▷ You eat advil like it's candy.: A Post: Self Releasing albums, the cost of distribution and tours, the importance and non-importance of labels and why...
I’M GOING TO TAKE 5 MINUTES OF YOUR TIME AND EXPLAIN SOME SERIOUS SHIT
Mindless Self Indulgence is releasing a record and are asking fans for 150k in order to release it. Now, I keep reading shit like this:WHILE THIS ANNOYS ME, this is not a post simply in retaliation to these people on facebook, it is a post full of information that might help people make their decision to help fund MSI’s record, explain why they would want to fan fund a record and why they probably don’t want to sign to a label at this juncture in their career. I’m going to talk about something that most people are completely uninformed about: The music business.I am obviously not invited to whatever family barbecue Jimmy hosts to talk about what the next financial plan is for MSI but all of these conclusions have been made from common sense, experience, and research. I will link sources and interesting articles about the subject matter below.
Topic Number One: Record Labels MSI is not new to the industry, they are not new to how labels run and they are not new to the concept of self releasing records. Jimmy has created his own label called Uppity Cracker in which he has released MSI and Left Rights music. Tight, Despierta Los Ninos, and Alienating our Audience were released on Uppity Cracker.So a year later MSI is making more music and in comes a major record label. And we’re talking major. About as major as it gets. Music tidbit of the day: One of the big power trio of record labels is Warner, Elektra, and Atlantic. If people are ever talking about record labels and throw around the term WEA, they are referring to Warner Elektra and Atlantic. Frankenstein Girls was released on Elektra, but it was done in what I at least consider to be a pretty interesting way:
They didn’t sign to Elektra, rather, they licensed the record to them.**See edit belowHere is the significance of that: When signing to a label you are basically signing away the rights to your band. This is why when bands like Sublime left their label they were not allowed to keep the name Sublime, they had to change it because their former label still kept the rights to that name. For example, one of the popular record deals which once again is a term you will hear thrown around quite a bit is a 360 deal (Another tidbit: What is considered to be the first 360 deal was for the band Paramore, who were signed to Atlantic records and then to an Atlantic sub-label Fueled By Ramen so they could be promoted as an indie band instead of a major label “sell out”). When you sign a 360, you sign away the rights to your music, your likeness, your stage name, your touring, your publishing, etc. A lot of artists have absolutely no idea what they are doing when they sign deals like this (record labels usually like to keep it that way) and a lot of the time bands get fed up and leave a label, along with their right to continue performing in that band with that music.In 2000 Frankenstein Girls was released via Elektra. In 2005, Metropolis released You Will Rebel to Anything. In 2008, The End records released If. Each of these labels were licensed to release their specified record and make money off of it, but they did not have a permanent tight grip on the band that is Mindless Self Indulgence.***Edit: I have been informed that apparently MSI DID sign a deal with Elektra but managed to get out of it and have continued since to license their msuic as explained above. Jimmy also talks about Elektra in this new interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVQNMUruv-Q
Topic Two: Makin da Munny Now, once again I am not allowed to attend the MSI picnic where all the business talk occurs but I am assuming that they are not planning to license this next record to a label due to the fact that they are getting the funding for the record themselves instead of a label pitching in to help. That’s one of the things labels are good for. They give bands some cash to record, they hook em up with professional producers and gear. But one thing labels are not especially good at is giving their bands royalties. To present this information to you, I have found a chart about record sales.So let’s get real here. MSI have interesting relationships with labels and I have no idea how many copies IF sold, but in a hypothetical situation assuming that they sold 50,000 copies and using this chart for mathematics, as a band they walked away from that whole album cycle from 2008-2012 with 13k from record sales. That’s from 2008-2012. This goes for beasically all bands. Musicians signed to labels do not make their money off of record sales. If you want to look into this issue more, you should read up on the huge publicized meltdown that occurred between 30 Seconds to Mars and their label over the fact that 30STM never saw a cent of the money they made from record sales. This happens to a lot of bands and musicians.If you are one of the assholes on facebook who is saying “Do you know how much money they make off of tour!?!?” (Do you, facebook asshole, do you?) I’d like to kindly ask you to do something with your mouth other than talking (ex: suck Mitt Romney’s dick) and do some god damn research. Touring is a HUGE collaborative effort. While it is one of the better ways for bands to make money, there are managers, booking agencies, merch guys, venues, labels, sound and lighting tech guys to be paid, along with travel and every day living costs.Here are two articles. (Article and Article). < Please read those, they explain touring costs SO much better than I ever could. If you do read them, you will see that if MSI plays 45 shows and has an audience of 1,500-2,000 for every show, each band member walks away at best with probably 12-14k. The poverty level in the US is 11k.So yes, oh stupid facebooker Chris, MSI IS breaking their back to make music for you while record labels have been taking 66% of all profits. As far as the person who said that Jimmy must be loaded because fans threw nickels at him at shows… you’re not even worth arguing about y
ou probably sided with PETA when they tried to take down Chauncey’s myspace page.Topic 3: Why self releasing a fan funded record is currently the best option for MSI MSI have gone on tour and sold out venues. They have been gone for a while and have come back and their fan base has still not forgotten about them. Their families have grown, there are more mouths that need to be fed, and I don’t think MSI is really seeing a big obligation to go and sign to another label. They are not in need of lots of promotion, and if they self released they wouldn’t have to deal with royalties. MSI are at a good place with the band, why not see if this works? Why not go back to the way Tight was released and see if they can go ahead and do that again?When you donate to the kickstarter it is good for you as a fan for several reasons. First, you know where all of the money is going: Directly to the band. The band needs instruments (the customized instruments that they are selling on kickstarter are worth way more than 3k, by the way), gear, they need the financial security to be able to take time off and record, maybe make a music video, they need cash to fulfill all of these incentives and hopefully leftover money will be put to tour. Touring becomes harder when you don’t have labels helping run the show, so I’m personally crossing my fingers that any extra money will be used for that. If a label isn’t demanding money from MSI, then they get to keep ALL profits, so the 63% of the money in that pie chart above that usually goes to the record would come back to the band. If prices for merch and msuic were lowered, chances are MSI would still be making a bigger cutTo summarize: MSI are not rich. They do not have these huge piles of cash that so many people assume that they are sleeping on at night. One of the reasons they do not have this big pile of cash is because labels are fucking crazy and take a shit ton of money from the artists. In order to try and get past that barrier MSI is deciding to see if they can go back to their roots, self fund their record, maybe record a music video and tour, sell the music for cheaper and be able to, say, live above the poverty level. This is not a conspiracy. The band is not ripping fans off. They are not simply taking the 150k to pocket (as that is illegal). They are giving fans merch, custom written songs, instruments via a hyped up preordering system. They are not asking for 150k from each fan. They are asking that fans pay for the record in advanced and maybe if they want to buy a cool extra thing they could do that to help out. If this kickstarter has proven anything, it is that Mindless Self Indulgence is not only full of talented musicians, but also wicked smart business savvy people.