Will Musicians Survive in the Age of Free When the "Bottle" is worth more than the wine?
Interview Subject: Count
"I think we can all agree, if somebody has millions of streams and they are popular enough to be a household name they should be able to pay their rent…"
- Count (Producer: Radiohead, Rolling Stones, New Order, Frank Sinatra, Blackalicious)
They say we are living the, "Golden Age" of media: endless streams of music, more television then hours in the day, enough books to read in twenty lifetimes. The buzzword for this amazing content, - "free."
For the consumer, it's a golden age.
But music producer and filmaker Mikael "Count" Eldridge sees a dark side for, the artists, creators and writers that might bring the entire golden age to an end.
For the past twenty years, Count has been working, "on the other side of the glass " as as an A-list music producer working with some of the top artists in the world, from Radiohead to Frank Sinatra to DJ Shadow to the Rolling Stones and more, Count knows that great music comes from a collaborative effort between the artist and the producer.
But, in an unexpected twist as music creation and consumption has exploded, Count, other music producers and now artists can no longer count on their profession to pay them enough to live.
The business models which powered the industry for 50 years have been uprooted and tossed aside. The economics which allowed emerging artists a chance to claw their way into the middle class, and middle level bands to reach for the gold ring, all but dried up. Count saw his own job, and an entire class of music producers, mixers and engineers, become, first a costly necessarily, then a extravagant luxury, and today, he admits, his job of music producer is nothing more than a, "glorified hobby."
He isn't alone. An entire generation of creatives: writers, editors, musicians, artists, just about anyone looking to make a living in the creative fields has been affected. The middle and upper class of artists is vanishing.
You can no longer equate being a popular artist with making money from your music.
So Count, pivoted. He turned from a music producer, to a movie director, and for the past five years has has been documenting the plight of, "middle class" artists for an upcoming documentary. In, "UnSound: How Musicians and Creators Survive in the Age of Free," he argues, there are still fortunes being made in music, but it's no longer the creators, rather the distributors: the Pandora's and Spotify's of the world who are seeing the benefit at the expense of the artists and creators.
In the end he laments, "the bottle is worth more then the wine."
There's a lot more at, unsoundthemovie.com...