Archive for November, 2011

Advice On my Final Project

Forgivness please, I comletely forgot about this blog assignment over the break.  In class last week weshowed our project drafts to class mates and they gave us advice.  We were then to blog about the 3 best pieces of advice we received.


My top 3:

Make the interface as simple to use and understand as possible.

Get feedback and testimonials.

Try to an overlay or guide to help them navigate the site.


From the Moby video:

1 musicians have day jobs; take more DIY approach.
Moby says that most of the musicians he knows also have day jobs. This is pretty consistent from what I’ve seen in my experiences. I know there are musicians out there who can support themselves by playing music, but they are usually in cover bands and splitting a $500 payout for a night between 5 people, they’d need to play 4-5 gigs a week to equal a 9-5 job.

2. Record companies aren’t going to be around in 5 years.
In one of my earlier blogs, I wrote about the changing music industry. Record labels are on their way out. Musicians are now taking a diy approach, cutting out the middle man.

3. There is now more of a redistribution of “wealth” in the music industry.
I found it interesting that indie musicians and labels are starting to bring in more of a share of music equity, whether it be downloads, cd sales, youtube hits etc. With the decline of the record industry now the little guy can compete.


1: people want less choice. They want recommendations and to be told what to listen to. I found this absurd on a personal level. I have never wanted to be told what to listen to. I like to be completely surprised. I haven’t cared much for the music that has been shoved down our throats by record labels and radio stations. For the record, I mostly listen to independent music. If I am listening to broadcast radio, you’d better believe it’s npr. The rest of the time I have my entire music library with me on my 80Gb iPod. For me personally, radio is irrelevant, and I hope that catches on for more people.

2. If all music became free then people would recognize the need for experts.
If all music cost the same to the consumer, then yes, the need would be recognized for expert producers. However, some of us prefer a more lo-fi, diy approach to the sound of music. If we only listened to music produced by the giants, we never would have the beautiful music of Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, or Mark Schwaber.

3. Most acts establish themselves on their own. Without the need of a label.
This is the most exciting thing about music today. Thanks to the internet, we all have a chance to be heard. Do good work and the people will find it.

4. Whoever creates the new filter is going to make money. There is no longer a filter to what is “good.”

This also really bothers me. The thought of people telling us what is good. Good is the most subjective term we can use in terms of music. What the filter says is good is complete rubbish to me. I care more about music that feels honest and from the heart. It would be a cold day in hell before I listened to something that was decried from the top as good and what we should be listening to.

5. Don’t call yourself a record company today. Need a whole package.
This is good advice. Record companies are toxic. I wish they would die completely and never come back. Music is art, it shouldn’t be a commodity. Music should be free, not raped by those seeking profit. The sooner we get away from the record label model, the sooner art and music will truly be free.

Industry Leaders

I have been following four music industry leaders since September to see what I can learn from their online media pages.  I have been reading tweets, blogs, and articles to try and learn more bout these industry leaders.  The following is what I have taken away about each leader.

Derek Sivers:  Founder of CD Baby.

Derek Sivers is an unusual character.  he is not motivated by monetary or material gains.  When visiting his blog, the user is greeted by articles, books, interviews, videos and Ted Talks.  All are aimed at a higher purpose.  Mr. Sivers says that he treats work as play. It is very evident that he loves what he does and would do it even without pay.  The most interesting thing about Mr. Sivers is his philanthropy.  CD Baby is a multi-million dollar company.  Being content with living simply and having “enough” he established a charitable trust for music education.  He then donated his company, CD Baby to this trust.  he receives a 5% dividend every year, which is the minimum allowed by law.  he says he would prefer something in the realm of 1%, but will use the excess to create more businesses that can earn money for charity.

Gerd Leonhard:  Author of The Future of Music.

Gerd spends his time imagining where media content will be going in the future. He has written books and blogs on this topic.  One thing I have learned from reading his blog is the passion that it takes to be an industry leader.  Without passion and a true love for what you do, your work will not speak for itself.  Gerd has voiced his dislike of the iTunes business model.  He views it more of a hinderence to the music industry, rather than a boon.  It is nice to see an expert speaking out so openly against Apple, whom to many can do no wrong.

Ian Rogers: Founder of Topspin.

Ian Rogers blogs about the state of the music industry.  He writes about the impending fall of the record industry.  Ian also has some very useful information to working musicians on how to get signed and make money selling their music.  He gives detailed accounts on how he got started in the music industry, and even an amusing anecdote of how he started working with the Beastie Boys after illegally bootlegging one of their live performances.  Ian’s blog is quite useful and eye-opening to anyone who is in or is thinking about getting in to the music industry.

Finally we have Dave Kusek:  Vice President at Berklee College of Music.

I expected more from Dave Kusek’s twitter page. He keeps followers updated on what he is doing, such as getting ready for presentations etc, but he lacks any cohesiveness or insight.  His twitter page is almost more for personal communication, like that of your average college age student.  He doesn’t offer the insights or information that the previous three industry leaders do.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Dave Kusek, it’s how not to manage a blog, and how not to be insightful.


Taking in to account what most of these leaders have accomplished and what they are willing to share, I now have a much better picture of the music industry.  I know that the traditional record label on top model is on its way out.  Musicians are in a position to garner more power over their music and income than ever before.  Music is moving into some exciting realms.  With more and more connectivity come greater exposure.  I also learned that it’s not all about money.  A majority of these people that I followed would do what they are doing if it didn’t earn them one cent.  True passion is the underlying theme.  Without passion, there is no point.