As industries grow, take care of roots

We have entered into a new phase in technology where it seems the creators of content are no longer getting paid enough to continue justifying the work they do. This is having a huge effect on the music and book industries as well as in the instructional video/DVD world.

We have entered into a new phase in technology where it seems the creators of content are no longer getting paid enough to continue justifying the work they do. This is having a huge effect on the music and book industries as well as in the instructional video/DVD world.

What I mean is that as it becomes easier and cheaper for the Internet to deliver music and books via systems like iTunes and Netflix, the trickle-down effect of what money is made is done so at a percentage point where the last people to get paid are the ones who actually create the content: musicians, authors, educators and moviemakers. The entire entertainment industry is in a tailspin because of this, and the reality is that no one seems to have an answer as to where we are headed. Interesting times for sure.

The method of delivery in the music business went from albums and 45s to eight-tracks and cassettes and finally CDs, while in the book world things remained as print delivery (books and magazines) for years. In the movie world, we went from theatres to videos and DVDs as well as cable systems based on a one-at-a-time kind of delivery that still allowed for a decent amount of money to be charged.

This has all changed now and has significantly stunted the flow of money in all these businesses.

Another big change in how books and music are marketed is that retailers no longer dedicate anywhere near the shelf space they used to to the CD and DVD world. This has created an end to the “impulse buyer,” something that at one time was a significant part of sales for retailers in the record store business.

People now have to actually search out any title they are interested in beyond the few that are fortunate enough to get placed into the box stores. Even if you try to find the new Paul Simon CD in a store, you will have a hard time. The only hope for new artists is really to sell their CDs off the stage.

Yet another new faction of the music industry that has grown like mad and sucks money from the creators of content are the self-proclaimed experts who host events and talent contests based on the idea that you pay large amounts of money to come learn and be judged as a way of entry into the business. I say “yuk” in response to this, but there is money being made by these “support” people.

They make their money servicing the industry, not necessarily nurturing the artists or the art. Some services have even been set up that allow event producers to charge “entry fees” to the very people that are applying to come and play at the events. It’s very much like feeding off your children, isn’t it?

Yet, there is hope for the future.

The grassroots movement of the music business is alive and well through many parts of the music/book/movie world that survive “under the radar” of the gluttonous part of the industry that reared its ugly head in the 1970s.

Perhaps the industry created unrealistic expectations on the amount of money that could or should be made by anyone who decides to roll the dice and enter the risky world of being a content creator.

There will always be people making music for the sake of the joy of creation, or writing books, or making films, or teaching with the passion of an artist simply for the joy of giving to their students. There will always be angels who support their work.

And hopefully, the industries will figure out how to support both of those types of people well enough so they can continue their very important work without eating themselves in the process.

Doug Cox is playing New Year’s with Anela Kahiamoe and Todd Butler at the Hospitality Inn in Port Alberni.

Doug Cox is the executive producer of Vancouver Island MusicFest and is a touring musician and producer who lives in Cumberland. You can subscribe to his podcast, Roots Review – Talkin’ Music, at www.dougcox.org.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The CSRHD board moved closer to passing a budget with a $4.4 million cut to the tax requisition. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Starthcona hospital district moves on budget with tax cut

At $12.6 million, budget requisition represents drop of $4.4 million for current year

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton, standing at right, sits on steering committees of two organizations that are tackling the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. File photo
Courtenay councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton wants local governments to carry a little more… Continue reading

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Numerous Comox Valley projects get CERIP grants

Numerous Comox Valley projects have received grants through the Community Economic Recovery… Continue reading

Thrifty Foods. (Black Press file photo)
Thrifty Foods confirms staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in Courtenay

The company currently lists 12 stores within B.C. with confirmed cases

Comox Valley Schools’ distance learning program, Navigate (NIDES), which saw some large gains in enrolment this year, could see a return to normal numbers come September. Image, screenshot
Comox Valley Schools expects enrolment drop come fall

Decline projected online, as more students return to ‘bricks-and-mortar’ classes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Ella Donovan with mom Tina outside Fuller Lake Arena before heading onto the ice for practice. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Young Ladysmith skater watches and waits in battle against cancer

Ella Donovan’s tumour began a tumultuous time, but community support eased the burden

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Most Read