Voice of Music 2: Sergey Pimenov

It all started simply. We had a website for the PPK (a group that included Sergei Pimenov, known for the international hit Resurrection). The year was 1998, the site was hosted by my friend. There was little space, nowhere to put the tracks. At that time, MP3 at 128 Kbps was a lot. To post the entire album, you needed 60 megabytes. We didn’t have that much space on the site, so I started looking for where to put them, and for some reason I immediately typed MP3.com. Then there was no Google, as it is now, there were some search engines, but I did not look for hosting through them. I typed MP3.com, saw the registration button there. Registered, it says - lay out. Started posting. This process took a very long time, because it was all slow then, in our office there was a 64 kilobit channel. The case, of course, took place in Rostov-on-Don. Then the following situation developed: we recorded an album, promoted it well, sold it locally, in Rostov. I went to Moscow, showed it to various producers, authoritative at that time. I was told that no one needs this music, go back to Rostov and don't come back. I went back and wondered what to do next with all this. We sold the circulation of the album, promoted it in Rostov, now, it turns out, we need to further promote it on our own. Accordingly, there was an understanding that it should just be given to people to listen to, and we began to look for a way to do this. Of course, put it on the Internet. As I said, there was no place, MP3.com was found.I put our music on the site a few months before there was any money. When I posted music, there was no talk of money, the site was just a page system for musicians so that you could quickly organize your own page with a convenient address, put pictures and music there. Today it looks like a matter of course, and then even the simplest service was a novelty. When I posted our music on MP3.com, I don't remember exactly, but at that time there were several thousand musicians on the site. Compared to what it was in the final, when the site had under a million pages, this, of course, was very little. Accordingly, we have put links to MP3.com on our site - download whoever wants. I remember people also saying “upload it in a worse quality, otherwise it will take a long time to download”, this was the situation with the Internet.

Then it so happened that at that time there were very few quality musicians on the site. That is, any already “cool” musicians at that time were not at all interested in the Internet, and the young people who actively rushed to MP3.com did not have the necessary sound. We were one of the best just in terms of sound. Accordingly, our tracks got into the hit parade, and for some time were present in different charts. And then the story began with the fact that they began to pay money for it. MP3.com had a system where the site gave away a million dollars a month to the most downloaded musicians, the money was distributed according to some formula. And we were already in the charts, our music was actively downloaded, so it turned out, as they say, whoever had time, he ate it. Then, of course, mass hysteria began, everyone rushed to upload music, promote their pages. We were lucky, we were pioneers, a few more teams from Russia earned something, but this did not last long, only a year and a half. Most of this time we did nothing and enjoyed life, receiving ten thousand dollars a month. There were a lot of downloads, some millions, and then through MP3.com music became popular in America, that is, figuratively speaking, files were downloaded five million times, some kind of critical mass was reached, and then through the Americans in some from the clubs, the track went to Paul Oakenfold. Paul Oakenfold is one of the most significant figures in the world of dance music, a famous musician, DJ and producer.

That's all. Then Oakenfold became interested and released tracks on his label Perfecto. The track ended up on the UK charts, and the rest is history. In fact, our music has been sold several times. At first we sold it in our city of Rostov, then on MP3.com, then the tracks went to Oakenfold, he sold them through his label, and then, when the music became popular in England, we released it again in Russia, already in a large circulation and with appropriate support.

MR. How did your UPLIFTO company come about?

Uplifto came about after we went to England to Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto label for the release of the album, hung around there for almost a month, looked at what a record label is, how they work, what happens, what record labels are , well, everyone licked it from there (laughs).

MR. Your company simultaneously releases music on different media and distributes music on the Web. What is the situation here, what are the prospects?

We have released 35 discs to date. The formats have very different prospects, the fact is that the market is constantly changing, various new techniques appear almost every month. It is not at all clear what will happen in a year. Because, for example, there is a standard technology for selling files, something that, for example, iTunes and Beatport do. Figuratively speaking, pay money - get MP3, with or without encryption. There are other technologies, subscription music, a lot of free music. Now it is not at all clear what will happen in a few years. Maybe in general everything will turn so that all music will be generally free.There were such precedents and such advances. There is a standard for selling music - iTunes. On the one hand, this is a standard, but on the other hand, in some territories, in particular, in Russia, it does not work in principle. Accordingly, such a model, most likely, will not work in Russia. If we talk about the Russian market, then, in my opinion, no one really sells anything here yet. There are no such people who would be able to earn some adequate money by selling MP3s. If we talk about the global market, then yes, of course, there are some hits that are sold through iTunes, and big labels make money from it. But, on the other hand, now there are more and more independent musicians, independent labels that also sell MP3s, but they don't sell much. The structure of the market has changed, the structure of the musical product has changed. For the last 20-30 years, we have seen a situation where large companies created big hits, "pumped" artists and sold CDs in millions of copies. Now this simply does not exist, and the farther, the past will be more and more blurred, that is, there will be more and more artists on the market, and sales of each will be less and less.

MR. What about total sales?

Cumulative sales will naturally grow. But since there will be an order of magnitude more artists than buyers can perceive, priorities will shift. That is, the number of buyers is increasing and will not increase as much as the number of musicians and music in general. It's just that before the assortment of a regular music store was limited. If, say, you came to a small store, then you are limited by its assortment, which, in turn, is limited by the size of the store itself. You can't put a million CDs in a room the size of this room. Accordingly, the larger the music store, the wider the range of . There is no such thing on the Internet. The online store has everything at once. Therefore, sales of one thing, an artist, a style, an album, are eroded, many small companies, small labels appear that sell their releases and live by this. Plus, a large number of artists appear, whose music, if sold, then almost no one will buy it. But, oddly enough, the music is good, and it still has its consumer. Therefore, there are new ways to bring it to the listener, not necessarily through a purchase. For example, I believe that the same Last.Fm service has made a real revolution in listening to music.If you want to listen to something according to your mood, without any specifics, then Last.Fm is simply the best choice, you just need to “hammer in” the name of your favorite style or the name of the artist and you can immediately start listening to music. Why buy or even download something when you have a decent Internet channel at home. In my opinion, the technologies and techniques for delivering music to the end consumer are constantly changing now, so what will happen tomorrow is completely incomprehensible.

MR. What lies ahead for physical music media?

They are doomed. Everything is simple here: as soon as some new, more convenient technology for delivering music to the end consumer appears, all the rest, less convenient, disappear, become a thing of the past. The same is true with physical media of music. They are still holding on now, but it won't be long before CDs look as odd as vinyl looks now. The speed of delivery of musical material, both to ordinary listeners and those involved in the music industry, is a critical parameter for this. Why do people in Russia still buy, say, our MP3 discs? People compare the price of a disc to the price of bandwidth, that is, the price paid for downloading 600 MB of music. As long as this figure is higher than the price of the disk, people buy disks. As soon as it becomes lower, they will buy much less. Again, discs are still bought because people have a lot of equipment left on such media, at home and in cars. For example, we specially release our new release (Katya Chekhova's album "Love 2.0") on three media: regular CD, MP3CD and CD+DVD. This is done in order to give the user maximum convenience. That is, we are well aware that a person can easily download our music on the network, and it would be better if in the store he thinks something like “why should I download these megabytes if you can buy a disc for 150 rubles.”This is convenient, a person here pays not for the media, but for the convenience of access to information, for the confidence that the files have all the tags filled in, the lyrics of all the songs and pictures are also already in their places. Again, it's very easy to copy the files to the computer's hard drive, and put the CD in the car, no need to bother with burning discs. But be that as it may, physical media, of course, are living out their last days. As soon as the cost of traffic in the Russian regions becomes equal and becomes lower than the price of a disc, there will be inexpensive unlimited Internet everywhere, CDs as a music carrier will go into the shadows. Of course, collectors will remain, but this is a special case.

Besides, piracy still "blooms and smells" in our country. Starting with a small house network, whose owner first of all puts up a server with music obtained by hook or by crook, ending with the same "left" CDs. I think the victory over piracy in Russia only means a complete end to CD sales and music retail. According to the amounts that will be asked for legal discs, practically no one will buy anything. But the thirst for a "freebie" will not go anywhere, and the number of people who are technically capable of providing this "freebie" will only grow. Therefore, as soon as pirated discs disappear, sales of ordinary ones will collapse along with them, and smart guys with computers will set up their servers just everywhere.

MR. Sergei, you said earlier that in the Russian segment of the Web, no one really sells music. Can you comment?

We work with several companies, but there are no really tangible results. I doubt that this situation is only with our releases. The fact is that on the Internet people, including me, will buy what they want, like, and what is impossible (or difficult) to download for free. It is clear that in theory you can get everything you want for free in the same torrents. But for me, for example, the issue of time and convenience is still very important. If you can get something here and now, and not look for it, and then download it for a day, a week or a month, then with a high probability I will buy it. But there is no such service with rare, unique music or other content for sale in Russia.What's the point, you see, to buy records of Verka Serduchka, when they are already everywhere in bulk. That is, there is no such content that would be interesting to buy. Of course, something is on sale, there is an assortment of shops, but so far nothing serious. In my opinion, this situation can help Russia jump over the period of online trading and come to best practices, like a subscription service or something like “pay 10 dollars and listen to all Russian music for free.” Or even completely free.

In our country, for historical reasons, artists are used to earning money by touring, they do not rely on sales of music on various media. If our artist says “you need to post everything for free, but then you will have 100 tours a month”, he will gladly do it. Music will begin to function as a kind of advertising for the artist. It's working now, even big artists of Madonna's caliber are already experimenting with free access to part of the album or individual tracks. The understanding is already beginning that music can be an advertisement for another product. For example, a concert, merchandise (things with the symbols of the artist, souvenirs), the artist himself. After all, he does not always make good money from selling music. The price of a CD, it's no secret, at one time was greatly inflated by large corporations. What the artist himself receives from each disc is 10-12 percent at the most, everything else goes to everyone who is involved in the process of promotion, delivery and sale of music. Now, in order for an artist to sell music to consumers, he does not need intermediaries. You just need to publish music on the Web and convey to the user that it is located here. The saved money can just be used to advertise yourself, or you can not let it in.

MR. If we talk about the distribution of music in the form of files. What do you think about the sound quality of MP3 and other common formats compared to CD?

There isn't much difference. More precisely, it is not for the consumer. There are always maniacs and they buy Super Audio CDs. The average consumer will never hear the difference between WAV or MP3 320 Kbps. To catch the difference, really hear it, you need to have a serious and very expensive audio system. And the vast majority of normal people listen to music at home in the center, in the car or on the player on the go. There is zero difference here, no matter what anyone says.

MR. How can you make money on music today?

On the one hand, there are many opportunities to bring music to people, on the other hand, there are a lot of musicians, so everyone decides for himself. We should also not forget that 90 percent of musicians have simply never received money for their music on media. They never made money selling media. Thousands of great bands, good artists who play in clubs and restaurants, play their music at concerts, never signed a contract with a label, did not sell media and did not make money on it. Money comes either from concerts, or people just do it for themselves, for their own pleasure. This is often found in "small" styles, such as folk music. Accordingly, these people will now take for themselves the tools that will be profitable for promotion, and will start to think what is more profitable - to sell 100 songs for a dollar or lay everything out for free and go on 10 tours with a fee of a thousand dollars.

What is the beauty of the current situation is that it is impossible to say unequivocally which way is right. No more "knurled rails". It used to be quite obvious: in order to get into the English (or any other) hit parade, you need a good label with serious promotion, connections with distribution, the video must be “played” on television, otherwise nothing. Now it's not like that at all. You don't need a label to get on the hit parade. There has already been a precedent when at number one in the UK was a band that didn't have a contract.

The music product itself is changing. Music ceases to play the role that it had before. The role of those who make money on music is also changing, because these are far from being only musicians in the classical sense. People write lyrics, make remixes, embrace the gigantic market of music for commercials, radio and TV, video games, finally! Today, one track in advertising, which is obviously easier to sell, can bring more than a whole album, which must first be recorded, and then also be able to sell. In general, there are new opportunities for earning. Those who knew how to do something and find application for what they have done will remain afloat in the new conditions. The likelihood that a person will simply record a track, and he will “shoot” today is less and less, music must be offered in combination with something.

And the person who used to have the choice of watching TV or listening to music today has a much larger choice of home entertainment. And the most attractive, strong of them are video games. Today they are the source of everything at once: action, music, visual images, video. And all this is skillfully mixed into one big story. Previously, as it was: a person at home has a player and a dozen records. Gradually, records were replaced by CDs, entertainment television appeared. And today a person comes home, he has dozens of cable TV channels, a satellite dish, DVD, Internet, Sony PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and even a Sony PSP in his pocket. And on each channel there is an interesting program, and incredibly spectacular and addictive games are released for each console. So the main struggle now is precisely for the attention of this very person, there are too many factors that distract him. Now you can not consider music as one of the pillars of art, as it was before. Yes, once there were, figuratively speaking, only musicians, artists, dancers and actors. And now all kinds of creativity, including music, are soldered into one whole. I think the future is just behind this, behind the universal means and the fruits of creativity.

When you look at it, a well-made video game is a much more complex and "cool" product than even the most amazing band's album. Several dozen talented people have been working on the game for a couple of years, and on the strength of the album, four people have been sitting in the studio for six months.

MR. Don't you think that one day people will get tired of all this? All the hundreds of kinds of entertainment, sophisticated games and musical opuses?

No, there will always be something new to keep people busy. It is not without reason that all these extreme sports, dozens of types of “skating”, “boarding”, and “jumping” are so popular now. There, for the most part, people who are tired of all these endless information flows, they can not cope with them and are looking for something else. And tomorrow they will sell flights into space for a hundred thousand, and everyone will go crazy about them. In general, no one will ever get tired of having fun.

Voice of Music 2: Sergey Pimenov

It all started simply. We had a website for the PPK (a group that included Sergei Pimenov, known for the international hit Resurrection). The year was 1998, the site was hosted by my friend. There was little space, nowhere to put the tracks. At that time, MP3 at 128 Kbps was a lot. To post the entire album, you needed 60 megabytes. We didn’t have that much space on the site, so I started looking for where to put them, and for some reason I immediately typed MP3.com. Then there was no Google, as it is now, there were some search engines, but I did not look for hosting through them. Picked up an MP3.com, I saw a registration button there. Registered, it says - lay out. Started posting. This process took a very long time, because it was all slow then, in our office there was a 64 kilobit channel. The case, of course, took place in Rostov-on-Don. Then the following situation developed: we recorded an album, promoted it well, sold it locally, in Rostov. I went to Moscow, showed it to various producers, authoritative at that time. I was told that no one needs this music, go back to Rostov and don't come back. I went back and wondered what to do next with all this. We sold the circulation of the album, promoted it in Rostov, now, it turns out, we need to further promote it on our own. Accordingly, there was an understanding that it should just be given to people to listen to, and we began to look for a way to do this. Of course, put it on the Internet. As I said, there was no place, MP3.com was found. I put our music on the site a few months before there was any money. When I posted music, there was no talk of money, the site was just a page system for musicians so that you could quickly organize your own page with a convenient address, put pictures and music there. Today it looks like a matter of course, and then even the simplest service was a novelty. When I posted our music on MP3.com, I don't remember exactly, but at that time there were several thousand musicians on the site. Compared to what it was in the final, when the site had under a million pages, this, of course, was very little. Accordingly, we have put links to MP3.com to our site - download whoever wants. I remember people also saying “upload it in a worse quality, otherwise it will take a long time to download”, this was the situation with the Internet.

Then it so happened that at that time there were very few quality musicians on the site. That is, any already “cool” musicians at that time were not at all interested in the Internet, and the young people who actively rushed to MP3.com did not have the necessary sound. We were one of the best just in terms of sound. Accordingly, our tracks got into the hit parade, and for some time were present in different charts. And then the story began with the fact that they began to pay money for it. MP3.com had a system where the site gave away a million dollars a month to the most downloaded musicians, the money was distributed according to some formula. And we were already in the charts, our music was actively downloaded, so it turned out, as they say, whoever had time, he ate it. Then, of course, mass hysteria began, everyone rushed to upload music, promote their pages. We were lucky, we were pioneers, a few more teams from Russia earned something, but this did not last long, only a year and a half. Most of this time we did nothing and enjoyed life, receiving ten thousand dollars a month. There were a lot of downloads, some millions, and then through MP3.com music became popular in America, that is, figuratively speaking, files were downloaded five million times, some kind of critical mass was reached, and then through the Americans in some from the clubs, the track went to Paul Oakenfold. Paul Oakenfold is one of the most significant figures in the world of dance music, a famous musician, DJ and producer.

That's all. Then Oakenfold became interested and released tracks on his label Perfecto. The track ended up on the UK charts, and the rest is history. In fact, our music has been sold several times. At first we sold it in our city of Rostov, then on MP3.com, then the tracks went to Oakenfold, he sold them through his label, and then, when the music became popular in England, we released it again in Russia, already in a large circulation and with appropriate support.

MR. How did your UPLIFTO company come about?

Uplifto came about after we went to England to Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto label for the release of the album, hung around there for almost a month, looked at what a record label is, how they work, what happens, what record labels are , well, everyone licked it from there (laughs).

MR. Your company simultaneously releases music on different media and distributes music on the Web. What is the situation here, what are the prospects?

We have released 35 discs to date. The formats have very different prospects, the fact is that the market is constantly changing, various new techniques appear almost every month. It is not at all clear what will happen in a year. Because, for example, there is a standard technology for selling files, something that, for example, iTunes and Beatport do. Figuratively speaking, pay money - get MP3, with or without encryption. There are other technologies, subscription music, a lot of free music. Now it is not at all clear what will happen in a few years. Maybe in general everything will turn so that all music will be generally free.There were such precedents and such advances. There is a standard for selling music - iTunes. On the one hand, this is a standard, but on the other hand, in some territories, in particular, in Russia, it does not work in principle. Accordingly, such a model, most likely, will not work in Russia. If we talk about the Russian market, then, in my opinion, no one really sells anything here yet. There are no such people who would be able to earn some adequate money by selling MP3s. If we talk about the global market, then yes, of course, there are some hits that are sold through iTunes, and big labels make money from it. But, on the other hand, now there are more and more independent musicians, independent labels that also sell MP3s, but they don't sell much. The structure of the market has changed, the structure of the musical product has changed. For the last 20-30 years, we have seen a situation where large companies created big hits, "pumped" artists and sold CDs in millions of copies. Now this simply does not exist, and the farther, the past will be more and more blurred, that is, there will be more and more artists on the market, and sales of each will be less and less.

MR. What about total sales?

Cumulative sales will naturally grow. But since there will be an order of magnitude more artists than buyers can perceive, priorities will shift. That is, the number of buyers is increasing and will not increase as much as the number of musicians and music in general. It's just that before the assortment of a regular music store was limited. If, say, you came to a small store, then you are limited by its assortment, which, in turn, is limited by the size of the store itself. You can't put a million CDs in a room the size of this room. Accordingly, the larger the music store, the wider the range of . There is no such thing on the Internet. The online store has everything at once. Therefore, sales of one thing, an artist, a style, an album, are eroded, many small companies, small labels appear that sell their releases and live by this. Plus, a large number of artists appear, whose music, if sold, then almost no one will buy it. But, oddly enough, the music is good, and it still has its consumer. Therefore, there are new ways to bring it to the listener, not necessarily through a purchase. For example, I believe that the same Last.Fm service has made a real revolution in listening to music.If you want to listen to something according to your mood, without any specifics, then Last.Fm is simply the best choice, you just need to “hammer in” the name of your favorite style or the name of the artist and you can immediately start listening to music. Why buy or even download something when you have a decent Internet channel at home. In my opinion, the technologies and techniques for delivering music to the end consumer are constantly changing now, so what will happen tomorrow is completely incomprehensible.

MR. What lies ahead for physical music media?

They are doomed. Everything is simple here: as soon as some new, more convenient technology for delivering music to the end consumer appears, all the rest, less convenient, disappear, become a thing of the past. The same is true with physical media of music. They are still holding on now, but it won't be long before CDs look as odd as vinyl looks now. The speed of delivery of musical material, both to ordinary listeners and those involved in the music industry, is a critical parameter for this. Why do people in Russia still buy, say, our MP3 discs? People compare the price of a disc to the price of bandwidth, that is, the price paid for downloading 600 MB of music. As long as this figure is higher than the price of the disk, people buy disks. As soon as it becomes lower, they will buy much less. Again, discs are still bought because people have a lot of equipment left on such media, at home and in cars. For example, we specially release our new release (Katya Chekhova's album "Love 2.0") on three media: regular CD, MP3CD and CD+DVD. This is done in order to give the user maximum convenience. That is, we are well aware that a person can easily download our music on the network, and it would be better if in the store he thinks something like “why should I download these megabytes if you can buy a disc for 150 rubles.”This is convenient, a person here pays not for the media, but for the convenience of access to information, for the confidence that the files have all the tags filled in, the lyrics of all the songs and pictures are also already in their places. Again, it's very easy to copy the files to the computer's hard drive, and put the CD in the car, no need to bother with burning discs. But be that as it may, physical media, of course, are living out their last days. As soon as the cost of traffic in the Russian regions becomes equal and becomes lower than the price of a disc, there will be inexpensive unlimited Internet everywhere, CDs as a music carrier will go into the shadows. Of course, collectors will remain, but this is a special case.

Besides, piracy still "blooms and smells" in our country. Starting with a small house network, whose owner first of all puts up a server with music obtained by hook or by crook, ending with the same "left" CDs. I think the victory over piracy in Russia only means a complete end to CD sales and music retail. According to the amounts that will be asked for legal discs, practically no one will buy anything. But the thirst for a "freebie" will not go anywhere, and the number of people who are technically capable of providing this "freebie" will only grow. Therefore, as soon as pirated discs disappear, sales of ordinary ones will collapse along with them, and smart guys with computers will set up their servers just everywhere.

MR. Sergei, you said earlier that in the Russian segment of the Web, no one really sells music. Can you comment?

We work with several companies, but there are no really tangible results. I doubt that this situation is only with our releases. The fact is that on the Internet people, including me, will buy what they want, like, and what is impossible (or difficult) to download for free. It is clear that in theory you can get everything you want for free in the same torrents. But for me, for example, the issue of time and convenience is still very important. If you can get something here and now, and not look for it, and then download it for a day, a week or a month, then with a high probability I will buy it. But there is no such service with rare, unique music or other content for sale in Russia.What's the point, you see, to buy records of Verka Serduchka, when they are already everywhere in bulk. That is, there is no such content that would be interesting to buy. Of course, something is on sale, there is an assortment of shops, but so far nothing serious. In my opinion, this situation can help Russia jump over the period of online trading and come to best practices, like a subscription service or something like “pay 10 dollars and listen to all Russian music for free.” Or even completely free.

In our country, for historical reasons, artists are used to earning money by touring, they do not rely on sales of music on various media. If our artist says “you need to post everything for free, but then you will have 100 tours a month”, he will gladly do it. Music will begin to function as a kind of advertising for the artist. It's working now, even big artists of Madonna's caliber are already experimenting with free access to part of the album or individual tracks. The understanding is already beginning that music can be an advertisement for another product. For example, a concert, merchandise (things with the symbols of the artist, souvenirs), the artist himself. After all, he does not always make good money from selling music. The price of a CD, it's no secret, at one time was greatly inflated by large corporations. What the artist himself receives from each disc is 10-12 percent at the most, everything else goes to everyone who is involved in the process of promotion, delivery and sale of music. Now, in order for an artist to sell music to consumers, he does not need intermediaries. You just need to publish music on the Web and convey to the user that it is located here. The saved money can just be used to advertise yourself, or you can not let it in.

MR. If we talk about the distribution of music in the form of files. What do you think about the sound quality of MP3 and other common formats compared to CD?

There isn't much difference. More precisely, it is not for the consumer. There are always maniacs and they buy Super Audio CDs. The average consumer will never hear the difference between WAV or MP3 320 Kbps. To catch the difference, really hear it, you need to have a serious and very expensive audio system. And the vast majority of normal people listen to music at home in the center, in the car or on the player on the go. There is zero difference here, no matter what anyone says.

MR. How can you make money on music today?

On the one hand, there are many opportunities to bring music to people, on the other hand, there are a lot of musicians, so everyone decides for himself. We should also not forget that 90 percent of musicians have simply never received money for their music on media. They never made money selling media. Thousands of great bands, good artists who play in clubs and restaurants, play their music at concerts, never signed a contract with a label, did not sell media and did not make money on it. Money comes either from concerts, or people just do it for themselves, for their own pleasure. This is often found in "small" styles, such as folk music. Accordingly, these people will now take for themselves the tools that will be profitable for promotion, and will start to think what is more profitable - to sell 100 songs for a dollar or lay everything out for free and go on 10 tours with a fee of a thousand dollars.

What is the beauty of the current situation is that it is impossible to say unequivocally which way is right. No more "knurled rails". It used to be quite obvious: in order to get into the English (or any other) hit parade, you need a good label with serious promotion, connections with distribution, the video must be “played” on television, otherwise nothing. Now it's not like that at all. You don't need a label to get on the hit parade. There has already been a precedent when at number one in the UK was a band that didn't have a contract.

The music product itself is changing. Music ceases to play the role that it had before. The role of those who make money on music is also changing, because these are far from being only musicians in the classical sense. People write lyrics, make remixes, embrace the gigantic market of music for commercials, radio and TV, video games, finally! Today, one track in advertising, which is obviously easier to sell, can bring more than a whole album, which must first be recorded, and then also be able to sell. In general, there are new opportunities for earning. Those who knew how to do something and find application for what they have done will remain afloat in the new conditions. The likelihood that a person will simply record a track, and he will “shoot” today is less and less, music must be offered in combination with something.

And the person who used to have the choice of watching TV or listening to music today has a much larger choice of home entertainment. And the most attractive, strong of them are video games. Today they are the source of everything at once: action, music, visual images, video. And all this is skillfully mixed into one big story. Previously, as it was: a person at home has a player and a dozen records. Gradually, records were replaced by CDs, entertainment television appeared. And today a person comes home, he has dozens of cable TV channels, a satellite dish, DVD, Internet, Sony PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and even a Sony PSP in his pocket. And on each channel there is an interesting program, and incredibly spectacular and addictive games are released for each console. So the main struggle now is precisely for the attention of this very person, there are too many factors that distract him. Now you can not consider music as one of the pillars of art, as it was before. Yes, once there were, figuratively speaking, only musicians, artists, dancers and actors. And now all kinds of creativity, including music, are soldered into one whole. I think the future is just behind this, behind the universal means and the fruits of creativity.

When you look at it, a well-made video game is a much more complex and "cool" product than even the most amazing band's album. Several dozen talented people have been working on the game for a couple of years, and on the strength of the album, four people have been sitting in the studio for six months.

MR. Don't you think that one day people will get tired of all this? All the hundreds of kinds of entertainment, sophisticated games and musical opuses?

No, there will always be something new to keep people busy. It is not without reason that all these extreme sports, dozens of types of “skating”, “boarding”, and “jumping” are so popular now. There, for the most part, people who are tired of all these endless information flows, they can not cope with them and are looking for something else. And tomorrow they will sell flights into space for a hundred thousand, and everyone will go crazy about them. In general, no one will ever get tired of having fun.

Voice of Music 2: Sergey Pimenov

It all started simply. We had a website for the PPK (a group that included Sergei Pimenov, known for the international hit Resurrection). The year was 1998, the site was hosted by my friend. There was little space, nowhere to put the tracks. At that time, MP3 at 128 Kbps was a lot. To post the entire album, you needed 60 megabytes. We didn’t have that much space on the site, so I started looking for where to put them, and for some reason I immediately typed MP3.com. Then there was no Google, as it is now, there were some search engines, but I did not look for hosting through them. Picked up an MP3.com, I saw a registration button there. Registered, it says - lay out. Started posting. This process took a very long time, because it was all slow then, in our office there was a 64 kilobit channel. The case, of course, took place in Rostov-on-Don. Then the following situation developed: we recorded an album, promoted it well, sold it locally, in Rostov. I went to Moscow, showed it to various producers, authoritative at that time. I was told that no one needs this music, go back to Rostov and don't come back. I went back and wondered what to do next with all this. We sold the circulation of the album, promoted it in Rostov, now, it turns out, we need to further promote it on our own. Accordingly, there was an understanding that it should just be given to people to listen to, and we began to look for a way to do this. Of course, put it on the Internet. As I said, there was no place, MP3.com was found. I put our music on the site a few months before there was any money. When I posted music, there was no talk of money, the site was just a page system for musicians so that you could quickly organize your own page with a convenient address, put pictures and music there. Today it looks like a matter of course, and then even the simplest service was a novelty. When I posted our music on MP3.com, I don't remember exactly, but at that time there were several thousand musicians on the site. Compared to what it was in the final, when the site had under a million pages, this, of course, was very little. Accordingly, we have put links to MP3.com to our site - download whoever wants. I remember people also saying “upload it in a worse quality, otherwise it will take a long time to download”, this was the situation with the Internet.

Then it so happened that at that time there were very few quality musicians on the site. That is, any already “cool” musicians at that time were not at all interested in the Internet, and the young people who actively rushed to MP3.com did not have the necessary sound. We were one of the best just in terms of sound. Accordingly, our tracks got into the hit parade, and for some time were present in different charts. And then the story began with the fact that they began to pay money for it. MP3.com had a system where the site gave away a million dollars a month to the most downloaded musicians, the money was distributed according to some formula. And we were already in the charts, our music was actively downloaded, so it turned out, as they say, whoever had time, he ate it. Then, of course, mass hysteria began, everyone rushed to upload music, promote their pages. We were lucky, we were pioneers, a few more teams from Russia earned something, but this did not last long, only a year and a half. Most of this time we did nothing and enjoyed life, receiving ten thousand dollars a month. There were a lot of downloads, some millions, and then through MP3.com music became popular in America, that is, figuratively speaking, files were downloaded five million times, some kind of critical mass was reached, and then through the Americans in some from the clubs, the track went to Paul Oakenfold. Paul Oakenfold is one of the most significant figures in the world of dance music, a famous musician, DJ and producer.

That's all. Then Oakenfold became interested and released tracks on his label Perfecto. The track ended up on the UK charts, and the rest is history. In fact, our music has been sold several times. At first we sold it in our city of Rostov, then on MP3.com, then the tracks went to Oakenfold, he sold them through his label, and then, when the music became popular in England, we released it again in Russia, already in a large circulation and with appropriate support.

MR. How did your UPLIFTO company come about?

Uplifto came about after we went to England to Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto label for the release of the album, hung around there for almost a month, looked at what a record label is, how they work, what happens, what record labels are , well, everyone licked it from there (laughs).

MR. Your company simultaneously releases music on different media and distributes music on the Web. What is the situation here, what are the prospects?

We have released 35 discs to date. The formats have very different prospects, the fact is that the market is constantly changing, various new techniques appear almost every month. It is not at all clear what will happen in a year. Because, for example, there is a standard technology for selling files, something that, for example, iTunes and Beatport do. Figuratively speaking, pay money - get MP3, with or without encryption. There are other technologies, subscription music, a lot of free music. Now it is not at all clear what will happen in a few years. Maybe in general everything will turn so that all music will be generally free.There were such precedents and such advances. There is a standard for selling music - iTunes. On the one hand, this is a standard, but on the other hand, in some territories, in particular, in Russia, it does not work in principle. Accordingly, such a model, most likely, will not work in Russia. If we talk about the Russian market, then, in my opinion, no one really sells anything here yet. There are no such people who would be able to earn some adequate money by selling MP3s. If we talk about the global market, then yes, of course, there are some hits that are sold through iTunes, and big labels make money from it. But, on the other hand, now there are more and more independent musicians, independent labels that also sell MP3s, but they don't sell much. The structure of the market has changed, the structure of the musical product has changed. For the last 20-30 years, we have seen a situation where large companies created big hits, "pumped" artists and sold CDs in millions of copies. Now this simply does not exist, and the farther, the past will be more and more blurred, that is, there will be more and more artists on the market, and sales of each will be less and less.

MR. What about total sales?

Cumulative sales will naturally grow. But since there will be an order of magnitude more artists than buyers can perceive, priorities will shift. That is, the number of buyers is increasing and will not increase as much as the number of musicians and music in general. It's just that before the assortment of a regular music store was limited. If, say, you came to a small store, then you are limited by its assortment, which, in turn, is limited by the size of the store itself. You can't put a million CDs in a room the size of this room. Accordingly, the larger the music store, the wider the range of . There is no such thing on the Internet. The online store has everything at once. Therefore, sales of one thing, an artist, a style, an album, are eroded, many small companies, small labels appear that sell their releases and live by this. Plus, a large number of artists appear, whose music, if sold, then almost no one will buy it. But, oddly enough, the music is good, and it still has its consumer. Therefore, there are new ways to bring it to the listener, not necessarily through a purchase. For example, I believe that the same Last.Fm service has made a real revolution in listening to music.If you want to listen to something according to your mood, without any specifics, then Last.Fm is simply the best choice, you just need to “hammer in” the name of your favorite style or the name of the artist and you can immediately start listening to music. Why buy or even download something when you have a decent Internet channel at home. In my opinion, the technologies and techniques for delivering music to the end consumer are constantly changing now, so what will happen tomorrow is completely incomprehensible.

MR. What lies ahead for physical music media?

They are doomed. Everything is simple here: as soon as some new, more convenient technology for delivering music to the end consumer appears, all the rest, less convenient, disappear, become a thing of the past. The same is true with physical media of music. They are still holding on now, but it won't be long before CDs look as odd as vinyl looks now. The speed of delivery of musical material, both to ordinary listeners and those involved in the music industry, is a critical parameter for this. Why do people in Russia still buy, say, our MP3 discs? People compare the price of a disc to the price of bandwidth, that is, the price paid for downloading 600 MB of music. As long as this figure is higher than the price of the disk, people buy disks. As soon as it becomes lower, they will buy much less. Again, discs are still bought because people have a lot of equipment left on such media, at home and in cars. For example, we specially release our new release (Katya Chekhova's album "Love 2.0") on three media: regular CD, MP3CD and CD+DVD. This is done in order to give the user maximum convenience. That is, we are well aware that a person can easily download our music on the network, and it would be better if in the store he thinks something like “why should I download these megabytes if you can buy a disc for 150 rubles.”This is convenient, a person here pays not for the media, but for the convenience of access to information, for the confidence that the files have all the tags filled in, the lyrics of all the songs and pictures are also already in their places. Again, it's very easy to copy the files to the computer's hard drive, and put the CD in the car, no need to bother with burning discs. But be that as it may, physical media, of course, are living out their last days. As soon as the cost of traffic in the Russian regions becomes equal and becomes lower than the price of a disc, there will be inexpensive unlimited Internet everywhere, CDs as a music carrier will go into the shadows. Of course, collectors will remain, but this is a special case.

Besides, piracy still "blooms and smells" in our country. Starting with a small house network, whose owner first of all puts up a server with music obtained by hook or by crook, ending with the same "left" CDs. I think the victory over piracy in Russia only means a complete end to CD sales and music retail. According to the amounts that will be asked for legal discs, practically no one will buy anything. But the thirst for a "freebie" will not go anywhere, and the number of people who are technically capable of providing this "freebie" will only grow. Therefore, as soon as pirated discs disappear, sales of ordinary ones will collapse along with them, and smart guys with computers will set up their servers just everywhere.

MR. Sergei, you said earlier that in the Russian segment of the Web, no one really sells music. Can you comment?

We work with several companies, but there are no really tangible results. I doubt that this situation is only with our releases. The fact is that on the Internet people, including me, will buy what they want, like, and what is impossible (or difficult) to download for free. It is clear that in theory you can get everything you want for free in the same torrents. But for me, for example, the issue of time and convenience is still very important. If you can get something here and now, and not look for it, and then download it for a day, a week or a month, then with a high probability I will buy it. But there is no such service with rare, unique music or other content for sale in Russia.What's the point, you see, to buy records of Verka Serduchka, when they are already everywhere in bulk. That is, there is no such content that would be interesting to buy. Of course, something is on sale, there is an assortment of shops, but so far nothing serious. In my opinion, this situation can help Russia jump over the period of online trading and come to best practices, like a subscription service or something like “pay 10 dollars and listen to all Russian music for free.” Or even completely free.

In our country, for historical reasons, artists are used to earning money by touring, they do not rely on sales of music on various media. If our artist says “you need to post everything for free, but then you will have 100 tours a month”, he will gladly do it. Music will begin to function as a kind of advertising for the artist. It's working now, even big artists of Madonna's caliber are already experimenting with free access to part of the album or individual tracks. The understanding is already beginning that music can be an advertisement for another product. For example, a concert, merchandise (things with the symbols of the artist, souvenirs), the artist himself. After all, he does not always make good money from selling music. The price of a CD, it's no secret, at one time was greatly inflated by large corporations. What the artist himself receives from each disc is 10-12 percent at the most, everything else goes to everyone who is involved in the process of promotion, delivery and sale of music. Now, in order for an artist to sell music to consumers, he does not need intermediaries. You just need to publish music on the Web and convey to the user that it is located here. The saved money can just be used to advertise yourself, or you can not let it in.

MR. If we talk about the distribution of music in the form of files. What do you think about the sound quality of MP3 and other common formats compared to CD?

There isn't much difference. More precisely, it is not for the consumer. There are always maniacs and they buy Super Audio CDs. The average consumer will never hear the difference between WAV or MP3 320 Kbps. To catch the difference, really hear it, you need to have a serious and very expensive audio system. And the vast majority of normal people listen to music at home in the center, in the car or on the player on the go. There is zero difference here, no matter what anyone says.

MR. How can you make money on music today?

On the one hand, there are many opportunities to bring music to people, on the other hand, there are a lot of musicians, so everyone decides for himself. We should also not forget that 90 percent of musicians have simply never received money for their music on media. They never made money selling media. Thousands of great bands, good artists who play in clubs and restaurants, play their music at concerts, never signed a contract with a label, did not sell media and did not make money on it. Money comes either from concerts, or people just do it for themselves, for their own pleasure. This is often found in "small" styles, such as folk music. Accordingly, these people will now take for themselves the tools that will be profitable for promotion, and will start to think what is more profitable - to sell 100 songs for a dollar or lay everything out for free and go on 10 tours with a fee of a thousand dollars.

What is the beauty of the current situation is that it is impossible to say unequivocally which way is right. No more "knurled rails". It used to be quite obvious: in order to get into the English (or any other) hit parade, you need a good label with serious promotion, connections with distribution, the video must be “played” on television, otherwise nothing. Now it's not like that at all. You don't need a label to get on the hit parade. There has already been a precedent when at number one in the UK was a band that didn't have a contract.

The music product itself is changing. Music ceases to play the role that it had before. The role of those who make money on music is also changing, because these are far from being only musicians in the classical sense. People write lyrics, make remixes, embrace the gigantic market of music for commercials, radio and TV, video games, finally! Today, one track in advertising, which is obviously easier to sell, can bring more than a whole album, which must first be recorded, and then also be able to sell. In general, there are new opportunities for earning. Those who knew how to do something and find application for what they have done will remain afloat in the new conditions. The likelihood that a person will simply record a track, and he will “shoot” today is less and less, music must be offered in combination with something.

And the person who used to have the choice of watching TV or listening to music today has a much larger choice of home entertainment. And the most attractive, strong of them are video games. Today they are the source of everything at once: action, music, visual images, video. And all this is skillfully mixed into one big story. Previously, as it was: a person at home has a player and a dozen records. Gradually, records were replaced by CDs, entertainment television appeared. And today a person comes home, he has dozens of cable TV channels, a satellite dish, DVD, Internet, Sony PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and even a Sony PSP in his pocket. And on each channel there is an interesting program, and incredibly spectacular and addictive games are released for each console. So the main struggle now is precisely for the attention of this very person, there are too many factors that distract him. Now you can not consider music as one of the pillars of art, as it was before. Yes, once there were, figuratively speaking, only musicians, artists, dancers and actors. And now all kinds of creativity, including music, are soldered into one whole. I think the future is just behind this, behind the universal means and the fruits of creativity.

When you look at it, a well-made video game is a much more complex and "cool" product than even the most amazing band's album. Several dozen talented people have been working on the game for a couple of years, and on the strength of the album, four people have been sitting in the studio for six months.

MR. Don't you think that one day people will get tired of all this? All the hundreds of kinds of entertainment, sophisticated games and musical opuses?

No, there will always be something new to keep people busy. It is not without reason that all these extreme sports, dozens of types of “skating”, “boarding”, and “jumping” are so popular now. There, for the most part, people who are tired of all these endless information flows, they can not cope with them and are looking for something else. And tomorrow they will sell flights into space for a hundred thousand, and everyone will go crazy about them. In general, no one will ever get tired of having fun.

Voice of Music 2: Sergey Pimenov

It all started simply. We had a website for the PPK (a group that included Sergei Pimenov, known for the international hit Resurrection). The year was 1998, the site was hosted by my friend. There was little space, nowhere to put the tracks. At that time, MP3 at 128 Kbps was a lot. To post the entire album, you needed 60 megabytes. We didn’t have that much space on the site, so I started looking for where to put them, and for some reason I immediately typed MP3.com. Then there was no Google, as it is now, there were some search engines, but I did not look for hosting through them. Picked up an MP3.com, I saw a registration button there. Registered, it says - lay out. Started posting. This process took a very long time, because it was all slow then, in our office there was a 64 kilobit channel. The case, of course, took place in Rostov-on-Don. Then the following situation developed: we recorded an album, promoted it well, sold it locally, in Rostov. I went to Moscow, showed it to various producers, authoritative at that time. I was told that no one needs this music, go back to Rostov and don't come back. I went back and wondered what to do next with all this. We sold the circulation of the album, promoted it in Rostov, now, it turns out, we need to further promote it on our own. Accordingly, there was an understanding that it should just be given to people to listen to, and we began to look for a way to do this. Of course, put it on the Internet. As I said, there was no place, MP3.com was found. I put our music on the site a few months before there was any money. When I posted music, there was no talk of money, the site was just a page system for musicians so that you could quickly organize your own page with a convenient address, put pictures and music there. Today it looks like a matter of course, and then even the simplest service was a novelty. When I posted our music on MP3.com, I don't remember exactly, but at that time there were several thousand musicians on the site. Compared to what it was in the final, when the site had under a million pages, this, of course, was very little. Accordingly, we have put links to MP3.com to our site - download whoever wants. I remember people also saying “upload it in a worse quality, otherwise it will take a long time to download”, this was the situation with the Internet.

Then it so happened that at that time there were very few quality musicians on the site. That is, any already “cool” musicians at that time were not at all interested in the Internet, and the young people who actively rushed to MP3.com did not have the necessary sound. We were one of the best just in terms of sound. Accordingly, our tracks got into the hit parade, and for some time were present in different charts. And then the story began with the fact that they began to pay money for it. MP3.com had a system where the site gave away a million dollars a month to the most downloaded musicians, the money was distributed according to some formula. And we were already in the charts, our music was actively downloaded, so it turned out, as they say, whoever had time, he ate it. Then, of course, mass hysteria began, everyone rushed to upload music, promote their pages. We were lucky, we were pioneers, a few more teams from Russia earned something, but this did not last long, only a year and a half. Most of this time we did nothing and enjoyed life, receiving ten thousand dollars a month. There were a lot of downloads, some millions, and then through MP3.com music became popular in America, that is, figuratively speaking, files were downloaded five million times, some kind of critical mass was reached, and then through the Americans in some from the clubs, the track went to Paul Oakenfold. Paul Oakenfold is one of the most significant figures in the world of dance music, a famous musician, DJ and producer.

That's all. Then Oakenfold became interested and released the tracks on his label Perfecto. The track ended up on the UK Singles Chart and the rest is history. In fact, our music has been sold several times. At first we sold it in our city of Rostov, then on MP3.com, then the tracks went to Oakenfold, he sold them through his label, and then, when the music became popular in England, we released it again in Russia, already in a large circulation and with appropriate support.

MR. How did your UPLIFTO company come about?

Uplifto came about after we went to England to Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto label for the release of the album, hung around there for almost a month, looked at what a record label is, how they work, what happens, what record labels are , well, everyone licked it from there (laughs).

MR. Your company simultaneously releases music on different media and distributes music on the Web. What is the situation here, what are the prospects?

We have released 35 discs to date. The formats have very different prospects, the fact is that the market is constantly changing, various new techniques appear almost every month. It is not at all clear what will happen in a year. Because, for example, there is a standard technology for selling files, something that, for example, iTunes and Beatport do. Figuratively speaking, pay money - get MP3, with or without encryption. There are other technologies, subscription music, a lot of free music. Now it is not at all clear what will happen in a few years. Maybe in general everything will turn so that all music will be generally free.There were such precedents and such advances. There is a standard for selling music - iTunes. On the one hand, this is a standard, but on the other hand, in some territories, in particular, in Russia, it does not work in principle. Accordingly, such a model, most likely, will not work in Russia. If we talk about the Russian market, then, in my opinion, no one really sells anything here yet. There are no such people who would be able to earn some adequate money by selling MP3s. If we talk about the global market, then yes, of course, there are some hits that are sold through iTunes, and big labels make money from it. But, on the other hand, now there are more and more independent musicians, independent labels that also sell MP3s, but they don't sell much. The structure of the market has changed, the structure of the musical product has changed. For the last 20-30 years, we have seen a situation where large companies created big hits, "pumped" artists and sold CDs in millions of copies. Now this simply does not exist, and the farther, the past will be more and more blurred, that is, there will be more and more artists on the market, and sales of each will be less and less.

MR. What about total sales?

Cumulative sales will naturally grow. But since there will be an order of magnitude more artists than buyers can perceive, priorities will shift. That is, the number of buyers is increasing and will not increase as much as the number of musicians and music in general. It's just that before the assortment of a regular music store was limited. If, say, you came to a small store, then you are limited by its assortment, which, in turn, is limited by the size of the store itself. You can't put a million CDs in a room the size of this room. Accordingly, the larger the music store was, the wider its assortment was. There is no such thing on the Internet. The online store has everything at once. Therefore, sales of one thing, an artist, a style, an album, are eroded, many small companies, small labels appear that sell their releases and live by this. Plus, a large number of artists appear, whose music, if sold, then almost no one will buy it. But, oddly enough, the music is good, and it still has its consumer. Therefore, there are new ways to bring it to the listener, not necessarily through a purchase. For example, I believe that the same Last.Fm service has made a real revolution in listening to music. If you want to listen to something according to your mood, without any specifics, then Last.Fm is simply the best choice, you just need to “hammer in” the name of your favorite style or the name of the artist and you can immediately start listening to music. Why buy or even download something when you have a decent Internet channel at home. In my opinion, the technologies and techniques for delivering music to the end consumer are constantly changing now, so what will happen tomorrow is completely incomprehensible.

Aggregate sales will naturally grow. But since there will be an order of magnitude more artists than buyers can perceive, priorities will shift. That is, the number of buyers is increasing and will not increase as much as the number of musicians and music in general. It's just that before the assortment of a regular music store was limited. If, say, you came to a small store, then you are limited by its assortment, which, in turn, is limited by the size of the store itself. You can't put a million CDs in a room the size of this room. Accordingly, the larger the music store was, the He had a wider range. There is no such thing on the Internet. The online store has everything at once. Therefore, sales of one thing, an artist, a style, an album, are eroded, many small companies, small labels appear that sell their releases and live by this. Plus, a large number of artists appear, whose music, if sold, then almost no one will buy it. But, oddly enough, the music is good, and it still has its consumer. Therefore, there are new ways to bring it to the listener, not necessarily through a purchase. For example, I believe that the same Last.Fm service has made a real revolution in listening to music. If you want to listen to something according to your mood, without any specifics, then Last.Fm is simply the best choice, you just need to “hammer in” the name of your favorite style or the name of the artist and you can immediately start listening to music. Why buy or even download something when you have a decent Internet channel at home. In my opinion, the technologies and techniques for delivering music to the end consumer are constantly changing now, so what will happen tomorrow is completely incomprehensible.

MR. What's next for physical music media?

They are doomed. Everything is simple here: as soon as some new, more convenient technology for delivering music to the end consumer appears, all the rest, less convenient, disappear, become a thing of the past. The same is true with physical media of music. They are still holding on now, but it won't be long before CDs look as odd as vinyl looks now. The speed of delivery of musical material, both to ordinary listeners and those involved in the music industry, is a critical parameter for this. Why do people in Russia still buy, say, our MP3 discs? People compare the price of a disc to the price of traffic, that is, the price paid for downloading 600 MB of music. As long as this figure is higher than the price of the disk, people buy disks. As soon as it becomes lower, they will buy much less. Again, discs are still bought because people have a lot of equipment left on such media, at home and in cars. For example, we specially release our new release (Katya Chekhova's album "Love 2.0") on three media: regular CD, MP3CD and CD+DVD. This is done in order to give the user maximum convenience. That is, we are well aware that a person can easily download our music on the network, and it would be better if in the store he thinks something like “why should I download these megabytes if you can buy a disc for 150 rubles.” This is convenient, a person here pays not for the media, but for the convenience of access to information, for the confidence that the files have all the tags filled in, the lyrics of all the songs and pictures are also already in their places.Again, it's very easy to copy the files to the computer's hard drive, and put the CD in the car, no need to bother with burning discs. But be that as it may, physical media, of course, are living out their last days. As soon as the cost of traffic in the Russian regions becomes equal and becomes lower than the price of a disc, there will be inexpensive unlimited Internet everywhere, CDs as a music carrier will go into the shadows. Of course, collectors will remain, but this is a special case.

Besides, piracy still "blooms and smells" in our country. Starting with a small house network, whose owner first of all puts up a server with music obtained by hook or by crook, ending with the same "left" CDs. I think the victory over piracy in Russia only means a complete end to CD sales and music retail. According to the amounts that will be asked for legal discs, practically no one will buy anything. But the thirst for a "freebie" will not go anywhere, and the number of people who are technically capable of providing this "freebie" will only grow. Therefore, as soon as pirated discs disappear, sales of ordinary ones will collapse along with them, and smart guys with computers will set up their servers just everywhere.

MR. Sergei, you said earlier that in the Russian segment of the Web, no one really sells music. Can you comment?

We work with several companies, but there are no really tangible results. I doubt that this situation is only with our releases. The fact is that on the Internet people, including me, will buy what they want, like, and what is impossible (or difficult) to download for free. It is clear that in theory you can get everything you want for free in the same torrents. But for me, for example, the issue of time and convenience is still very important. If you can get something here and now, and not look for it, and then download it for a day, a week or a month, then with a high probability I will buy it. But there is no such service with rare, unique music or other content for sale in Russia. What's the point, you see, to buy records of Verka Serduchka, when they are already everywhere in bulk.That is, there is no such content that would be interesting to buy. Of course, something is on sale, there is an assortment of shops, but so far nothing serious. In my opinion, this situation can help Russia jump over the period of online trading and come to best practices, like a subscription service or something like “pay 10 dollars and listen to all Russian music for free.” Or even completely free.

In our country, for historical reasons, artists are used to earning money by touring, they do not rely on sales of music on various media. If our artist says “you need to post everything for free, but then you will have 100 tours a month”, he will gladly do it. Music will begin to function as a kind of advertising for the artist. It's working now, even big artists of Madonna's caliber are already experimenting with free access to part of the album or individual tracks. The understanding is already beginning that music can be an advertisement for another product. For example, a concert, merchandise (things with the symbols of the artist, souvenirs), the artist himself. After all, he does not always make good money from selling music. The price of a CD, it's no secret, at one time was greatly inflated by large corporations. What the artist himself receives from each disc is 10-12 percent at the most, everything else goes to everyone who is involved in the process of promotion, delivery and sale of music. Now, in order for an artist to sell music to consumers, he does not need intermediaries. You just need to publish music on the Web and convey to the user that it is located here. The saved money can just be used to advertise yourself, or you can not let it in.

MR. If we talk about the distribution of music in the form of files. What do you think about the sound quality of MP3 and other common formats compared to CD?

There isn't much difference. More precisely, it is not for the consumer. There are always maniacs and they buy Super Audio CDs. The average consumer will never hear the difference between WAV or MP3 320 Kbps. To catch the difference, really hear it, you need to have a serious and very expensive audio system. And the vast majority of normal people listen to music at home in the center, in the car or on the player on the go. There is zero difference here, no matter what anyone says.

MR. How can you make money on music today?

On the one hand, there are many opportunities to bring music to people, on the other hand, there are a lot of musicians, so everyone decides for himself. We should also not forget that 90 percent of musicians have simply never received money for their music on media. They never made money selling media. Thousands of great bands, good artists who play in clubs and restaurants, play their music at concerts, never signed a contract with a label, did not sell media and did not make money on it. Money comes either from concerts, or people just do it for themselves, for their own pleasure. This is often found in "small" styles, such as folk music. Accordingly, these people will now take for themselves the tools that will be profitable for promotion, and will start to think what is more profitable - to sell 100 songs for a dollar or lay everything out for free and go on 10 tours with a fee of a thousand dollars.

What is the beauty of the current situation is that it is impossible to say unequivocally which way is right. No more "knurled rails". It used to be quite obvious: in order to get into the English (or any other) hit parade, you need a good label with serious promotion, connections with distribution, the video must be “played” on television, otherwise nothing. Now it's not like that at all. You don't need a label to get on the hit parade. There has already been a precedent when at number one in the UK was a band that didn't have a contract.

The music product itself is changing. Music ceases to play the role that it had before. The role of those who make money on music is also changing, because these are far from being only musicians in the classical sense. People write lyrics, make remixes, embrace the gigantic market of music for commercials, radio and TV, video games, finally! Today, one track in advertising, which is obviously easier to sell, can bring more than a whole album, which must first be recorded, and then also be able to sell. In general, there are new opportunities for earning. Those who knew how to do something and find application for what they have done will remain afloat in the new conditions. The likelihood that a person will simply record a track, and he will “shoot” today is less and less, music must be offered in combination with something.

And the person who used to have the choice of watching TV or listening to music today has a much larger choice of home entertainment. And the most attractive, strong of them are video games. Today they are the source of everything at once: action, music, visual images, video. And all this is skillfully mixed into one big story. Previously, as it was: a person at home has a player and a dozen records. Gradually, records were replaced by CDs, entertainment television appeared. And today a person comes home, he has dozens of cable TV channels, a satellite dish, DVD, Internet, Sony PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and even a Sony PSP in his pocket. And on each channel there is an interesting program, and incredibly spectacular and addictive games are released for each console. So the main struggle now is precisely for the attention of this very person, there are too many factors that distract him. Now you can not consider music as one of the pillars of art, as it was before. Yes, once there were, figuratively speaking, only musicians, artists, dancers and actors. And now all kinds of creativity, including music, are soldered into one whole. I think the future is just behind this, behind the universal means and the fruits of creativity.

When you look at it, a well-made video game is a much more complex and "cool" product than even the most amazing band's album. Several dozen talented people have been working on the game for a couple of years, and on the strength of the album, four people have been sitting in the studio for six months.

MR. Don't you think that one day people will get tired of all this? All hundreds of kinds of entertainment, sophisticated games and musical opuses?

No, there will always be something new to keep people busy. It is not without reason that all these extreme sports, dozens of types of “skating”, “boarding”, and “jumping” are so popular now. There, for the most part, people who are tired of all these endless information flows, they can not cope with them and are looking for something else. And tomorrow they will sell flights into space for a hundred thousand, and everyone will go crazy about them. In general, no one will ever get tired of having fun.