Great deal for someone who wants to put their musci on RBN!!

Neversoftsux09Neversoftsux09 Unsigned
edited February 2010 in The Rock Band Network
http://www.destructoid.com/tunecore-charging-999-for-rock-band-network-authoring-159855.phtml


Here's what it says in case anyone has a problem with the link


As we told you shortly after Harmonix announced Rock Band Network last July, a few companies have sprung up in the Rock Band community, offering to put people’s songs on RBN for a fee or a portion of the profits from music sales. TuneCore is one such organization, and they’re offering a limited-time discounted offer: a thousand bucks to get one song on RBN (the regular price is $2,500).

That may seem absurdly high to you, but think about it before you get up in arms. Authoring Rock Band tracks is quite an involved process that requires a significant amount of effort, as I detailed in my preview from August. And authoring companies will take care of all the steps along the way, which includes creating guitar, bass, vocal, and drum tracks on difficulties from Easy to Expert, as well as properly animating the in-game characters to make them look like they’re playing your song.

I spoke with Miguel Molinari, the founder of RockGamer Studios, another RBN authoring company. He offered an argument for the fairness of these prices:

The average track will take 40-60 man-hours just to finish the first pass on all tasks. After that, you have to submit the [song] for at least one playtest session before you submit it for [Microsoft’s XNA] peer review. By the time you’re done polishing the track and it’s published to the RBN store, you’ve easily spent 80-100 hours on it. Divide $2,000 by [80-]100 hours and you’re offering a highly skilled professional service for $20-$25/hr. Is that unreasonable?

Certainly, the tools to author Rock Band songs are available to everyone, and for a relatively low monetary investment: all you need is an XNA Creator’s Club account ($49 for 4 months or $99/year) and a digital audio workstation (there’s a Rock Band-customized version of a program called Reaper that costs $60). However, Molinari likened the process to Web design: theoretically, anyone can do it, but if you want something that’s of the best quality -- that is, a site that doesn’t look like it was built in 1999 on GeoCities (or in this case, a song that looks, sounds, and plays well) -- you’re better off leaving it to the pros.

In other words, $999 may actually be a pretty good bargain for bands on the cusp of success. Get on the deal while you can! Rock Band Network itself will be launching early this year.

Comments

  • toymachineSHtoymachineSH Headliner
    edited January 2010
    Oh I see they are in kahootz with TheAuthority

    all makes sense now.
  • EhfahqEhfahq Headliner
    edited January 2010
    I wonder why they had to lower thier price. :rolleyes:
  • Mr. TateMr. Tate Road Warrior
    edited January 2010
    davidshek;3431254 said:
    Yeah let's think about that before we get up in arms, shall we?

    $1000 means that, assuming your song is put up on RBN for $1, you'd have to sell 3334 copies of your track on RBN to even break even. And that's their limited-time discounted offer??
    The band still needs to sell that amount of copies for the business to make sense. If you go to a 50/50 service, taking as a given that one song equals 40 man-hours of work (which means a work week, Mon-Fri, 8 hrs/day), 3334 copies give the authoring service 500 dollars a week, 12,5 dollars per hour, which I think in the US is what telemarketers, waiters, etc. make (absolutely not bashing any of those jobs, just trying to understand the business). Now, if the authoring service has only people working on the charts and no management, that can considered a business that can work, although it won't pay that much, but still it beats working. :D Obviously if the charters are employed, well, you need a lot more than that.

    Now, if my calculations are correct (however I don't live in the USA so I maybe off in judging how much an hour of work is worth) 3,000-4,000 copies is the break even point for the business to make sense. Any less and from the service point of view it's not a good business, at least not to make a living out of it.

    David, I'm not saying the offer is good, I think you're right in pointing out that it's not a good deal for the band, however I think that the break even argument should be considered for the business as a whole. If the bands aim at selling 1,000 copies per song, services are not going to make money, at least not if a song requires 40 hours of work, excluding the costs of the equipment and starting up.
  • Neversoftsux09Neversoftsux09 Unsigned
    edited January 2010
    Its not just about how many songs you sell on RBN,its about get your band exposed. If they like what they hear,people will go out and buy their CD's,go to their concerts,buy merchandise,etc... yeah its a risk,but thats all part of the business. You have to spend money to make money.
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited January 2010
    Mr. Tate;3431324 said:
    David, I'm not saying the offer is good, I think you're right in pointing out that it's not a good deal for the band, however I think that the break even argument should be considered for the business as a whole. If the bands aim at selling 1,000 copies per song, services are not going to make money, at least not if a song requires 40 hours of work, excluding the costs of the equipment and starting up.
    I understand what you're saying, but look at the title of this thread. "Great deal for someone who wants to put their music on RBN" (fixed typo). That is a blatant falsehood. This is not a great deal for bands, especially unsigned ones.

    I don't care what it takes the business to break even, that's their problem, not mine. Whatever business model they need to come up with to do that is up to them. My perspective is from the band's point-of-view, and from there, this price point is ridiculous.
    Neversoftsux09;3431361 said:
    Its not just about how many songs you sell on RBN,its about get your band exposed. If they like what they hear,people will go out and buy their CD's,go to their concerts,buy merchandise,etc... yeah its a risk,but thats all part of the business. You have to spend money to make money.
    Even if that's the goal, which it absolutely should be for RBN, $2500 is a ridiculous amount of money for that. I could take that same amount of money, spend it on an ad campaign on Facebook and Myspace, and expose my band's music to FAR more than 8000 people.
  • HeXcodaHeXcoda Road Warrior
    edited January 2010
    Neversoftsux09;3431361 said:
    Its not just about how many songs you sell on RBN,its about get your band exposed. If they like what they hear,people will go out and buy their CD's,go to their concerts,buy merchandise,etc... yeah its a risk,but thats all part of the business. You have to spend money to make money.
    Actually, in the digital world, you don't really have to spend money to make money. The whole point of digital distribution is near zero cost to produce and distribute materials. The supply side of supply and demand is easy enough to get together -- which means that the demand doesn't have to be incredibly high to still make some money. Long tail, yo.

    So, let's say if someone wanted to roll their own, they could get Reaper and an XNA subscription -- maxing out around $150, if I recall, which is a pittance compared to the "discount" price of $1000. After that, any sales you make on RBN are all yours. Be a smash hit or be something someone occasionally picks up, either way, you'll very likely trump your initial investment and the rest is gravy.

    Say you DON'T want to roll your own. Tag with RA or a similar company, again, zero up front, and gravy all the way home. RA are the ones taking the risk, but it's balanced -- if they get enough songs in the works, the ones that sell subsidize the ones that don't, and again, the up front cost is minimal for them (time investment, mostly, not much cash investment).

    This is not a good deal, period. It's old media thinking, that you have to blow massive amounts of money on an ad budget in order to get anywhere.
  • Mr. TateMr. Tate Road Warrior
    edited January 2010
    davidshek;3431369 said:
    I understand what you're saying, but look at the title of this thread. "Great deal for someone who wants to put their music on RBN" (fixed typo). That is a blatant falsehood. This is not a great deal for bands, especially unsigned ones.

    I don't care what it takes the business to break even, that's their problem, not mine. Whatever business model they need to come up with to do that is up to them. My perspective is from the band's point-of-view, and from there, this price point is ridiculous.
    And that's absolutely right. I wasn't discussing that. I was pointing out that for the whole RBN project to work, at least outside of the homemade charts domain, treating the 3,000-4,000 copies threshold as some kind of finish line is dangerous. 4,000 copies ca. per song is, and I don't know if people are realizing this, not a huge number, it's in fact some kind of minimum target to shoot for for the business as a whole. And as you will agree, for RBN to become the interactive music platform we all want it to be, we need professional doing the charts, for a number of reasons I'm sure you already know.

    Again, it was just an analysis on something you said, not a discussion on an offer that is simply not good.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited January 2010
    davidshek;3431254 said:
    Yeah let's think about that before we get up in arms, shall we?

    $1000 means that, assuming your song is put up on RBN for $1, you'd have to sell 3334 copies of your track on RBN to even break even. And that's their limited-time discounted offer??

    At their "regular price" of $2500, you would have to sell 8334 copies on RBN to break even. Are any unsigned bands actually expecting to achieve that? Many of the tracks that HMX themselves have released for regular DLC haven't even sold that well.

    In my opinion, they're out of their freakin' gourd trying to charge that much.
    I agree with everything you wrote there, David. But let's think a little more from a different direction. That company might not be alone in being out of their gourd:

    You accurately state the difficulty of selling enough copies to recoup a $1000 investment. So let's apply that same logic to the difficulty of making a reasonable income as an authoring company.

    An authoring company has to hire someone to chart a song (I'm simplifying down to a single person, but many of them split up the tasks--but I think the economics of it are similar). That person is going to work for let's say 60 hours total. This will include all playtest adjustments, web submissions, responding to playtesters, discussions with the band regarding decisions, getting any additional audio if necessary, everything.

    Let's decide to pay this talented individual $8.33 per hour. Seems kind of low but hey, he likes music. That's $500. Now we, the company owners, have to pay all of our expenses and try to scrape out a profit.

    So on day one in the store, we are in the hole $500 (of course, at this time, the store is not open, so things are even worse than I'm presenting). The song starts selling on the store. It sells 1000 copies the first month (let's say January).

    But M$ doesn't pay you at the end of the first month. They pay quarterly. So no money yet.

    In February, there are more songs in the store, but your song is still getting sales--let's say 500 for fun.

    In March it sells another 300. Admittedly these are totally made up numbers. If you don't like them, I'll take suggestions. But they seem plausible.

    Three months have gone by. I haven't seen any money yet. I had to pay my contracted author $500, that doesn't help the bank account.

    Now M$ is getting ready to pay, but they let me make changes to my bank account information until April 15, so I know they aren't going to transfer any earlier than that. In fact, they say payments can take up to 45 days after the end of the quarter! And I have a feeling they are going to use each of those 45 days.

    So OK it's now May 15th and I finally get money from M$! (1000 + 500 + 300) * $1 * 30% = $540. So after paying my author I have $40 after having waited for FIVE MONTHS. I can at least pay for my xbox live Gold account for that year, hurray!

    But oh crap I forgot about the band! In all this calculating I got careless!! I have to give them 1/2 of the $540! So now I still don't have enough money to pay my author--I'm $230 short!

    It's going to be tough out there I think, especially at the beginning. It would sure be nice to be wrong though.

    PS: I know it's possible that I could have cut a deal with my authors so they aren't paid a fixed amount, but instead, they are paid a percentage of the income. But that just lets me share my pain a little with them. Let's say they do a 50/50 split. So the charter has to wait 5 months to get $135 for 60 hours of work. And I have to wait 5 months to get $135 to run my company and pay myself. Even if I had 10 songs just like this one in the store the income is very tiny.
  • thjimmythjimmy Road Warrior
    edited January 2010
    HeXcoda;3431386 said:

    ...someone ... could get Reaper and an XNA subscription -- maxing out around $150, ... a pittance compared to ... $1000.

    After that, any sales you make on RBN are all yours.

    ...you'll very likely trump your initial investment and the rest is gravy.
    I see this arguement all the time. And, while it seems stable, it's a little more complicated.

    OP said it takes 80-100 hours to produce a purchaseable track.

    What is your 80-100 hours worth?

    Are you doing this in your spare time?

    Could you be working at a job making more than $10 an hour with the same time?

    Could you be writting new songs, promoting your band, or doing some other unique-to-you activity?

    The bottom line is, if you have nothing better to do, or you are passionate about the process, then you should author your own tracks.

    If you could be doing something more productive, pay someone else to do the heavy-lifting.
  • kingtonyxkingtonyx Unofficial
    edited January 2010
    yeah, I would not pay that price
  • thirdmortalthirdmortal Opening Act
    edited January 2010
    ethicalpaul;3431459 said:
    I agree with everything you wrote there, David. But let's think a little more from a different direction. That company might not be alone in being out of their gourd:
    I agree the companies are not trying to rip people off. they seem like a reasonable rate for the work but the point David is making is that why would anyone put that kind of investment down for questionable returns?

    Sure, if you are a known band who could project a definite amount of sales then the $1000 upfront is a good idea, since you will collect 100% of the profits down the road (which you would hope would be more than $1000). But if you are unknown, you have no idea what kind of sales you will get. How the charting company makes money is of no concern to the band.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited January 2010
    Yeah I read his post saying that he was strictly talking about it from the band's perspective after I posted. He's right, the band should get whatever deal it can.

    But if I'm right in my concern, pretty soon there won't be anyone for the band to call, because the phones will be disconnected.
  • QuazifujiQuazifuji Opening Act
    edited January 2010
    I think the biggest issue here is that Rock Band Network is currently an unknown entity. It hasn't launched yet, so there are no figures on what sort of profits a band can expect from it.

    Part of the reason that the split-the-profits payment method is so popular is because it removes the risk for the band. They can sign up with someone like Rhythm Authors knowing that, even if their song's a complete flop, they haven't lost anything. For a lot of bands, that's a big deal. It also puts pressure on the company charting the songs to promote them and ensure that they sell well, since their profits are directly tied to song sales.

    Once RBN comes out, things may change. Maybe it'll turn out an unsigned band selling several thousands of songs is actually a regular occurrence and $1000 or even $2500 is well worth it for the profits/exposure it gets, or maybe ethicalpaul will be right, and it'll turn out that the current pricing models won't be able to support the charting companies that have come up.

    But right now, no one knows. And with no idea how many sales they'll get, most bands would much rather take no risks with something like RhythmAuthors than invest $1000 on something with statistics saying what kind of profits they'll get.
  • Neversoftsux09Neversoftsux09 Unsigned
    edited January 2010
    Quazifuji;3432280 said:
    I think the biggest issue here is that Rock Band Network is currently an unknown entity. It hasn't launched yet, so there are no figures on what sort of profits a band can expect from it.

    You dont think that HMX has told the bands that already have their songs on their game and others they have coming about this??? I guarantee they told them about this. That would be dumb on there part if they didnt cuz they get a cut for every song that goes on there.
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited January 2010
    ethicalpaul;3431459 said:
    I agree with everything you wrote there, David. But let's think a little more from a different direction. That company might not be alone in being out of their gourd:

    You accurately state the difficulty of selling enough copies to recoup a $1000 investment. So let's apply that same logic to the difficulty of making a reasonable income as an authoring company.
    Yeah, I totally understand the point of view of the company that's asking that price. What I'm saying is that their asking price is ridiculous, and they can't possibly expect any unsigned band to be willing to front that much money with questionable returns. $1000? An unsigned band can record an entire album in a budget studio for that much money. They can buy most of a PA with that kinda cash.

    Unsigned bands are lucky if they have $500 to buy T-shirts and other merchandise to sell at gigs, let alone a grand to spend on something like this. We're thankful if we even make enough money playing a show to pay for the gas it takes to get there and get home again, and maybe feed the 5 members of the band throughout that day.

    If their business model really is, "We must make $1000 or $2500 from the band for our business to succeed", then they really need to rethink their business model.
  • trg007trg007 Your Ever Rocking RBN Forum Guru
    edited January 2010
    Some of the posts here make it sound like RhythmAuthors are the only ones offering authoring services for no up-front cost. All the major RBN authoring groups offer various arrangements ranging from paying a one-time fee and all the royalties going to the band, to paying nothing up-front and taking a cut of the royalties.

    Either way, it's still going to cost the band quite a bit, whether it's up front or taken out of the royalties over time. The royalty option is obviously very popular for indie bands who don't have the cash up-front and don't know how well their songs are going to sell. Likewise, it's a risk for the authoring company to take on a band on a strictly royalty-based arrangement if that band is only going to sell 1000 songs at $1.

    The reason it's "worth it" is, well, if you tried to author an entire song yourself you'd know. Someone trying to author a song on their own could easily spend 100+ hours by the time it gets through Peer Review. An authoring company can have a song authored in a very short amount of time because they're splitting task between people and those people are intimately familiar with the process (as opposed to a band trying to learn everything for the first time).
  • Sargehalo51Sargehalo51 Road Warrior
    edited January 2010
    So I am reading the posts in this thread and am a bit confused, since my impression of the RBN was that unsigned bands could do the whole process themselves, without paying anyone (other than the small fee to join the RBN creators club). So why would any unsigned band pay any company for this process? I base this on the following quote from HMX:

    "Originally Posted by HMXEnosity
    - Band X wants in RB
    - Band X signs up for the RBN creators club
    - Band X gets the tools to author / test / submit a song
    - Band X authors / tests / submits a song
    - Other RBN creators club members test the song / give feedback and ultimately pass the song
    - Band X's song goes live in the RBN music store."
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited January 2010
    Sargehalo51;3432655 said:
    So I am reading the posts in this thread and am a bit confused, since my impression of the RBN was that unsigned bands could do the whole process themselves, without paying anyone (other than the small fee to join the RBN creators club). So why would any unsigned band pay any company for this process? I base this on the following quote from HMX:

    "Originally Posted by HMXEnosity
    - Band X wants in RB
    - Band X signs up for the RBN creators club
    - Band X gets the tools to author / test / submit a song
    - Band X authors / tests / submits a song
    - Other RBN creators club members test the song / give feedback and ultimately pass the song
    - Band X's song goes live in the RBN music store."
    not every band has the resources or skill to do that...
    i suspect most unsigned bands will be going through some authoring service (but certainly not this one).
  • trg007trg007 Your Ever Rocking RBN Forum Guru
    edited January 2010
    Sargehalo51;3432655 said:
    So why would any unsigned band pay any company for this process?
    See the last part of my post directly above yours. :) The process may sound easy on paper, but it's much more involved than that. I've seen cases where someone trying to author themselves gave up on it because of how time-consuming it is.
  • XenigmaXenigma Opening Act
    edited January 2010
    If it was easy to convert a song for Rock Band, there would be little need for charting groups in the first place. Some bands will go through the trouble of doing all the work themselves; I've already seen a few on the beta. They get all the profits, they get to control their own songs, and once a song gets through all the requisite testing, they should end up with a quality final product.

    For everyone else, though, we have the charting groups who will happily do all the work in exchange for money upfront or a cut of the profit. Let the band focus on doing whatever else they want to do! It might not be the right choice for everyone, but there is nothing wrong with having the choice in the first place.
  • DavyinaTogaDavyinaToga Road Warrior
    edited January 2010
    Neversoftsux09;3431200 said:
    [...]In other words, $999 may actually be a pretty good bargain for bands on the cusp of success. Get on the deal while you can! Rock Band Network itself will be launching early this year.
    Wow! What the heck am I doing, offering a paltry rate compared to that one and doing all the work on my own???

    On second thought, 85% of start-up businesses fail within their first year. And I like authoring in my own free time, so I'll take my paltry rates, with guaranteed pocket money for an enjoyable pastime.
  • toymachineSHtoymachineSH Headliner
    edited January 2010
    trg007;3432593 said:
    Some of the posts here make it sound like RhythmAuthors are the only ones offering authoring services for no up-front cost.
    Not exactly true- Rock Gamer Studios is mentioned in the OP :P
  • Sargehalo51Sargehalo51 Road Warrior
    edited January 2010
    Xenigma;3432909 said:
    If it was easy to convert a song for Rock Band, there would be little need for charting groups in the first place. Some bands will go through the trouble of doing all the work themselves; I've already seen a few on the beta. They get all the profits, they get to control their own songs, and once a song gets through all the requisite testing, they should end up with a quality final product.

    For everyone else, though, we have the charting groups who will happily do all the work in exchange for money upfront or a cut of the profit. Let the band focus on doing whatever else they want to do! It might not be the right choice for everyone, but there is nothing wrong with having the choice in the first place.
    Choice is always a good thing. I doubt my drumming skills will ever really get me to the point where I am making original music, but if I did, I would certainly want to do this myself (with my band) so that we could keep total control over our music. Hopefully someday artists/bands will be able to get their music to the masses, and make a living, without giving up rights and money to others (yes, this would be called music utopia and probably will never happen).
  • GeneralGilliamGeneralGilliam Opening Act
    edited January 2010
    Well these people are obviously just a couple of people looking to make a quick buck on unsespecting people. I mean get 10 bands interested and there you go, youve made $10,000! There no better than scam artists.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited January 2010
    davidshek;3432497 said:
    Yeah, I totally understand the point of view of the company that's asking that price. What I'm saying is that their asking price is ridiculous, and they can't possibly expect any unsigned band to be willing to front that much money with questionable returns. $1000? An unsigned band can record an entire album in a budget studio for that much money. They can buy most of a PA with that kinda cash.
    I agree with you completely that it's too much money for an unsigned band. I hope you will agree with me that it's too little money for a company or individual to be able to survive, hence the problem--a wide gulf between what what the consumer can pay and what the provider has to charge :)

    And General Gilliam, there is nothing scammy or diabolical about openly offering a service for a price. If you were charting songs for a living you would soon learn that it would be hard to survive on $1000 per song.

    But even if that were a king's ransom of cash, there's still nothing wrong with offering a service for whatever price you wish. Every store, service organization and independent tradesperson does it every day. You don't have to buy it if you think it is too high, but that doesn't make anyone evil.
  • thjimmythjimmy Road Warrior
    edited January 2010
    GeneralGilliam;3433332 said:
    Well these people are obviously just a couple of people looking to make a quick buck on unsespecting people. I mean get 10 bands interested and there you go, youve made $10,000! There no better than scam artists.
    How is this a scam? If they put in 80-100 hours of work and give you a finished product, it sounds like a business transaction.

    If you pay $1,000 and don't receive anything, that's a scam.
  • KariodudeKariodude Road Warrior
    edited January 2010
    Honestly, the reason $1000 for one song on the Rock Band Network is a scam is because there are better groups out there that do charting (like Rhythm Authors) that are doing this as a hobby and not a career.

    Any band that just has $1000 lying around to give to a group to have one song on RBN doesn't need the exposure RBN offers.
  • thjimmythjimmy Road Warrior
    edited January 2010
    Kariodude;3434511 said:
    Honestly, the reason $1000 for one song on the Rock Band Network is a scam is because there are better groups out there that do charting (like Rhythm Authors) that are doing this as a hobby and not a career.

    Any band that just has $1000 lying around to give to a group to have one song on RBN doesn't need the exposure RBN offers.
    I agree with everything you said but the word "scam."

    Is it over-priced?
    Is it unnecessary?
    Are there better alternatives?
    Are the bands that can afford it the ones that don't need it?

    Maybe to yes on all counts. But, if these guys get people to pay for providing a service, it isn't a scam.

    My re-write would be:
    Kariodude;3434511 said:
    Honestly, the reason $1000 for one song on the Rock Band Network is over-priced and unnecessary is there are better groups out there that do charting (like Rhythm Authors) that are doing this as a hobby and not a career.

    Any band that just has $1000 lying around to give to a group to have one song on RBN doesn't need the exposure RBN offers.
    ;)
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited January 2010
    Oh I didn't know Rhythm Authors was a hobby. I must have missed that on their site. Does it say something like "When making a decision about who's going to chart your song, forget the pros, come to us--you can be our hobby!"

    It is not a scam to offer a service in exchange for X amount of money. An example of a scam would be to take someone's money and then not deliver anything. I don't understand where people get these weird ideas.
    Any band that just has $1000 lying around to give to a group to have one song on RBN doesn't need the exposure RBN offers.
    That is completely false. It is exactly the type of band that might have lots of extra thousands that might sell a lot of songs on RBN. And this type of band might very well rather pay one fixed price up front rather than be splitting all future revenue with a charting group.
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited January 2010
    Kariodude;3434511 said:
    Honestly, the reason $1000 for one song on the Rock Band Network is a scam is because there are better groups out there that do charting (like Rhythm Authors) that are doing this as a hobby and not a career.

    Any band that just has $1000 lying around to give to a group to have one song on RBN doesn't need the exposure RBN offers.
    you'd be surprised how many low-mid popularity bands have money to throw around...
    i once recorded a really bad unsigned hard rock band because i went to school with both of the guitarists and despite having no recordings available beyond a really rough demo they played successful local shows and offered me $7,500 right off the bat.

    i'm sure this will work out for some bands who don't have the time to explore other options, but i'd imagine about 99% of the rest of us will be better suited with groups who take a percentage cut.

    and obviously it's not a scam at all... the price and service seem pretty clearly defined to me.
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