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Is now the right time for "Extreme Week"?

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1 hour ago, daverich4 said:


When you compare it’s price to less expensive products that are available you are talking about value, not affordability. 

Value is often defined as worth / cost.  But worth is subjective and individually determined.  And there is no single unit of measurement for worth, which makes inverse dollars the default unit of measurement for value.
 

The old saw “What’s it worth to you?” is not just for pawn shop owners to ask.  It’s the question most of us ask ourselves (or, at least, should ask ourselves) when contemplating a purchase because it’s how we determine its value.  I suggest that the substitutes we’d buy with the same money are our personal units of worth for that purchase.  If the buy in question requires no sacrifice or compromise at all and the money would not be missed, we’re left with the default metric - the inverse of its cost (inverse because we no longer have that money; we have what we bought instead).  In essence, it’s worth exactly and only what it cost someone to whom the money is entirely discretionary.
 

But unless we have no other use for that money, most of us have competing wants & needs for every dollar, from a new refrigerator or car to jewelry to more financial security.  So we apply our own “worth” metric, which is usually a bizarre confluence of arbitrary units of pleasure, satisfaction, security, etc and a willingness to get the old fridge or car fixed & live with it.  And if we can live with it, the purchase is affordable.  Whether or not it’s wise is a different question.
 

Value is an elusive concept that is often impossible to define or to measure with certainty until long after the purchase.

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2 hours ago, bluesman said:

Value is often defined as worth / cost.  But worth is subjective and individually determined.  And there is no single unit of measurement for worth, which makes inverse dollars the default unit of measurement for value.

 

It depends on the definition of value that you are discussing. Value or worth may be determined by market price, for example, which is not subjective. However, whether one views the value placed on something by the market is justifiable or "worth it" is a subjective evaluation.


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7 minutes ago, Allan F said:

It depends on the definition of value that you are discussing. Value or worth may be determined by market price, for example, which is not subjective.

The definition I was discussing is worth / value.  It’s far from the only one, but I’ve used it for many years to teach Healthcare Value Analysis.  It works well whether your choice is a new surgical robot for $1.5 million vs renovations to the operating suite or a new $20k amplifier vs an addition to your 2 year old’s college fund.

 

Market price is absolutely subjective for any good or service unless its price is 100% inelastic (ie its price elasticity is zero).  Very few products and services are so essential that demand remains constant regardless of price, and audio equipment is not among them.  One buyer + two sellers = drop in market price.  Two buyers + one seller = rise in market price.

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3 hours ago, Allan F said:

 

Value refers to worth of relative worth. But price determines whether something is affordable. Its worth has nothing to do with its affordability.


“the fact that capable music servers can be bought for a small fraction of the cost, there is absolutely no way that a $27,000 server can be described as "affordable“

 

You are saying that you can buy a server that is as good or nearly as good for “a small fraction of the cost” suggesting that you consider the cheaper server a better Value. Whether you can buy a cheaper server that is as good as the more expensive one has absolutely nothing to do with how many people can Afford the more expensive one. 

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2 hours ago, sdolezalek said:

I'd also love to hear speculation about what these times will do for music in general.  In the past, hard times have often led to creativity blossoming and some of our best music seems to come from the darkest times.  Are we about to repeat that pattern


I was wondering as well where this will lead, here are some  thoughts which I think shows some valid elements:
There is one thing for sure (imho): mega concerts and festivals are not on the agenda this and perhaps next year, and I would wonder if the bonanza the Rolling Stones had last year between June and August  will ever happen again for them.
I took the example of the mega bucks earner due to the changing pattern how stars were making money during the last years, with record sales plunging, redcord deals not lucrative anymore,  the focus of the top stars last year was  somehow "Q&D", either a 3 month mega stadium tour like the Rolling Stones (16 shows) or high value concerts with smaller crowds in just  a couple of cities like Madonna, Bruno Mars or Lady Gaga (6/4/11 cities).
OTOH, I see social distancing on concerts for artists, who are really financially dependent on the "door" as quite critical.
Does that lead to more sales of intangible/tangible media? I doubt that. And It will have a negative effect on the club scenery in every big city, too.
Eventually, the "PATREON" system will be one of their important options of crowdfunding, However it will be a mess if this way of financing artistry will be overflown by masses of concertless & hungry artists.
All summed up, I'd say that entertainment and beverage industry, like the multi-billion sports business, will look at pre-covidean times as some golden age while they have hard times to return to that level.
We would be only "a bit" lucky, if crisis creativity would present us with some blossomed output over our streaming services, most artist would not be able to live from that ...
sorry for the bad news ...
(numbers taken from Pollstar year end publications)

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50 minutes ago, DuckToller said:

All summed up, I'd say that entertainment and beverage industry, like the multi-billion sports business, will look at pre-covidean times as some golden age while they have hard times to return to that level.  We would be only "a bit" lucky, if crisis creativity would present us with some blossomed output over our streaming services, most artist would not be able to live from that ...

As depressing as that sounds, you may not be that far off.  On the other hand, the more dependent we become on streaming as our only source of entertainment, the more likely people will find a way to make us pay for it.  Just not clear who will keep those profits...


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1 minute ago, sdolezalek said:

As depressing as that sounds, you may not be that far off.  On the other hand, the more dependent we become on streaming as our only source of entertainment, the more likely people will find a way to make us pay for it.  Just not clear who will keep those profits...

 

I hope the artists themselves are the ones that figure out how to profit from their art the most.

 

Sadly though, the upfront cost for infrastructure to do it will almost guarantee that some other entity will once again be taking the profits for themselves.


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1 hour ago, AudioDoctor said:

 

I hope the artists themselves are the ones that figure out how to profit from their art the most.

 

Sadly though, the upfront cost for infrastructure to do it will almost guarantee that some other entity will once again be taking the profits for themselves.

The stats on this are readily available.  Here's a summary of the last 2 full years for which data were complete when this was published:

 

"[The data show] that, in 2018, 67.3% of the US record industry’s total $9.8 billion retail revenues – a $6.6 billion sum – was paid out to labels and artists. To flip that round, record stores, download stores and streaming services held on to 32.7% of the money. That was roughly flat versus 2017, but different to 2016, when 68.4% ($5.2 billion) of music’s total retail haul ($7.6 billion) made its way to artists and labels."

 

The percentage of total retail revenues in the recording industry going to labels and artists went down by 1.1% between 2016 and 2017 but was flat from 2017 to 2018.  But revenues were higher in 2017 and 2018, so the total that went to labels and artists was higher ($6.6 billion in 2017 and again in 2018, up from $5.2 billion in 2016).  Streaming is taking a bigger bite out of artists' pockets percentage-wise, but they're all making more each year than they did the year before.  Again from Rolling Stone, "Streaming services might be keeping a higher percentage of music industry money from artists than ever before – but they’re making artists much more cash, too."

 

Of course, streaming services are not graciously giving money to those who make and provide the program material they use.  After crying about how hard it was for a poor little streaming service to make a buck, we now read in Rolling Stone about "...Spotify’s new deals with major and independent labels, struck in the first half of 2017, in which the record companies agreed to lower the share of pro-rated net revenue they received from the platform, down from approximately 55% to 52%. The thinking there: Spotify needed 'margin relief' from the labels in order to become an economically sound company."  Hmmm - I gotta get me some o' that margin relief too!!!

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4 minutes ago, bluesman said:

The stats on this are readily available.  Here's a summary of the last 2 full years for which data were complete when this was published:

 

"[The data show] that, in 2018, 67.3% of the US record industry’s total $9.8 billion retail revenues – a $6.6 billion sum – was paid out to labels and artists. To flip that round, record stores, download stores and streaming services held on to 32.7% of the money. That was roughly flat versus 2017, but different to 2016, when 68.4% ($5.2 billion) of music’s total retail haul ($7.6 billion) made its way to artists and labels."

 

The percentage of total retail revenues in the recording industry going to labels and artists went down by 1.1% between 2016 and 2017 but was flat from 2017 to 2018.  But revenues were higher in 2017 and 2018, so the total that went to labels and artists was higher ($6.6 billion in 2017 and again in 2018, up from $5.2 billion in 2016).

 

Streaming is apparently the creature taking a bite out of return to artists and labels.  After crying about how hard it was for a poor little streaming service to make a buck, we now read in Rolling Stone about "...Spotify’s new deals with major and independent labels, struck in the first half of 2017, in which the record companies agreed to lower the share of pro-rated net revenue they received from the platform, down from approximately 55% to 52%. The thinking there: Spotify needed 'margin relief' from the labels in order to become an economically sound company."  Gimme some o' that margin relief too!!!

 

So you're saying that my assumption was already correct, that someone other than the artists is taking the profits...


No electron left behind...

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18 minutes ago, AudioDoctor said:

So you're saying that my assumption was already correct, that someone other than the artists is taking the profits...

It's all in how you interpret the data.  More than half of the total music industry revenues in 2016, 2017, and 2018 went to artists and labels.  An overhead of 30-32% is not too shabby - retailers and restaurants probably pay twice that or more.  But in my experience as a bandleader backing touring acts and locals, it appears that income per artist is going down because there are more artists every year and streaming services are eating more and more of the pie at a rate that may exceed its growth.

 

Streaming has helped the entire music industry grow its revenues.  Hard copy sales are steadily down, and downloads are also dropping.  Streaming and subscription services are the only significant industry segment that's growing (yes, vinyl is growing - but it's such a small slice of the pie that it's immaterial to this discussion).  So credit for bringing more cash to the industry overall goes to streaming. A smaller percentage of all that money is going to the artists than was the case a few years ago, but (at least for now) it's still over half of the total revenues generated by the industry and higher than it was a few years ago. 

 

But technology has made it so easy for people to make and release their own recordings that the number of recording artists is now growing fast.  The denominator is increasing and the percent of total revenues going to the artists (the numerator) is shrinking. This does not bode well for them.

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3 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

The split within that number would be interesting.

 

I was just thinking the same thing.

 

edit: I bet it's also not a static number artist to artist. A more established artist can probably demand and get more than an artist that has never recorded before.


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On 5/23/2020 at 1:52 AM, The Computer Audiophile said:

The split within that number would be interesting.

Artist and labels is a misleading catagory - I'd bet purposely misleading. Why should they be lumped together? Willing to bet the vast majority of that went to the labels. We have lots of evidence showing how little many artists make from streaming. I doubt the labels want us to know.

 And let's not forget that the labels themselves are big shareholders in the streaming services. So they are paying that money to themselves, as it were. 


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10 hours ago, vortecjr said:

As if putting a lot of thought into something makes it proper. The suggestion that only the reviewer knows what's best for the rest of us is improper IMHO. I emailed Chis C that this very trend sets the wrong message. 

 

It's really not a challenge to set up an affordable system that equals these overly expensive / ridiculous solutions and I'm more than happy to give a hand in this respect.

I'm not sure I understand either Austinpop or ray-dude claiming that their solutions are best for the rest. They are reporting what they hear, and they have the means and the will to spend those sums for the improvements they hear. They are trying to get a bit more performance out of already great setups. 

 

 I for one am doubtful I or many others would hear the same improvements. In addition, for most people, if you are going to spend lots of money, you are going to get a lot more bang for your buck spending money on speakers and the right amps for them. The writers of these reviews of extremely high priced units may have already maxed out their spending on amps and speakers and are looking for other ways to improve their systems. 

 

And it's all a matter of perspective. There are also those that would say that a $600 or an $1800 or a $4000 internet streamer is outrageously expensive for what it does and for the added value it gives relative to cheaper solutions. 


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Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>RPi4 9(dietpi)>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

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On 5/22/2020 at 6:52 PM, The Computer Audiophile said:

The split within that number would be interesting.

Here's some of that information, as provided by the Houston Chronicle.  In summary, "Record labels exist to sell music from artists who only receive a small percentage of profits unless they run their own labels. Usually major labels finance manufacturing and distribution costs and are repaid by sales before artists are paid. Major labels pay higher costs and take higher percentages while independent labels pay lower costs and give artists higher percentage points based on gross sales figures negotiated between artist managers and labels".

 

More specifically, songwriters and publishers usually split a combined share of 5 to 25 points.  Major label artists get about 15 points.  Managers who finance the project get about 20 points, and producers get about 3 points.  Most A&R execs (who may be salaried as well) and other talent finders get from 1 to 3 points.  And the label gets what's left from this, minus supply chain and retail costs.

 

Per Maggie Lang, a Professor at Berklee, 95% of artists get no royalty checks.  She does not say why, although I suspect it's probably a combination of poor sales, dumb contracts, and artists' extravagance with other people's money that will be reimbursed first out of revenues, plus a bit of outright deception and theft. 

 

Digital downloads and streaming increase the share available to artists and labels by reducing hard costs (manufacturing, inventory, logistics etc).  But I can't find any such data stratified to that level yet.

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