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May 2016
Making YouTube Pay Up

Roger says come together, Paul says "whaaat?" 

Roger:  The whole trip going on with YouTube it’s interesting because you have a company that basically built a platform, a website that has very, very little content development and overhead to deal with as far as that goes.  They created a social site and by allowing people to put material on their site, they basically created background material for their advertisements.   That’s really smart, you’ve got to give it to them, ya know?  On the other side of it, as far as people putting up creative content – stuff that’s being streamed on other sites and all that, it’s really unfair to the artist because (granted, it’s a platform that needs to be used to advertise and to promote), but a lot goes into that, and very, very little comes back from it.  I don’t see any reason why, at the very least, a company the size of YouTube, owned by Google - not broke, doing very well for themselves – can’t at least match standard streaming pay-outs.  While the standard streaming rate is also not great, it’s at least something you can work with.

I don’t know who comes up with the mere fraction of a cent the artist gets paid, or how that works for them (typically .00008¢), but I do think it’s time now that it has become something so large, that they see the give and take.  Yes, you have to put your stuff up there to promote it, but you, the artist also pays to advertise it as well.  By sharing the link, you are inadvertently promoting YouTube as well.  The reason people are looking at the ads on their site is because the artist created all their content for them, and paid for the promotion.  In all fairness, it’s about time they catch up.  Streaming was always really erratic and crazy before, but now it’s somewhat balanced out so I think it’s time YouTube did the same.  I think it’s great to see a lot of high caliber artists that can reach a larger audience start talking about it.   I really hope that for independent artists and people that are just starting out and utilizing that for a promotional machine can all kind of come together and make a little something off their work as well.

Paul:  Who doesn’t like you tube? All those adorable kitty videos!! Guess what? Musicians don’t dig YouTube when it comes to streaming videos for about a sixth of what Spotify and Apple pay artists, so says Nikki Sixx and many other artists, and a few managers as well. Irv Azoff just recently posted a long detailed letter about how the laws need to change so that artists can earn a living off their work, and that includes video streams on YouTube.  Now then how do we make them pay up? I think that first we need to get rid of the safe harbour laws protecting YouTube (Google) so that they at least pay the same royalty rates that Apple and Spotify pay. We could call for a boycott, but that’s just pissin in the wind, nobody’s going to stop using these sites, YouTube, Facebook and the like, we’re hooked. There are some whose daily lives revolve around social media. I really liked what Mr. Sixx had to say about getting the artists involved en mass to effect some change in the system. Perhaps a revolution like United Artists tried to pull off in the movie industry. But reality tells me that the system has always been in the favor of the big company. Record contracts were always in the company’s favor so why should this new system of paying artists be any different? Hey, I like YouTube, dig the funny videos and the ones that make you go “whaaaaat?” But being a musician/singer/song writer it would be unique to get some reasonable pay for our Better Daze videos, and about a zillion old videos of Little Feat that date back to the 70’s of the last century. C’mon YouTube, Googlemeister, if you ain’t sharing, you aint caring!!!

 

Nikki Sixx launches campaign to get YouTube to pay the same royalties as streaming sites.

Reference Links

Original Sixx story:   http://bit.ly/1NK4hy5

Background story – Both Sides (interesting read)  http://bit.ly/1TWmTgF

 

 

 

The Impact of Social Media

Why Roger thinks you should go out and do something, and Paul hated having a last name that starts with the letter “B”

 

Paul:  There’s an old showbiz adage that says all publicity is good publicity, just as long as they spell your name right.  T think that social media can and sometimes does fall into that scenario in a lot of ways.  It has made stars of people with no discernable talent other than being a social media star, and it has taken careers to another level by reporting every little digression in their personal lives.  I call that the Unsocial media, and love it or hate it, it is a fact of our tech driven lives.

Then there’s the real value of social media, especially for the more unknown musician, model, artist, etc.  It is a platform that can be used to advertise, promote and just plain get ears and eyes on your work. And for the most part it’s free, however, there are some resourceful young entrepreneurs who are starting companies that will help those without tech skills to do just that.  There are funding campaigns, blogs, videos – just about anything you can dream of to help promote your work, and therein lies the rub.  These things do cost you something, a pittance compared with ad agencies and promo departments of major labels that can cost a pretty penny.  I know this because my son works for a company that does just that, and through my travels I have met more and more social media coordinators who do really good work and are reaping the benefits of this brave new world.

We at Better Daze are so lucky to have our own Girl Friday, Miss Moneypenny Extraordinaire – our own secret weapon who investigates all of these platforms, gets us more bang for the buck, and who has clued us into the fact that if you want your product listed, played or sold, (in our case, songs), you need to have a video to go with it.  Oh joy, just what I’ve always wanted.  I must say that it has taught me a good lesson in being more sociable.  One needs to engage fans and not only get them to like your sites, but to get them to share that with their friends, comments, likes, hashtags – love them hashtags.  The more clicks we get, the higher up the old algorithm scale you go.  I always wondered why there was AAA plumbing, or whatever in the phone book - well, it puts you ahead of the class, top of the page, first in line.  And here I always hated having a last name that started with a ‘B’ – you can get away with anything when you are up front!!!  Party on dude…

Roger:  The pros would be that it is really cool to talk to people all over the world, share concepts, have a laugh sometimes.   It’s nice that people can send pictures to each other with ease – you know, people that they wouldn’t be able to travel to see, their kids and all that stuff.  It’s also a really great marketing tool, especially for independent artists.  The ability to spread the word about things at a low overhead is always a great help to getting the word out. 

The cons are, I guess, it seems that a major percentage – literally billions of people – spend about an hour a day, some a lot more, some less, on social media.  Basically going back and forth about things that they disagree with, and getting pretty uptight about it.  It seems that if you do that every day – you know, spend that much time every day on social media – that by the end of the week, you’ve just spent an 8-hour day either ranting, or just cruising around, you’re not getting paid for that time.  So, how about (just as a concept), if all these people took half of that time, a half a day, and got together in their own community and did something more constructive with that time.  It’s not like you’re really going that far out of your way, it’s not time you wouldn’t have given away to nothing anyway.  It’s a concept, just throwing it out there.  Lots of things can be done instead of just taking about things and ranting about what you feel the outcome should be – actually go out and do something.

 

 

Touring vs. Live Streaming

Paul says things 'ain't the way they used to be', Roger's not surprised

 

Roger:  I think that the technology of being able to stream shows over the internet to people’s homes is very cool.  It’s not only good for major artists to be able to expand their fan base for shows, or clubs and venues able to stream shows that way, but it’s also good for independent bands just getting started and not able to fund the road tour, which can be exceedingly expensive.   This allows the indie artist to still have a public performance for their fans in their own homes, and to gain a following until they can support themselves for an actual physical tour.

It is really amazing way the technology is coming along, how so many different things are possible at this point.  It simply doesn’t surprise me with the amount of R & D going into virtual reality and vr settings.  Down the road, who knows?  People might actually be able to have the artist in 3D in their home performing for them.  The one thing about streaming a show over the internet is that it misses is the interaction between the artist and the crowd.  There’s no real energy give-and-take that way, making it really hard to push the vibe you’re really working for.

Once again, if they keep making bandwidth larger and the possibility of greater technology, who’s to say what’s coming in the future, it’s all pretty amazing.

Paul Barrere:  So think about it, how hard is it to stay ahead of the curve when the curve is always in motion? That’s kind of how I feel about the technology of today.  Having come from the time when your recording became a long playing vinyl album until now, it seems that we are in a constant state of flux. Downloads, streaming radio subscriptions, et al are cutting into profits from sales of recordings and now this, touring vs. live streaming. Always the bread and butter of bands, the live shows were a proven way for musicians to make money, and depending on who you are, that figure can be enough to sustain or not quite enough to make rent, either way it ain’t how it used to be.

Now we have live streaming shows. They have pluses and minuses as well. You don’t have to sell tickets to make some club owner happy, or for you to get your money back as some clubs actually make you pay to play. But then again you don’t get any feedback from a live audience. Sure there are interactive segments when you can once again use the technology to answer questions, or talk to your cyber audience one on one, but can that really be as satisfying as hearing cheers or jeers from real live people? But as I think about it, how nice is it to be in a controlled environment to create music that can be heard around the world?  That’s pretty cool really, and how about streaming it to folks who can’t get out for one reason or another, the healing qualities of music could be brought to the infirm, add a smile to their faces, brighten their day.

Check out this link and see some of the positives and negatives of the streaming experience:

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2015/07/decentralized-events-how-live-streaming-revolutionized-live-music.html

So here’s a new market place for those savvy enough to get on board. This will grow, get better and better in quality and therefore become a viable alternative to many. I guess my biggest pet peeve to all this technology is that it is slowly taking the human interaction out of play, and maybe making this society a little lazy in real communication skills. There is room for both, all things in moderation as they say, but the more things change, at this point, they might not be the same.

 

The Death of the Album

Roger misses the magic and Paul soothes the savage beast

 

Roger:  It kind of seems like we’re witnessing the demise of the album.  Over time, as more and more of the ability for personalized playlists become available, you know – you can get like 40k songs for .08¢!   With that kind of thing happening, it is harder to promote a record.  Even when you put 10 songs together, you still have to promote them all individually because it seems like people don’t take the time or have the time to sit and dig all the way into a list, it’s automatic gratification – hit play on one song and say ‘that’s cool’ and download it, then throw it onto a playlist on your iPod, or phone – whatever the case may be. 

It’s hard to say what the outcome will be because if you put 10 or more songs on a list, it seems like people never get to the end of the list so they don’t really get that old curiosity.  In the past, you promoted a single, sometimes 2 or 3, to get people interested in what you’re working on and they would go in and dig into the old school B side.  That would create conversation, you know people would say, ‘Hey did you listen to this song?’ Then after those song(s) get, hopefully, more and more popular, you would release that as a single and it would kind of keep things in motion.

Now, the question is do you still produce full albums knowing that whatever you put towards the end of the list will probably never get any attention, so do you release 3 at a time? 5 at a time? The conundrum with that is when you are working on a record, as you write the first few songs and you start developing it, it creates a sound for that album, a direction.  If you are only going to release half the record at a time, you ‘re no longer really get that cohesion. 

What’s kind of humorous to me is that people will go on and download 10 singles in mp3 format and say, ‘Hey I got the record and it didn’t cost as much’, and in the end it still cost as much as it would for the physical product, but it’s not going to have that finality that a finished album does, or that bigger sound an album has since the internet compresses the music.  It’s like the convenience of it has taken away some of the magic.  You kind of want to hope that people will start coming back around and get tired of the insanity of endless compilations of different material, and instead have that relaxing time to just sit down and listen to a whole album, experience the whole thing start to finish.

 

Paul:  Was there ever a record, an LP if you will, that you had to listen to from side A to side B, where all the songs related to each other, and there was a flow of consciousness? Then came the cassette where you could flip it over and hear all the songs in order, and finally the CD where you just pop it in and all the songs are represented in the order the artist wanted them to be to create the experience. That was an album to me, and it is rapidly becoming a lost art.

Streaming and individual downloads have now taken over giving the listener the power of how they want to experience song play lists and mix tapes created on home burnt cd’s, that hand the audience the canvas and brushes to create their own works of art.

It’s a digital world we live in. It gives the power to the consumer, and I guess it was inevitable that this would happen. We can now choose who we listen to with a couple of keystrokes, when we watch a show or movie on multiple platforms, just about all entertainment can be watched or listened to on hand held devices, at our own leisure. The genie is out of the bottle, and there’s no going back.

But still there are those audiophiles who want to experience the work in its original form, so the album is not dead. Perhaps it is a bit corrupted sometimes, but then beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I can’t blame the public for wanting to have this power, I only hope they are not in some way hacking in and stealing the works that so many musicians put their heart and soul into.

Over the last few years some artists are even returning to vinyl for those of us who still have a turntable to play them on, bravo, but the process has become costlier. Technology has given us convenience. I don’t have a problem with that at all. I enjoy having my iPhone connected by Bluetooth to my sound system in my car. I can make play lists that suit my tastes, something nice about being able to jump from miles Davis to Robert Johnson, so in a sense I’m as guilty as the next guy for not just playing the uploaded albums in my library in their entirety.

Enjoy music my friends, it will soothe the savage beast in us all.