Patty Loveless Gears Up For Her Third Trip On the Santa Train

Brody Vercher | November 16th, 2007

  1. Kelly
    November 16, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Good God!! I feel like a broken record. Pop matters is making me crazy. all the folks there are clearly great writers and can paint a picture with their skill at crafting a review. the problem is though, that their skill seems to be used for scatterbrained, back-handed compliments and analysis that screams ignorance in many cases.

  2. Brady Vercher
    November 16, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Dang, lots of stuff to comment on today.

    @PopMatters: Those PopMatters reviews are completely ridiculous. They don’t know anything about country music and are snarky for the sake of being snarky. It looks like they receive some pretty good traffic. It’s a damn shame.

    @Tours: I dunno who I’d like to see in tour together, but I’ve been thinking that it would be pretty dang sweet to see a collaboration between Dale Watson and Gary Allan.

    @Big Rock Candy Mountain: I can’t believe the trucker list didn’t have “Convoy” on it. That has to break some sort of law.

    @Compadre Records: I don’t think record labels could ever implement a decent solution to distribute their music digitally.

    @Sugarland: I kinda blew them off as the latest fad until I saw Jennifer Nettles perform “Stay” at the ACM awards, that’s when I realized what their hype was all about.

    @Garth Brooks: If you read the comments, some of those people are upset because he cut off the simulcast an hour before he ended the show. It seems more and more that everything Garth Brooks does is about the money.

    @Trisha Yearwood: Sales are down and the labels don’t know what the hell to do but they won’t let someone like Trisha Yearwood have any creative input? These guys are incredible.

    @Garth Brook 2: Hohw can music be devalued or undervalued for that matter? The marginal cost of production is zero. It’s not the music that’s expensive, it’s the marketing.

  3. Brody Vercher
    November 16, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Maybe they say such crazy things so that I’ll link to them. :P

  4. Jim Malec
    November 16, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    The 360 approach is an idea which has been kicking around the industry for a few years, and it’s a good idea, especially for indie labels.

  5. Brody Vercher
    November 16, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    In this deal, is there some kind of hard evidence to show that each artist that participates is getting his/her due diligence from the label?

  6. C. Eric Banister
    November 16, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Even though I’m more of a Beam man, that seems like a waste of good whiskey. Maybe they could donate them to popmatters to wash down whatever they are taking over there.

    Jim, I don’t often disagree with you, but I am going to have to disagree with you on 360 being a good idea. It might be a good idea on the label end, in the beginning, but it’s not for the artists on those indie labels. (I’m not talking about major labels and big name artists, that’s a whole different set of rules) The majority of indie artists exist on their income from merch and shows. If they have a good manager, which they will need, they will get a cut of that merch money as part of their deal. If they have a booking agent, they get a cut of the show, as does the manager. So now the label wants a cut. Will the label manage them? Will the label book the shows for them? They might try, but it is a different skill set to book shows than to run a label. A lot of small labels run on a small staff and some unpaid interns. If they hire someone to come in and run the booking company, that’s another salary, so then they have to figure out how to pay them.

    On the surface it might look tempting to have everything handled under one umbrella (the label handling their traditional role plus booking and management), but if that happens there is a big chance the artist is going to completely fail on all counts.

    This is getting longer than I intended, so I will stop now, but I think artists need to take a long hard look at this before they jump in.

  7. Jim Malec
    November 16, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    Eric, I agree with you in principle, but I don’t think what we’re talking about is a plug-n-play approach. I think it’s a fundamental re-thinking of the way a label does business. At least that’s how I think it should be executed. And, in that sense, yes, it means that the label is going to create a booking component, that they are going to take a more active role in publishing administration, etc.

    I think this kind of deal works especially well on the indie scene because it can help create regional stars. The small label now controls distribution, publicity, and promotion in a narrow market in the same way that a mega controls those things in a national and global market.

    For the major label artists, I think this has major benefits because it creates less debt and less pressure to sell 350,000 units.

    If we’re talking about the 360 deal as just a label pulling money away from an artist without offering a fundamental benefit, then I guess I don’t believe that’s a genuine 360 deal

  8. Jim Malec
    November 16, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    I think I said I think a lot in that last comment…

  9. Brody Vercher
    November 16, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    I think so, too.

  10. C. Eric Banister
    November 16, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    I can’t find the article, but the impression I got from a recent story on Columbia records was that they were asking for a cut of the artists concert revenue and were going to draw without aiding the artist in booking the concerts. I might have misunderstood the article, and I can’t seem to dig it up again, so feel free to steer me right.

    But regardless of that fact, I don’t see the consolidation of all aspects of an artists career as necessarily positive, especially in an indie label situation. Let’s say for example you are on an indie label with four other artists. Let’s say that all of the artists are receiving their fair share of attention (which Brody asked about). There are several scenarios that are entirely possible, but I won’t go into them all. Let’s say that one of the artists hit with a big song. It is only naturally that that artist will receive most of the attention. This is a historical fact even without 360 deals. Flippo mentions Hank WIlliams’ 360 deal and I was told by Charlie Louvin that he and Ira got off of MGM because “if you were Hank or Patti Page, you didn’t have a chance.” Same thing happened to Capitol artists during the Garth years. Now that’s good for the label and the top selling guys, but what about the artist on the bottom who depends on that concert revenue?

    Another scenario is that the label gets swallowed by a bigger label and they, as they often do, make cuts you have an artist not only without a record label, but with out a booking agent and, possibly, proper management.

    And there are of course more extreme situations I won’t go into, but you see my point. Once all industries (music, that is) consolidate, concert venues are held by one group, the labels by a few groups and the radio by a couple, it becomes a trading game and the artist loses again.

  11. Chris N.
    November 16, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    “A Waste of Good Whiskey” is a song just waiting to happen. Let’s write that!

  12. C. Eric Banister
    November 16, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    And it’s begging for the line “She was a waste of good whiskey” as a friend used to say.

  13. Jim Malec
    November 16, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Eric–those are all very good points, and I’m not sure that anyone has good rebuttals to your concerns.

    What everyone agrees on, though, is that without labels there can be few, if any, genuine “stars”. And without sales, in the current scenario, there can be no labels.

    And what everyone in the industry knowns, but few are willing to admit, is that no matter what steps are taken, sales are going to keep going down as long as there is a free alternative to buying music.

    So something has to change; the revenue has to come from the ancillary sources.

    Either way you look at the 360–as an intrusive contract or as a non-intrusive contract–there are potential concerns.

    It’s hard to argue that the demise of the megas as a whole is a good thing for the industry. So I’m in favor of the kind of deals that at least provide some benefits to the artist.

    But you’re absolutely right–we don’t know how all of this is going to shakedown. I guess I just don’t automatically see the label as the enemy. Labels generally have the best interest of their artists in mind–always in a commercial sense, and often in an artistic sense.

    They do bad things sometimes. But who doesn’t? The industry has to work together to solve the very real problems that it faces.

  14. Jim Malec
    November 16, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Chris N.–it’s already been done. I’ve heard three or four versions of that song. None of them were very good, if memory serves. I’m pretty I have a half-finished version kicking around somewhere.

  15. C. Eric Banister
    November 16, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    I agree that the labels need to do something to replace revenue, and I’m not sure what that would be, but to me these deals look like a last minute cash-grab. “Let’s just grab the closest thing we can get our hands on.”

    I don’t really see labels as the enemy either, but I know from my own experience, the label looks out for the label, even in the short-term. For example, I used to manage an artist who got signed to a new label (before I came on board as manager and booking agent). He was their launch artist, which is a pretty big vote of confidence. The owners of the label were also members of one of the top-selling groups in the genre (it wasn’t country) and their first promotional idea was to take this artist out on their 4-month tour to open. One month before the tour another band on another label came and offered them a good sum of money to open the tour. So the label had to decide. Take the cash upfront for this new band to open for them, or let their own investment open for them, both artists being brand new. They took the money upfront. That’s just one example of how some of these labels work.

    But, I’m not trying to argue with you whether these are a good or bad idea, just sparking conversation to try to weigh what difference this is going to make in how we get, listen to and enjoy music.

  16. Brady Vercher
    November 16, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Chris N: You be hilarious.

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