I was very impressed by the comments to the article. Although many of them staked out different positions than you did, the points of discussion were in a radius of ideas that permitted a useful dialogue.

I think that ad-based may work, but your point is that the current models/rates don’t work.

I have no personal interest in making money from music, but I think of that “critical mass” for an artist. I think of David Byrne’s weblog post about Issa (‘nee Jane Siberry) “calling his bluff” about when he said technology changes everything. Her point was that to get the sound she needs, she still needs 40K of studio time.

The “critical mass” to which I refer is what mode it would take for an artist to achieve
a 40K expense return plus a return per album that makes it worth pursuing. It’s clear to me that ad-generated revenue as it stands now or as it could conceivably stand would not be enough to equal this sum. But I can imagine that it could be one tool, along with licensing and performance, upon which one could build a career.

The point you’re making in the article is that the structure is not there now. That seems inarguable to me–you’re right and succinct on the point. The thing less clear to me is whether
a restructure is easily achievable.

For me, of course, it’s academic, as I do “parlor music”. But I’d like to see the Kristin Hersh’s of the world make a living doing this, so it’s interesting.

In a side note, this interview is interesting and links into all this thinking somewhere: