RE: Question for Andrew and others-PLEASE READ!
Date: August 12, 2000 02:15AM

Ok.... Since I've been somehow doing this for a living for awhile, I'll try to answer you. Although the associated issues are complex. So my apologies if my answer seems long winded:

Record sales and their ensuing royalties to artists have always been irrelvant in the big picture unless you crack over 500K units in the US (gold), and are a songwriter, thus earning publishing. Typically a new band in their first year, even with a top 10 single and healthy sales will only see mabye less than $10,000. per year in net income per member after all is said and done. "Said and done" means paying commissions to managers and agents, pubishers, press agents, tour costs, recording debts, legal fees, producer points, label debts (yes, label debts), etc, etc,. This seems I know unfair and unbelievable.... but it's the way things are and have been done for as long as I've been in this.

For an excellent rundown of what we as artists deal with check out "Courtney Love's Math"...

The big arguement now is the anti-artist environment that has evolved at most of the labels, both major and minor... and how it makes it nearly impossible for any mid-level artist to survive. Thus most older artists selling less than around 200K units often disappear into normal life and new artist's often don't even bother trying when they get a taste of what's in store for them.

But that is another discussion and I would digress too far from your original question. You can however check this site for what Prince and other artists have to say about the myriad of survival issues artists face today....

Personally, I've been lucky in surviving. The vast majority are definitely not. As an "artist", I never (to date anyway..) became a household name as a huge "star". Though I apparently do have a "name" and I have despite the odds, managed to make a living at this over these years. However I am the exception... not the rule.

Touring in the beginning is how I fed myself and everyone else in my house. Later, royalties from works I had written, produced, or performed on (soundtracks, works for hire, outside projects, etc. etc.) began to add up and the ensuing (eventual!!) royalties began to make up more of the feed bag. I also, eventually, learned to work the money and invested some of it. So now, while I'm certainly not living like Sting... I am living. Also you should know that since I have started operating in this sort of underground rock arena and dealing with smaller record labels and such..... I actually receive more of the money proportionately that you spend on our music than I ever did with a major label. I actually sell far fewer records than I did 10 years ago, but I actually see a more direct and better return.

Go figure!

Now to your really good question... "Why do we do it?" The only answer I can personally come up with is because apparently we can't help it. It's compulsive. It will undoubtably sound trite, but the music has to come out. I hear it in my sleep and when I'm awake (I also am quite unemployable in any traditional sense so what else is there to do?... sure as hell can't sell insurance with these tattoos!).

Ultimately believe it or not, I (and everyone else I know) do it because of the reaction you give us as listeners and supporters. Especially now, later in the game when the initial high of "holy-shit-look-mom-we're-rock-stars-now" ecstacy trip has worn off. So never underestimate your importance to us. And conversley, if you feel you do not receive your due from us... you should move on to someone who you feel deserves your support.

Even though, more often than not, the majority of the money that you spend on a CD might end up in some record label's pocket... your continued support of the artists you enjoy is more important than you can imagine in the long run. It ensures the artist's growth, development and ultimately.... better music.

Which brings us to Napster...

For "mid-level" (whatever that is) artists like myself and most others that I know, we have mixed feelings about it. On the one side it serves the purpose of getting our music into your hands easily and quickly without having to see it mutilated and then overpriced by the labels. On the other side... and I have experienced this first hand.... it can take much needed earnings away from us and thereby threaten our ability to continue to create competent "art". So in the case of a band like Metallica, the earnings that a downloader may be denying them may seem like nothing to some people in light of the massive ammounts of money a band like that earns.... to acts like my band, Stun Leer, it can and does cause problems.

So my answer, like many others like me, to that issue is two sided. We're flattered that you enjoy our stuff enough to download it.... but we hope your downloading doesn't give the labels an excuse to cut the already tight budget for the next album.

Now, if I haven't bored you to tears by now with this long response to your question... Let me just say thank you for enjoying the music and supporting whomever your favourite bands are. Most of the crap that we deal with is really our own problem at the end of the day... and we do deal with it. The myriad of solutions we come up with to still get out the goods in my mind is sometimes indicative of the band's ability as a whole.

You as a listener fortunately don't have to bother with this, and you shouldn't have to. Your job is to hopefully tell us if what we're cranking out is right..... or if it blows. And for that direct honesty... I'm personally grateful to you.


Doug Howard - Stun Leer

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SubjectViewsWritten ByPosted
Question for Andrew and others-PLEASE READ! 384 Steve 08/11/2000 11:31PM
RE: Question for Andrew and others-PLEASE READ! 265 Vince Viani 08/12/2000 02:01AM
RE: Question for Andrew and others-PLEASE READ!262 Doug Howard/Stun Leer 08/12/2000 02:15AM
RE: Question for Andrew and others-PLEASE READ! 243 Steve 08/12/2000 02:38AM
RE: Question for Andrew and others-PLEASE READ! 290 Doug Howard/Stun Leer 08/12/2000 03:47AM
RE: STUN LEER!! 241 Vince Viani 08/12/2000 06:17AM
Thanks for the reply least it's honest 287 Kieran 08/12/2000 03:56AM
RE: Thanks for the reply Doug...I second that 251Steve, Denmark08/12/2000 04:18AM
Doug, Thank You! 302 Rocker Chic 08/12/2000 05:38AM
Doug. You are an inspiration. 240 Rammy 08/12/2000 06:39AM
RE: Question for Andrew and others-PLEASE READ! 245John Q08/12/2000 07:06AM

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