Bon Voyage Bon Jovi: Rock Star Blames Steve Jobs For Music Biz Erosion

Jon Bon Jovi Says Apple killed the music business.  Now he is public enemy number one on the blog-o-sphere. Does he deserve it?

Moses Avalon

Jon Bon Jovi has learned a lesson of the Internet age the hard way.  The lesson he learned is that the techies, who wave the freedom-of-speech flag when it comes to music being free and net neutrality, are not so cool about free-speech when it criticizes one of their gods, like Steve Jobs.  Indeed they respond rather childishly to just about anyone, no mater how famous, if even the slightest opinion about internet-related services is anything less than 10000000% positive. (Read what Bon Jovi said here.)

Now, in the before-time no one cared what geeks thought.  They were in the back room.  But blogs have given them the big stick in the public debate.  And they want respect. They are getting it but also proving the old adage:  power corrupts. Using their new tools they have silenced and intimidated those that are a threat.  If they agree with you, you are launched to the top of a mountain, if you disagree with their position, they can out SEO you, out blog you and make you look ridiculous in a mater of seconds across the entire globe.

Now, most politicians and other public-people have learned this lesson years ago.  Even I got a taste recently of how infantile some of these cats can get if you throw the slightest criticism at them. (I noticed an error in a Techdirt blog wherein they called IPS licensing fees, a “tax” for music.  The guy freaked out on me and called me a “liar” all over Twitter.)

These techies can not take it when you disagree with them.  It shatters their entire foundation and they get nasty.  But poor Jon Bon Jovi, must have missed this memo.  He committed the most heinous crime that a person can commit in today’s blog/news world; he committed the offense of being obvious; of saying what everyone in the know, knows but is afraid to say:

iTunes is bad for music in the long run.  Why, be afraid to say it?  Well, you’ve no doubt seen the posts; because legions of keyboard jockeys will come after you in their blogs and virally disseminate a twisted version just to increase their Google rankings.  They’ll even Skype to each other while doing it and have a virtual party, with virtual booze and virtual girls.

Now, what did Bon Jovi say that was so terrible?  Well, he spoke the truth for one thing.  iTunes has helped devalue the business model that made music an industry. It may not have started the fire, but it poured gasoline on it in gallons.

Let’s look at some iFacts:

1)       iTunes has not, as some have suggested “saved the record business.”  iTunes has made up less than 10% of sales over the years since launch.

2)       Nor did Steve Jobs “invent” a way for artists to get paid from the internet, (I think Al Gore did that.)

3)       Finally, I believe it was Lawrence Lessig or some fool like him who promised—“If you give people a legal way to buy music they won’t steel it.” Remember that one? Not true: P2P file sharing did not decrease since iTunes went on-line — it actually increased.

What iTunes did that sucks most for music is it destabilized the “album model.”  Yeah, yeah, I know, many of you think that that is good for the consumer, but it’s really not in the long run. Not if you’re a true music fan. Why?

Point 1) Economics: It costs more to make less, which means less risks will be taken on new acts.

If you remove the 80 cents or so that songwriters used to receive for each album sale and replace is with the 9 cents they get for a single, you don’t have to be a math genius to see that you need to sell about seven times more units to break even on a promotion that costs $1,000,000 whether  you release an album or a single; or, a production costing about $10,000/song to produce if you do an album, but $25,000/song is you go single-for-single.

Yes, it costs majors the same money to promote a single as it does to promote an album and three times as much to record the equivalent amount of singles that an album composes.

Add to that, that without the album economics you lose the 1:14 chance of one of the cuts becoming a hit and reduce those odds to 1:1.  To duplicate the effect of an “album promotion” with singles, labels would have to spend more than ten times as much to have the same shot-gun effect that an album delivers.


Why should indie artists care about majors and their costs?

Well, now that it costs more to make less, these costs trickle down to everyone in the music food chain.

To sell a single for 99 cents on iTunes the indie artist ends up netting about 64%.  With a CD album sold at a local store for $14 the Artist/label took almost $10 home—almost 75%.  Sold off the side of the stage for $10, the same indie artist took home almost all of it, save a $1, for manufacturing—90%.  Big winner here— Apple.

Point 2: Art. For those interested in music as an art, the devaluation of an album as an art form has neutered the musical experience. Deep cuts are dead for the future.  This decreases the value of music as an experience and as a communication method.  This disembowels artists from helping do what they are supposed to do—  make the world a better place.  They have been relieved of that job thanks to iTunes and P2P. Now they are just “content providers” and all we want from them are “hits” that are nice, radio safe singles.  Great.

When musicians were in charge of music they helped end wars and elevate social consciousness. Now it’s in the hands of the techies. I can only pray they do not abuse this power.  So far, I’m not impressed.  How can anyone be, with a culture that does not value one of America’s greatest cultural contributions– pop music.

This is what Jon Bon Jovi was really trying to say.  What he probably meant with his comments was that the glory days of music are over.  They are. It’s true.  And iTunes did accelerate the legitimacy of that decline more so than any other vehicle.  But was it Steve’s fault?  No.  Someone else would have done it eventually anyway.

Jon, I feel ya brotha.  I feel your pain.  I kid you not when I say some of these guys are so cult-like in their Apple fanaticism that it would not surprise me if I read that an Apple fan threw a rock at your window.  Get an extra body guard for a week or two and hire a great defamation lawyer. I have.

Mo out

83 responses to “Bon Voyage Bon Jovi: Rock Star Blames Steve Jobs For Music Biz Erosion”

  1. Hudson says:

    Automobiles put millwrights and blacksmiths out of business. Does anyone miss them?

    • Moses Avalon says:

      @hudson. Maybe, but you might be missing the point. Things change and this is necessary, but not all change is good. and too much change too fast can often be bad. “new” does not necessarily mean “improved.”

  2. Tim says:

    Bon Jovi should shut the f–k up and gratefully count his millions, and thank his lucky stars that he came on the scene in 1983 rather than 2010. My opinion has nothing to do with Apple, but with somebody who has achieved everything any aspiring musician could ever want and still bitches and moans. F–k him.

    • Moses Avalon says:

      @tim I “approved” your comment because unless you’re a total crack pot, i let every opinion through even if they disagree or are a little off color. But you’re just missing his point. He is exactly the kind of person who give the perspective with sincerity; if he were stating today, he would be in the same trouble that every other new artist. That is part of his point.

  3. Patrick says:

    Right on, Moses.

    So, what’s next? How do we save music as art and entertainment? We need concrete ideas that we can implement at the individual level. What advice would you offer an indie band right now? Besides, of course, don’t quit your day job?

  4. Anonimouse says:

    youre spot on about the techies. I work in technology and see it first hand. Which is why a group like Anonymous scares the crap out of me.

  5. Turaj Zaim says:

    Hudson, I don’t see what blacksmithing (which is not dead in Ashland, Oregon, by the way) and technology-based crafts of the past have to do with music, which is a continuing form of expression and cultural cohesion in every human culture since before recorded history, and is an art—perhaps the most uniquely human behavior—and not a craft. Before blacksmithing was stonechipping, because it is a craft, based on available tools and technology. Just like making wheels appeared when horseshoes became less popular, people *craft*ed music on reed pipes, then lutes, then things made of brass, then electric guitars, but the essential activity of music remains, just as the essential craft of making transportation possible remains. The difference Bon Jovi and Moses Avalon are talking about is the sudden and tremendous devaluation of music, which Western civilization has not seen since the days of the traveling minstrel.

    From Madonna to Bono to Bob Marley, musicians have provided inspiration on a mass level, reorientation of perspectives and destructions of stereotypes, and even specific social movements like those toward forgiving struggling countries their debts. I literally see no one doing that now. Gaga’s attempt at political relevance regarding the already unpopular Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy notwithstanding, Avalon’s point is well evidenced. Please explain how your comment is relevant to whether music as an art form is being devalued by its, um, devaluation.

    Tim, I’m not sure you’re familiar with the term “player hater,” but your comment is directed toward some kind of projected envy or resentment of someone who has made money. It’s ironic that you’re saying F- Bon Jovi, who is probably the most decent, most universally respected, and most courteous person in the entire pop music industry. And in rock for that matter. But your comment is infantile and as you said has nothing to do with Apple, so I guess I’ll ignore it along with everyone else who reads this blog. I just want you to know, personally, your type of venom is unwelcome among those of us struggling musicians who have no resentment whatsoever of Bon Jovi and wouldn’t demerit his comments based on if he happens to have success or not. Jesus.

    Moses, love the stats. I agree with others that it would be awesome to have a concrete plan or list of approaches toward reviving the quality and power of American music. American artists are still growing in popularity around the world, which is hard for me to believe because we are already such a powerful cultural force in most foreign countries radio, tv, and movies, but also because it’s such formulaic cloning now I can hardly tolerate turning on the radio, something, like Jon Bon Jovi, I used to love and be inspired by. We sort of look to you as the voice on things like this, and your word gets passed around more than you know, so how about it: for those of us who want a succinct plan of counterattack, can you boil down some bulletpoints for us, that we can pass out and discuss? It would be easier than getting everyone I know to read your books and dozens of articles 🙂

    By the way, LOVE the “virtual parties, with virtual booze and virtual girls” line. Bullseye, ha!

  6. r says:

    Sounds like jon bon jovi is stuck in 1986.

    It’s much easier to say Steve Jobs ruined everything than to go out and produce a kick ass new album, set up your own record label, and then strike a deal with iTunes to promote it and make another million. Could you do that in 1986?

    Did iTunes really kill the music industry? No. If anybody did, it was Napster. With Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead as accomplices. And is killing the record industry a terrible thing? Not necessarily and at most, only partially. iTunes gave some standardization and some sort of universal way to once again make money from music. Between Napster and iTunes, there wasn’t really anything. Apple showed that it was possible (at least to a certain extent), make music un-free again.

    And I don’t think tech geeks control music. Nor did musicians control music before they supposedly lost control to these tech geeks. Record labels big and small still control any income potential from the majority of high-quality music and they are driven by consumers. Nothing really has changed regarding this other than now it’s a bit easier for an artist to also be a label.

    Bon Jovi is most likely being attacked by tech bloggers because he said something that was just stupid and had no argument to back it up. Unfortunately this statement just happened to be something about the the bloggers messiah. Those are two things that don’t go good together anywhere.

  7. rtech says:

    I wonder if anyone in the 80’s were complaining about how cassettes would ruin the experience of the great art of the vinyl record? That little tiny plastic case, the artwork all folded up and small, the hissy sound quality that degraded with every playback, the easy duplication, inability to skip fast, etc etc.

    Conclusion: Bon Jovi ruined the record industry.

    • Moses Avalon says:


      Wow. I’m impressed that fools like you even read my blog. The difference, FYI, is that here in music space we let dissenting opinions like yours, whom we disagree with, have a voice, because we think that every opinion– no mater how misinformed (and make no mistake, you two are border-line ignorant on your facts) should have a voice. Still I’m happy to have you as a reader. I’m really happy you posted those comments. It’s a perfect example of the kind of geeky-immaturity/insecurity I’m pointing towards in my piece. Suggestion: Move out of your mother’s basement and ask a girl out on a date.

  8. andy steinborn says:

    I’m with you on devaluing the experience and communication. I sometimes get the feeling that many people sit on the edge of their seats waiting to “hatchet job” the first person with an opinion on anything. All I can say is most musicians and writers are all trying to navigate a very complicated landscape. As far as I’m concerned Thank God for Logic because I now have the ability to do what was possible only in a major studio 30 years ago. I certainly would like to be a financial success but if not I dig the hell out of the process. I see a lot of musicians and composers are all in the same boat and we’re all trying to find our way. I appreciate the insightful comments you gave

  9. Kevin says:

    I think it’s the p2p’s that made it possible. It’s everyone that downloaded the songs that are really at fault. They will get the results of what they created. So, Jon’s own fans actually helped. He should be upset with them.Steve Jobs is just a broker. Supply and demand do the rest. I don’t even listen to the radio. I listen to music on youtube, pandora or mp3’s I buy. I still buy CD’s because mp3’s are really low quality. There’s a saying people get the government they deserve. Well, maybe music fans have gotten the music business they deserve.. and all that’s coming. Here’s a question, has the quality of music gone down? I think the amount of tallent has been suplimented by technology, but I don’t know that the quality is worse. The loudness war is another issue but a separate can of worms not really related to the economics that pertain to Jon’s point.

  10. Trey Bruce says:

    Jon Bon Jovi was right and he was wrong.
    When Jobs started iTunes it appeared to be a way to fight p2p…. it instead created an almost single-only market. For the major artists on major labels that takes away any point or meaning in tracks 5-12…. that takes away the much needed musical depth of the full CD experience…. that causes songwriters and publishes to only mine the shallow end of the hill for radio gaa gaa etc etc and so on sinks the quality and depth of the experience JBJ was talking about. It has sadly eliminated the need for full length records.
    If you’re really in the record business and not just operating as a garage studio hobby…. then u have to make back the money you spend plus some to be able to stay afloat. If no one buys the 5th-12th track then the $$ spent on those tracks never gets recouped and a real business can not keep putting out those album tracks. That’s where the record business has been ruined and Apple played a star role in the process. That said, I’m an apple guy… there are 7 macs in the house with me now, numerous iPods and iPhones. JBJ was just stating the obvious.
    He’s not a bad person for saying it. We all are struggling to find a firm footing for the next real, broad model of music distribution……. if we, as tech geeks or music creators pretend that everything is good again then we haven’t read the latest soundscan…… or if we have and we’re happy with those numbers then let’s lower a few other bars so we can pay our bills on this new lower income from music…. starting with the labels execs!


  11. rtech says:

    Hi Moses,

    Thanks for the response. I thought a difference of opinion would be welcomed here. I’m wondering what was misinformed about what I wrote? Ignorant? And what’s insecure about it? I’ve been following your blog/mailing list since it started and read both your books so I can’t be too mis-informed.

    I think the debate about iTunes ruining the music industry is pretty subjective. And I don’t see this as a labels vs. tech issue either as your article frames it as. Unfortunately right now, each side is not too good at communicating with the other.

    • Moses Avalon says:

      @ rtech

      You’re one of my readers? I’m sorry, with your comments I thought you were some techie infiltrating my blog. Apologies. Well, sort of, as one of my readers, It’s hard for me to think that you could like one of my books enough to read a second one and yet still come away with the opinions you have.

      To correct myself, it’s not your “facts” that are wrong, just your analogies, which are subjective and you are certainly entitled to. But they are a bit funky for a music maker.

  12. Andy Guglielmo says:

    Get your facts straight Moses.

    A bit more then 10%.

    Moses replies: @andy.

    Hey, i’ll get my facts straight, if you take a reading comprehension class. I wrote that iTunes is responsible for 10% of sales OVER THE YEARS SINCE ITS LAUNCH. That’s about 10 years in case you lost count.

    Your link only talks about 2010. Oh, wait, no just the 1st quarter of 2010.

    Here’s some more “facts:” iTunes was barley peeking 3% of sales for it’s first few years. It nudged above that in 2008 and only exponentially went to somewhere around 15% in 2010.

    Now… let’s talk a bit about the number 28% as it reflects Q1 2010. That number has never been substantiated by SoundScan. If you trace the PR on it, it goes back to a press release issues by guess who… Apple.

    Good eye Andy.

  13. Tim says:

    Turaj. I’m not a hater by any means. I actually respect Bon Jovi and his band and seen the band 4 or 5 times, met him a couple of times and yes, he’s a nice dude. But when somebody who has done so much and has everything they will ever need is still griping, it just bugs me.

    And music/art has always been de-valued and musicians have always got the poop end of the stick. We’ve all read the stories of major label bands selling 1-2 million albums and still broke or poor. What has changed? Do what you love to do, if somebody hands you some money, then it’s a bonus. If not, you’re still doing what you love to do.

    And Apple or other outlets where you can cherry pick the tunes didn’t kill the album format, it’s just a changing world where an artist can release one or two tunes at a time or an EP or a double album, sort of a free for all. It’s great for the music because you have people making music for music’s sake not for money or the corporate junk.

  14. Randy Lee says:

    Mo, you have done many a great service to musicians who do business in the recorded music industry through the years, and, even when I don’t agree with you, I always appreciate your well-reasoned approached. However, I have to point out that in your writing you continue to use a misleading and inaccurate term. Throughout the piece you talk about “music”.

    No Mo, what you are talking about when you say “music” is “recorded music”. Forgive me, but there is a profound difference! The “music industry” is not suffering at all. The “recorded music industry” is.

    Is that a bad thing? Well, on that question honest people might disagree, however I fail to see how there can be constructive dialog when the terms are not truthful. So, please, from now on, when you are talking about the “recoded music industry” call it that, or some other equally specific and accurate term.


  15. John Gamble says:

    I love the commentary from skinny jean’d slackers who’d run a lemonade stand into bankruptcy with their business acumen. Two tangential thoughts: 1. Great art doesn’t fulfill a desire, it creates one. (I can’t remember who said that but it’s an brilliant statement.) 2. Art isn’t a democracy.
    He probably saw it already, but I sent this piece to Lefsetz, who predictably caught the techie’s back in this brouhaha.

  16. Dalton Priddy says:

    Another great article Moses,
    What I find so amazing is Google/Youtube is making $ billions, Apple Mega Billions, just to name a few of the high tech companies in the computer age. Yet, the music industry has been going down hill for the last 10 -15 years.
    I do agree with Bon Jovi that the experience is gone, no credits, bio, lyrics, when you download an mp3.
    The MP3 sound is not bad when you use headphones, sucks through a good P.A. or quality home stereo system.
    Somewhere along the road to greeddom, the companies did what big business always do. They move the manufacturing to China for cheaper cost, while the music was moved to Mp3 hell to appease the Lords of the http://www.Net.
    Lets face it, like whats just happened in Japan, a major tsunami has been moving across the internet for some time, who it destroys, kills or hurts is just collateral damage, may god help us.

  17. J C PIcard says:

    Why doesn’t Apple let the label/artist set their own price point? Okay, let Apple have the 30% they take off the top- 30 cents. (x 6 billion downloads so far) Maybe people would be more likely to seek out smaller acts that simply charge say 50 cents per track, or offer the whole album for an even better deal. Nobody tells you how much to sell your stuff for at a gig, if you want to sell your cd for 5 bucks you can. Or, Heaven forbid, iTunes could have a bargain basement where even they dropped their percentage, even for just a day at a time rotating the product.

    Moses replies: @JC PIcard

    I think you hit it. Let the labels charge $15 for a single. That would solve everything. Right?

  18. Well said Moses.

    Techies and Musicians, and educated people could argue for days about the pros and cons of the changing music business and what itunes and the others have brought and taken from the table. The one thing everyone can agree on is that it IS changing, and not in favor for the working musician unless they are willing to work much harder for potentially less. Still, I believe change is good and leads to good things but this does not state that it is fair (Yet?).

    You make a great point about singles. AS a consumer I can appreciate not shelling out for the whole record but this is not helping. As you said, the Deep cuts are going, going, gone. Where is the incentive? Music is Art. Art is the freedom take chances. NOW taking chances in the music industry may be something that is gone with the wind, but we could at least see the breeze dissipate. Now the itunes model is blowing an industrial fan on it all. Playing it safe isn’t just the smart move – It may soon be the only move – IF financial gain is part of your game plan.

    I have to be optimistic to embrace the change even if I think it is not a paradigm for my current songwriting success. I do not have a solution yet myself, but I am working on it and I am learning – through these great mailing lists and posts. (thanks to Moses and the many with opinions that are written with experience and based on facts.)

  19. broshow says:

    Still stupid, like blaming Jobs for digital audio compression. Vinyl will always sound better and yes it’s sad that our kids will have sacrificed quality for convenience, but that’s the reality of the world we live in currently.

  20. Gregg Kostelich says:

    I do not bon jovis music but I have to agree with him. Sorry. He’s right. Downloading is boring. You get nothing in the end for your investment.

    The truth of the matter is how much people are paying for used and reissue records online.

    I said the same thing about steve jobs a few weeks ago so I agree.

  21. KW says:

    Good one Mo – one of your best pieces. Well done.

  22. Peter Shukat says:

    I like what you wrote

  23. Maria says:

    Jon Bon Jovi has the right to speak his mind. Just like all the haters who have been hating on him. I applaud his courage.

  24. SJZ says:

    For those interested in music as an art, the devaluation of an album as an art form has neutered the musical experience.

    Has it neutered the musical experience, or has it neutered the owner of the labor’s ability to make money off said labor? Is the musical experience really at risk now that:

    “you need to sell about seven times more units to break even on a promotion that costs $1,000,000”

    And really, who’s musical experience are we talking about?

    When musicians were in charge of music they helped end wars and elevate social consciousness. Now it’s in the hands of the techies.

    Remind me again when musicians were in charge of music? And before “music was in the hands of the techies” who’s hands was it in, and exactly how well did they handle it?

    How can anyone be, with a culture that does not value one of America’s greatest cultural contributions– pop music.

    Is that really a question?

    What he probably meant with his comments was that the glory days of music are over.

    Or did he mean the glory days of people other than the musicians making lots of money off of music are over?

    I’m inclined to believe that music and music commerce are two different things. Crazy, I know…

    That said, I do love your blog.

  25. NURREDIN says:

    Bon Jovi just doesn’t get it. People don’t get “lost” in an album anymore because 95% of what the majors produce is forgettable bullsh*t. Nobody wants to pay $12 dollars for “one hit and a bunch of sh*t”. What killed the music business is pompous assh*les like himself and the people that run the majors that don’t believe in QUALITY music. There’s no A&R, just a few guys passing judgment on whatever the producers present to them. The majors have two really big problems they refuse to face: 1. They don’t produce music for the demographics that are willing to buy. How many cars do you think Mercedes, BMW, or Toyota would sell if they only produced product for the 16-25 year old crowd that don’t have any frickin’ money? People who like Jazz, R&B and Country don’t like to download, they like to own the physical product if it’s got quality songs on it. Produce for the people that are willing to buy! Problem 2: No R&D (A&R). What do you think would happen to BMW’s, Mercedes’ or Toyota’s business if they sat on their ass*s and waited for someone to come up with a vehicle or a concept they thought worthy of production? Why do the majors do that? Why don’t they have in-house studios and production staffs to develop quality artists who can play their instruments and sing without Autotune? No business can survive without R&D, and keeping in tune with what the customer wants. That’s what Steve Jobs does. And the majors are doing the EXACT opposite. They deserve what’s happening to them.

  26. Urock Radio says:

    Man so many points to make, I’ll be brief as possible. First I have to blame the music industry too some degree for making me buy the same recording on many different formats, example, I bought Aerosmith “Rocks” on 8-Track, then on Vinyl, then on Cassette twice. I refused to buy it on CD and yes I downloaded it from Napster before they got slammed with a lawsuit. If the record industry stayed with the most perfect delivery vehicle “Vinyl” having the downloaded version would be moot, the mp3 would be your cassette copy. The LP was for home consumption and the others were your take it with you copy. The debate in the 1970’s was having tape decks that could record cassette to cassette, when the industry moved away from Vinyl it started dying.

    Which is my second point, I think “Vinyl” will help the industry return to profitability for bands and labels for obvious reasons in my opinion, LP’s are not so easily bootlegged, why would a person invest $40-50,000 for the equipment to make LP’s and run off bootlegs of well done records, in my album buying heyday bootlegs were live recordings or studio outtakes, not a re-pop copy of a studio album. Cd’s and DVD’s can be burned off and put right on the net, I know there are USB turntables now but a return to Vinyl would bring back what Bon Jovi was talking about, liner notes and full sized Artwork.

  27. rtech says:

    @ moses

    Glad we got that cleared up. My views may be a bit funky because I’m half music maker and half music tech developer.

    I think it’s safe to say that there are a whole lot of things going on in this mess of the music industry. I think it’s hard to justify any viewpoint that focuses on a single cause. It’s like blaming the economy on Bush or Obama (or Steve Jobs if you’re Bon Jovi). Way more complex than that.

    From where I am, I see the only productive thing to do is to try and move things forward. Having this perspective makes me wonder why instead of complaining about it, people like Bon Jovi aren’t doing something about it. Sure this is an extreme example, and he probably has other more important things to do (like golf or go skydiving or something), but he certainly has the resources and the opportunity is there.

    I mentioned Radiohead and NIN as accomplices to the death of the music industry, because they were by far the two highest profile and “cool” bands that did take a stand against the record industry by offering free or pay what you want albums. In a way, they made this Taboo in the industry ok. By doing so, they established themselves as progressive and maybe more importantly, relatable to their fans in a modern way. And look at their careers now… Radiohead is more or less regarded as the second coming of the Beatles and Trent Reznor just won an acadamy award. I know Bon Jovi is from an earlier generation,… but this recent statement of his has probably been one of the more newsworthy things out of his mouth since “Blaze of Glory” back in the 90’s.

    My point to all of this is that it is becoming almost mandatory for some understanding of tech when it comes to music. Going on about the good old days of album artwork is as relevant to today as Bon Jovi is. Instead of giving Bon Jovi the time of day, how about focusing on how to re-create the cool experience that music once had. Granted, Bon Jovi is doing his part in all this by spurring on this conversation so we must give him that much. But there’s no way this experience he mentions can be lost forever.

    And I got my money where my mouth is on this one. With what little resources I have, I’m doing what I can to bring this experience back to music (at least my own music). I’ve established a label focused on both music and interactive media experience. It’s about as primitive as it gets right now, but just exploring the ideas of combining music listening and the online experience, I am quickly realizing that the sky is the limit when it comes to this. I actually think this potential is so great that in the near future, we will look back at the album artwork “experience” that Bon Jovi mentions as just a primitive attempt at what this new interactive format will allows us to experience in full effect while listening to our beloved music.

  28. randy lin says:

    you are absolutley right about the death of the album as a unit of composition.albums were educational. i loved opening an album, seeing the pictures that went with the song list, reading the credits. dan fogelberg used to list all of the instruments he dubbed into his songs. it just increased the enjoyment listening for those elements in the songs.
    now, people have no idea how a song is made… oh sorry they do. it’s made with samples and Mac computers. that’s al they need to know it seems. the creative process has been cheapened when music becomes, as you said, content provide.
    keep up the good work, Moses!

  29. […] or two and hire a great defamation lawyer. I have. ~ Mo out.” Full Article & Comments at: Bon Voyage Bon Jovi: Rock Star Blames Steve Jobs For Music Biz Erosion | Moses Supposes: […]

  30. Will Collier says:

    How does any of that change the fact that John Bongiovi is a no-talent douchebag who’s been fronting a crappy boy band for the last 30 years? That pathetic sell-out wouldn’t know art if he fell over it in one of his mansions.

  31. Marc Vanway says:

    Moses you are right 100% in everything you say, but I’d also add that every chain of the music business has been completely rotten for about 20 years. Mix everything up and you got what we have today: The end of the music as a form of art. Great article, by the way.

  32. Steve Johnson says:

    Moses, you make some good points, but your points are obviously tainted by being in the music industry. Let me counter your points with the views of a consumer…

    The start off, I would like to say that Jobs and Bon Jovi are both on my crap list to begin with. Once people get uber rich, they tend to lose complete touch with reality and the general public. I have heard the whining from both sides of this argument, and I tend to think you all are a bunch of big babies and have forgotten who you truly owe your money and fame to…us.


    Point 1) Economics – While your industry economics are probably sound (I can only assume), you are way off on the basics of the product. For one, you may have heard about this thing called a recession. Unfortunately millions are forced to rethink their spending due to lack of disposable income. Keep in mind, the empire the music industry has been built on is “disposable” income. Repeat that mantra while you complain. In the eyes of the consumer, you are “disposable”. Thus, people have to consider ways to get more out of their buck. Like Jobs and Bon Jovi, we need to consider the return on the investment. Consider this…I buy a cd for $12 with 12 songs on it. 10 to 1, all 12 songs are not quality tunes, thus my investment goes down per quality tune. I have found the average is like 3-4 songs I like. Thus in reality I am paying $3-4 per a decent repeatable MP3 player song. Why bother, when I can buy those tunes for a buck? Simple economics.

    Point 2) Art – I have a Napster account. Have you seen the sheer number of new cds released every Tuesday? It’s ridiculous. And thanks to cheap gear and the internet, any idiot can release a cd. Thus, the market is flooded with complete and utter crap. Not every cd released is “art”. Not every song on an album is “art”. Please, do you think the consumer is stupid? We know that the industry giants use “filler” for cds. Like I said 3-4 songs that are maybe listen worthy, even on a Bon Jovi cd. So your expectations are warped. You can only release so many fluff albums before the consumer gets tired of being ripped off. Long gone are cds such as Boston, Bat Out Of Hell, and Born To Run, when musicians took care in each song. I can’t remember the last time I could simply put an entire cd on and listen through it all.

    If anything, it is the fault of the music industry and musicians such as Bon Jovi for bringing this on themselves. Jobs simply provided an alternative for consumers who are tired of the music industry sucking on their teet and providing sub par music. You want to change it? Start giving us a reason to buy the entire album.

    • Moses avalon says:

      @Steve Johnson

      Steve, thank you for your comments. Indeed it is clear that you are “outside” the business, because you are regurgitating all the tech biased propaganda that they want you to believe.

      It is a dreadful myth that record companies or artists put “filler” on an album. The simple fact is that it’s very very hard to write and produce 14 amazing songs in the time that a label gives artists to make each album. So hard, that artists have to resort sometimes to using cover songs (very expensive for them) or bring in a song writer of note to create a potential hit for them, (sometimes more expensive).

      Your retort is not really an economical argument at all, it’s a logic-based argument and it falls short simply because you do not understand the economics of the record business.

      The simple fact is that both labels and artists need the 1:10 or 1:14 ratio in order to reduce the astronomical odds that you’ll ever have a hit at all. Reducing that ratio to 1:1 (a singles driven market) was abandoned in the sixties for a very good reason: it produced less hits.

      In the long run this means less choice for the consumer. Everyone loses.

      So unless you want to see the day of the $10 single, just accept the fact that your $10 or$14 CD purchase has to finance a lot of “filler” in order to produce the one or two hits.

  33. H.C.D. says:

    One aspect of all this that folks have failed to mention is the quality of the product. I realize this is an objective statement, but in my opinion, true Bon Jovi music died in 1989. Jon Bon Jovi the solo artist emerged and the musical direction took a different turn that frankly, I’m disappointed with. Seen JBJ live a few years back really saddened me. Everything is toned down and even some awesome rock anthems from back in the day were sung like church choir music. Frankly, I think it’s embarrassing and Mr. BJ should only be blaming himself. To call that latest piece of garbage a Bon Jovi album is sacrilege.

    Thank you.

  34. Trudee Lunden says:

    The Internet initiated a decline in jobs (pardon the pun) for many industries before the Music Business was affected (starting with online travel reservations) and continues to cut out the middle man. Where people can provide a SERVICE – and let’s think of artist performances as an entertainment-based “feel good” service – is where ALL future income will be made, regardless of career choice. Man (excuse me, Humans) made machines to make our lives easier but rarely first consider the future consequences of these actions.

  35. steeler1979 says:

    Good article. I agree with the premise that alot of the Apple geeks simply refuse to criticize anything that is sacred in their world, much less just look at it realistically. Just find a Mac lover and put it down and watch what happens.

    • Moses Avalon says:


      People with PCs use their PCs. People with Macs TALK about their Macs. It’s a lifestyle thing. Having “said” that, I’m a PC user with over 6 iThings in my house. I luv em and yes, I talk about too. I’m a hypocrite in this area.

  36. Most People think they know about Art and Music,but most people don’t know anything including you Moses,but especially Blogers.They know absolutely nothing.But that is by desighn it’s called “A Culture Of Mediocrity” Fran Leibowiitz recently said “Art is elitist because only a small percentage of people(mostly the artist’s themselves)understand it”.Now everyone is an artist,which cannot be feasable if you agree with Fran.All you F–kers should admit you know nothing and refer to US (the artists)F–k Off now all you computer nerds(you included Moses)I don’t own a f–king computer”The New Idiot Box”Your all fucking weak.Nobody should pay attention to Bon Jovi anyway he always sucked he was never any good,total crap.WR

  37. Matt says:

    Finally an Artist raises his voice! You can like Bon Jovi or not. Its a dirty job but someones gotta do it the Metallica vs Napster way. The DRM/EMI story was another vulture attack increasing Big Macs and confusing Johnny Doe. Now hopefully some more artists shoot back. Hopefully we’ll finally see a new model with digital media content being seen as a performance not as a product. Moses, you’re a true music biz sage.

  38. West Side Dave says:


    Was never the biggest Bon Jovi fan, so I don`t listen to most of what he says anyway. He needs to remember that there are more distractions now than say 25-35 years ago; a bazillion tv channels, DVDs`, the Internet, cell phones, video/computer games, etc. And yet for the most part, the music industry sales have remained more or less at the same level as they were 15-18 years ago [physical AND digital]. That`s contrary to what the Tech-Dweebs AND the major labels are claiming. Hey, it IS a business; sales go up, sales go down. Just because auto sales are down doesn`t mean people are gonna stop buying cars, or that because housing is down people aren`t going to buy houses. I think that CD and MP3 have attained a peaceful co-existence; you can have one or the other or both.

    What`s the problem? The Sillycon Valley geeks and their followers need to go out in the real world once in a while. The Steve Jobs of the worldare so besotten with their own handiwork, they truly believe the world IS theirs. As for their claim that the music business SHOULD die; I imagine these Tech-nerds liken themselves to certain characters in some big-budget SCI-FI flick. Hordes of armed rebels storming the wires of the evil overlords prison camps, cutting down the enemy and freeing the oppressed masses. The reality of more like the cast of the “Revenge Of The Nerds” films, all jumping around yelling [in high, squeaky voices] “Yay, we did it!”, as they celebrate the death of the music biz, capping off their victory w/ an online screening of “The Social Network”, geekdom`s very own “Goodfellas”. “The Social Network” being a shining example of what nerds can do w/ lots of $$$, a PC, blogs, etc; convince the masses that a film about not-much is in fact one of the greatest epics since “Ben Hur”. The Tech-Dweebs should keep in mind that nobody stays on top forever. And if Steve Jobs and his kind think that music should be freeeeeee, why not make a deal w/ all working, recording, professional musicians? They`ll agree to give away for free all the music they record [past and future] from now on if Steve and his cronies agree to give away ALL their products, past and future. Hey, shouldn`t TECHNOLOGY be freeeeeeee, also?

    BTW, f#*k you Steve Jobs and the rest of your butt-polishers.

  39. Wolf Stephenson says:

    This is a great article!!! The cold, hard, truth.
    I read a few of the posted comments… sad, but true…they all (most all) think recorded music should be free.

    What about live music..?? Do they think that should be free also…

    One other thing the computer revolution has done… It has allowed multitudes of aspiring “Stars” to make a “Record” or an “Album” that have no business doing so in the first place…

    Don’t get me started..

    From forty-four years behind the recording console…(the recording desk, as they say in the UK)…

  40. Val Gameiro says:

    Man, I guess this is a sign of the times… big corporations taking over! Out goes art and feeling, and up come dollars and numbers.

    I must confess I liked the idea of only buying the songs I like, versus the whole album (especially when there are bands which only have 1 or 2 songs I enjoy, and buying a whole album for just 1 song sucked), but I can see your argument.

    I suppose buying directly from the artists is the best way to support them… but that only applies to indie artists.

    It’s a hell of an adjustment period for everyone… greedy bankers control greedy politicians who make laws for the big corporations at our expense… It’s up to us to show them they can’t control us… if we don’t play their game, they’ll loose. But so long as we keep buying it… they’ll keep winning!

  41. Rico says:

    A lady called the Los Angeles musicians union to inquire about the cost of booking a five piece band with a singer for a wedding…

    The AFM rep says “Off the top of my head, roughly two thousand dollars”… She says “WHAT ? FOR MUSIC ?”…

    The rep responds “Ma’am… I’ll tell you what. Call the plumbers’ union and ask for six plumbers to work from six to twelve o’clock on a Saturday night. Whatever they charge you, I’ll work for half of that.”

    She called back and said “I get your point Mr. Palmer.”

  42. Steve Soucy says:

    When people declare what they believe in, what they are FOR… I listen. When people make suggestions, that embrace change, I am willing to imagine “what if” with them.

    When people whine about the decline of revenue, whine about Steve Jobs, file sharing, whine about singles over albums… I zone out & change the channel. Those problems, (or descriptions of them as problems) aren’t going to go away. Solutions are so important, more now than ever.

    Today, I’m going to make an exception to my own rule, because I have been wondering about what fuels your passionate thoughts, since I started reading your newer opinions a couple of years ago.

    Mo, when I first read your book a long time ago, I was SO excited to see your rebellious nature. When I read your stuff now, it feels like you’ve reverted to propagating the perspective that “how things used to be was better then they are now.”

    That seems to be a 180 from the reasons it excited me to read your opinions in the first place. I was an outsider and saw you as a rebel leader. Now I’m less of an outsider but I see you as part of the old guard… part of the thinking that adds to the current “describe a problem without a solution” style thinking.

    And did your first book help fuel the file sharing revolution, that deep mistrust in the status quo? It certainly helped me come to terms with a business that I saw as insane and impossible to penetrate. You see I loved what your book did for me way back when. You were an inspiring Son of a B, who I thought was ushering in a great new age. Reading your books gave me hope. I wonder if anyone still thinks that when you go on about the horrors of file sharing.

    Are you pushing for more art, more income from said art, more diversity in art? Because it seems to me that those options will ONLY become possible through some MORE pretty radical changes. Or are you pushing for a return to how things were? And why would you personally want to go back?

    Yes labels and artists and even the RIAA created a wonderful legacy of art. Apple is attempting to do what the Labels and Artists all did 20 or 30 years ago… eliminate competition. Why is it wrong now that Apple’s doing it? Are you attempting to eliminate competition with your opinions and therefore make things better for the “old” industry?

    Maybe the music world needs a kind of new forum where you, Lefsetz and Sivers show your willingness to cooperate to make things better. Get Gene Simmons & Simon Cowell to be part of it too. Maybe add Bob Baker and Ariel Hyatt?

    Tell me some good news, about people coming together that are making a difference.

    Moses responds to Steve:

    You make some great points that I’ve love to address. You are not alone in basically thinking that I’m sort of a sell-out lately. It kills me to have to defend the “old guard” and I do miss being the rebellious inspiring SOB that you came to know and love. But here’s the situation.

    I am and have always been pro artist. The problem is that since 1998, when Confessions came out things have radically changed. No where in any of my work do I recommend you starve for your art. I am all about the money and always have been. My artists rights activism is not about getting more artistic freedom. It’s about getting them paid for their work. In 1998 and through 2002 that meant fighting with labels because they had all the artist’s money.

    But the music industry in general is now under attack. And if we don’t support the system that created an industry from 1955-2003, then there will be no reason to learn how royalties work, or how mechanicals work, or how to negotiate the best deal on a label. There will be no reason to learn any of these things because there will be no money to negotiate for.

    I have never said “Screw the labels.” I have always said: “Screw the labels… but use protection.”

    I have clients at all levels, from garage bands to major stars. I see the lifestyles and the money streams of all facets of this business. And I can tell you without fear of contradiction, major label artists get paid far more money than those on indies—even when they are being robbed of 30% of their royalties. They are still doing better. Does that mean I want everyone to be on a major? No, that’s ridiculous. But I do want every one of my clients (or readers) to have the freedom to make that choice.

    Choice is what freedom is all about. The right to chose if you wan to be pop, or underground.

    If we let the ISPs get their way—you’ll have no choice. Choosing music as a profession will doom you to a life of, at-best, lower middle class life. And that’s the good news. The bad news, is that eventually, (assuming music is completely devalued) since there will be no super-stars, the trickle down effect of their money to invest in new acts will dry up and soon choosing a life of music will mean utter poverty.

    Wanting the label system to fail just so you can have more or cheaper music makes about as much sense as wanting the banking system to fail so you do not have to pay your mortgage. Or wanting the government to fail so you don’t have to pay your taxes.

    Sounds good in principal, but in practice it would probably mean enormous collateral damage. I don’t like the bank who holds my mortgage, but do not want them to fail. I do not like everything Uncle Sam does with my money, in fact I disagree with a lot of it, but I do not hate my government and certainly do not want to see it fail.

    So, unfortunately, for the time being, being an artist’s right activist and rebel SOB means holding my nose and defending the f%#king labels. But believe me I look forward to the day when I can fight them again.

    • Moses Avalon says:

      @ Steve Soucy

      You make some great points that I’ve love to address. You are not alone in basically thinking that I’m sort of a sell-out lately. It kills me to have to defend the “old guard” and I do miss being the rebellious inspiring SOB that you came to know and love. But here’s the situation.

      I am and have always been pro artist. The problem is that since 1998, when Confessions came out things have radically changed. No where in any of my work do I recommend you starve for your art. I am all about the money and always have been. My artists rights activism is not about getting more artistic freedom. It’s about getting them paid for their work. In 1998 and through 2002 that meant fighting with labels because they had all the artist’s money.

      But the music industry in general is now under attack. And if we don’t support the system that created an industry from 1955-2003, then there will be no reason to learn how royalties work, or how mechanicals work, or how to negotiate the best deal on a label. There will be no reason to learn any of these things because there will be no money to negotiate for.

      I have never said “Screw the labels.” I have always said: “Screw the labels… but use protection.”

      I have clients at all levels, from garage bands to major stars. I see the lifestyles and the money streams of all facets of this business. And I can tell you without fear of contradiction, major label artists get paid far more money than those on indies—even when they are being robbed of 30% of their royalties. They are still doing better. Does that mean I want everyone to be on a major? No, that’s ridiculous. But I do want every one of my clients (or readers) to have the freedom to make that choice.

      Choice is what freedom is all about. The right to chose if you wan to be pop, or underground.

      If we let the ISPs get their way—you’ll have no choice. Choosing music as a profession will doom you to a life of, at-best, lower middle class life. And that’s the good news. The bad news, is that eventually, (assuming music is completely devalued) since there will be no super-stars, the trickle down effect of their money to invest in new acts will dry up and soon choosing a life of music will mean utter poverty.

      Wanting the label system to fail just so you can have more or cheaper music makes about as much sense as wanting the banking system to fail so you do not have to pay your mortgage. Or wanting the government to fail so you don’t have to pay your taxes.

      Sounds good in principal, but in practice it would probably mean enormous collateral damage. I don’t like the bank who holds my mortgage, but do not want them to fail. I do not like everything Uncle Sam does with my money, in fact I disagree with a lot of it, but I do not hate my government and certainly do not want to see it fail.

      So, unfortunately, for the time being, being an artist’s right activist and rebel SOB means holding my nose and defending the f%#king labels. But believe me I look forward to the day when I can fight them again.

  43. Simon says:

    First of all Rico that’s an excellent tale, and one that I wish everyone could hear. The devaluation of music is a far bigger problem than piracy itself.

    I’m going to steer myself from the JBJ debate, while I think his comments were unguarded and unfortunate they weren’t entirely wrong as this fantastically put article shows. Kudos Moses. I do disagree on one point though: I don’t believe that the experience is gone for good. And I’m not a vinyl fan boy either. As it stands we just don’t know what the future of the industry is, all we can bet on is that the price people are willing to pay – and make no mistake HMV, Woolworths and Virgin are just as much to blame as iTunes (reduced pricepoints on CDs were one of the first industry “responses” to piracy, were they not?). There will always be a desire for the “experience” from fans though and perhaps that will be delivered in another way, through websites and social media for example.

    I also suspect that iTunes as it is may not last – Jon maybe ‘out of touch’ to many but he’s still one of the biggest selling artists in the world and he had the highest grossing tour of 2010, if he’s going down the road of disliking iTunes sales methods he won’t be alone at the top. We’ve already seen numerous legacy acts insist on full album sales or nothing and restricted sales methods – maybe the future is back to single and album releases: singles being standalone downloads next to the full album. Any thoughts?

  44. AJ says:

    Ha, Jon is not gonna hire a second bodyguard, he’s too stubborn for that. The article in the Times is a bizarre cut and paste job and god knows how it was done or why he wasn’t asked to elaborate on the iTunes debacle.

    As for tech geeks, yeah I have a couple of friends who are like that. I’d rather eat an iPad than spend money on one, nor have I used iTunes all that much, so this whole thing is an overreaction to me.
    But it’s probably an overreaction on your part too. I may jinx it now, but no one has yet vandalized Jon Bon Jovi’s Wikipedia page (it’s that the first spot)? He hasn’t had his Facebook or Twitter hacked into, and even though thousands upon thousands of techies have managed to post their opinions online, the thing never even trended.
    So yeah, I’m guessing Bon Jovi are gonna do what they’ve always done, let the dumb comments keep coming while they keep on trucking.

  45. Kylebolt says:

    iTunes and P2P had created a shift in power. Power is shifting from the few to the many. Jon is lashing out because he and other artist at his level (Metallica) have the most to lose. If they had it their way we would still be buying CDs at Tower Records.

    The playing field has been leveled. For better or worse, The barrier to entry into the game for musicians and artists is easier than ever.

    There are hundreds of new artists that can make money from their art because of distribution channels such as iTunes and P2P, that would never have had such a chance 10 years ago.

    Think of itunes and P2P as a lead generation, fans putting their hand up saying ‘I like your music’… if they can break even or use itunes and P2P as a ‘loss leader’ then they can monetize their art in many other ways.

    Without p2p i wouldn’t have known about 85% of the artist I have on my ipod. Music has immense value in my life and while I don’t think I’v ever puchased music I’ve spent thousands on live shows and merc.

    Change is hard Jon Bon but change is here.

  46. Steve Soucy says:

    Mo, I appreciate your blog, your knowledge and your willingness to respond to my earlier thoughts.

    I don’t come from a screw the labels perspective anymore. I certainly did feel that way for years, and happily quoted passages from your book as proof. Knowing what I’ve learned, I’m now happy to see opposing forces at work.

    I really don’t think of you as any kind of traitor. I think you have a very unique and valuable perspective that has changed over time as you put the pieces of your puzzle together.

    But I do see a problem with branding anyone or group as wrong, or uninformed. Don’t like the idea of painting any one group as less worthy of our attention or discussion.

    I don’t think ISPs devalue music any more than labels or publishers did in the first place. They are seeking opportunities the same way labels did, and that you and I do. The business opportunities are what cause new new systems to be imagined and then implemented, and I think that’s happening again now.

    The biz in general, MUST adapt to NOW. And the biz has shown a remarkable resistance to coming together for whatever reasons.

    I believe things are constantly changing for the better, even when don’t appear that way.

    Maybe it’s time for musician’s to bundle other things with music when they sell it, maybe it’s time to sell a single for $10 instead of $1. Maybe we’ll start seeing groups of artists selling their wares together. I do think the concept of using music to entice people to buy other stuff (a la radio) is going to become more prevalent.

    The most wonderful thing about the internet is that we get to share ideas and inventions so dang fast. And when the solutions start to click into place, they’re going to get traction very quickly.

    & thanks for reading

    • Moses Avalon says:

      @Steve Soucy

      Well, we’ll see, but the tide of the law is not on your side. Everyday ISPs are losing ground to new legislation here and abroad. The law often takes time to catch up. In ten years music will, from a business model point of view, probably look exactly the way it did ten years ago. Sure there will be new mediums to put the music on and new ways of playing it. But the model will remain the same: find great artists, sign them and develop material, sell/license the crap out of it and sue anyone who tries to infring.

      I highly doubt that copyrights will become extinct, if anything we will develop stronger copyright laws because of all this ISP stuff. Music will not become free, it will likely get more expensive and in the long run artists and labels will make more money than they ever did in the past. Once the loopholes are closed and the DOJ starts putting people in handcuffs for copyright infringement (next 2 years) the party will be over and we’ll be getting back to business as usual. And I can go back to exposing labels scams. Ahhh.

  47. rtech says:

    Glad to read Steve Soucey’s comments and the reply to them. I had similar thoughts regarding a shift of moses avalon from radical to reactionary. It’s good to know that you will one day return to going after those labels. That’s why I bought the book in the first place.

    Also great to hear in Steve’s comments someone else finally mentioning the potential that all of this transformation has for doing something new and positive. Contrary to destroying the industry, technology can be looked at as opening up new avenues for creating a new industry. What’s to complain about that?

  48. clem says:

    the focus of the argument shouldn’t be about Steve Jobs and/or Bon Jovi. What the argument REALLY is about is what the internet has done to the music business. As someone who used to work in the music business, I have to disagree with you, Mo. Obviously I can’t speak for everyone in the business, but 99% of the individuals I encountered were never interested in art, but rather making the most money they could of the poor consumer.

    I don’t think many people have a problem shelling out $15.00 for a piece of art like “The Dark Side of the Moon”, but asking them to buy a Chumbawumba (or whatever they were called) album for the same price because of one decent song is just wrong.

    I remember just such an incident. A record label exec was sharing with us an upcoming hot little number by a new artist at a presentation. The question was asked by someone in the group to the exec, “Are you going to release this song on a single?” The exec then got a look of pure terror on this face. “Oh no!” he replied. “We’re definitely not going to shoot ourselves in the foot with THIS one.” Translation: Why only make $3 and release it on a single when we can get put at on an album for $15 filled with filler?

    Going of topic slightly here….. Can you please tell me why seeing a “big act in concert” cost about $15 in 1992, and yet that same artist is now charging around $150?? Sorry, but the shows are NOT 10X better. Now, maybe if the consumer was forced to only pay TWICE as much as they did in 1992 (that would put the ticket at $30, if you’re doing the math), then maybe……just MAYBE……they would have a bit more disposable money to buy a $15 CD??

    Sorry, I’ll keep buying I-Tunes and listening to Rhapsody and Pandora. If I want “artwork and lyrics”, I can easily obtain these off the internet. (We didn’t HAVE the internet back in 1992, so it WAS kind of cool back then to….um…..LOOK at an album or CD cover and read the enclosed lyrics. Not really a necessity anymore)

    • Moses Avalon says:


      99% huh. That’s very sad and unfortunate if it’s 99% of artists. But if it’s 99% of all people in the biz, then it’s not so bad. You have to remember that for every artist on the charts there are about 100 people behind them working the machine. Thoes people are nojt artists.

      Most people I know in the biz are in it because of the art. Every one of them is smart enough to be making far more money in just about any other field. They remian here because they love music.

  49. joe says:

    My take on this:

    Selling singles is nothing new: remember when 45’s were sold alongside LP’s? Singles likely was the most popular format at that time. A 45 (with 2 songs) was around $1.50 in the early 70’s, probably less in the 60’s. Albums were about $4-$5. Which means an full album was 3x the price of a 45, but you got 5 times as many songs. Once the CD arrived, the price point was substantially higher, even thought the cost to manufacture a CD was the same or less than a vinyl record.Today a song obtained via a download is $1. The album downloaded is about $10 or roughly $13-$15 for a CD. Maybe the record companies got a bit greedy. The internet gave the consumer a way to bypass the $15 CD by legally or illegally downloading specific songs.

    I will pay $8-$10 for a full CD even when I know all songs may not be “top forty”. But I will expect the CD to have somthing I can’t get with a download like lyrics, photo’s, etc.

    For the artists who complain about being sold out by Apple or similar firms because they are just selling singles, then only sign a recording contract that sells the complete album, not a single. If more artists did this the landscape might be different.

    Last, I don’t have the revenue numbers for Apple’s music downloads on an annual basis,nor do I have their revenue for iPod’s. I would bet however that the downloads are simple a means to an end for Apple:the music download revenue is just a mechanism for selling the hardware.Their interests are not aligned with the artists or record labels.

  50. Jolon Schobert says:

    Let me start by saying I’m a fan of JBJ and Steve Jobs. I have a couple CDs by Jon and an Apple computer. The difference between them is clear when comparing the most recent creations of each. One is pushing ahead in 2011 and the other is not.

    I too have nostalgia for the days of vinyl when we opened the art and listened to the music with the lyrics a few decades ago. Sadly, we lost that along with the richer sound when vinyl was upstaged by portability. (I miss the size of my waist back then too…but that’s another blog.)

    Looking toward the future is the only reasonable solution. Suing millions of fans for illegal downloads to prove a point (however profitable) seems short-sighted. If birthing a song to the world makes it ultimately free ~ then ~ capitalize on the idolization instead. Tour, collaborate, and do what you love best ~ be an artist! Create and perform incredible music! Download royalties, tours, endorsements, and whatever else a good promoter can set up will keep you in cash to the extent of your originality, intensity, and popularity. It’s an equal playing field now. Gone is the day people are willing to pay for mediocre music. Artists don’t need to disappear to crunch a new album anymore ~ releasing as they go keeps them in the pulse. It’s never been better!

    JBJ ~ if you want the fans to experience your music as a whole album ~ why not try putting it out as one long track? Surf the wave ~ don’t fight the ocean!

  51. Frank says:

    Yes I know, I’m priviliged. I was born in the 60s and grew up in the album heydays. One more thing in this discussion is important in the times of mp3. The delete button.
    How often did we buy a LP and we didn’t like one, two or three songs. But the more I’ve listened the more some songs unfolded their beauty. Today when you don’t like a song you can push the delete button and it’s forgotten.
    Poor 00’s generation.

  52. Tom says:

    Dear Mo,

    thanks for your article and something to think about. I do respect your position altough I have to admit, that I don´t agree – saying this while looking at many hundred physical albums in my shelf.

    IMO there are some important points missing or at least to be verified:

    1. The increase of file sharing is probably not really proven. There are many studies saying the exact opposite (aka file sharers are those who subsequently buy music). It is very easy to find a study that matches your or my or anybody elses position. I do NOT use to like the idea file sharing, but just saying it increased needs to be questioned.

    2. In your article, I have not read anything about the music industry saving billions of money thanks to digital music. The can release songs from the vault at nearly no cost (which would never see a physical release due to the estimated low demand). They can advertise by mail, Twitter etc. without the need to only go into traditionally expensive channels, like print or TV.
    And: They have essentially put many other companies out of business, because they do no longer need CD/vinyl pressing, packacking, handling, distribution, point of sales etc. What about all these savings?

    3. Yes, the good old times. They looked like this (over here in Germany): You wanted to buy a single or an album and had to drive to the nearest store (CO2, time etc.) – but there, you did not get it, because it wasn´t delivered in time. I remember driving around countless hours, just to find the album I was looking for. And hey, I did not buy every album, because even back then (when single track purchases were not possible), people did not have an endless pool of money. If there was only one good track, you were waiting until it was played on the radio (and they often did play complete albums over a week or so), taped it on cassette a few times. So, no money for anyone. It´s a myth that people would just buy albums if they could not purchase single tracks. And iTunes is instant, it´s an “impulse-buying-experience” where you click much faster than when you are in the shop, thinking forth and back.

    4. iTunes and digital media did an excellent job in promoting NEW music. I have never in my life discovers so many new bands than I did over the past years (and bought a lot). Something which would have never happend if I had to go to the stores, due to a lack of time, availability etc. Ask some newcomers to understand how much they benefit from digital distribution, because with the old model, they would have never had any chance to be heard.

    5. Did you seen that many major labels increased prices for single tracks by 30%? You can of course argue that 1,29$ is still not much (which I think IS compared with former prices of physical media). One probably will have to search hard to find an industry, where a 30% price increase is accepted. Furthermore, if you have the same amount of money to spend, the price increase simply means 30% less purchases, e.g. from other, unknown artists.

    6. Where is all the good music gone? Clearly, there are bands still selling albums (digital or not), because they deliver! They give their fans what they want and not just one hit single, produced by a famous producer, with the remaining 9 songs being uninspired and bad. Sorry to sound harsh, but truth is: If you like a song, you are looking for similar quality, so it´s not logical to only buy one song. In the past, exactly this one song had been released as a “single” (often drastically remixed) and advertised to sell the album. The question is: Did all the people who bought the single buy the album, too? Probably not. They went into the shops, listened and decided. Just what they do today on iTunes. The only good thing for the artist is: People are not restricted to buying only that one track released as “hit-single”, but can chose another one depending on their musical taste. So chances are much higher to sell at least “something” than ever before.

    7. Should we forget about handicapped people? Those who are no longer in the position to drive to a record store or cannot just search the shelves? iTunes & Co. make it possible for them to buy music and experience arts in a way they never could before.

    I could still go on with many more things that cross my mind (please don´t get me started on American Idol and the sponsored search for new superstars being transfered into a cash cow for just a few months). You agree with John and that´s fair enough. I don´t and have some reasons which are valid for me. However, when Bon Jovi is complaining while at the same time charging ticket prices for his live shows up to 150$ per person, I wonder if such behaviour won´t ruin the business on the long run, too? Who´s complaining about that?

    kind regards

  53. Buck Futt says:

    “Once the loopholes are closed and the DOJ starts putting people in handcuffs for copyright infringement (next 2 years) the party will be over and we’ll be getting back to business as usual.”

    Laughable. And, accordingly, laughed at.

  54. Steve Soucy says:

    @Moses… why would you say the law is not on my side? I’m not taking sides, nor do I see any value in you painting me as siding with law breakers.

    But when guys like Terry McBride are willing to pay for the legal defence of an admitted file sharer, your argument that loopholes are being closed loses me.

    Why did Nettwerk pay those legal feels? I would expect because McBride felt the RIAA is morally wrong, to go after fans of music.
    Digital Music News Reports: “Nettwerk Chief Steps Up Challenge Against RIAA”

    Nettwerk Chief Steps Up Challenge Against RIAA

    Last week, the RIAA received a surprising challenge from major management firm Nettwerk Music Group, home to multi-platinum artists Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Dido and Sum 41. The group is now aiding accused file-swapper David Greubel in his defense against an RIAA lawsuit, exposing a rift within the music industry. Greubel was targeted by the major label trade group as part of a routine series of lawsuits, and subsequently reached out to a Nettwerk artist for assistance. The result was a commitment by Nettwerk to offer financial and legal support, potentially the first of several similar efforts.

    So this is all a strange argument about trying to win something that is unwinable. The cat’s not going back into the bag.

    The only problem, (and it’s temporary) is how to sell stuff. When artists and their teams start figuring out how to sell NEW stuff, instead of trying to flog mp3s, things will change quickly. If an artists start selling their music bundled with stuff their fans can use for other applications, fans will start spending a lot more than .99 cents per song.

    I just keep looking around for what’s new, instead of wishing things could return to the kind of stability some people proclaim their once was.

    Getting a record deal was never easy, or a sure road to cash. I don’t think anything has changed all that much for the new artist. The traditional ways of marketing are almost dead, but who really wants an entry record deal anyways, given what happens when you get one?

    Especially after reading your book…

  55. Keith says:

    Right on brother! As an L.A. musician and songwriter, I can tell you 1st-hand that the Internet is destroying the music biz. The geeks just couldn’t stand being irrelevant, basking in their attempt to make musical craftsmen as small and insignificant as they are, while hiding behind the misplaced notion of “free access”. But as damaging as this may be to music production, we’re still musicians, and they’re still geeky nobodies…

  56. Mike says:

    Hi Moses

    First time I’ve ever visited your site – followed a link from

    I’m not sure about the techie argument but there is no doubt that the music industry is on its knees thanks to P2P and itunes.

    I have over a 1,000 albums in various formats purchased over my lifetime to date. By contrast I bet my nieces, nephews and their friends don’t own a 100 between them.

    At my nieces 18th all the music was played via a laptop, itunes and a guitar amp. I doubt that a single track was a legitimate purchase. To that generation music is free.

    It’s too late to put the genie back in the bottle now so JBJ is absolutely right in what he says. In today’s world Bon Jovi would probably have been canned after their God awful second album. Yes we may never have seen Slippery When Wet or Keep the Faith.

    How many others would have gone the same way U2, Springsteen, Mellencamp, REM, Supertramp, Yes, Genesis, Madonna? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

    For many years now artists have not been allowed to mature and develop. They are canned following the first flop which hardly inspires risk taking does it? Then again given the costs of promotion etc. these days getting an ROI out of the internet model is almost impossible.

    Also nobody gigs enough these days. The Beatles played in Germany every night for 2 or 3 years honing their craft. No wonder they were so bloody good. Who gets to to that (or would be prepared to) today?

    BTW P2P isn’t the real issue now. Swapping disk drives is!!!

    On the flip side of all this I have discovered dozens of new artists (well new to me anyway) because of the web. First time around Rickie Lee Jones, Jackson Browne, Crosby Stills and Nash and many more passed me by. Thanks to the net I was able to discover, listen to and purchase their albums.

  57. Buck Futt says:

    Yes, Moses, I’m still laughing at you. A press release from an Administration that just got beyotch-slapped in the polls doesn’t mean squat. Sorry to break this to you, but the RIAA isn’t exactly a political friend of the party that *does* write the laws these days. Doing their political bidding isn’t even on the radar screen of the current Congress, and it’s even more laughable to expect Obama–who has to draw a huge vote from the 18-22’s again if he has any prayer of getting a second term–to get on a “sue ’em and lock ’em up” bandwagon anytime soon.

    Having been a rackjobber in the 80’s, I say this without vitriol, but if you think the government can (or has any serious interest in) putting the file-sharing genie back in the bottle and revving time back to the days of platinum-selling $18 CDs, you’re kidding yourself, but not anybody else. Those days are as dead as the 8-track, whether you (or I) like it or not.

    Oh, and Bon Jovi’s “music” sucks.

    • Moses Avalon says:

      @buck futt

      We’ll well have to respectly agree to disagree on this point. But my next price (which will post on Sunday night) should end this argument in my favor. Stay tuned.

  58. Dex Vegas says:

    Why do techies love Mr. Jobs so much? Didn’t he take a free operating system (Linux), add a bunch of proprietary code, lock it up and then sell it as OS-X? Never giving much credit to the techies or sharing his source code with them.

    Now if a record label took Mr. Jobs iTune software, reverse engineered it, tweaked the source code, re-branded the thing and set up shop as, Say, ‘WarnerTunes’, Apple would scream bloody murder. Warner could respond with ‘Source code wants to be free’ to counter Mr. J’s music should be free crap and the multi-billion dollar lawsuits could commence!

    Techies are smart, they came up with you-tube, where the users supply the content. Freakin brilliant! The idea that music should be free? Freakin stupid. It really makes no sense. They are trying to equate music with source code and the freaks have been suing (1000’s of suits) each other for years over tiny, obscure lines of code that combine with thousands of others to make a certain function within a software work a certain way. And the want exclusive right to these arrangements of code forever, unless others give them money and lay down their souls.

    Imagine a guitarist patenting a ‘I-IV-V progression, over 12 bars of 4/4 in the key of E’

    So some aspects of music are and always will be free just as some source-code will always be free. I think the technoids need to shut the hell up about music and it’s ‘free-ness’. They choose to lock themselves away and learn to code instead of learning to play an instrument or sing or write songs or do anything that might have resulted, at sometime in the future, in them getting layed. Maybe that’s why they have waged a war on the music industry, they can’t stand people who get to create stuff that gets them some…..Gates, Jobs, Wozniak, Zuckerberg, Allen, without their billions they would all be virgins today.

  59. Dave says:

    Bon Jovi had a point of saying that “it kinda kill the music business industry” but then itune music also helps to those unsucessful singers or those singers/musicians put their own music directly to itune which is i think that its good idea especially they can’t make it to the world wider audience or to the music label. its good if you are a big fan of pop music i think. I am a big fan of apple but personally not itune. I’d love cds, vinyl or dvds live music from great bands and classic bands. i love to collect them. I encourage my kids to do the same. my kids bought cds from great bands then download the songs to their ipod and occasionally from online if they like pop, hiphop and other genre. Itune should respect Bon Jovi’s passionate opinion about music in general.

  60. В поддержку Джона Бон Джови | Атморави: личный блог says:

    […] На прошлой неделе было много шума по поводу высказывания Джона Бон Джови о смерти музыкального бизнеса и музыки вместе с ним, причиной которой стал Стив Джобс. Как обычно такой комментарий вызывает бурю негодования. Но не все кидают камни. Есть и те, кто выражают солидарность с болью Бон Джови – Мосес Авалон пишет в своем блоге следующее: […]

    Moses says: — Even the Russian are following the debate. Here’s a translated link of the comments above.

  61. Moses, you def. share one perspective “What iTunes did that sucks most for music is it destabilized the ‘album model’… it’s really not {good for the consumer} in the long run.” I’ll offer a different one here.

    INNOVATION in music creation, distribution, marketing, etc.. is what is and will keep new music industry models alive and thriving.. not adherence to old models and resistance to technological change.

    Point 1) Economy. True, its more expensive for the old model to “make less” given all the costs that go into creating and marketing music in that model. The new model has lowered these costs significantly through innovation in music creation, distribution, marketing and more. As a result, not only is it more affordable for music creators to do all of the above, but the consumer benefits in the long run with more ACCESS to and INFORMATION about (including innovation in discovery like the Genome Project, recommendation engines, consumer reviews, etc.) MORE MUSIC they like.

    In fact, thanks to INNOVATION, the consumer can conveniently discover and buy nearly anything desired online from the comfort of their browser/app. with increasing ease and value!

    I’d say iTunes is only providing evidence via sales that the new generation of consumers care less about nostalgic relics of the past model (e.g. The Bon Jovi model of holding the album artwork in hand and taking it home to see what “cracker jack” listening prize is inside) – and more about immediate, convenient access to an “effective” listening experience where the price is right for the value provided (quality, artwork, convenient shopping and listening experience,etc.).

    Innovation in music delivery and filtering/discovery for the consumer as well as innovation in distribution, exposure and metrics for the artist are the hottest opportunities I see that will keep the industry of music flourishing.

  62. KingObjective says:

    Although some of your arguments make good points (not all; I need not pick apart the defense of a dead business model), you could have taken the higher ground and not resorted to the same insults that your opponents have. This shows a distinct lack of self-esteem and maturity on your part, and has totally diluted your points. Sorry.

    • Moses Avalon says:

      Does anyone on this forum have any idea what this person is talking about? Dude, my “opponents” called me names that I cannot even reprint here. I mean, did you read the TorrentFreak posts? It doesn’t and like it. If you had you’d know that I did take the high road.

  63. Mercedes says:

    FINALLY!! Someone commented on Jon Bon Jovi’s points who actually knows what he’s talking about! Kudos!

    Seriously the idiots that are slamming JBJ are probably the same idiots that give Justin Beiber his number one singles! They know nothing about what they preach and want something for nothing, even at the expense of an artist. Commenting that the ‘non hit songs’ on Jon’s albums are nothing but filler as I’ve read often time and again is just pure bullshit.

    Last time I checked, Just Older was a far better song than It’s My Life on the Crush Album.

    “Have a Nice Day” is NOT better than Last Man Standing.

    Just because a song is a ‘billboard hit’ doesn’t mean it’s the best song on any album. Idiots like Jon’s critics lately are unaware that you can’t use ninety minutes of play time on a song to decide if it’s gonna be something they’ll like. They like the hits but have probably heard those a number of times on the radio before they even realized they like them and buy them.

    I admit that the depreciation of the music industry is so bad these days when people favour artists like Justin Bieber over real musical artistry such as Bon Jovi out of pure ignorance of what gems the band’s albums really do hold. It’s the nature of people to be mindless masses though and just buy what songs are in the charts or being played repeatedly on the radio and ignoring the awesome lesser known masterpieces that are put out by bands like Bon Jovi and their ilk. I sure as hell will continue to stick to the real stuff. My music tastes are as such that I like songs that have meaning rather than idiot lyrics and beats, dancing that are just meant to appeal to the idiots who actually give credence to the billboards hot 100 charts. Acts that really do write, sing and play awesome stuff are the ones that really matter to me, and for that JBJ and BJ in general will always have my support. I’ll keep buying their albums in full.

    JBJ knows what he’s frigging talking about.

  64. Neel Daniel says:

    I am one of the lucky ones also to grow up knowing what music should sound like, (I will not get into why MP3’s suck and why an LP sounds better, just look it up when you feel like taking an engineering class focused on mastering), and all those cool album covers.

    I am glad JBJ said what he did since he knows what he is talking about and people print his comments. It needs to be said.

    In short this is a good subject to always beat around. I have never bought an mp3 ‘single’, just those 45’s. I buy albums and what do I get? Songs that fit together in their moment in time. Art (like a cover), and sweet big tones.

    I feel lucky to know what I know.

    Thanks Moses… keep it up.

  65. I felt sick for you after reading the first line. Good to know we’re not the only people this stuff happens to. Details next time we meet up at West 5

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