Friday, January 4, 2008

Oh come on, people!

Today, Trent provided the following update about Saul Williams' latest, The Rise and Inevitable Liberation of Niggy Tardust:

"Saul's previous record was released in 2004 and has sold 33,897 copies.

As of 1/2/08,
154,449 people chose to download Saul's new record.
28,322 of those people chose to pay $5 for it, meaning
18.3% chose to pay."

Given that the entire album was a mere $5, which is about half the price you'd pay for it on itunes and maybe even 1/3 of the price you'd pay for it at Target or Best Buy or other music stores, I find this most depressing.

Artists, especially up-and-coming artists like Saul Williams, need money, folks. That cat with an eyepatch isn't going to pay for his own Meow Mix. I know that not everyone has a lot of expendable cash these days, but $5...that's a single trip to Starbucks for most of us. That's less than 2 gallons of gas. And I think if you can afford the fancy-schmancy ipod to put the music on, you can afford to throw Saul Williams $5 for his work, his livelihood. I understand that some people may have wanted to "try it out first," and perhaps they weren't sure if they were going to like it, and they saw that it could be free, so they thought, what the hell?

Maybe that's just the state of affairs these days, and people simply will not pay for albums. I certainly hope that if those people liked the album (and there's no reason why they shouldn't have), that they intend to support Saul on his upcoming tours. Or buy his merch. Or SOMETHING.

Music shouldn't be expensive, but it's not WORTHLESS. Support your artists, kids.

**The more you know.


greta said...

sounds as if he is quite pleased with the result and now wants to squeeze us like lemons

trent is soo alpha-

Anonymous said...

I paid for it. I also threw Radiohead roughly five bucks, depending on the exchange rate. Money well spent in both cases.

I don't have a problem paying for music. In fact, I'm brushing off the ol' Catholic guilt over the fact that my copy of Widow City by the Fiery Furnaces is a leak and that I still haven't bought it.

greta, since 2005, there have been a few points in time where I've said, half-jokingly, that I might as well just hand Trent my paycheck. But by that I meant I would gladly fork it over because, if nothing else, NIN's live shows are more than worth it.

greta said...

i mean it grandmotherly proud..

maise said...

Em, I hear ya on the Catholic guilt.

I mean, it would be nice for people who don't want to pay to consider the money that they waste all the time. Like when you paid $10 to see the X Men 3. Saul Williams is only looking for half of that, and it's a good album--honestly!

Danny Angel said...

well Trent must have known that no one might pay for it given the fact that all us cheap-asses had the option of getting it free. I didn't pay but I also didn't download it either. On the positive side at least we know that money from the sales went straight to Trent and Saul (presumably) rather than record label people.

My friends frequently burn me albums and if I like/listen to them I always buy a real copy. I do still like the presentation of an album.

Btw, Winds of Creation by Decapitated may be one of the best metal albums I've ever heard. Amazing.

Iris said...

I was so excited when I saw that Trent had finally posted some hard figures on how the new album has done but I have to agree here with Maise's disappointment.

Initial reaction sheer amount of “product moved”...154,449 vs 33,897 between this and Saul's last album. WOW!!! I'm super impressed with the rise in popularity regardless of whose general fanbase it derived from (NIN or Saul).

And I’m psyched that the approximate $142K went directly to Saul (and Trent?). I mean that has to be a better cut than what they would have received out of a traditional record deal, right? But here's what really ticks me off. This is such a new format and Trent and Saul are trying to help pave the way for new artist and new distribution methods. You'd think that the fans could be a little more supportive, you know, financially. I know this is just a starting point and I know they're going to figure out a way to get this to work but it's terrible that the record companies are finally in a position that they can't do much and are pretty well prepped to die off but yet the biggest hitch in the plans is the fucking fans!

As Maise said in our conversation earlier tonight about this (hope you don’t mind I’m quoting you, M, but this was an excellent point):

"It's not that artists should expect to be paid every time someone hears their music, but it's the point that we should be supporting this new artist-driven distribution. It's like, Trent's really trying to think outside the box and come up with new ideas. Don't break his heart, kids. It would send so much of a clearer message if fans came out in droves to pay a reasonable price for an album directly to the artist. It would revolutionize the music industry. Instead, people want to be CHEAP."

And I totally agree with her. Why give the record labels something to exploit, such as fans hesitations to change, and allow them to live on for however many more years?

I sincerely hope that for those who didn't pay but have the album rotating in their ipods that they were so blown away that they took the $5 and started a personal "Niggy Tardust tickets fund". I’ve got mine going strong even though I won’t be able to make the show on Feb 19th in Normal, IL. A show on a Tuesday night at 5pm Saul? Really? Anyone know if the dates on Saul’s myspace page are for Niggy Tardust or are they just poetry readings?

And anyone know why I find myself wide awake at 5-fucking-am? This had better not spoil the awesome Dredsden Dolls show I'll be attending tonight with Maise and Ro. :D

Zeemort said...

I wonder if that post will cause people who've already downloaded it to get around to paying it?

Because I feel kinda like a total shit-heel for not paying yet.
However, omgnewjob, I'll finally have enough disposable income that I won't spend most of it just buying lunch. :E

Anonymous said...

I had $7 in my bank account, just got laid off a job and had no idea as to what I'd be doing in the near future as to getting an income and I still pre-ordered Niggy Tardust for $5 so I could download it guilt-free the day it was released.

I don't understand all the bullshit excuses that people have been giving on ETS for not paying for it. One: they shouldn't feel like they have to excuse themselves if they have a valid reason for not paying... Two: If you have the money... you should pay for it.

I also don't like the people who downloaded it and gave it a half-hearted listen and basically tossed it out. Does anybody else take more than 15 mintues to LISTEN to an album anymore. I remember when I was in High School and I bought a new CD I would go home and listen to it for hours... letting the music sink in and really get a feel for it.

Sometimes It would be years later and I still would hear something new. Is it being part of the MTV generation? Having stuff force-fed to you in 4 mintue clips on a constant loop. Is that how we have to be introduced to music now?