I’ve been hearing disheartening rumors for some time now that the music industry as we have known it is dead. The days of signing a new band, cultivating them, and developing their following, marketing, and promoting them are over. A very small percentage of musicians will ever see enough money to pay a mortgage, let alone buy a house these days. Back in the 50s through the 90s the music industry was fruitful, and many acts have come and gone selling Gold and Platinum. But these recording artists were doled out opportunities that are now extinct. Nowadays, for a new band to get presented a record deal, they had better do the hard work first—sell 200,000 units on their own, create their own fan base, get their own radio airplay, record their own music, and produce/finance their own videos. After they do all the hard work, then the label swoops in like a hawk and preys on them unsuspectingly.
The other night I attended the Nickelback concert at the Honda Center in Anaheim. While at the after party, I ran into an entertainment professional, Sean-E Demott, who is the Head of Content for Guvera, has headed up A&R for Republic Records, manages and consults and advises for loudbytes (http://www.loudbytes.com). He just recently spoke at a symposium on the evolution of media in the digital world (http://www.bmi.com/panel).
Interviewed by Kaylene Peoples (boldface)
Responses by Sean-E Demott
Sean-E, could you share with our readers the direction the music industry is headed?
I just spoke on a panel at Digital Hollywood. My specialty was intellectual property. Guvera made a blanket deal with Universal, EMI, INgrooves (www.ingrooves.com), and The Orchard (www.theorchard.com). We have about 4 million songs on our site and about 125,000 users. You can come to the site and get music for free, but the artist gets paid by companies like McDonald’s, Sprite, Levi’s, etc. We get money from corporate sponsors, and they open up their own station or channel on the website. You can come and get the new Lady Gaga song and get Levi’s or Sprite to pay for it, and you the artist get paid the exact same way that you would on iTunes, except that the consumer gets it for free. Since everyone is getting music on the bit torrent sites, our motto is, “Take it from us for free and we pay,” but the guy who’s really writing the check is the advertisers.