Wednesday, April 30, 2014

House Concerts: The Benefits and Risks of Creating Profit

Hi everyone,

Touring, in the traditional sense, looks to be intimidating. It seems that only certain people can make it in the insanity of it all. There is so much at stake, from money to exposure. Exposure depends on your own talent and the work of promoters. Money, on the other hand, depends on the individuals you are doing business with.

As a new artist, ticket sales and venue profits determine your profit. Expenses depend on how you live during the tour. The rule of thumb is to live frugal to ensure profit. Your profit depends on how many people show up to listen to your music and if they think you're good enough to tip. New artists end up losing money, for the most part, during a tour. Living costs surpass profits, because of very little exposure.

The risks of profit loss seem to have bred a safer route to ensuring profit. House Concerts have been gaining popularity, but it seems to be a slow growth. The concept of House Concerts is argued to be more personal and intimate. It is also career sustaining, because your fans are willing to offer a place for you in their home, while exposing your music to their friends and family. The underlying factor, however, is that it's more profitable. In an article in the Huffington Post, writer Mallika Roa comments, "Curtis says her profits have magnified since the days she played at clubs, where profits are split with the venue, booking agents and promoters."

Venues cost a lot, and middle men take a piece of the pie. Although, there is one major factor still heavily involved, and surpasses profit. This is exposure. When cutting out the middle men, you are left to your own luck and skills of marketing. If you have poor marketing skills, you will most likely have a hard time even 'booking' these shows.

When looking at house concerts though, exposure is limited to; your fan's gift of gab, the size of the house, the amount of fans, and your exposure. Also, are the fans friends adamant enough to spread the word? Will you make a big enough impact at these house concerts to make a sustainable career? These questions and realities could make a cool idea seem less practical. All of a sudden, you may realize that your own confidence could make or break you.

Imagine someone, like me, who composes Orchestral music, going home to home, while sitting in a chair, pressing play on a laptop, doing theses house concerts. It seems funny and impractical. My viewpoint is that house concerts would not work for someone like me. However, it could work for others a lot better.

There are a few instances that house concerts would also, most likely, fail miserably. Imagine hosting a black metal concert in your living room. There is fake blood and props, which involve building a deathly looking scenery. This stuff squires an extensive cleaning and a hefty bill. This would not be practical for the artist, and potentially upset a fan who had offered their house for this type of concert.

It seems that acoustic concerts may be best suited for the home environment, rather than loud performances. The rooms are generally small, when compared to a venue. Smaller rooms and loud performances will more likely become a nuisance, more than an enjoyment.


Alexander C. Torri


1.    Passman, D. (2013). Personal Appearances - Touring. In All You Need to Know About the Music Business, 8th Edition. Retrieved April 30, 2014.

2.    Trust, G. (2013, June 14). House Music: Your Living Room Might Be Your Next Concert Venue. In Billboard. Retrieved April 30, 2014 from

3.    Rao, M. (2014, March 12). Your Living Room Could Help Save The Music Industry. In Huffington Post. Retrieved April 30, 2014 from

4.    Curtis, S. (2014, March 17). How to Use House Concerts to Create Career-Sustaining Superfans. In Music Think Tank. Retrieved April 30, 2014 from

The Messy Situation Within the Music Industry in Regards to Pandora

Hello everyone,

Upon reviewing the listed articles, a conclusion has been come to. The Music Industry is a rough road to travel. The system of Royalty dispersion system is convoluted and saturated with unfair percentages. This goes to show that everyone has to get their hand in the pot. If someone doesn't like how much they can grab from the pot, they gripe and moan.

The pyramid involved within the Royalty system is too big. Before an artist can see any of their profits, the Record Company, Publisher, and administrators have to get their cut. Understanding why they get a cut of the profit, the system is way too complicated and too large.

The percentages are unfair, because the companies are making a significant profit off of their artists through Royalties. An artist, as a single entity, works for a company, which employs many other single entities. Depending on the success of the artists, the company makes a collective profit. Publisher's like BMI, have thousands of artists they represent. Record Labels may only have a hundred of so artist they have signed. Depending on the administrator, the amount of artists circumnavigating their figures, profits could vary.

Let's take Pandora's rates in 2013 into consideration.

- 2,000,000 plays at $0.0011 per play = $2200.00

- ASCAP/BMI at 1% = $22.00
- SoundExchange at 5% = $110.00
- Record Label at 44% = $968.00
- Publisher at 3% = $66.00

- Songwriters at 3% = $66.00
- Performer/Session at 44% = $968.00

Let's say there are 100 of these artists who had 2,000,000 plays under the same circumstances/companies:

- 200,000,000 plays at $0.0011 per play = $220,000.00

- ASCAP/BMI at 1% = $2,200.00
- SoundExchange at 5% = $11,000.00
- Record Label at 44% = $96,800.00
- Publisher at 3% = $6,600.00

- Songwriters (DIVIDED BY 100 ARTISTS) at 3% = $66.00
- Performer/Session (DIVIDED BY 100 ARTISTS) at 44% = $968.00

The percentages tell a different story when analyzing multiple artist collectively. The Record Label looks to be making out like a bandit. The figures should be changed and less hands digging into the proverbial pot.

Here is a proposition.

- 200,000,000 plays at $0.0011 per play = $220,000.00

- ASCAP/BMI at 0.5% = $1,100.00
- SoundExchange at 2% = $4,400.00
- Record Label at 20% = $44,000.00
- Publisher at 2.5% = $5,500.00

- Songwriters (DIVIDED BY 100 ARTISTS) at 20% = $440.00
- Performer/Session (DIVIDED BY 100 ARTISTS) at 55% = $1,210.00

In theory, this looks more acceptable, as far as profits are concerned. The Record Label's percentage is dropped from 44% to 20%, and the Songwriter get's boosted to 20%. It only seems fair if the songwriter get's a bigger cut, because without the songwriter, who was going to write the hit in the first place?

After the proposed change in percentages, let's look at the numbers with only one artist again, but with the new percentages.

- 2,000,000 plays at $0.0011 per play = $2,200.00

- ASCAP/BMI at 0.5% = $11.00
- SoundExchange at 2% = $44.00
- Record Label at 20% = $440.00
- Publisher at 2.5% = $55.00

- Songwriters at 20% = $440.00
- Performer/Session at 55% = $1,210.00

The figures above only constitute what profits could be gathered from Pandora. This does not include other Online Streaming services and distribution methods. Pandora alone, would not be able to supply efficient income for an artist to live off of. There would still need to be additional sources of income from other media distribution methods in order to make an artist's life livable.

With organizations like the RIAA trying to manufacture a crisis, it leaves less confidence in today's music industry. There seems to be more of an aim to protect the interests of the Record Labels than the Musicians/Artists. With artists boycotting certain internet music streaming services, all they are doing is promoting higher rates per play going to Record Labels, publishers, and management. The small amount of change in rates per play will not affect the artists income levels much. For there to be a significant change, the percentages have to be changed.

The markets are changing slowly towards internet music streaming being the more favorable option. iTunes may be selling music for $0.99 a song, but Pandora, for instance, cost nothing and is easily accessible. It's like putting all those songs from iTunes on Shuffle. More people are realizing the benefits of Pandora and are more keen on listening to music through that service than purchasing it. Companies are seeing this and they want the biggest possible slice of the pie.

It would probably be a good time to cut the pie differently so artists and songwriters can benefit the way they should. It doesn't make sense for an artist to jump into his/her passion for virtually no money.


Alexander C. Torri

Westergren, T. (2013, June 26). Pandora and Royalties. In Pandora Blog. Retrieved April 15, 2014 from

Fusilli, J. (2013, July 14). Thom Yorke and Atoms for Peace Boycott Spotify. In The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 15, 2014 from

Degusta, M. (2013, June 25). Pandora Paid Over $1,300 for 1 Million Plays, Not $16.89. In the understatement. Retrieved April 15, 2014 from

Dickey, Megan R. (2014, March 19). It Looks Like Pandora Has Actually Stolen Business From iTunes. In Business Insider. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from

Music Videos: How Youtube Has Helped Stuggling Artists

Hello everyone,

At first recognition, MTV was a brilliant idea. Delivering music with a video was a great marketing move. The exposure allowed for big name artists and small time artists to be seen on TV rather than just in Concerts.

The biggest issue, however, seems to be related to a slow detachment from the idea of music. The world blazes by so quickly and we are all so busy. The only way to grab our attention these days is through visual and sound cues working seamlessly together. With our brains running a mile a minute, it is easy to get distracted if only music is playing in the proverbial background. Visual guidance, per say, seems to be a requirement these days.

This realization leads me to believe that an appreciation for music, in itself, is lost. Can many people enjoy a song without having to see a visual presentation, video, and/or still image during the process? I would say there is still an abundance of appreciation, but with the recent influx of meaningless songs, it's hard to visualize a society that can relate to the music. It seems we have been desensitized to hearing emotion and soul.

With this being said, I feel more emphasis is placed on visual than audio. There are massive costs associated with creating a music video. The costs, being as high as they are, seem to have Record Labels focused on perfecting only the visual aspect of an artist. The audio doesn't matter as much, because the majority doesn't seem to care about the emotion and soul within the song.

Big name artists mainly have their music and lyrics wrote for them. They only have to play the part and look appealing. In essence, they are not artists, they are glorified actors. That seems to be what society only wants, beautiful actors.

These 'Glorified Actors' are put up on pedestals and cherished for being sexually appealing. The voice, face, and body determine how popular an artist will become. You can have the worst music ever, but if you are attractive on multiple levels, you will sell millions.

What is discussed above, however, is slowly fading into the past. People are slowly accepting the Music Apocalypse. Society is starting to see that there is more music than what played on MTV and the Radio. MTV and Radio exposed only what was supposedly demanded, and didn't account for those who wanted to hear different things.

Comparing ourselves as having the attention span of a three year old when it comes to music makes sense. If we aren't 'wowed' in the first few seconds, we move on to a different song. Music videos, however, hold our attention longer. It's like analyzing a kid watching Elmo on the TV, but not all random people hand you a bad drug. Some people have something to show. I find Tool's Music Videos intriguing, and I find myself wondering what the message is. This is only an example though.

I tend to watch any music videos through the addictive portal known as YouTube. YouTube is the Google of videos. It is the 'go-to-guy' when it comes to hear say. If you want to find a music video for a song, there is most likely one amongst many.

Knowing that YouTube has pretty much become the 'meme' of video research, it only makes sense that Billboard and Neilson SoundScan have incorporated streams from YouTube into the formula of determining a songs placement on the infamous Billboard Chart. Leaving YouTube out of that equation would obstruct the actuality of a song's popularity.

When it comes to music videos on YouTube, you gain only as much as life and luck will allow you. Are you there at the right place and time? Did the right person see your video? This may seem cynical, but even Jack Conte made a comment relating to YouTube Exposure. "So at some point you have to sort of throw up your arms and say, "Wow. Pomplamoose was in the right place at the right time." We worked really hard. You know, luck favors the prepared, and we were very prepared for things to happen, but there was also a little bit of je ne sais quoi, a little bit of magic, and that's not something that you can repeat." (Bylin, K. 2012).

A 'major-label, superstar artist' gains career longevity when appearing on Music Videos. Humanity is cynical and sadistic. We all want to see if they look noticeably older, uglier, fatter, skinnier, etc. If those 'superstars' still appeal physically attractive to the collective viewership, they get a longer career. If they are noticeably faulty in the eyes of a socialist Marxist driven economy, their fame will burn up along with their name 20 years or less down the road.


Alexander C. Torri

Bylin, Kyle (2012, November 21) The Most Honest Interview About the Music Industry Ever, Featuring Jack Conte of Pomplamoose. Retrieved from

Digital versus Physical Sales: The Ups and Downs of Both

Hello everyone,

I found 'The Long Tail' to be an accurate analysis of the current state of both online and physical retailers. The limitations on physical space and the feasibility of selling a particular product heavily detriments the 'brick and mortar' longevity. The bountiful space available in a digital realm allows for more selection and lower costs of storage.

Physical retailers of media are a dying breed because of the recent explosion of readily accessed material. I find myself still browsing the shelves for CDs and DVDs, but rarely buy product, if at all. The cost is high and the selection is low. I will turn to a RedBox or Pandora for entertainment before I indefinitely purchase a physical copy.

As an aspiring artist I understand the implications of my decision. Companies who have strived to produce and market these products are losing money in the long term. I would not want to lose profit over my creations and hope for an entertainment revolution at some point.

As Chris Anderson stated, "Surprisingly enough, there's been little good economic analysis on what the right price for online music should be', which I whole-heartedly agree on, but there are some implications(1). The entertainment industry has not reformulated it's business plans to keep up with demand(2). It seems they are stuck, just like retailers, in a physical retail mindset. They claim it isn't fair, but like most companies, if they fail to adapt, they will fail.

Record Labels also seem to be outdated as of late. There are benefits of using a Record Company, but with Digital Audio Workstations and Digital Technology taking the reigns and allowing practically anyone to write music. At least with Record Companies, you are guaranteed a great quality mix and less stress involved with distribution.

Record labels and production studios may always exist, but the industry is transforming into a easily accessible and cheaper alternative to having companies run the marketing and distribution for you(3). Even though many try to be musicians, only the top notch individuals will make it through. In essence, even the cheaper and easily accessible side of creating music will ween out the individuals who don't stand a chance.

Whether the major companies change their marketing strategies and business plans or not, they will always be the preferred method to music distribution. I don't see an imminent death of major companies, but a weaker market, which will force those same companies to cut costs and corners. This is the revolution we need in order to make a better outcome for musicians and companies alike. This in turn will force CD sales to become cheaper and more affordable.


Alexander C. Torri


(1) Anderson, C. (2004, December 13). The long tail. Retrieved from

(2) Rehab, R. (2012, May 15). How the music industry failed to adapt. Retrieved from

(3) Guarino, M. (2009, December 17). Could home recording doom professional music studios?. Retrieved from

Saturday, April 26, 2014

X-14 Needs You!

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