Thursday, July 03, 2014
VOQOTD: Marc Ribot on the state of things
It's not an exaggeration to say that the recording industry has collapsed. There's been something like a 60% collapse. And that last 40% could be gone within a year when YouTube premieres its listening service.
An endless amount of BS gets spilled over this. [Tech companies that facilitate free or pirated music] have big publicity budgets. And no matter how many musicians come forward to speak a critical truth, they can always pay someone to say, “Oh, no, things are wonderful.” But the truth is that for the overwhelming majority of artists now, they can't make back their production costs. For trust fund kids who have tones of money, that doesn't matter. But for normal people who actually need to pay their bills, it's been hard.
And these tech corporate people have an answer for everything. They say, “Oh, don't worry, you can just go out on the road. You don't need to make money from records.” I love people who have no experience with this telling us what we can do. I'm no stranger to the road; I've spent a significant portion of my life on it. But as the recording industry is crashing, it has not gotten easier on the road, because all kinds of dinosaurs who were in retirement because they figured record royalties would always take care of them, now that that revenue stream is gone, they're back on the road. There is a glut of artists and studio musicians who once stayed put and played on other people's records back on the road. So there's a wide range of bands touring, and it's depressing wages on the road.