Author Topic: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)  (Read 1358 times)

Julio Di Benedetto

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Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« on: August 11, 2014, 07:34:47 AM »
This is a part of todays thoughts from Sam Rosenthal

"People often tell me that in order to keep Projekt alive, I have to get with the times: I have to run a label based on the modern way the record industry works. This is usually said by people who don't realize I have been keeping up with the times; I am aware of the industry trends. It doesn't mean I agree with all of them, or want to follow all of them. It doesn't mean that all of the trends apply to the music Projekt releases.

Projekt is still here; I run the label for the people who follow the label. Projekt still functions in the world of selling stuff, and money earned off albums that artists have recorded.

The music business today is about giving music away for free to gain "exposure," to enable touring and merchandising - this is where the big artists make their money. The Stones or U2 or Lady Gaga earn hundreds of millions of dollars touring. The biggest source of income is no longer the recorded album.

Which is sad. Because there are so many classic albums that mean so much to me. Fripp & Eno's No Pussyfooting never would have existed, if 1973 was only about playing live or singles. Sad.

And yet I am still thinking about albums, and concept albums, and my friends recording in their home studios. That's what I do, that's the way I work. The nice thing is that there are fans out there who appreciate the recorded work of Projekt artists. When I check the stats, about 66% of Projekt's digital income comes from full-album downloads. And physically, the label is almost entirely full-albums.

Projekt's not a hit-song label. Voltaire is the exception. He has tracks that are massively downloaded individually, rather than as part of an album. But when somebody is interested in Steve Roach or Erik Wollo or Unto Ashes, they generally want the whole album. They want to dive into the work. I think that's  a legacy of the 60s and 70s perspective on music.

I am told that's yesterday's news, and I should get over it. But come on! I love that world.

I'm a rock-n-roller. I want to listen to an artist's vision: 40 or 60 minutes of their work. I rarely put on single songs. I listen to albums. I know it's archaic of me; yet it's the way music exists for me. As a listener and as an artist."/i]

drone on

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2014, 08:42:44 AM »
Who cares  ;D

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2014, 08:52:03 AM »
Fortunately for you he does.  ;)

Seren

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2014, 09:02:14 AM »
I agree with sam.

I shudder when I hear people talk about 'consuming' music, when younger people play music on devices that sound absolutely crap, when even sales are more important than the music itself.

He listens to music the way I do so long may he run his label the way he does.

chris23

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2014, 03:27:17 PM »
Quote
People often tell me that in order to keep Projekt alive, I have to get with the times: I have to run a label based on the modern way the record industry works.

That seems odd. I've always thought of Projekt is being one of the most visible examples of how a label can be old school (i.e., nurturing a specific image and advocating for the artists) while also pushing the boundaries of modern technology and distribution platforms. Projekt, at various points in time, for example, has made albums available on Spotify, releases digitally on Bandcamp and iTunes, and, of course, sells CDs via good ole' fashioned mail order. I'm not sure I understand what Sam's critics are advising him to do.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 03:33:38 PM by chris23 »

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2014, 06:37:38 PM »
Quote
People often tell me that in order to keep Projekt alive, I have to get with the times: I have to run a label based on the modern way the record industry works.

That seems odd. I've always thought of Projekt is being one of the most visible examples of how a label can be old school (i.e., nurturing a specific image and advocating for the artists) while also pushing the boundaries of modern technology and distribution platforms. Projekt, at various points in time, for example, has made albums available on Spotify, releases digitally on Bandcamp and iTunes, and, of course, sells CDs via good ole' fashioned mail order. I'm not sure I understand what Sam's critics are advising him to do.

I think Sam says what your suggesting in the continued sentence according to his vision...


" This is usually said by people who don't realize I have been keeping up with the times; I am aware of the industry trends. It doesn't mean I agree with all of them, or want to follow all of them. It doesn't mean that all of the trends apply to the music Projekt releases.
"/i]

My take on this was more of a belief system, or principles that he goes with running Projekt.  Thats how I read it.  YMMV.  :)

petekelly

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2014, 04:41:13 AM »
I don't know anything about this feller, but good on him for giving a stuff about what he's trying to do.  I'd have thought that was seen (generally) as being a laudable thing ?

Ekstasis

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2014, 11:59:58 PM »
I am surprised how much I did agree with Sam.  Has he shifted opinions?  I am remembering being more old school and conservativ.  Anyway to my surprise i agree with him,  I did already raise the merchandise question recently in an other thread,  it is a good way to gain some money if you do Some nice merchandise with nice design and print.  I would love more ambient shirts.

I own the Steve roach  a deeper silence the shir,  it was  nice but it  starting to become washed out now
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 12:17:36 AM by Ekstasis »

drone on

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2014, 10:00:25 AM »
Just like the music?   ;)

Horizon 1982

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 10:19:17 AM »
Just like the music?   ;)

Sad but true...

chris23

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2014, 12:49:58 PM »
I find the new work just as interesting as the old work. I've never been a fan of 100% of his releases, but, if I were to compile a list of my favorites, I think they'd span the time spectrum pretty evenly.

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2014, 06:09:53 AM »
Heres so more thoughts from Sam from todays news letter.....I enjoy projekt releases and a few forum members release their music through projekt :)  There are other good ambient electronic labels, obviously Hypnos for one.  Any "news" about this genre is interesting but I dont come across much and as a great deal of music is self released I find it interesting to see what a traditional label is up to and Sam is quite vocal theses days.

"It's become obvious to me: over the last few years Projekt has become a (primarily) electronic/ambient label.

For clarity, I do not mean the EDM/dance style of electronic & ambient music. I mean floating, drifting meditative ambient, or adventurous drone / space-music electronics. For simplicity, I will refer to this side of Projekt's sound as "electronic."

I began Projekt 31 years ago, releasing a few compilation cassettes, and a whole bunch of my own solo-electronic music. In 1986, I released the first album from my band, Black Tape For A Blue Girl; the label's sound began an evolution toward a goth / ethereal / darkwave perspective. Projekt really came to people's attention in the early 90s, with the success of the rock-side-of-the-label acts Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Lycia, and Love Spirals Downwards. Fans and writers called Projekt "the American 4AD." But I wasn't soley focused on one sound; at the same time as the darkwave heydey, I was releasing electronic music. In fact, the fourth band on the label was O Yuki Conjugate, with their tribal ambient masterpiece, Peyote. In late 1995, I released the first Steve Roach album on Projekt, his double-CD collaboration with vidnaObmana, Well of Souls. Parallel to the darkwave sound, the electronic side continued to grow.

I dug into the numbers, to see if my hunch was right about the direction the label has taken. I tallied up the last 12 month's royalty payments, and sorted the artists into electronic or darkwave.

On royalties paid to the label's top-25 acts, 69% went to the electronic artists, 31% to the darkwave artists. Yes, 69%! A big chunk of the 69% goes to Steve Roach, while on the darkwave side much of that 31% goes to Voltaire. If you pull those two artists, and compare the rest of the acts, the ratio skews slightly more darkwave, yet remains nearly the same: 64% electronic / 36% darkwave.

My hunch was correct.

Now, part of this shift can be attributed to the lack of releases from my band, Black Tape For A Blue Girl. We were a big part of those sales in the 90s, but as the label grew busier I've taken less and less time to work on my own music. With Lycia and Love Spirals Downwards and Mira gone, the bands that contributed the bulk of the rest of the darkwave side are no longer here to keep up the tradition.

You might have noticed that Projekt's CD output reflects this switch, with many more electronic releases in the last two years. I still love the darkwave bands, of course. But I want to focus on what you are interested in."/i]

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2014, 08:00:14 AM »
Question...if a label releases an artist music and the artist releases his/her own music of the same title who or what do you support?....the label / artist relationship or the artist directly.  Is the label /artist something worth supporting.

chris23

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2014, 06:41:24 PM »
That's a good question.

Sam's new post was nice. I like this "return" to non-Facebook ways of communicating.  :)

drone on

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2014, 11:43:53 AM »
I'd buy it from whoever has it cheaper  ;D

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2014, 04:41:00 PM »
I answered my own question.....just bought 2 Stev...Roa...cds from Projekt. Dont want to mention the full name because all hell my break loose  :o  ::)  again

I feel its is important to support the label & artist because the label is the PR side of the equation and that is powerful when pushed with the right energy.  Artist usually are terrible at it not because they cant do it but because they are or should be busy being artists.   I can support both the music and the word.

 

LNerell

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2014, 10:51:11 PM »
Buying from either supports both. Sam makes the CDs, Steve gets them from Sam, they both make a little bit off of each disc.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2014, 08:38:59 AM »
Buying from either supports both. Sam makes the CDs, Steve gets them from Sam, they both make a little bit off of each disc.

Good to know...thanks Loren

drone on

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2014, 01:35:50 PM »
How much do the artists on Projekt make on each disc sold, roughly?

drone on

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Re: Sam's Thoughts on the "music industry" (Projekt News Letter)
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2014, 01:39:28 PM »
I would guess Steve receives a large batch of discs as payment so to speak and makes the full retail amount on each sold through his site, then gets a percentage of units sold elsewhere(?)