Music Middle Class

November 8, 2008

Following up on the post earlier this week about Ian Rogers, it should be mentioned that Ian spoke at the Grammy MusicTech Summit in Seattle this week.

I was unfortunately unable to attend (read: I didn’t get an invitation…maybe next year, HA), but one thing that Ian spoke about that i found particularly poignant was the emerging “middle class” of artists.

The music industry of the past was divided sharply into “big guys” and “little guys,” and working or signing with one of the “big guys” was the only was to see big success with your music. Today, there’s a new category of people who make music and make a good living doing it, and have virtually no connection to the major-label music machine. For some reason, when these folks sell 10,000 albums in a direct-to-fan format, the major labels still look at it and go, “so what?” mainly because the major labels can’t make a profit only selling 10,000 copies.

That’s the problem…for them.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with some things Ian said in his talk:

“I’m really sick of reading everyday that the music industry is falling apart because the top-line revenue of four companies isn’t what it used to be. I really think it’s a myopic way of looking at the music business…The physics of media have changed, and as a result, it’s really ridiculous to think that the winners, or even the definition of success, will remain constant…”

“Any of us [in the music industry], myself included, that are not either the artist or the fan, are just potentially in the way. So it’s on us to provide value. To provide real value. And that’s fine with me. I’m very happy to say, OK, my company has to provide real value. My company is not about lock-in. It’s not about me owning your masters. It’s about me providing value to you, and if I can’t, well, then I should get the hell out of the way.”

“There’s certainly a new middle class of artist who’s growing up, and success means getting paid to make your art, not getting on the cover of Rolling Stone.”

Sounds a lot like what we’ve been talking about here on Stay tuned.

here’s the rest of the article on



  1. D3lta on November 29, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    I’ve been really curious about this idea for a while. The skool of thought that says you can be successful with out major label funding. Because at the end of the day, it is about defining success. Are you happy making music and being able to pay the bills, or is happy the idea you can have a house in multiple countries and a private jet to change the weather? I believe the major labels can make more money than ever if they change their way of doing business but bad habits are hard to break. The truth of the matter is many artist’s are educated enough to know what a good deal should consist of, but it’s hard to barter than kind of deal without a lot clout. So the label AND the artist lose.

  2. Kronah on November 11, 2008 at 1:44 am

    I f-Bomb w/ing told ya… Welcome to the Revolution! (read the fine print!) Hahaha, I need to get a bumper sticker that says, “My garage is a tax write-off.” ~Die Hard Musician

  3. ArielCahen on November 10, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    I was going to post a comment when I saw this: “I guess this middle class of artists always existed, it didn’t evolve all of a sudden. They just needed a platform. and see? Globalization, Internet and social networks provided it (Wasn’t that the way LP started out, too?)”, by SaraLX. The only thing I do not agree with is that this middle class of artists always existed. They didn’t. I think it’s a new phenomenon that, yea, became possible thanks to the globalization and the technological revolution (internet and the new medias). Nowdays you can record a song on your notebook, upload it onto myspace and take it out with you on your ipod. It makes it simpler for you to reach people anywhere…

  4. Saralx on November 10, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I guess this “middle class” of artists always existed, it didn’t evolve all of a sudden. They just needed a platform…and see? Globalization, the Internet and social networks provided it (Wasn’t that the way LP started out, too?)
    The music industry will change, actually it needs to. What started out to be a new way of marketing, turns out to be their major thread. They won’t fall apart, but they got to get used to the thought of more competition, their oligopoly is long gone. But: Artists will always be happy, when getting signed by one of the major labels and in the end, this whole development means more choice for everybody, artists and fans…and that’s fine for me;) Kisses, saralx

  5. ErbseLP on November 10, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Sorry for Off Topic but… OMFG chi is woken up!! =) 😀 w00t! o/

  6. Lvix on November 10, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Mike! You have to ad this video to your blog! :

    It’s going about the global warming, about or planet that is getting destroyed!!
    don’t know if you can find it on youtube, there are different languages in the movie so everyone can get the message..

  7. Estelwen on November 10, 2008 at 1:04 am

    Music is not a buisness. Capitalism has fouled all the beautiful things making them senseless, soulless, fade. You take anathema (a british atmospheric band) as an example; they’re more or less an underground band, their label used to be an independent british label named “music for nations” and now they don’t have a label at all. They are makin their livin of music but they don’t make a buisness of it. find out about them here: real art

  8. axrinekey on November 10, 2008 at 12:43 am

    I must say, these people are really the best in doing things..
    I mean, not everyone can do so..
    Like, making musics and make loads of people listening to them and love them…
    Unless, you are really good.

    And, you don’t have to have a major label to be a musician…
    Musicians want people to listen to their musics…
    not their names..

  9. cDizzle185 on November 9, 2008 at 11:47 pm





  10. Hawaii_LP_fan on November 9, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    I truly hope there will be lasting changes that will benefit the music artist & not the other way around. That funky % formula the record companies have implemented needs c-h-a-n-g-e…YES WE CAN! :0) Fame isn’t everything to an artist who passionately loves what they do. Staying true to yourself & what you love is never wrong. Linkin Park is a perfect example! Congrats on MTM hitting 2-million. Mr. Rogers gave us food for thought & perhaps encouragement for the middle class artists who are the foundation for this shift. A man’s character is his destiny….thanks for the info Mr. Mike or is it Prince Shinoda now? :0) P.S. Sorry short breaths, I’m not! The 140 begged for morse code! Haha

  11. crystalrussianla on November 9, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    HAHA. You didn’t get an invitation HAHA. That’s funny you make me laough
    Oh well just wanned to say HI and I miss you I haven’t been on cuz were. Moveing in a new. apartment so I’ve been realy bizzy so I haven’t been on sorry and that sucks about the art show but good to no it’s still on oh and mike I’m sorry to say i think you should be telling ur kids to stay in school so thay can have a back up plane In case there music don’t pull through u should be telling them that and not telling them how to lie to get star treetment but that’s what I think u don’t have to listen to me love u GB

  12. ReeceJ on November 9, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Hey Mike,
    Do you think that music should be seperated into different genres?
    Also what song do the guys enjoy performing the most live?

  13. petiterocker on November 9, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Mike, i had a question and a comment;
    Q: how was your relation with your A&R
    C: verginia beach LP poster resembles J.L.David’s painting

  14. sweet_girl on November 9, 2008 at 11:19 am

  15. Henna on November 9, 2008 at 11:12 am

    yeah the value of music had changed. Nowadays you see music video’s that are actually better than the song and that’s why people buy it. .x

  16. Graffiti_revolution on November 9, 2008 at 11:03 am

    ii mean this as no offense but what about MchineShop?dont u think its kinda inactive?me and ma fren really want to get signed into!!!

  17. qwertz on November 9, 2008 at 8:17 am

    stupid 140 characters rule :@… oh well, it was offtopic anyway…QWERTZ

  18. zahra on November 9, 2008 at 7:43 am


  19. max_payn on November 9, 2008 at 7:19 am

    a fanart for Mike, that girl is NOT ME.

  20. Jynxx on November 9, 2008 at 7:06 am

    theres no doubt the music buisness is changing, but it makes me sad that some people never seem to have to work half as hard as others.. x

  21. yanTyan on November 9, 2008 at 6:12 am

    No matter how the music industry changes~
    i enjoy Mikey and Chaz doing and making things in their own style production!

  22. Sammy on November 9, 2008 at 3:18 am

    I’ve updated my itunes libary with songtextes and there is a song I actuall like cigaro by system of a down and I was shocked of the text

  23. NoFace on November 8, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    The music industry is changing, but in a better way, I believe.The likes of Radiohead and NIN are the perfect examples of successful independent artists. However, the question is, artists always want their art to reach more people as possible. We’re talking about middle class artists – but show me the way for artists who want to make it to the top. Gotta deal with the big guys again? Radiohead and NIN are already big when they go indie, how about young new faces?

  24. Hybr1d_7h3ory on November 8, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    It is always good to have a “middle class: that way we are not in a music aristocracy, and we (the fans) have some power and say so. Ya dig

  25. tacos_on_tuesday on November 8, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    It’s like a drama & you don’t know how it ends. It’s scary cause it’s different. But change for the industry is good. Changes are GOOD.

  26. ThePrincess on November 8, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    I agree with DPRD 1.. I Like the part “success means getting paid to make your art, not getting on the cover of rolling stone”
    PS : I would love to leave a more comment & tell you what I think about this topic.but the character limit is 140 (read : suck)
    ,you gotta do something with it PRINCE SHINODA!!!.Put it back to 700 characters because I really can’t say what I want to in 140 characters.take care..your royal highness!

  27. HMF on November 8, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Hey mike. Great blog!! Um, I know this is unrelated but does Chester smoke? If he does, tell him to STOP!! Smoking’s bad for u!

  28. drpd1 on November 8, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Like the part “success means getting paid to make your art, not getting on the cover of rolling stone”………………… 🙂

  29. faiintx on November 8, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Hey mike! i was looking around on youtube today, and i found this guy:
    check that guy out! hes REALLY good. he seriously reminds me of chester. (but not as good tho)
    he does a lot of LP covers too…so he’s a big fan of you.=]
    and btw mike — UR MY IDOL!! ❤ Pallavi

  30. Zach on November 8, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Check out my band at We’re putting up a cover of Faint soon. :]

  31. soyuneik on November 8, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    I think I fall under; music poverty class. Where success means walking into a beat battle carrying a Mary fucking Poppins bag, pulling out your Mpc and annihilating six people one by one. I have one pouch of instant noodles and some tea if anyone wants some. Life is grand!

  32. mruiz on November 8, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    hi Mike 🙂

  33. tpbarbosa on November 8, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    I miss that time when music used to mean something real, and not a easier way to get money or be famous =/

  34. durg on November 8, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    sdfglkjsdfgkb id say something but its over 140 characters & wont let me submit >.<

  35. skindesbous on November 8, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    I think that nowadays respect for music has got lost.In the past,when a musician took an instrument,he wanted to do music with it,now people just want to make easy money and be famous.And that’s rubbish.

  36. analoggirl on November 8, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Given the paradigm shift in the industry, what does the future hold for Machine Shop Records and Machine Shop Marketing?

  37. Mikeshi_Linkfort on November 8, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Mike!Greetings! Tell please on what musical instruments you with guys from Fort Minor play at concerts!
    Name please mark of tools and the manufacturer =)Please!!!!This information for ours the fan-club =) is very necessary

  38. BrazenEntity on November 8, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    I have a french dish with your stick and my stick in it. My stick is considerably shorter and stripped of some bark. Has a prayer on it.

  39. Madlen on November 8, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    That is so true…lets take Avril Lavigne as an example.Yes she’s selling a lot of albums and stuff but she lost most of her old fans. It’s about doing something you love and earning money from it instead of doing something just to make money.At least that’s what i think she’s doing.

  40. NoMoreSorrowGirl on November 8, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Hey!Mike I notice that you post too many about business these days. Are you going into it?Or when you retired on music industry will you go into business or something?or like you have a plan to retire?just like the other music artist they retire and just concentrate on their business or like even if your “old”(is that the exact word!?)ha!ha!will you be able to continue making music and inspire us with your songs?you and the rest of Linkin Park. Take Care!Love yah :))

  41. Aqua101 on November 8, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Mike, what are “real values” mean to u? In term of yr perspective in art & music? I know this things are important for u. Tell us, please…? And personally I think u r so good in defining and creating images and sounds. Let me hear the point of views from a real & genius artist and musician such as yourself. Really appreciate it so much. Take care…:)

  42. Anne on November 8, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    I would love to leave a comment & tell you what I think about this topic. But well. 54 charas left. How made the others those long comments?

  43. AS_21 on November 8, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    really clever guy, Ian Rogers. There’s a lot of young artists growing up. They CAN do a miracle with their art even if they’re not on the cover of the famous magazine. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing… they can sing, write, dance or draw only if they love it and want to make money on this. Maybe our dreams are: to meet someone famous or to be famous, but it’s not so important. The most important is to do what you love, isn’t it?

  44. Sonia_LPrnway_ on November 8, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    is it so hard to understand?? edit your comment (aka change) and you’ll be able to write more. jeez, people!!

    and that is more than 140 characters..! (see, next to my username, CHANGED!)

  45. murry on November 8, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    With all this talk about big labels becoming less relevant, I’m thinking you’re thinking of going indie when your contract is up. And if that’s the case, that’s exciting and I think you’re on the right track. How many more albums do you have left on that anyway? Does the new live CD/DVD count toward that?

  46. rockermeg on November 8, 2008 at 11:49 am

    KEINEAHNUNG mentioned I know a band on there-its really amazing; you should check it out-I think it would interest you

  47. MS_Ineedyou on November 8, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Mike, you seem to really like this topic. Why is it SO important to you ? I mean i know what you mean…. but why so important ? —-Brooke

  48. cuz on November 8, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Changes are coming, that’s for sure. I don’t get one thing, how they could not to give you an invitation, HA? Take care 🙂

  49. Kalini on November 8, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Music business is changing like any business. We don’t need to talk about monopolists anymore. There’re new players on the market. Krassie

  50. ShadowerLiltani on November 8, 2008 at 11:17 am

    This is the fourth time you’ve mentioned this. Must be important to you. How come some people have bigger char limits than others? Edit: I found this today and thought I’d share, mad funny:

  51. rde on November 8, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Mike I’d appreciate if u could give ur opinion of my shoes.It’dBeADreamComeTrue.

  52. keineAhnung on November 8, 2008 at 11:05 am

    as we’re talking about getting your music out: ever heard of think it’s an interesting concept…would be great to know what you think of it

  53. lp_fm_fan on November 8, 2008 at 10:58 am

    guys, edit your posts to reach 700 characters.

  54. miKer0cks on November 8, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Really interesting post. I agree 🙂 And Mike, plz do something with the character limit it’s still 140 maximum 😦 I need to say more 😛

  55. ritzifying on November 8, 2008 at 10:27 am

    A little groveling goes a long way ; )

    Man it sucks that I hear about all this good stuff going on in the industry AFTER my husband’s band split up. Oh well. Opportunity isn’t easy to find in Pennsylvania anyway. I guess not having money and not being from CA or NY, YouTube and MySpace are still the best ways to go. :p

  56. Chemist999 on November 8, 2008 at 10:17 am

    I wonder what does he mean by that real value. Experience, crucial for new musicians? Or something unique and particulary valuable for each artist?

  57. Gabry94LinkinParkfan23 on November 8, 2008 at 10:17 am

    uhm..very interesting Mike, i like this post nd im gonna read all the article :D..PS: the character limit is 140 not 700 😦 byeee Gabry

Post Your Own Comment