For anyone who keeps an eye on live concerts, it is quite clear that musicians of all ages, genres, shapes and sizes needs to perform live to make a crust nowadays. In days past our well known and often extremely famous singers and musicians could have retired on their royalties from recordings. But not anymore.

Just in the coming weeks I have a choice of wonderful concerts to choose from. Status Quo, Deep Purple, Phil Collins, Iggy Pop and, need I say more?

I think my point here is clear. Recorded music isn’t worth a cracker anymore, so musicians and singers have to do what musicians and singers do. Perform.

But what if this same pattern of file sharing, cheapening, discounting and give-away marketing happens to books? Which I must say is already underway with the recent advent and popularity of the 0.99 and free e-book market. Will we as consumers do the same with books as we did with music? Collect it like crazy on our hard drives and then proceed to never listen to it or read it?

I have a very bad feeling that the proliferation of electronic e-book readers is going to have an ‘iPod’ effect. That is that the collection of e-books will represent a ratio of about 95% free material and 5% paid.

So what will writers and authors do? They can’t perform ‘live’ like musicians and singers now can they?

Killed Music. Now Let’s Kill Books.
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5 thoughts on “Killed Music. Now Let’s Kill Books.

  • 02/07/2010 at 9:46 pm
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    Good piece, but please allow me a few comments.

    While income from recorded music sales, royalties and the like may not rake in sheer fortunes, I've been personally told by copyright owners of one-hit-wonders that they earn £25-50K a year from them in royalties. Perhaps not enough for a life of luxury, but well above the average UK wage and sufficient for a reasonably comfy life.

    The artists you mention have had a multitude of hits, so they could retire in comfort if they wanted to. Except that – for those names you mention – one major gig alone will pocket them several hundred thousand pounds… an entire tour, as such, makes them several million and that, by comparision, may make music sales, royalties etc. appear like 'nothing' but that doesn't mean they are. It just means that touring enables retirement in luxury (or decadence, even).

    As for eBooks and the like… you get what you pay for… I've come to the conclusion that most aren't worth the virtual paper they're written on… as long as writers provide the quality, they will make money, although many may have to work harder to promote themselves in order to get noticed… book signings, 'author reads from his latest work' sessions, public/media PAs and other 'performances'.

  • 02/07/2010 at 9:59 pm
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    P.S. Personally I am very happy with any quality author or musician not retiring (even if they could)… enjoying every moment ;)

  • 05/07/2010 at 1:22 am
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    I love books. I'm disappointed with Kindle. A well-written, interesting book that I would buy costs little more than the Kindle version. Even though I've had the Kindle for more than two years, I've only purchased about three books.

    Nevertheless, I'm in the minority as a lover of real books. I wonder if I'll live to see the day when books will be published only in digital format?

  • 05/07/2010 at 8:50 am
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    Derek,
    With the like of Kindle(Amazon) and Nook(Barnes&Noble), plus Smashwords on the market along with free ebook giveaways, the genie has been set free from the bottle. Whether it is a fad or here to stay, only time will tell. Personally I love to have the real thing in my hands, don't you?

  • 05/07/2010 at 9:09 am
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    Unlike most writers, I've had a little experience with file sharing of my music. The score currently is about 1000 bit torrent (free) downloads to 1 legal sale of a file or physical CD.

    And just last week I heard that there are pirated copies of my books circulating in India and possible China. (real books not e-books).

    It doesn't matter at all about DMR or file protection as anyone with an ounce of knowledge can break this and copy.

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