ThirdPipe has over the years pointed out the ditch digging and fiscal mudslinging that occurs in the music industry. Its one thing to hear anecdotal evidence of such affairs. But it is quite another to see an example of such shennangians. Take a peek –
The band is now 1/4 of the way through its contract, has made the music industry more than 3 million dollars richer, but is in the hole $14,000 on royalties. The band members have each earned about 1/3 as much as they would working at a 7-11, but they got to ride in a tour bus for a month. The next album will be about the same, except that the record company will insist they spend more time and money on it. Since the previous one never “recouped,” the band will have no leverage, and will oblige. The next tour will be about the same, except the merchandising advance will have already been paid, and the band, strangely enough, won’t have earned any royalties from their T-shirts yet. Maybe the T-shirt guys have figured out how to count money like record company guys. Some of your friends are probably already this fucked.
Steve Albini is an independent and corporate rock record producer most widely known for having produced Nirvana’s “In Utero”.
A pretty depressing read. But more importantly, a leading indicator of why the music industry is in the toilet. They are eating the shoots before crop has even broken thru the ground. But hold on, this logistical/fiscal falderal is migrating to the publishing industry. The blog `The Business Rusch` lays down some of the same concens for publishing. More importantly it points out the dramatic changes that are occuring in that industry –
Once upon a time, publishing was a monopoly. I’ve used this chart before. From about 1920 to about 2006, this is how publishing worked:
Writers provide content (product) to Publishers. Publishers distribute that content to Distributors. Distributors distribute books to Bookstores. Bookstores distribute that content to Readers.
Now, however, writers can do this:
Writers provide content (product) to Bookstores Bookstores distribute that content to Readers
The middleman is no longer necessary.
The bottom line, as Rusch points out in the post is that the some of the creative juices of both authors and musicians are in the future going to have to follow the bottom line. So maybe it takes another 6 months to get the book out. That’s a minor loss compared to the major gain by having the creative side minding the store. The consumer is not served by a band calling it quits when they fold only because of a stacked contract deal. Authors needs to keep such things in mind too. The days of the $25 hard cover are gone. The world is going to be the $.99-2.99 eBook. That world eschews the old world publisher cost structure. The author hence needs to come to the fore with the cover art, cataloging, and packaging (if any) associated with their product.
Read both articles. They are true eye openers.
… cable that is. The cable majors in total lost 500k subscribers last quarter. Comcast led the pack on that score –
There’s now even more evidence that subscribers are cutting the cord and opting out of paying for cable: By adding up subscriber losses from four of the top five cable companies, we found that more than half a million users have ditched their cable companies.
The carnage began last week when Comcast announced it had lost 275,000 basic cable subscribers, but it has continued as Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and Cablevision have all reported major subscriber losses of their own.
No. 2 cable provider Time Warner Cable announced today that it shed 155,000 cable subscribers during the third quarter, which included 46,000 digital video subs. Yesterday, Charter Communications reported that it lost 63,800 basic cable subscribers during the previous quarter. And Cablevision said this morning that it shed 24,500 subscribers during the same period, including about 5,000 digital video subscribers.
GigaOm goes on to mention that in many cases the cable loss rate vs the Dish/Uverse/FIOS up take is shy about 200k. Simply put, many are just foregoing any sort of broadband connection. Then there are the rates –
That’s a trend we see continuing, particularly as cable subscribers continue to raise their bills at an incredible rate. Comcast reported on its earnings call that average revenue per user (ARPU) increased by 10 percent year-over-year, ending the third quarter at about $130 per month. Charter’s ARPU also rose about 9 percent, to $126. And while Cablevision’s reported average revenue per sub didn’t grow as fast as the others, it’s now a whopping $149.
All of which is why we think that the cord cutting phenomenon, which Comcast and Time Warner Cable deny is something that they’re seeing, is for real. From our point of view, expecting users to pay $125 to $150 a month, and continuing to raise those rates 5 to 10 percent every year, isn’t a sustainable business model. At some point, those users will find alternative, cheaper ways of getting the content they want, and now there are plenty of ways to do so.
We here at ThirdPipe have said all along that if the providers tout their services as an entertainment venue rather than an essential service they increase their risk in an economic downturn. It appears to be happening this cycle. I also wonder if cable and Telco offerings too has lost their glitz? Five years ago cable-payperview were the hot things to have in the home. Now not so much and with the bad economy a $150 expenditure that is not used often enough is just not justified.
I pose that question for a couple of reasons. But they are all wrapped around security and the sanctity of your personal information. –
Researchers at VeriSign’s iDefense division tracking the digital underworld say bogus and stolen accounts on the Facebook are now on sale in high volume on the black market. Mark Zuckerberg, a founder of Facebook, the social networking site that says it has sophisticated ways to defeat fake accounts.
During several weeks in February, iDefense tracked an effort to sell log-in data for 1.5 million Facebook accounts on several online criminal marketplaces, including one called Carder.su.
That hacker, who used the screen name “kirllos” and appears to deal only in Facebook accounts, offered to sell bundles of 1,000 accounts with 10 or fewer friends for $25 and with more than 10 friends for $45, says Rick Howard, iDefense’s director of cyber intelligence.
MINNEAPOLIS – Facebook is now sharing your personal profile information with third parties. For now, it’s just a few web sites, like the music site Pandora, and the consumer review site, Yelp.
Facebook is automatically sharing that information, without your consent. If you don’t want to share, you have to opt out.
University of Minnesota law professor and privacy expert Bill McGevern says it’s an important line in the sand. And for Facebook, with 600 million users, the stakes are high.
“Facebook is trying over and over to get this shared so Facebook becomes the center of the web,” said McGevern.
Facebook want to make money by selling user information.
Either legally or otherwise your data is being proffered for sale. Are you sure you know who you are sharing that data with via third parties that you have no relationship with? Do you even know what is being done with the data? You ought to care, as it may mean you losing the next job or promotion. Forty-five Percent of Employers Use Social Networking Sites to Research Job Candidates, CareerBuilder Survey Finds To be blunt about it, if you have a rant on FaceBook about anything you might as well write LOSER on the bottom of your resume.
I have never held a Facebook account as I read the TOS first and found it lacking. Besides these days it is both cheap and easy to setup your own site on the web where YOU have total control of both the content and how it is shared. Consider this post a friendly hint. But you have been forewarned.
We have been here before, many guises, many different firms. I don’t want it to sound like Microsoft is the only who has been tarred with this, there have been others. Its a matter of get a good price, sign the contract and wait for the deliveries to roll in. Never a thought to how it is achieved –
Showing Chinese sweatshop workers slumped over their desks with exhaustion, it is an image that Microsoft won’t want the world to see.
Employed for gruelling 15-hour shifts, in appalling conditions and 86f heat, many fall asleep on their stations during their meagre ten-minute breaks.
For as little as 34p an hour, the men and women work six or seven days a week, making computer mice and web cams for the American multinational computer company.
What to do? Well several things. Don’t buy MS accessories. Send Steve Ballmer a letter that you are aware of this and find it contemptable of their stature. Do the same to Best Buy and Office Depot two of the largest retailers of MS accessory products.
Steve Ballmer —
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-6399
Steve Odland –
Office Depot Inc
2200 Old Germantown Road
Delray Beach, FL 33445
Brian J. Dunn –
Best Buy Corporate
P.O. Box 9312
Minneapolis , MN 55440
Sometimes corporate policy forces these companies. Other times it is just the shame that becomes attached. Let your conscience be your guide.
For the benefit of those that might not have been watching. Amazon and Macmillan got into a pricing dispute over eBook sales. Part of the trigger being that Macmillan cut an agency deal with Apple for the iPad platform that has a variable rate that is higher than Amazon’s pricing. It got so heated that at one point Amazon disabled purchasing of the entire suite of that publishers books.
Why do we care?
Well primarily because it might change the landscape for eBooks. But my gut says this will not play out like either party thinks.
Well neither. Remember this is at its core a contract dispute. So you have two parties haggling over price and terms. But one author did have an interest viewpoint –
If Amazon were a smaller retailer, this probably wouldn’t be a big deal. But Amazon pretty much, right now, has a monopoly on online bookselling. They’re huge. As a result, this becomes nearly a form of de facto price fixing.
Which if not in word, at least in deed is probably the case at this point and time.
Is one price for a book wrong?
Well no. But if you think of a free market, single cost pricing may be efficient for the offerer but it forces a self selection from the buyer to only consider catalog items that have an intrinsic value more than the offer price. So ‘Gone with the Wind’ would sell well, but ‘Attack of the NanoAtomic Vampire’ from an unknown author would not.
So what’s the moral here?
Its all theatre. Here is why. There is no determined pricing for ePub books. Its all new. The book publishers want to set an expectation in the ~ $20 range, right below a mid-successful hard cover release. They want to protect their legacy infrastructure when for all purposes it is toast. To me that is as bad as Amazon trying to fix a one price strategy.
The reality is the following — ePub pricing will be determined on authorship, topic and audience. It will no longer have a printing component determining the floor price of the publication. That is what both parties are trying to avoid and they don’t want you to think that it might be possible to buy ‘Linear Algebra II’ from Knopf, Knuth and Rupert for $4.99. But that is entirely possible even with today’s technology.
ePub platforms are crude compared to what they will be like in say 5 years. Authors will be able to set their pricing, eliminate the Macmillan’s of the world, and sell pulp copies if need be through a supplier like Lulu.
That ladies and gentlemen is what the dust up is about. They don’t want you to know that very shortly there could be a door number 3 to choose from for all your reading.