Ghost-Face Killah on the Future of Digital Music

The Ghost-Face Killah pleads with fans to pay for music.

“I am just saying 115K friends on the MySpace and I get like 30 thousand in the first week and that’s not good…I thought ya’ll loved me. When I come into town, show me that CD. Don’t front on me.”

As people spend more time online and content continues to atomize at an exponential pace, traditional music models are going the way of the dinosaur. Despite that, it seems that some people are still trying to hold on for dear life.

A great deal of money will be made by the people that figure out how to keep the Ghost-Face paid in world where music is free.

See the full interview below courtesy of hip-hop video social network, Onloq.

hoomanradfar Written by:

  • its not about albums anymore. the album purists will still buy them in full, but they are by no means a large percentage of customers (and lets hope that people don't go jay z on us and make us buy an entire album).

    let me break down the economics. the highest paid musicians (excluding the ones that have their own labels, which are few and far between) get about $1/album. if you sell 1m albums, youre only making $100,000 per release. the big money is in concerts, endorsement deals, etc.

    artists should only be signed for singles– maybe like $20,000 per song, with a 3 song deal. artists get a decent advance– so theyre still happy. do a nominal $5/mo subscription. everything drm free. let it spill onto the p2p networks, its good for you. promote the tours, promote the artists. its a win/win.

    of course this only works when it gets to scale, but we can dream can't we?

  • excuse me i messed up the math. most artists get 10/cents per album, with the top artists getting $1. it should be $100,000/$1m for artists.

  • Jeremy, definitely a unique perspective. My thinking is that artists should view themselves as a brand. That being said, they should use their music as a promotional vehicle to either support larger brands, or build their own brands to increase ticket sales, merchandising opportunities, etc. Ultimately, any model that requires users to pay for content will be less successful as users have demonstrated a decreased demand for music. This makes sense given that the supply of music is increasing exponentially with the advent of tools that make content creation simple. Good stuff.

  • recently, the dynamics have changed. look at rap albums, etc. its not just one person. every song is now featuring multiple artists. they are learning the penny model. spread themselves as thin as possible and take a smaller piece of more songs.

    new age labels won't be able to sign the big artists– which is where the money is. im not convinced that the long tail of music has a viable business model. youre going to need to convince the existing labels that they need you by providing a new framework. these frameworks have to be vastly different from the existing models; itunes, rhapsody, and even p2p networks.

    the music industry needs something similar to what i can best describe as a programming language. hundreds of thousands of different web services have been built on php. the end product is extremely different, but at the core they still have the same framework. the platform allows them to innovate freely, but at the root they still are still bound by the same rules to an extent.

    they also need a new type of watermarking service. not one that allows the riaa to sue fans, but one that builds your fan base. let artists see which songs are the most viral, how they spread, and who your fans are. we need to empower artists with the tools to interact with their fans in order to build these brands. if you look at the wealthiest artists, they made their money in other ventures; jay-z, rocawear, etc. their music helped make those brands successful.