Vicissitudes of the music business are slowly causing a change in our listening habits.
One of the consequences of the current development is a growing number of independent CD publications, each one representing a more modest sale. This situation enforces new bonds to grow between the publisher (often the very same musicians on the CD) and the listeners. Have you ever thought about participating in a CD production?
Read on while you listen to the Swedish folkkoral Du livsens bröd (1)
Mp3, digitalization, download’s, Web 2.0 ……
The development within CD production and distribution continues with an exorbitant speed. Only within the recent year the picture has changed dramatically and new channels to distribute music are launched almost every day. At the same time the music business seems to be in a chronic crisis, some are using such loaded terms as paradigm shift and nobody really knows where the wind blows, that is, how future music productions are going to be produced and distributed to the listeners.
Trade in crisis?
It really shouldn’t be of any concern to the consumers of music whether the music business is experimenting a crisis - and it may seem fairly irrelevant to the listeners how the music business are planning to solve any of their sales- or distribution problems. But it can turn out to be more relevant than first thought. First of all because the problems of the music industry have a direct impact on the quantity and, more important, the quality of the musical productions being offered.
Right now everything suggest that music production, be it classical or popular music, will continue the path of decentralization that it already has been taken for nearly a decade. That means on the positive side that music production is definitely liberated. Anyone who is in possession of a good stereo microphone and 3.000 € for the printing costs will technically be able to produce themselves.
The big media corporations, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group are not any longer in a position to decide whether a music production is going to be published or not.
Free music on the Internet
The negative side of the story is that a large group of “free and independent” productions seems to get lost in the crowd and never reach the listeners, often due to a missing or poorly established distribution.
At the same time the Internet has caused our listening habits to change and most of us a try consciously to avoid paying for the music. Why should we?, music’s free of charge on the Internet! Quiet a few public voices have even argued that music should be considered a human right and therefore freely available and free of charge for everybody.
Fewer and less significant productions
The conditions for music production are definitely not optimal. For the professional publishing companies the current situation actually means a smaller yield. As a result the companies are holding back on the expenses which necessarily has a direct impact on productions of a less commercial or experimental character.
For the independent producers an “overlooked” CD publication often causes the next production to be postponed or not even released at all. All in all, in the long run the listener will have to choose between fewer and less significant productions.
A solution to the problem
A way to ensure oneself as a listener a manifold offer and a high musical level, is to become engaged in the production of that specific music you’d like to listen to, and at the same time assume some sort of economical responsibility. That is, to become a co-producer! At first that may sound a bit overwhelming, but it shouldn’t necessarily be so.
Let us first assume that an album can be produced with a number of fixed minimum expenses. These expenses include:
- Musicians salary
- Recording studio expenses
- Expenses for layout and printing of the CD
- A fixed onetime fee for the record company covering production management, accounting and distribution.
In order to finance the production a fixed number of “shares” are publicly offered to private persons as well as companies. Together these shares cover all net expenses, that is the expenses deducted any guaranteed income like economical support from foundations and other institutions, or any anticipated sale.
The surplus generated from the CD sale is shared between the share holders, that is between the co-producers.
The price of the each share is fixed in advance and each share grants the holder the right to a free copy of the CD production, free updated information during the recording process, and an invitation to the CD release reception/concert.
The purchase of several shares also implies several other advantages, such as free advertising on the webpages of the ensemble and the record company. CDs can also freely be resold.
At the end of the accounting year a balance for this particular production is presented to the co-producers. In years when the production leads to surpluses, the co-producers can individually choose to receive their corresponding share of the surplus or let their share enter a common donation to a previously elected recipient (e.g. Thee Grameen Foundation).
Becoming concrete - a share for 14€
The album Crosswork (working title) by Via Artis Konsort is being recorded between February 2010 and May 2010 (scheduled release June 2010), with the following regular expenses:
See the individual budgets for specified entries
|Musicians salary (minimum salary according to the Danish Musicians Trade Union DMF)||€ 8.800|
|Recording studio||€ 3.200|
|Printing and layouts (the exact price depends on the number of copies, etc)||€ 4.000|
|Production management, accounting and distribution (PARLA son)||€ 3.067|
|Total approximated costs||€ 19.100|
The production costs are being financed by the following incomes:
|Anticipated/Immediate sale||€ 5.389|
|Economical support||€ 2.665|
|Issue and sale of 789 shares each with a value of 14€||€ 11.046|
|Total approximated income:||€ 19.100|
The Publishing company PARLA son guarantees in advance the purchase of all shares not sold publicly, up to 789 shares. The production is thus being financed 100%, and the co-producers cannot be held financially responsible in case of a failed CD sale.
What is a share worth??
All co-producers get their name published (with a link) on a sponsor list at the Via Artis Konsort web page. (The co-producer may of course also remain anonymous)
All co-producers receive 1 CD for each share purchased. These CDs can freely be resold by the co-producer.
Co-producers with 10+ shares can place an advertisement or a logo on the webpages of Via Artis Konsort (the ensemble), laNiche Music (the concert manager) and PARLA son (the publishing label), free of charge.
The name of the co-producers will also appear on sponsor lists at various music portals, among others Facebook and InstantEncore.
Co-producers with 25+ shares will, apart from being represented on various web pages, also be listed as sponsors in the Via Artis Konsort printed concert program, distributed at more than 30 concerts in Denmark and abroad during 2010.
The overall surplus from the sale of the remaining CDs is shared at the end of each accounting year between the co-producers with 1/789 part of the surplus per share. The size of the surplus depends on the number of printed CDs:
|Printing 2.000 copies - surpluses per share||0 - € 8|
|Printing 3.000 copies - surpluses per share||0 - € 21|
|Printing 4.000 copies - surpluses per share||0 - € 33|
Every year (until the CD is sold out) the co-producers can chose, on an individually basis, to receive the surplus, or let their part of the surplus be included in a common donation to the Grameen Foundation, which manage the Nobel Prize-rewarded effort of offering cheap micro-loans to especially women in the developing countries.
What now if …?
In fact only three scenarios are possible:
- The CD is not produced due to unforeseen occurrences, forte major, etc.
The amounts paid by the co-producers are returned.
- The CD is produced and released but does not sell as expected.
Each co-producer will have the pleasant experience of following a CD production closely and will also receive a nice and well-produced CD per share. Co-producers holding several shares do still get the added value, advertising, etc.
- The CD sells between 1,200 and 3,200 copies as expected.
Each co-producer will have the pleasant experience of following a CD production closely and receives a well-produced CD per share. Co-producers holding several shares will also have the added value, advertising, etc.
Additionally, a surplus is generated that can be paid out to the co-producer, or donated as a contribution to a worthy project in the developing countries.
Who’s controlling that everything goes on properly?
PARLA son is a Danish registered company with a licensed accountant affiliated. The CD project has its own balance within the yearly account lead for PARLA son.
When should I purchase a share?
Registration for the purchases has already started. Please sign up on the page “Supporters” at the Via Artis Konsort website or at the PARLA son webpage. Until the final purchase takes place the registration is non-binding.
We’ll send you an e-mail and ask you to pay your shares beginning of May 2010, when the first expenses should be covered. You will be able to pay using a normal credit card or via a Paypal account.
By then the majority of the material has already been recorded and all registered co-producers have received video material from the recordings.
(1) Du livsens bröd is one of the new fascinating songs to be found (in a new recording) on Via Artis Konsort next CD (release June 2010)