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A response to Trent…

by on July 13, 2009

A response to Mr Trent Reznor’s blabberings (pasted first) from http://drownedinsound.com/news/4137294-trent-reznor-offers-sensible-advice-to-new-bands-win-nin-tickets

“Pay-what-you-want model
This is where you offer tracks or albums for a user-determined price. I hate this concept, and here’s why.
Some have argued that giving music away free devalues music. I disagree. Asking people what they think music is worth devalues music. Don’t believe me? Write and record something you really believe is great and release it to the public as a “pay-what-you-think-it’s-worth” model and then let’s talk. Read a BB entry from a “fan” rationalizing why your whole album is worth 50 cents because he only likes 5 songs on it. Trust me on this one – you will be disappointed, disheartened and find yourself resenting a faction of your audience. This is your art! This is your life! It has a value and you the artist are not putting that power in the hands of the audience – doing so creates a dangerous perception issue. If the FEE you are charging is zero, you are not empowering the fan to say this is only worth an insultingly low monetary value. Don’t be misled by Radiohead’s In Rainbows stunt. That works one time for one band once – and you are not Radiohead. “

Trent’s experience of this is different to a small band like us. People (including myself) see a major artist like Trent selling music for “whatever you think it’s worth” and, knowing the way the system works, thinks, OK you’ve sold millions of albums, you’ve had numerous big advances and still have a massive fan base – why should I (who earns a small wage) pay you a big chunk. I know you’ve got a big house. I know you can make the music you want to make without earning another cent for the rest of your life and still fill your swimming pool. So I give £1 maybe.

A smaller, unkonwn band with a growing fan base says “pay what you think it’s worth” and the majority of people think, “OK clearly this band are working their balls off and have put everything into this. They’re not super-rich because a)I’ve never heard of them or b)Nobody knows them or c)I DO know them and understand the situation.”.

We have the proof – people generally pay the “going rate” of maybe £6 or £7. Either off the web or at a show. Obviously some people pay the minimum. That’s human nature. Or some people are skint. But that’s made up for by the people who give £20, £30 for a single album. It works. In fact if everyone did it the music industry could be the perfect communist system!

However you look at it it’s more than HMV paid us per unit for Experiments in Living by a mile.

Simon

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