Saddle Creek update; Another recipe for success in the music biz…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:00 pm July 15, 2010

by Tim McMahan,

There’s not much going on news-wise.

Saddle Creek today announced that Land of Talk’s sophomore record, Cloak and Cipher, will be released Aug. 28 (They’re playing at Slowdown Sept. 23). Azure Ray’s first new album in seven years, Drawing Down the Moon, will be coming out Sept. 14 on Creek, and Maria and Orenda are headed out on tour, including a gig at Slowdown Nov. 3.

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There’s a longish interview at Wired this week with Tommy Boy founder Tom Silverman (online here), where he talks about the continued downward spiral of the music industry, how the “long-tail” model is bunk, how social media is useless for selling CDs, and his vision for how artists and labels can make money in harmony. His vision:

“The model that looks most promising is to set up an LLC, just like a movie company — they set up an LLC for each movie. Every artist is a business, and has its own corporation under this model, and all of that artist’s creative equity goes into that — not just music, but everything they do. Whether it’s live, or merch, or whatever, their brand goes in there. And the investors who are investing and trying to promote on the other side — they own half. So it’s more like a business. An equity partnership.”

How is that different than the 360-degree record deal, where the label controls publishing, merch, the record, and touring? “The 360 deal is a traditional adversarial record deal of the old fashion,” Silverman said in the interview. “You get 12 points, or 14 points, and we recoup everything. ‘Here’s your check at the beginning — you’re not going to get paid again.’ Everything I said that was wrong with the business is still included with the 360 deal. Plus, they take a grab of 20 to 30 percent of touring and merch.”

Add to that some depressing numbers: “In 2008 there were 17,000 releases that sold one copy,” Silverman said. “Last year, there were 18,000 (that sold one copy), and something like 79,000 releases that sold under 100 copies. Under 100 copies is not a real release — it’s noise, an aberration. In any kind of scientific study, it would be filtered out. It’s like a rounding error. That 79,000 number represents almost 80 percent of all the records released that year.”

Yikes. Read the entire interview here.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.