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Welcome to the Niche Market!

After Sven Regener monologued on Bavarian broadcasting about copyrighting and the costless culture on the web, thereby immediately noticing who is taking who for granted, the subject is drawing his crisis. Hartwig Masuch, CEO of BMG Rights Management, is using the fit occasion and demanding in a Handelsblatt interview, more respect towards copyrighting and at the same time wants to make the big internet concerns accountable for copyright infringement, among which Google/ YouTube. However, they’re not the only ones responsible. Also the users, who had no respect towards the creative work of musicians and wanted to access their music free of cost.

The real problem lies much deeper: The label industry was over the years too much tied up to the traditional business models and reacted to the challenges of the internet way too late. Then, the (helpless) criminalization attempts of illegal downloading happened. Possibly, it’s the musicians now who have to pull the chestnut out of the fire. I don’t want to be misunderstood. I am all for paying for music and I bought my collection 100% legally. I think very highly of Google/ YouTube having to pay for the music on their sites, including other internet big shots and any podcast entrepreneur or streaming provider. In this aspect, I even agree with Sven Regener: a musician should be able to make a living out of his music. But, does this add up to the strategy of record firms, who constantly push musicians to make a fast dime? And what about GEMA’s distribution system – is it all that fair, so that even less successful (read: pushed) musicians can live out of the earnings? The debate has only just begun, but now the question is, who has a profit out of this discussion and does it really help improve the user’s willingness to pay and their respect towards musicians? I don’t think so, because it should be more about making music more open, reliving and intensifying the communication to fans. Because, I will only then understand the real value of a musical piece, when I know how much sweat, blood and tears were put in it. And, to complete the thought, this is exactly where the crowdfunding platforms have failed so far. What started a few years ago as a revolution of the music business, didn’t achieve a lot more than financing single projects. Here, the crowdfunding platforms missed their chance to achieve, with new ideas, strategies and concepts, more than just financing an album and building a community around a project, especially for musicians from the independent scene and newcomers. They simply didn’t acknowledge the potential: nowhere else can I come this close to a musician, like for example when crowdfunding an album, only here is such a tight relationship and intense communication with the musician possible and mostly also wanted. This project-fixated approach will, sooner or later, make sure that crowdfunding in music business never overcomes its niche existence.