A DIY Playbook: I
Editor’s Note: This is the first of two installments dealing with DIY issues in music production, distribution, and promotion. The article will continue next time with a discussion of performance related issues and music licensing.
The internet has disrupted many industries, to put it mildly.1 Its potential as a communications and business platform is continually enlarging, as people spend an increasing amount of time online2 and computational capacity accelerates.3 The music industry is a case study of both the disabling and enabling effects of the web and digital technologies. On the one hand, the business practices of many traditional intermediaries of the music “biz” are becoming unsustainable in the digital age.4 On the other hand, web-based tools have opened unprecedented doors of opportunity for musicians themselves.
This paper concerns the impacts of the internet and digital age (“digital age”) from the musician’s perspective; or more specifically, the DIY (do-it-yourself) musician’s perspective. The “DIY musician” (“DIY-er”) has complete creative control over their craft and business decisions. They write, record, distribute, and promote their music without relenting ownership of it. The structure of the paper flows from the five core zones of responsibility that musicians should attend to if they want to maximize their success in the music market: production, distribution, promotion, performance, and licensing. DIY-ers must be especially attentive to these duties, as they are responsible for themselves. The web and digital tech has fundamentally altered how each of these responsibilities can and should be approached, which will be the focus of this paper. By the end, the reader should have a better understanding of the new opportunities presented to musicians in the digital age, and how DIY musicians can optimize them.
The Musician’s Five Responsibilities
Musicians must get their music to the market in order to sustain a career (or the hope of a career) in music. This will involve handling five core responsibilities:
(1) production, i.e. recording marketable original songs or self-arranged cover songs;
(2) distribution, i.e. making those recordings available to the listening public;
(3) promotion, i.e. increasing the likelihood that anyone in the listening public will, first, hear those recordings and, second, like those recordings;
(4) performance, i.e. live, direct-to-audience renditions of songs; and
(5) licensing, i.e. generating income from others’ use of those recordings and their underlying compositions.
DIY musicians should pay special attention to developments in each of these areas, because no one else is going to do that for them. The internet and digital information technology (“IT”) has reframed how musicians can execute these duties. Addressing the core responsibilities one by one, the following subsections will illuminate the shifts that have occurred so far using anecdotes, case-studies, and data. Additionally, each subsection will conclude with a lesson for the DIY musician relevant to the topic responsibility.
Prior to the digital age, producing a polished sound recording required the services of two intermediaries: a studio with expert recording technicians and a financial backer (such as a record label or music publisher). For their investment, record labels required musicians to sign away their performance copyright;5 while music publishers required songwriters to sign away their composition copyright.6 Musicians agreed to these terms because they could not, by in large, afford to pay expensive studio fees on their own. Musicians were, thus, forced to sacrifice creative control in order to make a record.
Things are different now. Recording technology has become cheaper, more powerful, and more user-friendly over time, particularly since the advent of digital audio workstations (“DAWs”).7 DIY-ers can now afford to record themselves, displacing the need for outside recording funds from a label or publisher. The increasing affordability and interest in recording technology has spawned a home recording movement, marked by free, impassioned home recording advice published on the internet.8 This, along with increasingly intuitive and powerful digital equipment, is narrowing the information gap between musicians and recording technicians.
Web services have also opened the doors to previously unavailable modes of creative collaboration.9 In 2003, The Postal Service released its debut album, Give Up, to wide acclaim and intrigue at how the two geographically distant co-creators collaborated via the U.S. Postal Service.10 Now, there are collaboration-enabling web apps designed with the musician specifically in mind. For example, thehobnob.net introduces musicians to producers, recording engineers, or other musicians, like a Match.com for music production.11
Lesson 1 – Retain Creative Control by Following the 4 Steps of Music Production: (1) construct a minimum viability DAW, (2) use online resources to gain recording tips, (3) begin recording (finding collaborators online as needed), and (4) beef up your DAW as needed. The ease of production nowadays is a double-edged sword. Musicians are empowered to record themselves, but with that capacity comes the expectation of high quality recordings. Venue bookers, music licensors, and fans who rely on recordings to evaluate musicians, won’t tolerate merely demo-quality work. Thus, DIY musicians worth their salt must master home recording equipment, likely requiring them to spend extensive time researching music production methods online. They should also be mindful of new music consumption patterns. Digital music discovery platforms, with their deep, searchable catalogs, have turned the once album-buying listening public into a mix’n’match, singles- and playlist-focused consumer base.12 There is zero demand for filler, meaning musicians should strive for quality of production over quantity.
The traditional intermediaries of music distribution are record labels and brick and mortar music retailers. Dedicated, physical music retailers are hard to find any more.13 Meanwhile, the iTunes Music Store, already over a decade old, passed Wal-Mart as the number one music retailer in the U.S. back in 2008.14 And digital music’s popularity continues to rise. Between 2005 and 2012, annual music purchases in the U.S. increased from a record starting point of 1 billion to a new record of 1.65 billion.15 By sheer volume of transactions, the music marketplace is better than ever and improving.16
Additionally, there are practically no barriers to entering the music retail market any-more. Anyone with recordings can sign up with a digital music aggregator17 who will distribute those recordings to the most popular music discovery platforms: digital download sites (e.g. iTunes Store, Amazon MP3), non-interactive streaming services (e.g. Pandora, Slacker), and on-demand streaming services (e.g. Spotify, Rhapsody). The musician deals with two intermediaries in both physical and digital distribution, (i) record label and retailer, and (ii) aggregator and digital retailer, respectively. The difference is that problems of scale and high overhead make physical market middlemen tightfisted about who they let into their market; whereas friction-less digital transactions allow the new middlemen to welcome and encourage all comers.18
Furthermore, particularly in the early stages of a DIY music career, simple exposure can be more important than navigating retail. Social media platforms are free, often ideal forums for independent songwriters to expose their music to potential fans or talent buyers.19 When listeners come to these sites, they expect music at their fingertips.
However, streaming music directly from your own URL is even better. After being dropped by Reprise Records, Wilco and the album they had just finished, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, found themselves in a distributional limbo, having always relied on their label to push their records. Here’s how they dealt with it in September, 2001:
“The record had started to leak a little bit…and copies were starting to float around . . . . Initially we tried to slow it down, we knew we couldn’t stop it, and at some point I think we just decided, you know what, it’s out there, let’s embrace it and make it available through our website if people wanna hear it.”20
The band decided to allow anyone to stream their music for free. Though risky, theirs was a rational, long-view decision based on a recognition of the viral, uncontrollable nature of file-sharing and online listening behavior. Unable to control web traffic, Wilco did their best to at least direct it to their site.
The web affords musicians with control of their recordings the freedom to customize their distribution methods. Flexible pricing models got a lot of buzz in 2007 when Radiohead released their album, In Rainbows, from their website and allowed downloaders to choose their own purchase price.21 Perhaps only established artists like Radiohead and Wilco can afford the risk of offering their music for free. However, experimental pricing-schemes make some sense for musicians of all levels. A choose-your-price scheme, for example, initiates an interaction with the purchaser, revealing the musician’s vulnerability as the seller and the trust they have in their fans. Such a plan may also gauge the market value of a musician’s work. Alternatively, one could alter prices by digital retail outlet, on a sliding time scale, or create a tiered pricing model based on a range of product offerings.22
Lesson 2 – Forget Physical Retail; Cast a Wide, Customized Digital Net. Music discovery is happening online. Therefore, DIY musicians should seek to reach as many hubs of music consumption as possible. Digital aggregators are a great asset in this regard. DIY-ers should, thus, concentrate their distribution efforts on filling in their web presence in spaces that digital aggregators don’t reach: social media (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, and Bandcamp) and musicians’ own URL. Once stakes are claimed in as many corners of the internet as possible, DIY musicians should get creative with pricing and products in light of digital distribution’s inherent flexibility, and even consider the upside of distributing their music for free. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot became Wilco’s most successful album by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) standards, and their only “Gold” album (500,000 units shipped) to date.23
As with production and distribution, record labels have long played a critical role in promoting records to drive sales. Labels pay retailers for shelf-space and radio stations for air-time.24 Labels have armies of staff to hype up their rosters and record releases to the public.25 However, labels do not treat all their musicians the same. Being signed doesn’t mean that an artist gets an equal slice of the money-and-effort resource pie. As Wilco frontman, Jeff Tweedy, observed, “every time we put out a record, the length of time that a record company [was] willing to actually even humor [us] about working on [our] record has gotten shorter.”26 Label artists are at the mercy of corporate decisionmaking, which itself has been checkered by miscalculations. Over 46 years ago Capitol Records begrudgingly released the greatest American pop record of all time―The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds― without a proper marketing budget.27 Wilco was dropped by their label, Reprise Records, 24 hours after delivering what would later be widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of the aughts.28
The aftermath of that incident further illustrated how inefficient the label system had become: Wilco got picked up by Nonesuch Records, a subsidiary to Warner Music, the parent company of Reprise, the label that dropped the band in the first place! Meaning, Warner Music effectively paid for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot twice.29
“Yankee Hotel Foxtrot has come to represent everything that’s wrong with the music business: tone-deaf executives, a gross misunderstanding of online music, an institutionalized pandering to the lowest common denominator that obstructed the release of a timeless rock classic.”30
Ironically, label mishaps became a promotional narrative for the album, likely driving interest and sales. But what is the takeaway from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and the history of label blunders? For DIY musicians it could be: don’t let others dictate how your music gets promoted.
Prior to the internet age, this advice was difficult to execute. Even after the advent of the web, musicians (along with most people) were slow to realize its value. Ian Rogers, CEO of Beats Music and one-time Beastie Boys webmaster, discussed with Mike D the first time he and the other Beasties saw a video of one of their concerts online.
Ian: “[It was] 1994, you hadn’t seen the internet―what did it mean to you at that point?”
Mike: “When [I] saw it, it was kind of like . . . if someone showed you a watch-phone or shoe-phone . . . anything . . . that you couldn’t actually believe was a reality in your lifetime.”
Ian: “Did you see an application for it?”
Mike: “No . . . at that moment, I didn’t so directly apply it. I mean later on, after having to . . . spend a lot of money publishing Grand Royal Magazine to ultimately not get paid by people who distributed that magazine to stores [, then, yes, I saw a use for the internet].”31
In this exchange, one of the most ground-breaking recording artists of recent memory admits that they didn’t initially see the use of the internet, though it amazed them. Eventually, though, they recognized the web’s capacity to cut out an under-serving middleman―in this case, a distributor of the band’s lyric-sheet fanzine, Grand Royal. That perception has repeated time after time since the web was born. A central function of the internet is that it eliminates our dependence on so many traditional intermediaries.
In particular, social media severely diminishes DIY musicians’ need for third party promoters. When Macklemore, of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis,32 was asked whether he saw value in signing with a record label, he replied:
“There’s no reason to do it [given] the power of the internet and . . . the real personal relationship that you can have via social media with your fans. . . . It doesn’t matter that MTV doesn’t play videos. It matters that we have YouTube . . . . [T]hat has been our greatest resource in terms of . . . creating a brand . . . . That has been our label. . . .
[Ryan and I are] good at making music, but we’re great at branding. We’re great at figuring out [who] our target audience is, how we’re going to reach them . . . in a way that’s real and true to who we are . . . . And labels don’t have that.
[Record labels don’t have a] magic button . . . to push [to make people] like who you are. . . . It actually comes from . . . staring at a piece of paper for months or years . . . trying to figure out who you are. . . . [A] label’s not going to do that for you.”33
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis recognize that their DIY flair actually seems to have contributed to their popularity.34 After all, their biggest hit, “Thrift Shop,” reinforces the virtues of creative control in life generally, celebrating self-discovered style and arguing, ultimately, against the usefulness of labels period, whether found in fashion or (it’s inferred) music markets.35
General qualities of the internet and social media account for their promotional value. First, as Macklemore mentions, social media enables direct-to-fan (“D2F”) communications. Alex Day, a bedroom-based, British YouTube star, started YouTube-ing his brand of confessional vlogs and homespun music videos in 2006, when he was 16. By 2008, with the introduction of the YouTube Partner Program36 he was earning about £300 per month from video streams. Today he earns about £3500 from YouTube and £10,000 in music and merch sales per month. To reiterate: he is accomplishing this from his bedroom. In 2013, Alex and Justin Timberlake released albums on the same day. That day, Alex outsold the mass media darling on iTunes. An army of YouTube fans out-purchased whoever it was that RCA Records (Timberlake’s label) was trying to attract to the music of, arguably, their biggest star. The takeaway: be your own hype machine, or as James Altucher might say, choose yourself.37
Second―as touched on in the “Distribution” subsection above―websites are highly customizable, which allows musicians to present compelling narratives about themselves and their work. When a savvy, engaged DIY-er, like Macklemore or Alex Day, with a fully-fleshed identity, delivers a message straight to a potential fan’s electronic doorstep, it is likely to stick. Indeed, how a musician uses D2F communications is now a metric for uniqueness, right alongside the music itself.38
Third, online tools deploy increasingly user-friendly features to encourage content producers’ engagement.39 YouTube, in particular, is pushing hard to normalize and universalize socializing through digital video uploading.40 This is the pitch for OneChannel, YouTube’s fairly new design package aimed at maximizing cross-platform viewer experiences:
“You are more than the sum of your uploads. On your new channel, branding works across devices, you can reach out to non-subscribed viewers, and you can show off more of your content so fans will go deeper. [click here to] Get the new design.
. . . .
Your content is a unique snowflake―Nobody’s channel is like yours. Now you can organize and present your videos and playlists to reflect your one-of-a-kind style.”41
The idea that everyone deserves (or could even desire) their own brand is symptomatic of the social media ecosystem. Of course, branding has always been used to distinguish musicians from each other. But in the “Choose Yourself Era”42 brands are not contrived by a label’s marketing staff, they are conceived (and contrived) by DIY musicians.
The DIY-er doesn’t have a choice to connect or not; the promotional opportunity of new communication outlets spells responsibility. The more a musician can directly communicate with an audience (even just one fan), the better.43 In fact, actively engaging with people on social media is not only normal―for an important demographic of consumers, it is expected. The Nielsen Company calls this group, “Generation C” (or “Gen C”).44 Gen C is not defined by age, but rather their web- and digital IT-dependent interactivity. They value four Cs: connection, creation, community, and curation. Gen C is a multi-screening juggernaut, engaging with digital media on all variety of internet-enabled devices. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Gen C influences $500 billion of spending annually in the U.S.45 Gen C collectively embodies the “networked self,” a person working with and using the connective force of the web in everyday practice.46 These potential fans churn out more feedback about their preferences and decisionmaking processes than any prior generation.
A DIY-er can go a long way toward reaching Gen C with their own website and free social media apps.47 They can also leverage unique services marketed specifically to musicians. For example, Merge.fm lets fans “subscribe” to a musician to follow projects through uploaded content such as raw tracks, video clips, or drafts of song lyrics.48 The musician sets the price for each experience, and keeps 85% of the resulting revenue. The subscriber can provide feedback on choices that the musician faces as their project takes shape.49 Participating in the musician’s creative process strengthens the fan-to-artist (D2F) bond―all through a shared experience that cannot be downloaded, replicated, or stored.
With so many promotional options out there, where should the beginner DIY musician start to improve their visibility? Multi-media artist Austin Kleon says that there’s “one not-so-secret formula” that works:
“Do good work and share it with people . . . . It’s a two-step process. Step one, ‘do good work,’ is incredibly hard. There are no shortcuts. Make stuff every day . . . . Step two, ‘share it with people,’ was really hard up until about ten years ago or so. Now, it’ very simple: ‘Put your stuff on the Internet.’”50
Kleon’s point, though observant, doesn’t offer any guidance. Fortunately, again, musicians will find countless advice-giving resources online, directing them through vast meadows of opportunities in promotion.51 The very subject of how to make it in today’s digital music market has inspired blogs, news articles, video tutorials, and white papers―all freely available on the web―full of helpful hints.52 These are not perfectly reliable or unanimously valuable, but they are easy to find, peruse, and learn from.
Lesson 3 – Promote Patiently & Perpetually. The internet and digital age is so rife with promo opportunities that this rule had to encompass several smaller rules. Lessons from the history of record label missteps teach the DIY-er to take control of their own promotional well-being. Musicians should not view promoting as a blitz event only surrounding milestones in a career. Rather promoting should be an ongoing, unending activity. Social media offers this possibility, and Gen C, with its short attention span, will quickly forget about the musician that drifts into digital dormancy. Though promoting should be constant, it should not resemble marketing in the traditional sense; rather it should reveal an organic identity that increases in richness over time. DIY musicians should stay connected, selecting the bouquet of interactive outlets that they find most rewarding to communicate from. However, all of this should be secondary to doing good work. Patient, perpetual promoting will keep musicians on Gen C’s radar, which is where they need to be for their good work to go viral.
By Nick Fuller
1. See, e.g. Felicity Morse, “Encyclopaedia Britannica To Go Out Of Print After 244 Years As Wikipedia Overtakes,” Huffington Post UK (Mar. 14, 2012), huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/14/encyclopaedia-britannica-goes-out-of-print_n_1343880; Lynn Neary, “Has The Nook Saved Barnes & Noble From Going The Way of Borders?” National Public Radio (Feb. 26, 2013), npr.org/2013/02/26/172932960/has-the-nook-saved-barnes-noble-from-going-the-way-of-borders; Mike Masnick, “Lessons To Be Learned From Tower Records: When the Market Shifts, You Need To Shift With It,” TechDirt.com (Oct. 9, 2006), techdirt.com/articles/20061008/153603.
2. Charles Arthur, “Mobile internet devices ‘will outnumber humans this year,’” The Guardian (Feb. 7, 2013), guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/feb/07/mobile-internet-outnumber-people.
3. See Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Penguin Books (2006), 8, “the list of ways computers can now exceed human capabilities is rapidly growing.”
4. See Masnick, supra note 1.
5. 17 USC § 102(a)(7). Though sound recordings have only been copyrightable since 1972. 17 USC § 301(c).
6. 17 USC § 102(a)(2).
7. A DAW is an assemblage of microphones, sound processors, a computer, and recording software. See, e.g. Audacity, audacity.sourceforge.net, a free audio editor and recorder; “Apple GarageBand for Mac,” CNET Editors’ Review (Oct. 29, 2012), download.cnet.com/Apple-GarageBand/3000-2170_4-46458, priced at $14.99; “Blue Microphone’s Mikey 2.0 Recording Microphone for iPod,” Amazon.com (last checked Apr. 11, 2013), amazon.com/Blue-Microphones-2-0-Recording-Microphone/dp/B003Z8WHDC, priced at $24.95.
8. See Joe Shambro, “The Basics of Home Recording,” homerecording.about.com/od/homestudiobasics /a/the_basics; Keith Hatschek, “The $999 Home Studio,” blog.discmakers.com/2009/11/the-999-home-studio; Chris Mayes-Wright, “A Beginner’s Guide to Acoustic Treatment,” soundonsound.com/sos/dec09/articles/ beginnersacoustics; Adam Dachis, “Ask Lifehacker: How Can I Set Up a Home Recording Studio on the Cheap?” lifehacker.com/5853193/how-can-i-set-up-a-home-recording-studio-on-the-cheap.
9. I.e., musicians can collaborate exactly how everyone else collaborates― through enhanced communication technologies, e.g. inter alia, Skype, Google Hangout, Dropbox, YouSendIt, etc.
10. See Stephen Deusner, “Album Review: Give Up (Reissue),” Pitchfork.com (Apr. 11, 2013), pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17853-the-postal-service-give-up/, “[i]n the days before Dropbox and YouSendIt, they had to snail-mail tracks back and forth, so they called themselves the Postal Service.”
11. See thehobnob.net.
12. Bob Lefsetz, “Albums vs. Singles,” The Lefsetz Letter (Feb. 3, 2010), lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/ archives/2010/02/03/albums-vs-singles: “There’s too much information. And the way today’s youngsters deal with it is to separate the wheat from the chaff. They’re interested in the hit single, but they’re not about to pay ten plus bucks for an album and play it over and over again to get it, that paradigm is THROUGH!”
13. See Masnick, supra note 1 (Tower Records has been out of business for 7 years already).
14. “Apple Launches the iTunes Music Store” Apple, Inc. (press release, Apr. 28, 2003), apple.com/pr/library/2003/04 /28Apple-Launches-the-iTunes-Music-Store; “iTunes Store Top Music Retailer in the US,” Apple Inc. (press release, Apr. 3, 2008), apple.com/pr/library/2008/04/03iTunes-Store-Top-Music-Retailer-in-the-US.
15. See Business Wire, “2006 U.S. Music Purchases Exceed 1 Billion Sales” (Jan. 4, 2007), businesswire.com /portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20070104005813&newsLang=en, and “The Nielsen Company & Billboard’s 2012 Music Industry Report” (Jan. 4, 2013), businesswire.com/news/home /20130104005149/en/Nielsen-Company-Billboard%E2%80%99s-2012-Music-Industry-Report. Note, the misleading “counter evidence” often offered by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA): since a record high of $14.6 billion in music sales revenue in 1999, total annual revenue declined each year for over a decade, bottoming out at $7 billion in 2011, a 53% slide. See RIAA, “Scope of the Problem,” riaa.com/physicalpiracy.php?content_selector=piracy-online-scope-of-the-problem. These figures are misleading because they don’t account for the increased efficiencies inherent in the digital market that buyers are turning to.
16. See Jeff Price, “The State of the Music Industry & the Delegitimization of Artists,” Part 1 of 6 (Oct. 14, 2010), blog.tunecore.com/2010/10/music-purchases-and-net-revenue-for-artists-are-up-gross-revenue-for-labels-is-down.
18. See, Chris Andersen, “The Long Tail,” Wired (Oct. 2004), 1-3, wired.com/wired/archive/12.10/tail.
19. See, e.g. Grand Hallway’s Facebook page, facebook.com/grandhallway; The Birthdays’ Myspace page, myspace.com/thebirthdays; The Birthdays’ Bandcamp page, thebirthdays.bandcamp.com. However, DIY-ers should not offer free listening without a purchase option, which is what my band did/”does” on Myspace. Nonetheless, Myspace drove (1) opportunities for us to cheaply record our first album (through a web promo offered by a independent studio), (2) all gigs that we booked, and (3) the only time we were given any attention by the press. See “Interesting new local indie-pop band: The Birthdays,” Three Imaginary Girls ( Oct. 14, 2007), threeimaginarygirls.com/blog/interestingnewlocalindiepop bandthebirthdays (this actually propelled us from struggling to getting booked, to sometimes being invited to play).
20. Tony Marguerita, Manager of Wilco, quoted in Sam Jones, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco, Cowboy Pictures (2002), 01:19:15.
21. “Fans crash Radiohead album site,” Oct. 2, 2007, BBC News, news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/ 7024130.stm
22. See Andrew Goodrich, “Considering Different Price Points for Your Music,” Music Think Tank (Nov. 24, 2008), musicthinktank.com/mtt-open/2008/11/24/considering-different-price-points-for-your-music.
23. See www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata, search “Wilco.”
24. See e.g. Charlie Moran, “With Shelf Space Receding, EMI Eyes Grocery Stores,” AdAge.com (Apr. 22, 2009) adage.com/article/songs-for-soap/shelf-space-receding-emi-eyes-grocery-stores/136184/; Neil Strauss, “Pay-For-Play Back on the Air But This Rendition is Legal,” The New York Times (Mar. 31, 1999) (describing how labels pushed Limp Bizkit on radio).
25. Christopher Knab, “Inside Record Labels: Organizing Things,” MusicBizAcademy.com, musicbizacademy.com/knab/articles/insidelabels.
26. Jeff Tweedy, quoted in Sam Jones, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, 01:14:00.
27. “Capitol executives, in fact, wanted to shelve the album and only reluctantly agreed to its release, providing little promotion. When it then rose only to No. 10 on the U.S. album charts, Capitol – despite the success of some of its songs like ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ – produced and released a compilation album in July 1966, Best of the Beach Boys. Brian Wilson viewed Capitol’s act as sabotage.” Jack Doyle, “Early Beach Boys,1962-1966,” PopHistoryDig.com, June 14, 2010, pophistorydig.com/ ?tag=pet-sounds-sgt-peppers.
28. See, e.g. Nick Marino, “The 50 Best Albums of the Decade (2000-2009),” Paste Magazine, ranking YHF #2; “100 Best Albums of the 2000s ,” Rolling Stone Magazine, #3; “Top 200 Albums of the 2000s,” Pitchfork, #4.
29. But, see Greg Kot, “Wilco’s Shot in the Arm,” Chicago Tribune (Aug. 15, 2001), articles.chicagotribune.com/2001-08-15/features/0108150038_1_yankee-hotel-foxtrot-wilco-tweedy (explaining that Wilco did have to buy back Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to dissolve their business relationship with Reprise; so, during the brief period when Wilco was unsigned Warner had recouped its initial investment in the album).
30. Marino, supra note 28, pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2009/11/the-best-albums-of-the-decade.html?p=5.
31. Ian Rogers, This Week In―Music, season 2, episode 2 of 52, at 14:10-15:05, youtube.com/watch?v= umO-vb1OBfk&list=EL-uzaK8S_0-o.
32. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s song “Thrift Shop” sold 4,178,000 copies in the first quarter of 2013, a record in the digital age. Paul Grein, “Week Ending March 31, 2013. Songs: ‘Thrift Shop’ Sets First Quarter Record,” Yahoo! Chart Watch, Apr. 3, 2013, music.yahoo.com/ blogs/chart-watch/week-ending-march-31-2013-songs-thrift-shop-201312133. But, see Zoe Chace, “The Real Story of How Macklemore Got ‘Thrift Shop’ To No. 1,” NPR Planet Money (Feb. 8, 2013) (explaining that the duo hired the services of Alternative Distribution Alliance, a distribution branch of the Warner Music Group, to both put their album in physical stores and get “Thrift Shop” played on the radio; arguing persuasively that even independent artists require the assistance of major labels to handle mass-scale promotions and produce a hit record; this does not diminish that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis wrote the song themselves, produced the recording themselves, shot the viral music video themselves, and set up their own personalized social media infrastructure―the combined effects of which on the record’s success are difficult to measure).
33. Macklemore quoted, Chris Hardwick interviewing, “Nerdist Podcast: Macklemore,” Nerdist.com, Ep. 334, 00:18:20, nerdist.com/2013/03/nerdist-podcast-macklemore. See also Alex Day, “Record Labels Are Rubbish,” youtube.com/watch?v=wjB_dtebaRQ, (label rep unable to explain how a label could help Day’s career).
34. “It’s what you always hope for in terms of picking the independent path. It’s cool to see that [our independence has] been a focal point. It’s not just ‘Thrift Shop’―it’s this kind of do-it-yourself attitude behind the music we’ve made―that is also within the midst of this thrift shop song. That these two dudes chose to go independently, to turn down the labels. That the music industry is changing. That it’s evolving. And to be at any sort of place where we’re at the forefront of that, at the moment, is exciting.” Macklemore quoted at id. at 00:16:30.
35. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “Thrift Shop,” The Heist ( 2012): “They be like, ‘Oh, that Gucci―that’s hella tight’ / I’m like, ‘Yo―that’s $50 for a T-shirt.’ / Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition / Fifty dollars for a T-shirt―that’s just some ignorant bitch (shit) / I call that getting swindled and pimped (shit) / I call that getting tricked by a business / That shirt’s hella dough / And having the same one as six other people in this club is a hella don’t / Peep game, come take a look through my telescope / Tryna get girls from a brand? Man you hella won’t”
36. See “YouTube Partner Program,” YouTube.com, youtube.com/yt/partners (YouTube’s Partner Program helps content creators improve the quality of their uploads and reach a wider audience; it is a dedicated effort by YouTube to extend the success of its community and itself).
37. James Altucher, “How A YouTube Sensation Beat Justin Timberlake And The Music Industry,” TechCrunch.com (Mar. 18, 2013), techcrunch.com/2013/03/18/how-a-youtube-sensation-beat-justin-timberlake-and-the-music-industry (Altucher calls the present age, the “Choose Yourself Era”).
38. Macklemore quoted in “SXSW Interview Recap: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis,” SXSW.com (Apr. 4, 2013), sxsw.com/music/news/sxsw-interview-recap-macklemore-ryan-lewis: “[V]ideos have played an imperative role in . . . how people receive information these days. So, to have a great video, to have an identity really be showcased as a sidekick to the music―I think that it’s so important now . . . . It’s the visual . . . it’s the thing that they share in terms of social media . . . it’s the way that fans resonate with the material quickly.”
39. See, e.g. “YouTube Partner Program,” YouTube.com, youtube.com/yt/partners, helping content creators improve the quality of their uploads and reach a wider audience; “Content ID,” YouTube, youtube.com/t/ contentid, encouraging original content by discouraging copyright infringing uploads; “Video Ads,” Google Ads, google.com/ads/video/ad-formats, pay-if-viewed ads, appealing to DIY promoters of all varieties.
40. See Drew Olanoff, “YouTube Announces That It Has Hit One Billion Monthly Users, Which Is Roughly Ten Super Bowl Audiences,” TechCrunch.com, Mar. 20, 2013, techcrunch.com/2013/03/20/youtube-announces-that-it-has-hit-one-billion-monthly-users-which-is-roughly-ten-super-bowl-audiences/.
41. “Introducing Your TouTube One Channel,” YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/onechannel, boldness is not added.
42. Altucher, supra note 37.
43. Id. quoting Alex Day: “Right from my first 30 [YouTube] subscribers, I began talking to the audience that was there and making videos directly for them and replying to comments, but I never saw it as a ‘fan base.’”
44. “How does Gen C watch Youtube? On all screens, all the time,” Google Agency Blog (Mar. 20, 2013), adwordsagency.blogspot.com/2013/03/how-does-gen-c-watch-youtube-on-all.
45. “The Millenial Generation Research Review,” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Forum for Innovation, Nov. 14, 2012, forum.uschamber.com/MillennialsReport (calling Gen C, “Millenials”).
46. Julie Cohen, Configuring the Networked Self: Law, Code, & the Play of Everyday Practice, Yale University Press (2012), 32-33.
47. See, e.g., inter alia, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Facebook.
48. See Ben Scudder, “Let Fans Subscribe To Your Creative Process With Merge.fm,” Hypebot.com, hypebot.com/hypebot/2013/03/let-fans-subscribe-to-your-creative-process-with-mergefm.
49. See, tangentially, Jillian Goodman, “StagIt Founder and CEO Evan Lowenstein Lets Performers Play on Their Own Terms,” Fast Company (May 2013), fastcompany.com/3007760/stageit-founder-and-ceo-evan-lowenstein-lets-performers-play-their-own-terms (Evan Lowenstein: “MySpace introduced this notion where fans became artists’ friends. The letters went from ‘ I know you’ll never read this’ to ‘Hopefully you’ll read this’ to ‘Hey! Where the hell are you?’ I thought, social media has done an excellent job of bringing fans close, but there has to be a more meaningful way to interact with them.”).
50. Austin Kleon, Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, Working Publishing Company (2012), 79.
51. See, e.g., inter alia, TuneCore’s blog, blog.tunecore.com; CD Baby’s DIY Musician, diymusician.cdbaby.com; YouTube’s Creator Blog, youtubecreator.blogspot.com; TopSpin Media’s Tumblr, topspinmedia.tumblr.com; SoundExchange’s blog, soundexchange.com/category/blog; Unified Manufacturing’s blog, unifiedmanufacturing.com/blog.
52. See e.g. MusicThinkTank.com, www.musicthinktank.com/ (blog); Laura Sydell, “How to Succeed In The Music Business (By Trying Really, Really Hard),” The Record: Music News From NPR, Apr. 9, 2012, npr.org/ blogs/therecord/2012/04/09/150287405/how-to-succeed-in-the-music-industry-by-trying-really-really-hard (news story); Midem’s YouTube Channel, youtube.com/user/midem (video tutorials); and “Artist Revenue Streams,” Future of Music Coalition, money.futureofmusic.org (a digital, white paper-like study).