety and options than in years past so the evidence for a decline in new talent is not there (yet). Quite the opposite.

15. fetzthechemist - July 2, 2009

Time will tell. There are changes and it is transitioning to something. If 75% to 80% of people still buy music as CDs, downloads, or from subscription radio, artists will get some income. To be good enough to make it, they cannot be working 40+ hours a week to make a living. Time is too short to do both well.

I wonder if there was the option of subscribing to a filesharing network where the money went directly to the artists, no profit involved in the filesharing entity, whether people’s altruism would have them choose that over totally free. Have people gotten too greedy or expectant of all media being theirs for free?

generationally, I have my doubts – people used to paying will be more likely to. Younger people think they ought to be able to do whatever they want without constraints, but they do have their own moral and ethical codes. They do support charity and causes, but the boundaries are not those of previous generations. A tough call.

16. Mera - July 7, 2009

Maybe you’re trying to depend on the wrong system?

I don’t think music is something to buy.
I think it should be something to love,
and when you love it,
then it should be natural to think about the people who created this
and wish to thank them
and for that reason buy their albums or other stuff.

But as this system goes now,
they try to make you buy music because it’s the only choice you have
or at least the only legal one.

But really,
music is all about feelings and caring about things,
isn’t it?
So when you’re moved by the music,
you do already care about the creators.

There are really a lot of people,
who are very good at downloading,
and who still buy the albums of their favourite artists.
Yes, even when they already have the music on their computers.
Yes, even when they don’t have very much money.
Because they know that music one of the important things in their life,
and they think therefore it’s worth it.

And I think that’s the kind of people who we should support
and wish to have
people who think about things
and choose their ways to live.

17. fetzthechemist - July 8, 2009

These sentiments are nice in an egalitarian, sensitive, and altruistic world. But the recent attempt by Radiohead to let fans choose the price to pay for In Rainbows showed that in spite of it being an very good album, one quarter of people chose not to pay even one penny for their copy. Is that treating the artists with respect and love?

The downloading system is different than the free filesharing one. One ought to be a very affordable and reasonable price. The other is just egocentric cheapness. Most filesharers do not go out and buy music. Why bother when it can be had for free?

Music will be limited as this goes on, becoming an amateurish part-time hobby for most (who will need to do something else to eat and have someplace to live) or be a lucrative life for the less than 1 percent who make it big enough to perform live. Making music will not bring in enough for the occasional bologna (or tofu) sandwich.

18. Mera - July 8, 2009

Okay, I searched about that release a bit.
So most of the people paid nothing or quite little for the download, but still the pre-release sales of the actual CD “were more profitable

than the total money from sales of the previous album”. And it reached number one position on charts.

So what’s wrong? The album was free in the beginning and everyone could download it, and still they bought it later, and bought A

LOT of it.

The only thing that can be considered disrespectful is that so many still downloaded it for free.
So what?
I don’t think that people should pay for just hearing or listening the music.
This is not the idea of music.
If I were a musician, I wouldn’t care how many times are my songs listened to without me getting any money from it.

And people did order and buy the CD just as much as they would’ve before.

“Why bother when it can be had for free?”
People who think like this don’t REALLY care for the music.
If they couldn’t download, they probably wouldn’t buy the CD still.
And those who would… well, what would it mean?
I think most of the people who buy a CD should be the ones who’d do it even whey they wouldn’t have to.
Radiohead seems to have a lot of these people.
But if a band doesn’t have enough of fans like this and needs to rely on forcing people to buy just because they cannot download… well,

it’s not a very good band, is it?

P.S. also i think many of the people wanted to buy the real “In Rainbows” CD when it would come out (and not pay twice for it).
And many wanted to find out if they like the music.
And many just really, seriously didn’t have money, and I don’t think this should keep them from music.

So still, people should CHOOSE to buy an CD,
and not have to do it just because they don’t have another way.

19. fetzthechemist - July 8, 2009

People have a free and legal way to hear most music to see if they like it. There are lots of places offering 30-second samples of songs to hear. If you cannot tell if you like a song from 30 seconds, your listening skills and tastes are not those of a music lover.

Yes, Radiohead still made money off of this, but Radiohead is one of the most popular bands around. They can afford to lose millions because those people with ethics and morals will pay something. But less popular bands do not have that luxury. If a band sells a couple hundred thousand copies, they might get that many dollars. Split three, four, or five ways means one good selling album gets each band member $40 to $70 thousand, which is not much since most bands put out and album every year at the quickest, more like every year and a half or two years. Every lost dollar is real money to these musicians.

Love of music should not equate into making it cheaper and cheaper, until it is free because you love it so much. If I like doing things on my PC, I do not expect a discount on hardware, software, or support. I’d love it is the world worked like that, everybody doing their jobs for free so nobody has to pay and everybody gets what he or she needs. But that is Utopia or Shangri La. Expecting only musicians to do that does denigrate them as people. It says “Your work may be beautiful, but it has no value to me”.

So you expect an artist to paint lovely pictures for you and give them to you for free? Do you as a poet or author to write great things to read and enjoy, then expect them to deliver them gratis? Musicians are being taken advantage of by selfish people who say that it ought to be free because they are too cheap to pay. They’d rather go spend their money on other things for themselves – self-centerred, greedy pirates.

20. Mera - July 8, 2009

Hmm… I understand how you see it.
But did you try to consider my point

of view?
Because it really seems to me, that what ever I’d say, the first thing you’ll do is try to find how to controvert me.
So you just keep defending the things you have decided to see as the ineluctable, no matter what?

And it’s not like we’re changing the laws here, it’s just about personal thoughts. But this way it kinda destroys the meaning of communication for me.

Sorry, it’s my mistake. I was stupid of me to comment on this blog 🙂
I’ve actually decided not to do these kind of things. I mean, it was rather obvious how it would turn out. But sometimes I forget 🙂

Anyway, so not much point in talking anymore.
Wish you a happy life!

P.S. I actually was amazed by how well that Radiohead release turned out,
would have not expected so much. I mean, they did sell more albums than ever before. (Can’t even know if they lost any money).

21. fetzthechemist - July 8, 2009

I am not advocating the current system of CDs that cost $15 or more or downloads of $0.99 or more per song. But I do think musicians deserve money for their creations and work. Without the middlemen gouging the consumers, it might be $ 1 to $3 dollars per album and a uarter, more or less, per song. Consumers get the music they want at a much lower rate that they can legally do now and the musicians get rewarded for their work and creativity.

I do not understand why people think music is so valuable to their lives, yet not worth any money to pay for it. That is equivalent to saying that being a musician can only be a pastime, not a career or livelihood. The old starving artists mentality that art is only for art’s sake. That is utter BS and a denigration of the profession. Musicians have talent and they practice extremely long periods continually to build and maintain their art. Why do music piurates want to penalize musicians by saying “Get a real job to feed yourself and your family, but keep giving me great music for free”? Ridiculous illogic there.

Music is to be enjoyed, yes, but music does not spring full blown out of the air or ocean or blooming flowers. It takes talent to think of it and more talent to convert those thoughts into reality. I appreciate that and will reward anyone for that. I will not insult them by taking their creations without a thanks that means something. A few pennies a song is not much, but music filesharers act like it is a pile of gold being asked for. They refuse on this high horse of art purity and altruism. Tell who they are and what they do for a living and I’ll gladly give them a taste of what they do – if they wait tables, then no gratuity, because they ought to love serving the public freely in the spirit of humanity as one example.

22. Mera - July 8, 2009

I feel like you don’t even read my comments.

23. fetzthechemist - July 8, 2009

I did read your comments. Altruistically, music is to be enjoyed. Yet it does not just appear. Musicials who create good music of whatever genre need talent, time to practice, and a lot of hard work. They spent hours perfecting their playing and some even do this with their singing. They have the minds to create tunes and mind-catching lyrics. If a good musician spends such a great amount of time creating, how is he or she to be fed, clothed, and sheltered?

Without getting money from recording, if filesharing decimates that source, then musicians are left to live playing. That means for most a night of playing for a few hundred dollars. Travel, set up and breakdown time are not paid for by clubs, so the “hourly” wages are often less than what we call “Minimum wage”.

The few mega-stars make tons of money off of concerts. But there is no way now for up-and-coming artists to get there without some way of building up popularity.

On the other end, there are oceans of modest or mediocre talents who can play free music just for the love of it. But those musicians do not create songs we remember.

If you knew that your dollar spent to directly buy a downloaded album from a musician was going to be used to buy groceries or to pay rent would you pay it? Or would you say “All music ought to be free!”?

If you knew that filesharing that album meant that the musician only sold that one copy to you and that a hundred others got it for free because they could, rather than paying a dollar each (which they could afford), leaving the musician penniless?

24. Mera - July 8, 2009

Of course you read.
But I feel like you don’t.

Because right now you’re explaining me things I actually TALKED about. These things are the WHOLE POINT of my view on this stuff!

Please don’t bother to reply me again. You’re repeating yourself AND me.

I just reply to you once more only because I hope you might notice what you’re doing. If you treat other people in your life like that… I don’t think you’ll gonna be very happy.

You probably think I’m wrong, though. You don’t have to bother telling me about that. I already know.

But just think about it for a second maybe?

25. fetzthechemist - July 8, 2009

You say that people will love the music and want to thank the musicians by buying music, but the trend is that that is happening less and less. Whether people used to buy CDs or download music, they now are filesharing more and more. They might love the music, but the thanking is not there nor is there any generosity. Maybe you expect people to behave well, to be good. I do not – I think a lot of people will, but a lot will not. It probably is getting closer and closer to half and half.

Are people basically good and altruistic or not? I think there is a huge generational divide where the younger portion of the population is more self-centerred, less generous, less thoughtful, less conciliatory, less willing to compromise. As time passes, that means less and less good will be manifest in people and what passes for goodness or acceptable behaviors will be a higher level of rudeness, egotism and selfishness, and uncaring. I hope I am wrong, but the patterns showing up in the way society behaves point more towards that being the future.

If people do stay as good or even get better, then the scenario of filesharing killing professional music ought not to happen. But if people are more into themselves without thinking of others outside of their circle, then a lot of good music will never happen.

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