Originally Posted by Mikefrompluto
The iPad and other devices like it spell the end of the line for the big publishing houses and they know it.
Authors can now self publish and actually sell a book for money on the iBookstore. What use is a publisher?
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN
I'm sure it will work out that way for some, but publishers provide other valuable services besides just taking a cut (ie editing, understanding readers and the market, good publishers work like an agent.)
But as you say, publishing is in for some big changes.
Here's the problem...
It's publishers who singed and/or acquired the rights of bands like Kiss, Sting, The Police, The Stones, etc who then made BIG PROFITS from said artists that allowed them to SPECULATIVELY SIGN total unknowns (at the time) where a PRECIOUS FEW become tomorrows mega stars.
Unfortunately the publisher also had to sign lots of one hit (or no hit) wonders in the hunt for the next super sensations who's mega profits would THEN help fund the publishers search for the NEXT tomorrows superstars... and so on and so on and so on.
Publishers are not unlike mutual fund managers.. they pool funds and spread it out over a diverse set of companies (usually in the same basic field) with the full knowledge that SOME of the companies are going turn out to be DOGS and loose money for the fund but others are going to be WINNERS and the overall success of the fund (manager) is how well his overall portfolio is performing. Over time they take the profits realized by SOME of the stocks they purchased and RISK it in the hopes they find another equally successful future stock.
Now if tomorrow all the MEGA STARS had the ability to drop out of their contracts and simply market themselves do you have ANY idea what that would do to the chances of ANY new yet to be discovered artist hoping to make their 'big break' it would all but crush them...
If all of the publishers 'money making artists' simply left tomorrow the sickly shell of a company left behind wouldn't be worth the powder to blow em back to hell. No income = no talent scouts, no signing bonuses, no private planes, no studio equipment, no promotion budget, no album debuts, etc etc etc. The party would truly be over.
I know its fun to pick on the labels and I do more than my fair share of it without a bit of remorse but... I need to ask a really simple and honest question... Is it 'fair' for an artist to leave a label at the first chance he/she/they get simply because they now have a name for themselves? I'm not asking if its 'okay' because if a contract is up the of course the band can do whatever they want but what I'm asking is would THEY think its the 'fair' or 'right' thing to do?
Knowing FULL WELL that it was some other wildly famous band
with that label that in turn gave the label the funds needed to discover THEIR (now successful) BAND in the first place.
These businesses have been evolving over DECADES to work this exact way.
Now you want to pull out of the publisher and not contribute to the good of the overall industry... well thats certainly your right but how long with the industry survive if everyone did that?
While I'm using music publishers, book publishers are the same side of a different coin... they basically work the exact same way but they USUALLY keep a writers drug abuse, week long wild drunken sex orgies and trashing of hotel rooms on the down low instead of on the front cover of 'Book Review Monthly'...
In both cases the business model has been... throw a bag of cash at 10 different artists and if we hit ONE or TWO then we got what we need and then some for the bag of cash we'll need for next years dart game. (and I'm totally making up the numbers... I don't know how many failed artists are signed for each successful one... it could be 1 - 20 or 1 - 50 for all I know... I just know that for every King, Rowling and Steel there are untold thousands of other published authors that MIGHT be lucky enough to break even or only be a SLIGHT loss for the publisher.
We are basically looking at a paradigm shift of a magnitude never seen before in these industries.
- Yes people CAN self publish from the start AND have a chance at being successful (as good of a chance or better than what you'd have had if an industry publisher involved? That's a good argument and one that will probably shift back and forth as time goes by.
Does this mean the end of the publishing stalwarts of yesteryear?
- Maybe yes, Maybe no... an awful lot will have to do with how nimble the publisher can be and how QUICKLY they can envision what their industry will be like in the next 5-10 years (maybe less) and how well can they cope ... not so much with their blockbuster A team leaving them in one feel swoop but with the possibility of new 'GREAT' talent not banging on their doors but instead lots of 'marginals' still waiting for a check.
Remember, its the 'GREATS' and their works that translate into income that funds the search for new GREATS... however if all they start finding is 'marginals' and NO GREATS how are they going to possibly survive.
There's lots of different ways this can all turn out but just me putting this stuff into type has be thinking I'm glad I'm not on of these established publishers. No matter how I color it... their world isn't gonna be the same no matter how hard they try to make it so.