"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Sumerian Records CEO Ash Avildsen Talks Piracy

Sumerian Records CEO Ash Avildsen has posted a new video advertisement online talking about music piracy and the impact it has on music. You can check out the video below.

Our friends at MetalSucks have a good analysis of this video as well.

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27 Comments on "Sumerian Records CEO Talks Piracy"

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zMETALlica's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

1. zMETALlica writes:

wow, this guy has missed a LOT of studies... you know the ones that say music lovers are the biggest sharers (i don't like the word pirate) and that a downloaded song isn't a lost sale... hell it can create a sale...

i am tired of people comparing the losses in the music industry directly to piracy, rather than the economy, other distribution methods, lack of interest in music (more people would rather buy video games), etc. there are plenty of musicians out there that survive unsigned. also most bands that are signed don't even make that much money, at least not enough to quit their day job. being signed allows you to live the star life: touring as an opener, higher recording budget, music video, etc. sad truth is that many bands are doing all these things themselves. and the quote of if bands could do it on their own they would... well they are? they aren't becoming as big as international/national acts, but you don't need to. and most of them also do other things with music (like teach). also buying CDs isn't the only way bands make money, the songwriter (usually the band or someone in it) makes more off of licensing deals than CD sales...

I'll end this rant there...

# Mar 23, 2011 @ 4:48 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

2. Blindgreed1 writes:

z: Problem is it never was that way until people started downloading illegally. All the points you made are directly related to "piracy".

# Mar 23, 2011 @ 7:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
3. R Tenney writes:

I myself want the whole package. The cover art; tri fold inlay with lyrics@ thank lists etc. Things obviously have changed since the whole pirating issue. Bands@ labels will have to work extra hard to release product that people will spend hard earned cash on! The ante has been raised! I think most ill. Downloaders though are hoarders by nature and don't give a flying f*** about the music itself! The music industry needs to redefine itself to stay alive.

# Mar 23, 2011 @ 7:30 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
mikey808's avatar

Member

4. mikey808 writes:

I buy albums from bands i want to support. Wich is usually lesser known and newer bands, Do i buy the new metallica and slayer albums, Usually not lol. Ill just get those from a friends itunes. So I am guilty of "pirating". I am an active musician in a local band so i see where its hurting the business, At the same time how many kids in the 70's sat in front of their radios waiting for the new Led Zep song to come on so they could hit record on their tape player. Piracy is more prevelant today but People will always find a way to get stuff free when its hard enough to pay bills.

# Mar 23, 2011 @ 7:53 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
MetalFan420's avatar

Member

5. MetalFan420 writes:

If not for pirated music i would not know of 80% the bands i listen to especially black metal bands. I still buy some albums on itunes and i spend a sh**load of $ on merch and tickets to support the bands i like. I love my 85GB collection.

# Mar 23, 2011 @ 8:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
6. R Tenney writes:

Mikey guilty as charged in 80s no less. If I could find a way to get it for nothing I did. But I still prefer the whole package! I used to dub copys of Metallica; Slayer etc on my duel cassette Ghetto Blaster back in the day! See your point!

# Mar 23, 2011 @ 8:16 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. b.bristowe writes:

I downloaded the sh** out of "The Discovery"

Sadly, no matter what light you look at it in. Downloading effectively killed the music industry.

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 12:34 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
MetalFan420's avatar

Member

8. MetalFan420 writes:

The music industry killed itself by promoting artists like beiber and giving him sh**loads of cash to use no talent auto tune. Bands with real talent scrape by and get very little promotion.

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 1:35 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Necrovomit's avatar

Member

9. Necrovomit writes:

most of the money goes to the major label anyway. the artist only sees a fraction of it

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 2:03 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
inhatredofme's avatar

Member

10. inhatredofme writes:

i'm guilty of pirating music but to sort of make up for it I try and make it to the shows when the bands are in the area and maybe buy some merch. The real problem is the mediocre level of creativity that most bands are content with putting out and the record companies just hop from trend to trend and churn out these cookie cutter bands that suck. On another note I did buy The Discovery and it's really good and worth a listen.

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 6:19 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
zMETALlica's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

11. zMETALlica writes:

i really like the comments made on metal sux. Sorry to link to our competitor lol, but vince has a lot of experience in the industry and makes some great arguments against ash in addition to agreeing with some of his points: http://www.metalsucks.net/2011/03/23/sumerian-records-ash-avildsen-arrrgh-dont-be-a-pirate/#comments

I am just sick of labels complaining when music is 'bigger' than it's ever been in ages. not everyone will make millions off a product, or even thousands. if you give someone 5 choices they'll buy one of them, but if you show them 50 million choices, they MAY buy one of them, or they'll get too overwealmed with the amount of choices and end up with nothing. aka music is way too saturated to make real money on it.

Blindgreed1: the economic downturn has nothing to do with music piracy considering it affects all areas of our life. that and it's more directly related to the internet than just piracy in my mind.

either way it's not going anywhere and they gotta stop fighting it. honestly i know someone who earns a livable wage off of music without being signed. hell look at periphery, they got where they are due to giving their sh** away for free and doing it themselves/cheap. that's the modern age for you. they didn't spend money on a studio, they used their apartment. that's less money in the "music industry" according to ash... sh** another rant. i'll stop...

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 8:25 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
WOLF7's avatar

Member

12. WOLF7 writes:

I liked the clip and the guy's message. His message is pretty damn important...

... BUT, as a musician myself, a few points:

- Are music sales down purely cos of piracy OR are music sales simply down?

Just because loads of us on this site are huge music fans doesn't mean lots of people out there are. When you look at the big picture, music is simply entertainment. Well, so are video games, home theaters etc and all these fairly new toys.
I know quite a few people who have the latest Xbox, playstation, Blue Ray whatever and less than 10 (!) musical albums.
I know youngsters who have Ipods and No albums whatsoever. Zero. And these are just regular people. So, we're really taking the idea of people buying albums just too much for granted. Times have changed.


- IF the music biz is worried about low sales, howcome the price of an album has only gone up and up?

You don't need to have a diploma in marketing to understand that if you have a product which doesn't seem to be selling as it used to be, among the first 3 important questions there's IS THE PRICE RIGHT?? Hello.


- last but not least, just how many billion dollars has the music biz lost over the years people copying albums on C-cassettes?

What, did the "piracy" only start along with internet and mp3s?

Come on, now.

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 12:55 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

13. hellrat writes:

shoot, i was a major pirate back itn the day! i recorded the thursday night metal show every week for a year or two....i also didn't have R Ten's sopisticated double decked dubbing boombox, so i'd put my brother's and my little sh!t blasters face to face, and dub it that way...i'd also move the house speakers together side by side and dub record off the turntable to the sh!tbox, so i could rock them records on my knock off Walkman ....talk about primitive!

ah hell, it must be pure karmic destiny that i've never made much money off music....or it could be that i just plain suck! :)

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 1:17 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

14. Blindgreed1 writes:

z and Wolf both make very good points and both of you know I respect you and your opinions. I'd just like to see the scene pay the artists better. You know, the guys that actually create the music? I'm sick of seeing my peers sit at merch tables panhandling for gas money to get to the next show. Blame the economy, the change in times, piracy, or even Donovan McNabb for all I care (:D). It wasn't like this 10 years ago and I fear that if it continues down this path 10 years from now we may not see live shows anymore because there's just no money in it for the artists and they can't afford to foot the bill themselves.

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 1:18 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

15. hellrat writes:

i hate to say it, but i agree with your prognosis brother.....we will see a continuous decline in all live music tours that do not 'enjoy' corporate sponsorship

rome has fvcking crumbled, the emperors fled, and the gladiators find themselves out a job, or disgustingly underpaid for their genrally hard work

an increasingly difficult tomorrow for music lays hard on the horizon indeed, and it fvcking sucks....big time

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 2:17 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
WOLF7's avatar

Member

16. WOLF7 writes:

Absolutely 100% Likewise, Mr. BG!

I know exactly what you're saying.
And it's truly sad how bad the situation really is. So many great bands / artists are simply giving up cos the financial pressure is simply too much. Or not just "financial pressure", it's simply impossible for them to continue.

Not only that, but due to lousy sales the industry is simply covering it's a$$ by signing the next Fall Out Boy, Blink 182 or whoever, instead taking a chance with the next Metallica, Slayer not to mention more "controversial" acts such as Jane's Addiction, NIN or Rage Against The Machine.
Come to think of it... The Fall Out Boy and Blink-182 are pretty damn good compared to the new bands these days. And no, I never thought I'd say something like that.

Personally, the ONLY way I see making new albums more appealing for anyone, is dropping the album prices and therefore pumping more money into the system for the labels to have the financial marginal to be able and willing to start taking chances again.
Yes, I believe by dropping the prices some 20% you would boost up the overall sales nicely and come up with a much better bottomline.

When you get an average whoever spending 20 bucks/euros in the entertainment section of their local supermarket, they've basically got 3 choices:
1. A discounted video game
2. A new DVD movie
3. A new album

And I'll tell you, they will NOT be picking up the album. NOT at few cents under 20 bucks ( I believe the srp for a cd is 18.98USD in the states now, same story in euros here in Europe).

But how about a new album for a few cents under 15bucks? Hmm... def cheaper than a videa game, cheaper than the new DVD... how about taking a chance... ??

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 2:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
17. R Tenney writes:

Your right BG about the pan handling thing. Valient Thorr sent around a collection box at the Motorhead:Clutch show! First time I'd seen that. I've been to close to 500 shows in my life. It was tough on them because they sighned a competive merchandise contract. Their shirts were the same 40 bucks as Motorheads@ Clutch. It almost makes sense for bands to self release their product nowadays and just find a distributer. Eliminate the labels altogether. But I know without label support most bands couldn't tour at all! Interesting future for music I think. I hope it can survive.

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 2:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

18. Blindgreed1 writes:

Something definately NEEDS to change and soon or the best way to listen to music will be extinct.

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 3:55 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

19. hellrat writes:

well, we could start by killing off idol and all its ilk that bleed tens of millions away from real music to make over-night pop stars out of these revenue-generating corporate marionettes, run em through the mill till the last cent has been made, and spit em out the back

get back to real Battles of the Bands

also make singles unavailable for purchase

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 4:21 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
20. R Tenney writes:

Getting a tighter grip on leaked material also might help things some. Pricing like above poster said also might help. Markup is outrageously high on CDs. Band actually sees little of it unless they push huge volume. I like the extras idea. Include DVD some live sh** etc I think I'm probably a dinosaur in my thinking but something needs to be done ASAP before the bottom drops out completely

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 4:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

21. deathbringer writes:

Wolf hit it indirectly: "last but not least, just how many billion dollars has the music biz lost over the years people copying albums on C-cassettes?"

The spike in the 90s was BECAUSE of people going analog to digital and re-buying stuff. Sure, there may have been other factors too, but that was a huge one. But like every industry, when there's a downturn, even compared to all-time banner year that can't be topped, they look for blame.

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 4:53 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

22. deathbringer writes:

^^ That didn't make total sense coming from Wolf - I meant it was more of a segue.

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 4:57 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
coldiem's avatar

Member

23. coldiem writes:

I'm not sure the pricing is really to blame here. I've been thinking about this whole situation for years now and as with a lot of aspects of our lives, it seems like the internet is mostly to blame, but maybe not in the direct manner that the record companies would have you believe.

Walking into a record store 15 years ago you were faced with a shelf full of various albums, and you had a small selection (especially in metal) to choose from. Either that your or you looked at a (also limited) selection in a Columbia House booklet. So you grabbed the latest release from your favorite band or the one with the cool cover and went home none the wiser to all of the music out there that you might like an awful lot better than what you just bought.

Fast forward to a time where the internet is prominent in pretty near everyone's life and you have access to everything under the sun. As a result we see people finding themselves in niche markets. Good luck getting any more than your basic meat and potatoes at any record store aside from specialty ones only found in big cities.

For better or worse, the internet is making us much more selective in the types of things we expose ourselves to. People aren't buying albums just because they are in the #1 slot on the top 20 wall anymore. Besides, if the internet is so bad for record sales, iTunes wouldn't be making any money either. Something tells me that is not the case.

Here's another thing. Thanks to the internet and things like Pro-Tools, wouldn't it be much cheaper to produce an album, distribute it, and advertise to a large market now as opposed to before the evil internet stole all of everyone's record sales?

# Mar 24, 2011 @ 9:07 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
24. asp writes:

I personally buy much more music because of the internet. I can listen to streaming MP3's to find what I want, I can find bands I would normally never know about if I only looked in a store, and I do buy. I do prefer when discs are $10.99 - 12.99, and many that I listen to are, any more than that and I think they're greedy jerks. Columbia House actually shut its doors in Canada recently over these issues, too.

# Mar 25, 2011 @ 1:09 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
WOLF7's avatar

Member

25. WOLF7 writes:

DB, I just threw that one out there as a thought.
It's not like people started copying albums only when internet / mp3s became household standards, "The evil Napster" and all that. Yeah right..

# Mar 25, 2011 @ 6:11 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

26. deathbringer writes:

Yeah, well there WAS major resistance to the cassette for the same reasons. But the industry only grew (for many reasons) and then peaked with the advent of the CD and the MTV era - you had people re-buying stuff on CD as well as MTV feeding more attention to the music biz even more. I think that's actually overlooked a lot in these arguments - MTV was HUGELY influential in the early years - adding a visual image to the music and basically advertising for the bands.

Everyone wants to look for reasons for the decline, not the reasons for the spike. Just like the movie industry when they had a banner year with Passion of the Christ + LOTR + HArry Potter + strong summer releases. The next year was utter sh** and they cried how piracy was killing the industry and compared it to the banner year the year before...

# Mar 25, 2011 @ 9:32 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
27. R Tenney writes:

Spot on analysis on MTV connection DB. It fueled the Grunge explosion in a huge way. Smells Like Teen Spirit went into once a hour rotation in Oct of 91. In 6 months Nevermind had pushed 2 or 3 million units. Same with Metallica and Enter Sandman. Huge roll MTV had in sales. And I'm one of those who spent the early 90s rebuying everything I had on cassette in CD form.

# Mar 25, 2011 @ 10:23 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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