Monday, February 05, 2007

We need to save the music industry or it dies this year...

A little harsh on the title but something needs to be done.

Okay, first of all it's not the entire music industry that needs saved, only some parts of it. The other parts just need some tweaking.

I'm a dj at a small town radio station in the midwest and have noticed that within the last 4 years or so the music industry is going sour. This is most seen when it comes to the releases of new music. There are no bands out anymore that seem to have staying power. Sure you may get your little cult faves, but there are no more Led Zeppelins, Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and so on. What do we have instead? My Chemical Romance, Brothermadude, and Justin Timberlake. Don't get me wrong these are all talented people, except for that Timberlake guy, he's part of the problem. More on that later.

You could say that U2 is a band that has staying power, well that is because they have stayed since the early '80s. What we have today some people have attributed to the internet and even more so that source of music pablum MySpace. With so many bands able to get there music out to the public, it's harder for the public to filter. That job used to be filled by the Music Industry labels and Radio Stations. But like anything corporate those have been corrupted. Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying they were perfect, remember "Payola?"

The record labels are just pretty much releasing crap and high priced crap, at that. I remember buying my first CD release in 1986 and paying $18 at Tower Records. Now if you go into any remaining music store CDs are still the same price. The major labels should have found a way by now to bring down prices. I mean really, I get enough spam and junk snail-mail that tells me I can get 12 CDs for a penny. And while were here I think that is one of the reasons "Record Stores" (CD stores just doesn't fit for me) are going belly-up. There's more but you'll have to wait for that.

In the 80s many of the punk/new wave bands set out to prove you didn't have to have musical talent to get rich quick. It seems that tradition is continuing and growing. And some of the talented groups have a hard time competing in the world where what is now, this second, sells so forget the talent. Many of the Independent labels today are what are going to be the future of music, the problem is even they are not going at it the best way.

Many Indies are finding that it is more economical to sell your song for commercial backgrounds or, even more recently popular, to tv networks to make their new shows "trendy." So, for many the new music comes from watching an episode of "The O.C." (I just picked that one out because it's one I hate most.)

Another way for artists to get their stuff out is through the internet. But that is so hard to filter through. Take for example the hugely talented but highly underrated Ryan Adams (not Bryan) on his website you can download several thousands of his freshly written songs...actually tens of thousands. That's just from one artist. Where is my overkill filter?

Also with these downloadable songs quality has been lost (even with the LEGAL downloads). I used to love crisp clean music, maybe even some old Pink Floyd in quadraphonic sound. The movie industry improved their sound quality why has the music industry lost theirs?

Now back to "record stores." In our area we lost Sam Goody's and I hear that my all time favorite Tower Records is bankrupt. It seems that only small independent record stores are left. I think a lot of this is due to the ability to download music, whether legally or illegally. I think this will be good for me, in that I love going to the independent record stores and some of the corporate stores bored me. But, these guys could be gone soon, unless we do something. Okay maybe not "we" but mainly the "Record Labels."

Here are a few suggestions that may save "Record Stores" and maybe even save the industry at the same time.

First, record stores and the industry should get together to allow some sort of musical ATM in the store where you could bring your iPod, Zune, or whatever mp3 player you have, plug it in and pay per download.

Next, BRING DOWN THE PRICE OF CDs!!!! Even stock prices drop after some years (okay hopefully not mine). Next, stop releasing any piece of crap you have just to make a buck. I mean really just because they tried out for American Idol doesn't mean they can sing. I really see CDs as a dying music form, just like the 8-track, reel-to-reel, records, etc. But some artists still release vinyl (yeah I was amazed also). So release CDs as special and worth buying...but cheaper priced, remember. Remember the artists like Pink Floyd that would release an album and the whole album told a story? Green Day and My Chemical Romance have recently tried to bring back that art. Those would be perfect CD releases.

Finally, another issue with prices, Bring down the price of a concert ticket. I would rather listen to a bootleg, than pay $50 for a one hour performance of some band. The indies have proven there are other ways to make money. Besides, do the artists really get that money?

Okay those are some of my ideas, rants and raves. What about you?

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:15 PM Comments: 1