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U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Old 09-22-10, 08:23 AM
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U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over* [UPDATE]
September 20, 2010 | 11:40 am



As far as solving the music industry’s financial woes, U2 manager Paul McGuinness still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. But he's not about to stop beating the drum.

The new issue of Rolling Stone has an abridged version of a piece McGuinness wrote for the UK edition of GQ addressing the file-sharing and piracy issues that he believes are largely the source of the meltdown of the music business in recent years. It’s an update and expansion on ideas he put forth at the international MIDEM music conference in Cannes two years ago, an event at which I spoke with him at length about some very specific recommendations on how to address those issues.

Now, as then, he holds Internet service providers — and the giant telecommunications corporations that control the vast majority of ISPs — responsible, arguing that they’ve built their industry to a large extent by providing free content, often irrespective of the intellectual property rights of musicians and other creative types responsible for that content.

When I sat down with him in Cannes, he noted that ISPs have no qualms about promptly shutting down the accounts of users who don’t pay their ISP bills; they should do the same for those who illegally share copyrighted Web content like music.




More than two years later, he writes that little has changed in that regard.

“For the world’s Internet Service Providers, bloated by years of broadband growth, ‘free music’ has been a multi-billion dollar bonanza,” McGuinness writes. "Unfortunately, the main problem is still just as bad as it ever was.

“Artists cannot get record deals. Revenues are plummeting. Efforts to provide legal and viable ways of making money from muse are being stymied by piracy. The latest industry figures, from IFPI [the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry], show that 95% of all the music downloaded is illegally obtained and unpaid for….A study endorsed by trade unions says Europe’s creative industries could lose more than a million jobs in the next five years.

“Finally,” he adds, “maybe the message is getting through that this isn’t just about fewer limos for rich rock stars.”

Many of those rock stars have been reluctant to go on the offensive, because the problem is often cast in precisely those terms: millionaire musicians whining that they aren’t making even more money.

McGuinness still thinks, as he did back in early 2008, that music subscription services should be the way of the future and that ISPs should be sharing their windfall profits with the artists and labels that have helped them pull in that money. If they don’t do so voluntarily, government intervention should be the next step. He points to laws passed in France, England, South Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand aimed at tipping the scales back toward equity for musicians. But that still leaves much of the world without any such protections.

“I think we are coming to understand that ‘free’ comes with a price,” McGuinness writes, “and in my business that means less investment in talent, and fewer artists making a living from music.”

The $64-billion question is: How many musicians, managers, record company executives or even ISP bigwigs will be willing to get behind McGuinness?

[*Update at 3:57 p.m.: A hyperlink to McGuinness' original article in GQ for the UK was added.]

— Randy Lewis
Old 09-22-10, 08:35 AM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

in other news, U2's musical relevance is also over.
Old 09-22-10, 08:43 AM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by cungar View Post
When I sat down with him in Cannes, he noted that ISPs have no qualms about promptly shutting down the accounts of users who don’t pay their ISP bills; they should do the same for those who illegally share copyrighted Web content like music.
This is like saying that Toyota is responsible if somebody puts illegal drugs in their trunk.
Old 09-22-10, 08:43 AM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Perhaps if U2 needs some scratch now they could just release their songs to Rock Band.
Old 09-22-10, 09:53 AM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

I found some decent seats for the upcoming U2 show at Anaheim Stadium. They were about $550 for the pair. I could buy 55 CDs of music for that. Anyone see a problem with the argument coming from this particular person?
Old 09-22-10, 10:42 AM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by chuckd21 View Post
Perhaps if U2 needs some scratch now they could just release their songs to Rock Band.
They're so loaded with money I doubt they would even need to do that.

so much for standing for the working class and all that BS they tried to portray early on with $550 tickets. At least their "influences" like the clash never pulled that shit and controlled their prices. That's not as bad as kiss charging $1000 for a backstage meet and greet and autographs aren't even guaranteed though!
Old 09-22-10, 11:16 AM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

It's easy to complain about millionaire musicians, but most of the musicians I listen to sure aren't millionaires--they're just people trying to make a living. I'm happy to see my favorite musicians compensated for their work, and I don't think any complaints I had about the music industry would justify me stealing from them.
Old 09-22-10, 11:29 AM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

The whole argument supposes that CD sales are the primary source of income for most artists.

Unless you are a rich millionaire rock star in a limo, it probably isn't. Most acts don't make a dime off CD sales (or even legal downloads). The performers make their scratch by performing, not recording and releasing. Even the top acts that make millions off their CDs make tens of millions from touring (and associated merchandise sales).

The record industry would like us to think that tours exist to promote CD sales, but that's just how ass-backward the industry is. Recording started out as a promotional tool for the performing musician, a way to get butts in the seats for the show, and, for the most part, that's all it still is.

The hilarious thing is that an act like U2 doesn't need a record company. They could release their new album free on the internet, go on tour, and still make a bazillion dollars. That's the reality the recording is scared shitless about.
Old 09-22-10, 12:43 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by aintnosin View Post
Most acts don't make a dime off CD sales (or even legal downloads). The performers make their scratch by performing, not recording and releasing. Even the top acts that make millions off their CDs make tens of millions from touring (and associated merchandise sales).
Maybe I'm remembering this wrong but wasn't there a big deal made a while back about Metallica making a whole dollar or two of each CD sold? I can't imagine how little a no name musician makes if someone like Metallica only gets that little.
Old 09-22-10, 01:08 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

...and yet there's more bands releasing more music on more platforms (physical, digital) than in any other time period of modern society....because of the internet

double-edged sword ?
Old 09-22-10, 01:17 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Metallica only makes $1 a cd? Those losers are suckers! As an independent musician, I wouldn't put up with that ripoff! I make a good $5 per CD that I sell. And let's see, last year I sold around...20.....well, you do the math.
Old 09-22-10, 01:34 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by Dan1boy View Post
...and yet there's more bands releasing more music on more platforms (physical, digital) than in any other time period of modern society....because of the internet

double-edged sword ?
Yep, that's really the case now. From my experience, it's now relatively easy to make decent-quality recordings cheaply at home, and it's very easy to get them out to the world. In that sense, it's one of the greatest times ever to be an independent musician. On the other hand, it's incredibly difficult to get paid for your efforts, as most musicians (myself included) don't have the time, skills, connections or inclination to really do much promotion the way a record label would have done for artists in the past.
Old 09-22-10, 01:54 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by cungar View Post
U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over
Old 09-22-10, 03:21 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by Michael Corvin View Post
Maybe I'm remembering this wrong but wasn't there a big deal made a while back about Metallica making a whole dollar or two of each CD sold? I can't imagine how little a no name musician makes if someone like Metallica only gets that little.
Yeah, but that $1/CD is initially applied against the advance, until they sell enough CDs to pay off the advance and only then does that act make any additional money from CD sales.

The advance is usually used to pay for recording the album in the first place and most acts never sell enough CDs to make any money beyond their advance, which pretty much means that they don't make any money from CD sales and have to tour to profit from their music.
Old 09-22-10, 03:23 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Well after all it is a series of tu--LOOKOUT!!!!!

Old 09-22-10, 03:33 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by statcat View Post
They're so loaded with money I doubt they would even need to do that.

so much for standing for the working class and all that BS they tried to portray early on with $550 tickets. At least their "influences" like the clash never pulled that shit and controlled their prices. That's not as bad as kiss charging $1000 for a backstage meet and greet and autographs aren't even guaranteed though!
But the difference is that Kiss, unlike U2 and The Clash, have always been about the money. There's an amazing episode of Henry Rollins' IFC show where he interviews Gene Simmons and Rollins is trying to talk about the legacy of Kiss' music, and Simmons says their legacy is Visa cards and coffins and other products. It's amazing because you can see Rollins lose respect for Simmons right there in the room. But Gene and Paul have never tried to make it about anything else.

U2, on the other hand, can shut the hell up until they start making music worth hearing again.
Old 09-22-10, 03:47 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by cungar View Post
I found some decent seats for the upcoming U2 show at Anaheim Stadium. They were about $550 for the pair. I could buy 55 CDs of music for that. Anyone see a problem with the argument coming from this particular person?
That was your choice to buy the absolutely most expensive tier of tickets. A large percentage of the tickets on U2's current tour are $50 or less.
Old 09-22-10, 04:04 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Over 10K tickets per U2 show are $30...
The "best" (most popular) are the GA's which give you the closest view for $55
Old 09-22-10, 04:11 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Kiss does charge a grand for a backstage meet-n-greet. Whatever the market will bear. I eschewed that entirely and payed $160 for four (4!) great floor seats at their show last year, and I got more than my money's worth.

Kiss is a commercial enterprise, but they have enough respect for their fans to present a LOT of entertainment for their dollar, even if they aren't interested in the tchotchkes. Heck, their last album cost $12 at Wal-Mart and featured the new album, a re-record of their classic hits, and a live DVD from their last tour. TWELVE DOLLARS. Retail.

Say what you want about their music or their crassness or whatever, but they are at least giving their fans a great value. When's the last time you heard that about, say, U2, or The Eagles, or Springsteen, or Lady Gaga, or...
Old 09-22-10, 04:25 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
Say what you want about their music or their crassness or whatever, but they are at least giving their fans a great value. When's the last time you heard that about, say, U2, or The Eagles, or Springsteen, or Lady Gaga, or...
I think most U2 fans would say the GA tickets are a great value. Most go to multiple shows and line up early since they are $55.
Old 09-22-10, 04:43 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by Mr. Salty View Post
That was your choice to buy the absolutely most expensive tier of tickets. A large percentage of the tickets on U2's current tour are $50 or less.
FYI I didn't buy them. I just looked at them on Ticketmaster.
Old 09-22-10, 04:43 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by cungar View Post
I found some decent seats for the upcoming U2 show at Anaheim Stadium. They were about $550 for the pair. I could buy 55 CDs of music for that. Anyone see a problem with the argument coming from this particular person?
But someone has to pay for that gigantic crab thing they drag around from stadium to stadium. It doesn't walk itself to each venue, although by the next tour it probably will.

And the reasons so few bands are being signed are a) all labels want are pre-manufactured pop crap and b) it's so easy to sell your music yourself fewer bands want to get tied up in complicated record contracts that don't benefit them.
Old 09-22-10, 05:02 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

http://www.celebritynetworth.com/ric...ono-net-worth/

Bono net worth, according to the above: $200M USD

If I were an artist, I would do everything possible to make it affordable and easy to download my work online, instead of doing everything possible to block technical progress.
Old 09-22-10, 05:35 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
Kiss does charge a grand for a backstage meet-n-greet. Whatever the market will bear. I eschewed that entirely and payed $160 for four (4!) great floor seats at their show last year, and I got more than my money's worth.

Kiss is a commercial enterprise, but they have enough respect for their fans to present a LOT of entertainment for their dollar
I don't know it just sounded a bit sick to me. Here was Paul Stanley, a guy with millions asking for $1000 just to spend like a few minutes with him backstage and autographs aren't even guaranteed?! Not even guaranteed is he joking? I thought it was so insane it was unbelievable. I remember reading it in his answers from emails from fans. A fan wrote in saying he grew up with them, how important they were, how much the tickets were to begin with and how he wanted to meet them. Paul just says something like "maybe that's what you can afford" How can they parade two guys around as Ace and Peter too? Well the answer is the almighty dollar for those guys just like their insane merchandising of Kiss coffins and condoms. I think it doesn't show respect for their fans at all to even consider charging that kind of money just to meet them.
Old 09-22-10, 05:44 PM
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Re: U2's manager says the 'free' ride for music via the Internet is over

Originally Posted by Mikael79 View Post
http://www.celebritynetworth.com/ric...ono-net-worth/

Bono net worth, according to the above: $200M USD

If I were an artist, I would do everything possible to make it affordable and easy to download my work online, instead of doing everything possible to block technical progress.
Which is why I love Trent Reznor.

It helps that his music is infinitely more interesting than U2 ever was.

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