The most colorful - and confrontational - executive in digital music is now pondering his next move, which makes this the perfect moment for a Jeff Price retrospective. Here are the man's most epic battles over the past few years...
October, 2010. These towering mega-egos are apparently enjoying a polite détente at the moment, but it wasn't always that cordial. "People like you are dangerous, because you're the people that are hired as consultants… and you advise companies to do things like block digital distribution," Price fumed at Cohen during a late-2010 smackdown at Digital Music Forum West.
The subsequent screaming match went something like this…
Cohen: “You’re so full of s(@t!”
Price: “You’re lying Ted!”
Cohen: “Bulls&^t! Bulls#*t!”
July, 2010. Here, the theme was actually pretty similar. As Tommy Boy founder Thomas Silverman geared up to launch his artist conference, the New Music Seminar, he also trotted out some stunningly-bad statistics about DIY artist success. Price bristled back by calling Silverman a dinosaur, clinging to the quantity-constricted, marked-up days of yore.
"Apparently the fact that people are buying music from TuneCore Artists is stopping people from buying music that Tommy likes. If Tommy could only control what music you get exposed to you would be more inclined to buy his music. It’s actually a brilliant strategy. Limit choice, force the releases you want to sell down people’s throats, control what music is exposed by the media outlets (like Radio and MTV) and then take all the money from the sales that come in."
Early 2012. Price goes from boy to man. Instead of attacking fellow executives on specious grounds, this was a courageous attempt to demand publisher royalties for Amazon-slotted Tunecore artists. The immediate result, however, was that a number of Tunecore artists found themselves yanked from Amazon's European 'shelves,' a 'heavy-handed tactic' that didn't phase Price. And, created ripples of positive attention for the artist-championing Tunecore.
But, results? This is where it gets confusing. Amazon ultimately restored Tunecore artists, though terms weren't disclosed. We’d like to think Price achieved at least a partial victory in the very murky publishing battlefield.
Thanksgiving, 2011. Where do we begin!? Perhaps the juiciest jabs came last year, after Digital Music News started digging into some sad Tunecore payout data. The problem started when we found something horrifically depressing: 99.875 percent of Tunecore artists weren't even making minimum wage, despite all the revolutionary rhetoric (and who knows how many were even covering Tunecore fees.)
The numbers spoke for themselves, and perhaps the acidity of the counter-attack proved we'd hit a statistical nerve. "Digital Music News is a semi-legitimate music industry blog that tends to be sensational to drive eyeballs," Price burned in a response post. "Minimum wage? You manipulate the data under the guise of 'analysis' and use your provocative headline and your weblog pulpit to degrade artist achievements."
June, 2012: If caught stiffing Tunecore artists, you would definitely feel the wrath of Price. In this face-off, slippery Grooveshark executive Paul Geller found himself hounded for attempting to bilk artists of their deserved mechanical royalties. The double-talking Geller claimed to want compliance, yet declined an offer to work with a complete Tunecore artist dataset – provided by Price himself. All of which snowballed into an uncomfortable and dangerous realization: Grooveshark was conveniently skipping an important publishing stream, and potentially subjecting themselves to yet another legal attack.
August, 2012: We've only heard bits and pieces on this one, though clashes with the Tunecore board were obviously serious. And, there may be a serious financial situation at Tunecore to discuss at some point as well.
Myles na Gopaleen Thursday, August 16, 2012
Had some good intentions but a lot of bad execution.
I wonder if he is checking the DMN jobs page.
Al B. Unsure Thursday, August 16, 2012
How will Bob Lefsetz spin this?
You see, Lefsetz was always a Jeff Price fan.
Visitor Thursday, August 16, 2012
"If caught stiffing Tunecore artists, you would definitely feel the wrath of Price."
I know a number of people who wish this applied to his SpinArt artists, but I'm not sure how Jeff would go about facing his own wrath.
Visitor Thursday, August 16, 2012
another one... just making friends everywhere...
Lol Thursday, August 16, 2012
These picture captions are hilarious.
War Peace Friday, August 17, 2012
Greedy, manipulated, power hungry, delusional, i could go on.
All tunecore do is put music on iTunes, yet this guy thought he was saving the world.
Tunecore are making big losses. They poured millions into marketing and need it back. Jeff pissing everyone off didnt exactly help profits. Tunecore is not a good option for artists at the moment and i would not have my music on there with the current uncertainty.
Ritch Esra Friday, August 17, 2012
The problem started when we found something horrifically depressing: 99.875 percent of Tunecore artists weren't even making minimum wage, despite all the revolutionary rhetoric (and who knows how many were even covering Tunecore fees.)
THIS is really the heart of the matter Paul! We live in era where there are no Filters anymore. To some that's a great thing, to others they want to go back to the past. Tunecore has over a million acts/artists on their system. In the 80's & 90's what was the success rate for record labels on new signings? Maybe 10-12% at best. We live in era where no matter how many millions of dollars they are putting in to marketing Tunecore acts, it's not going to significantly improve the odds. We live in time of infinite choice.
I greatly admire what Jeff did with Tunecore. But the stats above show that regardless of the lack of filters today and the greatly reduced cost to bring music to the marketplace, there are only so many acts/artists that will be able to achieve any kind of visibility in the marketplace as far as selling recorded music goes. More importantly, there are many more acts today who are making a very viable living ($100,000.00 - $300,000.00 a year) from touring, merch, licensing etc. When I have spoken to these acts, they all say that less than 10% of their income comes from selling recorded music and those that do sell recorded music - it's CD's mainly at their live shows. Interestingly, most (over 90%) of these acts gave their music away (individual songs) for free to gain fans.
I believe that after 34 years in this business, what it will take for an artist / band to make a viable living today is far more about a commitment and dedication to a way of life, rather than looking for the right marketing approach for their recorded music, which is becoming less and less financially relavant - even for big Major Label acts.
burn out Saturday, August 18, 2012
and what makes the odds even worse is that old bands don't retire. They continue to release material and tour rehashing the same old. go work as a producer or something!
If a band or musician has multi platinum albums, multi homes and multi cars, they should move aside for someone else and something new. if they are in a museum, (RnR Hall of Lame) they should do us all a favor and stay there.
Guest Tuesday, August 21, 2012
The numbers you rather smugly refer to make no sound whatsoever.
Anyone with an ounce of insider knowledge knows that when digital distribution became available to everyone and his granny, millions of rubbish tracks where uploaded. These days music that should not have made it past the first thirty seconds of an A&R man´s time lie silently and uselessly on digital shelves everywhere.
The article you published would have been better off pointing out that the remaining percentile actually DID make money.
Visitor Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Not a bad goal wanting to get artists paid, but dude is a giant douchebag. Not surprised what happened here.