From: Scott Hudson
Subject: Too Much Joy on Digital Royalties
Date: December 1, 2009 1:55:33 PM PST
To: Bob Lefsetz
Hello Mr. Lefsetz,
I was forwarded this link earlier today, and I believe you may find it interesting how Warners handles digital royalties on bands no longer on their roster.
I didn’t read this e-mail until 8 PM.
And I immediately tweeted about it.
There are two kinds of people. Those who use Twitter and those who don’t.
Please don’t fall into the second category.
This ain’t no MySpace, this ain’t no Facebook, this is information, plain and simple.
Forget the hype, that it’s those without lives listening to the minutiae of others. Sure, there are those who update their whereabouts on a regular basis. And those who think Twitter is purely for hype. Hell, I’ve now learned that Ian Rogers is not a discerning listener. Makes me wonder about Topspin. He’s constantly tweeting that the music of every act the company works with is good. That’s utter hogwash. Especially when the tunes are outside his normal flavor field.
Yes, you can learn a lot reading between the lines.
But you can also gain a ton of information.
First and foremost, you must make Twitter comprehensible.
When it asks to install Adobe Air, just say yes. Adobe Air powers all the hip new software, like the New York Times Reader (It’s free if you’re a print subscriber.) The Reader is much faster than your browser. And more comprehensible.
And that’s what Tweetdeck is all about, comprehension. It makes Twitter understandable, listing the tweets of those you follow, those that reference to you… There are a lot of "hidden" tricks in the app. Like click on someone’s name, and a column appears delineating all their details. Play around.
But only if you’ve got a lot of RAM and a fairly new computer.
As for competing products… Start with Tweetdeck. Power users have favorites, but I don’t want to overwhelm you.
So, I got this e-mail about the Too Much Joy royalty statement and upon reading it immediately tweeted about it.
And then my Tweetdeck notifications went berserk. People were retweeting my tweet.
In other words, the word was spreading.
How fast and how far?
To the point wherein minutes, the Webpage referenced was inaccessible, a data error showed up if you got anything at all.
Sure, this illustrates that if you’ve got information to purvey, be sure to have enough horsepower to get it out there.
But more importantly, that interesting information spreads like wildfire. Instantly. And far.
I’ve only got a fraction of my regular e-mail list following me on Twitter. I don’t want to overload your inbox, especially with just raw information. So I tweeted as opposed to e-mailed.
It wasn’t until the middle of the next day that I got a single e-mail about this Too Much Joy post. In other words, those relying on nineties technology, which e-mail is, were a step behind.
Notice, "Hits" didn’t write about it. It seems that they’ve buried the hatchet with Lyor/Warner and don’t want to piss anybody off.
The aforementioned "New York Times" doesn’t think this is a big enough story and has no infrastructure anyway. They’ve got Ben Sisario writing about the music business and..? Meanwhile, if something is written on one of their blogs…NO ONE READS THEIR BLOGS!
But if you’re a musician, if you’re a dedicated follower of music, this Too Much Joy post was pure gold. Proof that the major labels’ business paradigm is theft. Plain and simple.
Tim Quirk just wants what is owed to him. A statement.
Warner can’t even deliver that. And when the company does, it’s inaccurate.
Furthermore, Tim reveals the fallacy of recoupment. It’s not dollar for dollar, but based on your royalty rate. So, you might still be underwater, but your company can be rolling in dough!
Believe me, you can automate these processes. You can deliver accurate royalty statements on time. But the major labels don’t want to. Apple has a history of everything I’ve purchased. But somehow the label can’t find this info. It’s just data. Computing power and the Internet can put this at your fingertips.
What happens first? Do the labels enter the twenty first century or do musicians avoid them?
We already have our answer. It’s the latter. Major labels sign few artists, and screw them in the process. If they can’t account to you on digital sales, raw data, do you really trust them with other revenue streams in your 360 deal?
The labels are old school. And everybody knows it.
Except maybe the mainstream press. Which is just as ancient in its thinking as the labels.
I was frustrated, I thought this story had no legs. But then I read this "Billboard" article:
(and why can’t "Billboard" render properly in Safari, since Macs are the platform of choice for musicians) interviewing Mr. Quirk.
The story was picked up by the "Village Voice" blog, "Daily Swarm", "Hypebot", me and the "Onion AV" blog. And if you don’t know the power of the "Onion AV", you probably run a major label.
The word got out. Not via the mainstream. Those who needed to know saw it. So, unlike straight news stories that have no traction because someone shortly thereafter gets kidnapped or killed, the target audience read and digested Tim Quirk’s story.
How you gonna convince people not to steal when you’re stealing yourself?
The record industry never pondered that question.
You could have been there first. You could have seen the story on Twitter. As opposed to being the last to know.
What do you not know?
That’s what’s killing the major labels, what they don’t know.
And we live in an information society. And your so-called enemy, the public, now has access to all kinds of data. Great info finds its audience. Great music finds its audience also. Ever think that the reason few new acts break is because the music’s not good enough?
I know, that’s heresy. Stone me.
But if you hear something good you tell everybody you know.
Via social media. Via Twitter.