“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”
Mr. Spock, the Sage of the Ages
In the first quarter of 2015 when I wrote this White Paper, I wore kid gloves when I introduced the topic of digital aggregators’ role in the music business. I had my reasons at the time for wearing those gloves. The gloves are now off and Angela is bearding the lion.
Digital Aggregators have destroyed the very business upon which they depend to make a living. Yes, digital aggregators are the financial terrorists with a narrow agenda (I want! I want! I want!) who from on high take aim at their eager and unsuspecting customers below killing any hope these have of making a living with their music. These financial terrorists then all jump from the roof in an insane suicide pact. Digital aggregators have destroyed the music business by:
One: Promising that which they have no intention or hope of ever delivering.
Two: Obtuse — and in some instances illegal — contract language.
Three: Predatory business practices that rely on their customers’ lack of business knowledge about a purposefully complicated system.
Four: Registering their clients’ songs with performing rights organizations and then setting themselves up as administrator (which is a perfectly fine fee-based service), but also claiming to be an original publisher (taking 50% of the ownership stake in those songs) without telling their client and completely going against their own contracts with their clients that say they are not in business together.
Five: Remastering uploaded client files and putting in their own identification information, then licensing those for ring backs, ring tones, streaming services, and placements in movies and broadcast (radio and TV), thus taking another earning stream from masters out of the hands of the real owner.
Six: Denying access to long-term and accurate accounting information.
Seven: Obtuse reporting methods and incomplete identification of all royalty streams they collect for on behalf of their clients.
And there’s more they do, but the point is made.
But there is nobody screaming like this for the music business.
Digital aggregators are ripe for class-action lawsuits. Hey, it’s in the wind now and all I am is the weather lady telling them a foul wind is coming their way.
The solution then to this fraud on such a massive scale is this: Opt out and do it yourself. Easy and affordable technology exists that allows for direct sales to fans which puts the money in your pocket immediately and lets you own the fan interaction.
Put one or two songs out there through these digital aggregators who can get you on iTunes and such. But, it is beyond me why any artist anymore would be putting all their music — their entire product line — for sale through any digital aggregator that builds a Chinese wall between them and their fans/customers.
I want to thank Mr. Spock for his words of wisdom. Please purchase the book I wrote called “Navigating the New Music Business as a DIY & Indie”, either as an ebook direct from me or as a hard copy from Amazon.com.