The Oatmeal.com has produced a wonderful little sketch that basically sums up the music industry and all that is wrong with it, in a series of 4 drawings.
The first sketch is entitled, ‘How it was for a very long time’ and shows the fatcat record label bossman, complete with overhanging gut and ominous grin, standing between the little guy who wants to hear a song and the little guy strumming away on the guitar. ‘Halt, you must pay’ he demands. Before the internet, that’s pretty much how it was, if you heard a song that you liked on the radio, the only thing you could do was go out and buy the vinyl/tape/CD.
‘How it was in 99’ which shows an angry record label, demanding his usual $18 for a CD that has miraculously disappeared because Napster has the consumer by the hand and is sneaking him around the side of the overbearing bossman straight to the musician. The musician in this picture isn’t too happy either though, he’s missing the measly 23 cents that he used to get paid for his music!
‘How it is now’ shows the various ways you can purchase music via the internet these days, with representatives from the big 4 (YouTube, iTunes, Amazon & Spotify) linking the consumer straight to the musician. In the background, the smaller, slightly less overbearing label bossman frantically tries to offload overpriced concert tickets! For me, there was a notable absentee from this sketch though, that would be file-sharing sites like The Pirate Bay and co.
The final sketch ‘Where it needs to go from here’ is an image of an ideal future, a future where the consumer pays the musician a reasonable amount directly in order to download their music. In the background, the label bossman is sat in the corner on his fat ass wailing about his misfortune. This picture is great because it represents a time where neither the musician nor the consumer is being exploited, unfortunately however, I don’t think it is ever going to happen! One can dream though right?