Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On music

I've long thought that the reason the music industry is suffering is because of bad music backed by out-of-touch record labels. After reading an article on the way music used to progress through local radio stations to become local, then regional, then national hits, I am beginning to think that media giants such as Clear Channel are a bigger part of the problem than the record labels.

Incidentally, I view both internet piracy (which Napster essentially started) and internet "connection" sites such as myspace and facebook to be the key to breaking this cycle. After Napster came out there was a wave of new artists, John Mayer being one of them, who would literally have never made it under the traditional system. This is the free market at work. Music that is good will be downloaded and proliferate, rather than music that gains the favor of some record label. In the future, perhaps, bands will not be faced with the choice of selling out vs. making money.

It seems to me that the record labels are blinded by temporary profits to the real use of the internet and digital music. By hamfisting their way through digital distribution they're literally killing i-Tunes profits, at great expense to themselves. DRM is not the answer, nor is large royalties.

Here's a site that I think is a brilliant idea to break the cycle of bad music. Check it out. It essentially allows fans to buy "shares" of a new band in exchange for a limited edition CD. $10 bucks for a CD is a steal this day and age, especially if the music isn't the run-of-the-mill trash that most labels put out. Is this local band you rave about really all that great? Put your money where your mouth is. I love it.