It's been two years since I started to write about music, or hide what I have to say while I seem to write about music. This is not me blowing off candles, I'm past that. This is the moment I speak my mind, loud as hell and clear as crystal, after all the shit I've taken from record label spokesmen, angry pimps who define themselves as "artists", little people against so-called piratism, Blogspot and Rapidshare policies. So here's the naked, brutal truth with a 15 inch dong dangling between its legs:
The current market value of music industry is above 14 billion dollars. Less than eight companies have the lion's share, the same companies reigning over storage media, broadcasting, publishing, digital music. Compact discs were developed by one of those companies, Sony, more than 30 years ago. Since then, we've been using compact discs for data storage instead of cassette tapes. Compact discs are made of plastic and aluminium dust, the production costs are cheaper, recording is much easier and faster yet a compact disc was/is/will be more expensive than a cassette tape in the market. According to the simple economics, if a substitute commodity has cheaper production and storage costs, the market price is always cheaper. So why do we pay an approximate of $15 for an album published in compact disc format? It's simple: no matter the production cost or recording process, the corporate record label and compact disc manufacturer (meaning the same damn company) have their own fat share. Here's the cake graph printed on a $15 compact disc:
$6 - Record label's share
$4 - Retailer's share
$2 - Transportation and storage costs
$1 - Advertising and other expenses
$1 - Manager's share
$1- Artist's well earned money.
Let's make things a bit more fun. iTunes' yearly revenue is approximately 2 billion dollars with an estimated profit margin of 15 to 20 percent. Now why do we pay Apple? Apple doesn't publish music, it certainly doesn't act as an agent, advertising and broadcasting are minimal at best, storage and operating costs are estimated to be $0.05 for a $0.99 song which equals to 5%. Give me one simple explanation why I should give 10% of my money to a company I have NO real business with. The hype slaves are attached to the overpriced iPods because they are paying for the brand, the identity they are willing to show off. The same people talking about the unnecessity of material things, the same people watching fast-food anarchy documentaries, the same people who think they are so different than the others, the same people listening to the mp3 of a band singing about the anti-capitalist movement while being signed to the biggest record label in the world. Just because the hype slave douchebags could find their identities at last by owning an overpriced inferior mp3 player with an oh so fucking minimalistic design, Apple earns 15% of a song. Who exactly is the fucking pirate now?
On the other hand, the tip-top of the food chain gets all the money while the others are chewing on bread crumbs. Bruce Springsfield can sing all day about white butt freedom and Bono can go to every black corner of the Earth but in the end of the day they are the ones riding their Jaguars, throwing parties and sniffing coke in their mansions with helipads and tenis courts. The other artists are left alone with their ten-percenter agents, genius producers, concert promoters and organizers.
Agents, music award broadcasters, big shot magazine editors, concert organizers, sponsors, record labels, merchandisers, digital music percenters; they're the fox waiting for the crow to sing. Music is not an industry, it's not a piece of cheese in the crow's beaks. This can very well change by doing what they call piratism. Don't give your money to people who have taken absolutely no part in the music you listen to. Instead, I urge you to donate money to artists, just throw in a one dollar bill and you're pretty much giving the same percentage of a $15 cd. Give your money to people who deserve it; the ones who feel, the ones who compose and perform.
Find Dulcinea, trick Sancho Panza, grab a stick and sharpen it. Rest will definitely follow.