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The Way the Music Died

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the drove-my-chevy-to-the-levy-but-the-levy-was-dry dept.

Music 628

segfaultcoredump writes "Frontline just released a show entitled The Way the Music Died, an in-depth look at all that is wrong with the music industry. The show will be available for online viewing on May 29th. Their website includes the full text of all of the interviews done during the show, including a very interesting one with musical legend David Crosby, where he hits the reason the industry is having problems right on the head." Reader robl adds "This is a good sequel to the 2001 Frontline episode, The Merchants of Cool which showed how the music industry markets its wares to teenagers and how it hypes artists."

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Cut it down to 3:05. (5, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276756)

I was searching the page for quotes from people that I believe are the best ones to be asking for information. I don't see any artists on there that openly support free music. Why not? Those artists are the ones that you should be supporting... They are the ones that are comfortable enough with both themselves *and* their fanbase to believe that they can make it without having to worry about being backed solely by the money-grubbing conglomerates.

David Crosby is a music legend known for his solo performances as well as his work with the Byrds, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. In this interview, he recounts how the music industry has changed over his career. "When it all started, record companies -- and there were many of them, and this was a good thing -- were run by people who loved records," he says. "Now record companies are run by lawyers and accountants. ... The people who run record companies now wouldn't know a song if it flew up their nose and died." Crosby also argues that the quality of music has suffered because of corporate interference. "It doesn't matter that Britney Spears has nothing to say and is about as deep as a birdbath," he says.

I can tell you the way the music died... It died when the musicians became the money-grubbing motherfuckers that most of them were told to become. They want to make millions of dollars and they have the conglomerates brainwash their fans into thinking that it is acceptable! Music is now a business, of course it isn't run by the people that care. Why should it? People that care don't worry as much about the money. They worry about what matters... Pleasing the people that enjoy music. Everytime you plunk your change down for iTunes, CDs, DVDs, whatever, remember that a portion of that goes not only to supporting multimedia conglomerates that control everything it also goes to supporting DRM, lawsuits against others, and lavish parties where people enjoy laughing at you for buying their shitty music.

Music that is controlled by the conglomerates is now not created by the musicians it's created by the conglomerates. They decide what's going to be a hit and what's not. Billy Joel and his "cut it down to 3:05" bit. Do you really want to listen to music that is price-fixed, controlled, and owned by people that don't give a fuck about anything except how much Grey Goose they can drink out of ornate ice sculptures while crying about how much money they are losing because they refuse to ship as many CDs as they used to?

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276861)

Well, if you want music that isn't controlled by the **AA, you need loook no further than Prince, He successfully slipped their surly bonds and continues to produce his music his way.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (3, Insightful)

missing000 (602285) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276967)

I've got news for ya buddy - Prince lost that war and gave up after years of trying to win on his own.

It's like the old Dire Straights tune - The Man's Too Strong.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (4, Informative)

stanmann (602645) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277040)

Actually, he's won, I don't know what lead you to believe that he gave up, but Here's prince [npgmusicclub.com]

He publishes direct download no middleman music.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (5, Interesting)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276863)

The reason music is dead is very simple. There is no innovation.

Music companies are unwilling to invest in the albums that take music to a next level. I mean, christ, the last rock opera I could find for purchase was from some nobodies in Germany who released it on some no-name label.

In order for people to buy the music, the music has to be good. In order for something to be good, there has to be a chance of failure. I don't want to buy some market tested album with some 19 year old thin blond hick on the cover. I want good music. If The Who was able to make Tommy 30 years ago and Pink Floyd The Wall 25 years ago, why hasn't the music industry progressed? The music industry has not moved forward, it has moved backwards.

The answer is fear of failure. If the music industry would try to put out more concept albums rather than 3 minute nothing songs, then album sales would turn around.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276934)

In order for people to buy the music, the music has to be good.

No, see, that's where you're wrong. The music doesn't have to be good. If you read the quotes from the people in the "article" then you would have seen first-hand that all it takes is a good body, a great video, and some money plunked down by the conglomorates to get you in.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (5, Insightful)

DWIM (547700) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276994)

The answer is fear of failure. If the music industry would try to put out more concept albums rather than 3 minute nothing songs, then album sales would turn around.
I agree with what you say, but don't lay the blame entirely with the music executives. I can't tell you how many times I have seen online discussions about portable mp3 players and gapless playback and the many people who cannot fathom why that should ever be needed. I've seen people declare that the album is dead -- they want to pick and choose their songs. Fair enough, but if the music industry attempts to cater to this, then I think demand had something to say about it.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (1, Insightful)

King of the Trolls (740328) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277013)

sure, if you insist on prepackaged starlets or angsty-white-boys with guitars, then innovation is pretty much dead. You should try to listen to the only progressive american music genres, Hip-Hop and R&B.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9277062)

If The Who was able to make Tommy 30 years ago and Pink Floyd The Wall 25 years ago, why hasn't the music industry progressed?
So you suggest that the industry should progress by going back to producing the sort of pompous overblown nonsense that punk killed off 20 years ago? Hey, why not demand the return of 45 minute keyboard solos and poodle cut hair while you're at it?

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (5, Insightful)

dogas (312359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277067)

The reason music is dead is very simple. There is no innovation.

Music is not dead. What a stupid sound bite. Music will never die. Perhaps the way the Big 5 get it to us might change.. perhaps their pricing model might change.. perhaps the Big 5 will dissolve themselves in a fit of greed. But on thing is for sure.. as long as there are humans, there will be music.

And yes, there still is GOOD music out there, but the Big 5 is not hocking that kind of music. Indie labels are tho. If you don't like Big 5's music, then stop caring and stop complaining and go figure [epitonic.com] out [pitchforkmedia.com] what the hell you DO like.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (2, Insightful)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276927)

Also, a good way to support the small artists is to pay attention to the local scene. Sure a lot of it is crap, (the same with the big-name clear channel bands, by the way) but a lot of these guys are really good. Listen to your local college radio (or go to www.wruw.org and listen to mine) and keep abreast of local bands and local concerts. Go to a hole in the wall bar and listen to whoever is playing there, what could it hurt?
Some artists, such as Dar Williams, and Ruth Gerson, got their start in "living room gigs." Average people arrange a concert in their homes for artists they believe in. Something like $10 or $20 donation at the door, and give the procedes to the performer. Be a Patron, not just a "consumer."
Thanks. And listen to WRUW FM 91.1 (I am not affiliated with them, but I do donate $n annually where n is in the set of whole numbers.)

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (2)

britneys 9th husband (741556) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276993)

And listen to WRUW FM 91.1 (I am not affiliated with them, but I do donate $n annually where n is in the set of whole numbers.)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :
The term whole number is used informally by some authors for an element of the set of integers, the set of non-negative integers, or the set of positive integers.

So depending on how you're using the term "whole number" n might be 0.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (1)

sangreal66 (740295) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276931)

You ignore the fact that in order to make the money they are making they have to "please the people that enjoy music." Just because you don't like the music doesn't mean the rest of us can't enjoy it.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277004)

You ignore the fact that in order to make the money they are making they have to "please the people that enjoy music." Just because you don't like the music doesn't mean the rest of us can't enjoy it.

I didn't ignore anything. People aren't enjoying music. They are enjoying what is fed to them. Let's not be confused here. The conglomorates control everything. Remember who controls 98% of radio (there is *1* major station here that isn't owned by Infinity or ClearChannel). Remember who controls TV. Remember who controls music.

CONGLOMORATES are telling you what you like and not the other way around.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (3, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277015)

Exactly. I hate the elitest attitude toward music so many people have. Even though YOU may not like the latest pop star, there are obviously millions of people who do, otherwise they wouldn't be popular.

Some people just don't seem to grasp that.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9276955)

They want to make millions of dollars and they have the conglomerates brainwash their fans into thinking that it is acceptable!


That's absolutely true. It's not so long ago that entertainers, jesters, bards, actors, etc. were pretty low down on the social scale. Now however, entertainers (including those involved in sports), are the most affluent and in some quarters, most respected of anyone in the world today.

It's a conspiracy I tell you. The court jesters have revolted :-)

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (4, Informative)

tanguyr (468371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277014)

That's absolutely true. It's not so long ago that entertainers, jesters, bards, actors, etc. were pretty low down on the social scale. Now however, entertainers (including those involved in sports), are the most affluent and in some quarters, most respected of anyone in the world today.

Median annual earnings of salaried musicians and singers were $36,290 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $18,660 and $59,970. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $13,040, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $96,250. Median annual earnings were $43,060 in performing arts companies and $18,160 in religious organizations.

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics [bls.gov]

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9277052)

That's still a hell of a lot more money than a lot of people earn. The point of my post in case anyone missed it, is that entertainers, who provide nothing of any real value, are now rewarded very well, whereas in the past they weren't.

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276974)


I can tell you the way the music died... It died when the musicians became the money-grubbing motherfuckers that most of them were told to become. They want to make millions of dollars and they have the conglomerates brainwash their fans into thinking that it is acceptable!


I don't know about all that... I think there's certainly some musicians that became money-grubbing scum, the problem is the music industry latched onto the ones that did what they told them. I put the blame for the decline of music squarely on the industry who's interested in short term profits at the cost of the long term. They market everything toward 15-19 year olds, and aren't willing to take any risks. The radio is just an extension of the same "play it safe, stick to the format" media giants.

Exactly what Sinead O'Connor said! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9277055)

Or was that Jan Hooks in a skullcap?

Re:Cut it down to 3:05. (2, Informative)

spaceman harris (646958) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277059)

I saw Frontline last night and thought that the documentary contained some good interviews and some insights, but ultimately it didn't really tie everything together. A lot of the show was spent following Velvet Revolver and a wannabe Avril Lavigne. You're time is probably best spent reading the interviews, particularly David Crosby and Melinda Newman.

This might be a good time to mention other Frontline shows online that are excellent: The Jesus Factor and the Man who knew. Those deserve some good on line viewing time.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9276775)

first post w00t

that explains it! (1, Redundant)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276783)

From Crosby's interview:
It changed it from being about the music to being about what you look like.

No wonder Britney Spears is famous!

Re:that explains it! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9276818)

No wonder Britney Spears is famous!

And no wonder why David Crosby is out of the picture.

Re:that explains it! (5, Interesting)

akuma624 (690011) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276832)

One of the quick ways of spotting this is to compare a song that you enjoy to its live performance. It should sound better live, but if the artist is just a commercial pre-packed product then they will probably sound like shit. -- Very true quote though.

Re:that explains it! (3, Insightful)

stanmann (602645) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276918)

Actually if it is pre-packed, it will sound exactly the same since its played off the album in the back...

for example a live artist will typically not run around the stage full tilt while singing...the pre-packed stuff will perform a double backflip in the middle of a verse and not miss a note.

Re:that explains it! (1)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277082)

thats tough tho - because metallica sounds great live, and they are money grubbing corporate bastards as much as the suits that are telling top40 acts what to do.

He has more to say about Britney.... (1)

Trigun (685027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276945)

The current ethos in the United States of America is all to do with surface and nothing to do with substance. It doesn't matter that Britney Spears has nothing to say and is about as deep as a birdbath. It matters that she has cute tits, and that's all that matters. She doesn't sing in concert; none of them do. Those are samples. Push a button, out comes the vocal. Do you ever notice, when you're listening to them in a live concert -- any of them, Janet Jackson, any of the rest of them -- that they're not breathing heavy? Even though they're dancing like crazy. That's because you're not hearing what they're singing. You're hearing a tape.

That says it all.

Re:that explains it! (1)

azzl (197706) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277033)

No wonder David Crosby is bitter!

The Answer (4, Insightful)

JaffaKREE (766802) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276809)

Treat ALL your customers like criminals = You fail.

Re:The Answer (1)

werelord (562191) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276919)

I thought the answer was 42??

Re:The Answer (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276962)

-Get money from investor
-Hire lawyers
-Provide no real product or service
-Sue Kazaa downloaders
-Profit!

Unfortunately they are not really failing.

Re:The Answer (4, Insightful)

JawFunk (722169) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277018)

Treat ALL your customers like criminals = You fail.

More like: make all your clients criminals = You fail

All the hype these days is about dumbfucks like lil' jon being promoted for a period of time, only to be swept off the top ten list sometime later. They have no fan base. Once they're back where they started, noone will care. BTW, anyone remember Ja Rule?

RIAA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9276811)

Surely you mean warez!

music died (3, Funny)

King of the Trolls (740328) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276816)

when limp biskits got a record deal.

Point Well Taken (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9276822)

Crosby's point that record company executives actually cultivate and take pride in their philistinism is not news, but refreshing to hear anyway.

A two parter (5, Insightful)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276825)

Music is magic. It's been mankind's magic since the first caveman danced around his fire going "Ugga bugga, hugga bugga!" That was music, and he was happy. And we're still doing it, and it makes us happy.

I think he means European dance music is still doing that ;-)

iTunes is a good idea. It delivers the music to you cheap, pays us, doesn't cheat anybody, and it cuts out all middlemen -- very good

I don't think so, Mr. Crosby! Cuts out all middlemen? The RIAA are still there taking their fat chunk. The artists get a tiny chunk. Of course, if you're smart enough to release tracks directly to Apple (like Ben Folds has been doing lately), then you can get a lot more.. but most RIAA-promoted artists can't do this.

danced? (2, Funny)

JohnDoe.Slashed (717301) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276926)

since the first caveman danced around his fire going "Ugga bugga, hugga bugga!" That was music, and he was happy.


err... I think the reason he went "ugga bugga, hugga bugga" was the hot charcoal he stepped onto...

Re:A two parter (5, Interesting)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276948)

Canada's version of MTV, Much Music, at least started out as a more independently-flavoured enterprise: shows like The New Music would track musical trends at the grass roots and give alot of air time to genre-specific or non-major label signed bands.

They broadcast a concert with Neil Young in their studio a few years ago...they talked about this song "This Note's for You" (take off on This Bud's For You), then asked him how he felt about Bob Dylan licensing one of his songs to a Canadian bank. His response was so blunt I still remember it clearly.

(paraphrasing a bit)"Well, I thought it was pretty obvious. We lost that one. Like, the whole war. We're all commercials now. And I can't see a way to change it back."

David Crosby's credibility... (0, Flamebait)

swb (14022) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276826)

...is it kind of thin? I mean, multiple drug busts, the last one involving a firearm? I'll be the last one to criticize him for smoking dope, but it's not like it helps his credibility.

Probably more damaging is the fact that the music industry he's most familiar with is that of the 1970s, not that of the contemporary industry. Sure, he's involved, but as a veteran/player, not as an up-and-coming musician.

Re:David Crosby's credibility... (5, Insightful)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276944)

Read the article. He really does hit it right on the head.

"You know, you'd go to a meeting with a record company and it wouldn't be a guy there who knew that you had written a new song and thought that was cool. It would be a guy who knew that he had moved 40,000 pieces out of Dallas this month, and he had no idea, pieces of what? None."

"Look at it this way. A couple of years ago, somewhere between a fourth and a third of the record business was owned by a whiskey company, who shall remain nameless, but were notably inept at running a record company. And they sold it to a French water company, who shall also remain nameless, but knew even less. Now, those guys haven't a clue! [laughter] They haven't a clue. And they don't care about having a clue. They are trying to run it as if they're selling widgets, plastic-wrapped widgets that they can sell more of. And they want easily definable, easily accessible, easily creatable, controllable product that has a built-in die-out, so that they can create some more."

"It doesn't matter that Britney Spears has nothing to say and is about as deep as a birdbath. It matters that she has cute tits, and that's all that matters."

"Now they're going in the tank, because the world has changed, and they did not change with it. They bit the poison pill, without realizing it, when they went digital. Once a thing is in digital domain, it can be copied as many times as you want. And there is no system that can keep it from being copied. You can devise the most clever one you want, and I will bring some little geek with a pen protector in his pocket into the room and he will fix it in a minute."

-- David Fucking Crosby

Re:David Crosby's credibility... (2, Insightful)

Trigun (685027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276978)

If David Crosby is calling you an idiot and a criminal, then you know you have problems.

Re:David Crosby's credibility... (2, Insightful)

_Swank (118097) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277023)

Probably more damaging is the fact that the music industry he's most familiar with is that of the 1970s, not that of the contemporary industry. Sure, he's involved, but as a veteran/player, not as an up-and-coming musician.


Yes, he's been putting out music and touring since the 70's. How does this not mean he's MORE qualified to talk about how the music industry has changed than an up-and-coming 'musician' (The very musician the Frontline episode is saying has changed for the worse because of the industry)? You do realize that's what the Frontline show is about, right?

As for the drug busts comment -- nice work on being the last one to criticize him for it...

Re:David Crosby's credibility... (5, Insightful)

loserMcloser (748327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277045)

I'll be the last one to criticize him for smoking dope

Looks like you're the first in this forum at least. I don't see how his personal habits have anything to do with his credibility as an expert on the music industry.

Why don't you come up with some counter-points to his arguments, rather than just saying "He smokes dope, so he must be hallucinating all this stuff about the music industry..."

Probably more damaging is the fact that the music industry he's most familiar with is that of the 1970s, not that of the contemporary industry. Sure, he's involved, but as a veteran/player, not as an up-and-coming musician.

Quite the opposite, as a veteran he is in a perfect position to comment on how the industry has changed over the last 35 years. See, older people often accumulate, through experience, this thing called "wisdom".

Re:David Crosby's credibility... (1)

JawFunk (722169) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277064)

...but it's not like it helps his credibility...Sure, he's involved, but as a veteran/player, not as an up-and-coming musician.

RTFAs! That's why the PBS story will focus on up-and coming artists as well, thereby making their production well-rounded and more interesting. 35-years in the music industry as an artist awards you plenty of credibility in this focus. It's not like Crosby is running for mayor here!

Only needs two words (0)

ryanmfw (774163) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276827)

Well, three:

Stupidity and Greed

But, what can ya do?

Re:Only needs two words (1)

SteveM (11242) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276933)

Two:

Greedy stupidity

SteveM

Re:Only needs two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9276984)

The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of it's forms - greed for life, for money, knowledge - has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed - you mark my words - will not only save Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you.

----Gordon Gecko----

A temporary "industry" (5, Insightful)

KaiBeezy (618237) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276831)

The music "industry" is a temporary phenomenon brought about by the original expense and difficulty of fabricating and distributing recorded music. As this expense drops to zero, we *should* go back to the way things used to be - professional musicians making a modest income providing live entertainment for live audiences. Unfortunately, people don't go out that much anymore (except to the mall) but electronic distribution can compensate. The music industry is dead; long live the music profession!

Re:A temporary "industry" (3, Insightful)

phats garage (760661) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277081)

Agreed!

Look at how cheap recording tech is nowadays and the distribution medium, the net, is incredibly efficient.

Of course you'll hear folks say that no, you need millions of dollars for "real" recording gear for pristine sound, but if that were really the case, nobody would care about kids sharing 128kbs mp3's.

The music industry is really afraid that they're losing the most important job here: determining who are the artists worth paying attention to.

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Good article (5, Insightful)

aznxk3vi17 (465030) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276838)

I was always wondering when somebody respectable and intelligent would note what the majority of America can't see: music today is CRAP. I don't care what my friends tell me, or what the TV tells me, there's no way around it. You don't get the studio mastery of the Beatles, nor do you get the sheer energy and excitement of Zeppelin.

Re:Good article (3, Interesting)

skaffen42 (579313) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276989)

Yep. Most of the "artists" out there today owe more to their producers and marketing agents than to their talent. Oh, and their looks. Being blond with big knockers is a sure fire road to stardom.

I always find it interesting to watch the groups that perform on SNL. Most of them sound like losing entries for American Idol. The only exception I've seen so far was U2. Damn, there is some real talent there. And I say that even though I don't even like them much...

Re:Good article (2, Informative)

(trb001) (224998) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277097)

99% true, but that 1% is worth it.

Check out Andrew W.K. next time he comes to town (coincidentally, he's coming to the 9:30 club in D.C. tonight, and I'm going to be out of town). He has the most energetic performance I've ever seen. He was on DC101 this morning talking and openly said (paraphrased) "I have some stuff that's been released overseas only, but with the wonders of the Internet you can find it. Please, download any of my stuff you want, you have my blessing." His live shows just rock, people can get on stage, he rides around on other peoples' shoulders, croud surfs, everything. Never any problems either. He's just a cool guy to watch and listen to.

--trb

Personally, (5, Interesting)

Biotech9 (704202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276845)

I see two types of music industry, one marketing orientated type (MTV basically) that panders to people that don't actually like music. (they just like the imagery and style associated with thier particular flavour of pop, the 'Hip hop' guys like eminem, the 'punk' girls like pink etc).

The other type is that real music industry, where bands aren't marketed as a way of life. What is an Aphex Twin fan like? What kind of clothes should i wear if i like Amon Tobin or Sabres of paradise?

Seeing as I am firmly in the second group, I don't care very much what happens to the MTV industry. They never got any of my money, and they probably never will.

just my 2 centi-'S

Re:Personally, (3, Insightful)

bloosqr (33593) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276999)

You are less cynical than I then, Aphex Twin was hugely promoted from the very beginning. CMJ, SXSW, college radio have a huge interest in promoting certain "alterna" bands and its the same marketing machine that brought you the really annoying "all good music got started at CBGB's VH1 love fests (aka blondie, talking heads, ramones etc" In fact you may have noticed aphex will show as background music in a lot of MTV slots (aka real world). Similarly in this day and age autechre, fischer spooner ladytron miss kitten all get the appropriate plugs in all the right places (and the MTV background slots) w/out any clear channel play. You may not be wearing phat raver tennis shoes but i'm sure you'll buy another "26 mixes for cash" :)

Re:Personally, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9277049)

What is an Aphex Twin fan like?


The are usually a bit gothy and pale and usually are virgins at the age of 25 and will be for a long long time. They are often accused of having bad taste by the public in general.

Re:Personally, (1)

mopslik (688435) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277069)

What is an Aphex Twin fan like?

He's a card diva, Dr. Jim.

(fans should figure this out)

Re:Personally, (1, Insightful)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277089)

Music is music whether you like it or not. Both Pink and Eminem are musical geniuses not only in their respective genres but to the music world as a whole.

Recording (5, Insightful)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276853)

That's right, I hate to say it, but recording killed music as it existed. Now, we have 2-3 minute soundbites that are played over and over in replication on thousands of cd players and computers. Gone are the complexities of performance. We've abandoned a culture of performers for a culture of listners.

Re:Recording (2, Interesting)

HolyCoitus (658601) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276883)

I agree with you on this, although not completely. I've taken to finding bands (Grateful Dead mainly) that allow for their music to be recorded. You can listen to the same songs from slightly different perspectives while still having other things be at the forefront of your thoughts. It's not as good as being there, but it's definitely better than listening to the same thing over and over.

It makes you wonder, why doesn't the industry decide to make things interesting and press CDs of all the different concerts? It would be slightly more expensive, but would garner a decent amount fo interest and sales I would imagine. And, it would deter file sharing because if you want song x from concert y it would be much harder to find if there are 30 concerts and you want the one you attended.

Re:Recording (5, Insightful)

cagle_.25 (715952) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276953)

I totally agree. What's interesting is my students, who are reluctant to sing in public (and when they do, they try to imitate the grunge band sound). They know that they don't sound like what they hear, so they shut up. What they don't know is that the voices on CD don't sound like that, either, until they get chorused, reverbed, EQed, and pitch-fixed.

Re:Recording (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277022)

Huh? So recording killed music, it just took 114 years to do it?

Maybe it will get them thinking (1)

Buffer_Overflow (754426) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276854)

I hope that this will get the industry thinking about how their foolish actions have affected their customers (...ya right..)

Hopefully this show will get as much attention as Merchants of Cool did. We had to watch that in class x amount of times...
-----
overflow

Simple (1)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276857)

Become a big beauracracy (sp), think that YOU are always right, become slow to adapt, try to hold on to outdated methods/procedures, get bogged down in excessive rulemaking (lawsuits anyone), finally try to force people to abide by your ways.

DIE

Hasn't this happened in history several times over? With anything from tribes to countries/governments to corporations?

Mainstream music only? (4, Insightful)

dogas (312359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276874)

Most everyone I talk to thinks that top 40 music on the radio sucks. I happen to agree (except for 50 cent, haha)

I think I'm one of the few lucky enough to have lived by and grown up with an excellent college music station [wprb.com] . Through their various shows and DJs, I've been able to find out what type(s) of music I'm really into, rather than having the Big 5 tell me what I like.

The moral of the story is that if you dig a little deeper than what's on the surface, you can find the real gold. I believe Indie bands always prove to have much more talent and creativity than the producer-molded garbage you hear on top 40 stations.

That said, Epitonic [epitonic.com] is a great site to listen to cool songs and figure out how to break away from that mainstream cycle.

Re:Mainstream music only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9277005)

I'd like to add a station for those of us in Europe and especially in the Netherlands (although I guess it's already quite known there) namely KinkFM. A wonderful source of music that caters to many different tastes.

http://www.garnierprojects.com/streamingmedia/ki nk fm/kinkfm.asx

Re:Mainstream music only? (1)

supertsaar (540181) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277053)

Yeah, mainstream top 40 has always sucked and will always suck. It sucked in the 70's when I was a kid, it sucked in the 80's when i was in high school (or what you'd call high school in the netherlands), it sucked in the 90's when i studied and it sucks in the 00's while i work. In the 70's my dad would bring back home all sorts of fantastic music you never heard on the radio. That's when I learnt that if you want to hear good stuff, you have to go looking for it.

I saw this last night, some interesting points. (5, Interesting)

Darth Muffin (781947) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276875)

I saw most of this show on TV last night. I found it interesting that they did NOT mention the Internet or P2P file sharing as a cause for poor music sales. Instead I think they nailed it when they said - More lax regulations on radio station ownership is to blame. Now that everything is Clearchannel, you can only play what they want. Artists used to get their big break by a local station playing their music. - Video is also to blame. You can't just sing any more, you have to look good too. They used Brittney Spears as a prime example--nice to look at but can't sing her way out of a paper bag.

Re:I saw this last night, some interesting points. (1)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276916)

They used Brittney Spears as a prime example--nice to look at

You want MORE? Tsk, some people are never satisfied.

Re:I saw this last night, some interesting points. (1)

skaffen42 (579313) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277047)

Video is also to blame.

Bastard! Now I'm going to have "Video Killed the Radio Star" stuck in my head for the whole weekend.

Panic and the loss of control (1)

Willeh (768540) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276878)

It's easy to see why the music industry is freaking out. For YEARS there was no real alternative (face it, your collection of creedence tapes doesnt hold candle quality wise to an lp, especially when they get stolen for some reason) to the music that the crackde^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hrecord labels put out, until there was mp3. Suddenly, distribution was convenient and doable without a loss of quality between generations. You bet your ass they're gonna fight!

After all, it's not to their advantage to have the music that people really like (And not the crap that gets fed into the public via Clearchannel channels) out there, cheap and uncontrolled. I bet they are going to find even more ways to a). squeeze more cash out of the artists AND the consumers. b). lobby for even tighter restrictions on copying (dmca, italian gvt. handing out jail sentences). All because of the goddamn arrogance of a few satin baseball jackets in the big offices that thought their 'dope' should be the only stuff that young people should smoke/ listen to.

Music won't die (5, Insightful)

armando_wall (714879) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276882)

Music will always live.

What is dying is the way big record companies make business (I know.. it's not disappeating any time soon, but anyways, it's dying slowly).

But around the world there will always be people willing to make music, perform music and freely share music.

No big mystery here (5, Funny)

scottennis (225462) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276886)

We've known since the early 80s that video killed the radio star.

Re:No big mystery here (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277038)

Early Buggles fans will have known that since 1979, when the song was released, and spent some time on the charts, before becoming synonymous with MTV.

For the record, I was not an early Buggles fan (a little young to be in the record-buying demographic in '79). I just happened to notice the copyright date on my LP.

Re:No big mystery here (1)

sirReal.83. (671912) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277065)

wasn't it just an ingenious move to make that song suck so bad that everyone blocked it out of their memory?
:)

Heartbreaking.... (5, Insightful)

erick99 (743982) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276896)

The interview with Crosby is just heartbreaking because you know what he is saying is true. You are not going to find anything at the store other than what WalMart or BestBuy thinks will be a hit with teenagers. I wonder how much great music is out there languishing like it wouldn't have 20 or 30 years ago?

I suspect that there will be a "sea change" in the music industry as well as big paradigm shift. Things do tend to find their way even through the tumbles to the extreme. In the meantime, I'm glad I'm 46 because I grew up when great music, by and large, made it to the radio (yeah,yeah, I know, I'm a cranky old fart).

Keep smiling!

Erick

Sarah Hudson (0)

waterford0069 (580760) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276899)

Sarah Hudson certainly demonstrated the problem music is having because of MTV. The eye-candy, with nothing interesting to say and very little talent gets almost all of the attention.

Someone like Ms. Hudson (who certainly has talent) has to be very lucky to get the exposure that she needs to be successful. Perhaps this episode will get her some more exposure. I'm certainly thinking about buying her album (if I can find it).

Or perhaps we could flash-mob (or would that be slash-mob) teeni-bopper radio stations and request her single.

Re:Sarah Hudson (2, Insightful)

jkeyes (243984) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276947)

Or perhaps we could flash-mob (or would that be slash-mob) teeni-bopper radio stations and request her single.

The problem with this is that I think most slashdotters don't bother listening to the radio when you can listen to MP3s/Ogg/AAC/whatever on your PC and not have to deal with ads and annoying DJ's.

Three thoughts (5, Insightful)

cagle_.25 (715952) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276902)

1) I am encouraged by the amount and quality of home-recording equipment around these days. For $500 or less you can get decent microphones, and for another $500 you can get decent editing and processing software which surpasses last decade's state-of-the-art. To my mind, this gives me as a musician a whole lot of freedom to make music the way I want to.

2) However, I couldn't make a living like that, unless I were to be picked up by someone. And the point of the Frontline show is that the "someones" willing to pick up new artists are diminishing in number. In the long run, I believe that the problem will be solved by a shift in the market; after all, musicians receiving patronage has a long and glorious tradition.

3) But, in the short run, the situation stinks. What is interesting here is that we have gotten exactly what we wanted, so to speak. Music marketers discovered what types of music people were willing to pay for. The majority of us said "Yes" to 3 minute singles with catchy choruses repeated ad nauseum, sung on video by sexy-looking stars, and we said "No" to 20 minute explorations created by groups like Yes, Kansas, or Rush. Which raises an interesting point: if majority rule and utilitarian thought produces such obvious garbage in the music realm, what garbage can it produce in other areas ... like government, or ethics?

/ramble

Finally... (5, Interesting)

cstream_chris (776009) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276910)

Finally a post where I can do some blatant self-promotion of a music site I've been working on. It's called cStream
http://www.cstream.com [cstream.com]

Unlike most sites, we don't charge artists to post their music (i.e. like music.download.com, soundclick.com etc...) and we provide them with unlimited storage for their music. We don't believe in DRM, all our files are distributed as MP3s. After all DRM is not really effective if you can Buy. Rip. Burn MP3 from any music store with DRM (Buymusic, iTunes etc..). Thus DRM is a really weak level of protection for music.

We've only been open for a couple of months but already have a few hundred songs. We try to sell artists music and give them 50% of the revenue. Our problem is that because our music is independent music generally no one has heard it before. Because we only give away 30 seconds of the song in high quality our sales are fairly low.

We've been thinking about switching our model to providing full length lower quality copies of a song with the ability to purchase high quality versions of the song.

A Suggestion (2, Interesting)

Ryosen (234440) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277029)

An interesting site and one I'm sure that I will be visiting (and purchasing from) often.

As for the samples, 30 seconds are nice (60 are better) but one thing that has caused me to buy a TON of music is radio streams. Some sites have set up various genre-themed channels where they play the music that they sell. You get to hear the entire song, hear other music that you might not have thought of sampling, and all of the track info is carried with the stream.

I had to check. (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276935)

I had to check and see if the author was Rob Enderle. So music, which has been around since the dawn of time is dying? Fuck off!

Re:I had to check. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9276997)

Not music, the recording industry.

It's not the 29th yet (1)

jaavaaguru (261551) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276940)

Frontline just released a show... ...will be available for online viewing on May 29th.

If it's not available yet, then it's not been released.

Re:It's not the 29th yet (1)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276968)

It's already been aired on TV, but available online tomorrow.

CD's are really a bargain when you put it this way (5, Informative)

mackermacker (250587) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276954)

You have to hand it to the RIAA, they have their *own unique way of pricing cd's. as they state:

One 1987 Washington Post article reported that record executives believed that the price of a CD would eventually settle around $10.

Twenty years later, production costs have come down, but consumers are still complaining about the cost of CDs, which now are priced at upwards of $16. The industry's main lobbying arm, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), responds that prices have come down. According to an article [riaa.com] published on the RIAA's Web site, "Between 1983 and 1996, the average price of a CD fell by more than 40%. Over this same period of time, consumer prices ... rose nearly 60%. If CD prices had risen at the same rate as consumer prices over this period, the average retail price of a CD in 1996 would have been $33.86 instead of $12.75."

Anyone who has burned a CD on his computer for less than a dollar may still wonder why a product that is so cheap to manufacture could cost so much. The answer is that while the cost of physically producing a CD has dropped dramatically over two decades, the costs of marketing that album have grown tremendously. For example, in the early 1980s, music videos were an optional route for the industry to promote their artists. Now labels are expected to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars producing music videos for all of their major artists. Even marketing a major album to radio can costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. And if an album is unlikely to get on radio or MTV, some labels have decided to launch costly television advertising campaigns to gain exposure for their artists.

However, the price of a CD isn't just paying for expensive marketing campaigns; it's also subsidizing releases by other artists that will never sell enough to make a profit. An artist at a major label may need to sell more than a million units before the venture ends up in the black. Most albums never sell anywhere near that. According to the RIAA, only 10 percent of albums ever achieve profitability.

Re:CD's are really a bargain when you put it this (2, Interesting)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277041)

I had always figured that this was true. When you purchase a CD you really aren't promoting the artist, but rather the label instead. I'm not sure if someone could actually create an accurante pie chart that shows how the money paid for a CD gets divied up among everyone. My thoughts would be the majority will go to the labels that in turn that use that for other artists, marketing, and i'm sure video production for said artis or other artist to promote. From whatever is remaining it will eventaully get to the artist depending on what contract has been setup... There just really is no easy way out.

Personally, I don't purchase CDs anymore. You can flame me all you guys want, but I don't see the point in doing it anymore. I strictly download music from a ton of different sources and use that to listen to anything. My car has a built in computer that I use for music, movies, etc.. Granted, the quality may not be as good as an actual CD, but it's something that I can sacrifice. And even most times I can borrow and copy the CD from a friend.

Music as commerce, music as art. (5, Insightful)

iamcf13 (736250) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276961)

Until music is considered and treated as an artform first and foremost, the commercial music industry will remain permanently broken as their priorities are transposed.

The early masters like Mozart and Beethoven were supported/sponsored by patrons thus freeing them to indulge their creativity and create truly legendary music that has outlasted their mortal lives and should last long after the members of commercial music industry sponsored music acts meet a similar fate....

don't let it happen to you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9276972)


are you disillusioned buy the highly falsely advertised concoctions prescribed for US by the greed/fear/ego based payper liesense stock markup FraUD corepirate nazi execrable, that's supposed to make you healthy, happy, horny, etc....?

alternatively, we offer a strange brew [kombucha.org] , that's good for you, & freely distributable, too.

Music wont die (4, Informative)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9276975)

If the big music conglomerates die, people will still continue to make music...

There's a lot of talented musicians and bands out there. Maybe they only play in bars and small venues; maybe they still have a day job; maybe you have to make a special detour to that out-of-the-way independent record store to find their records.

We can all live without music conglomerates and their lipsynching puppets.

support Independent music! (2, Insightful)

Jon Proesel (762574) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277000)

This article is all the more reason to support independent labels that actually care about their artists. There are labels that actually care about getting quality music out there, because the survival of their business depends on it. They care about building a loyal fan base, signing quality groups, and giving them the resources to develop into the group's vision, not the label's.

The music did die... (1)

justkarl (775856) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277007)

Before making a commitment to IT at school, I thought quite seriously about going to a music production school(I'm an amateur producer already). Besides the fact that it was too F'n expensive, I also decided that music is an art, and shouldn't be a buisness. Similarly, it goes against my philosophy that music, and all art, should be free; or in trade regulated by the artists themselves.

The thing is- Britney Spears, the boy bands, Creed, and anything you'll see on MTV, are not artists, they're buisnessmen(as if you didn't know). The music industry is slowly(quickly) diluting from pop music, and if you're anything like me, you don't have the capacity for it.

The big problem: too expensive!! (4, Interesting)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277010)

I think the biggest problem with the music industry comes down to this: they are charging WAY too much for a single album-length Compact Disc.

At US$18 per disc, no wonder why music sales are down--people can't afford them! It's also created the financial incentive to try to get around these high prices, hence the rise of P2P sites. This is a classic case of an economic cartel that is being undermined. Also, for just a little bit more money you can buy a DVD movie, many of which not only have the movie but also additional featurettes out of the wazoo. Think about it: you can get the Extended Edition of the first two Lord of the Rings movies for around US$28 to US$30 at most retailers; it has so much stuff on four DVD's it would take you weeks to browse it all.

If the RIAA would just allow their member companies to price their CD's at US$11.95 per album-length CD the incentive to pirate music would drop drastically.

Not here... (1)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277092)

Living in the midwest, we have some of the luxury of some cheaper prices and a lot of competition among electronic stores, etc...

On a Tuesday new release day, DVDs turn out to be priced cheaper than CDs. I can pick up a DVD for ~$12-13. Depending on the movie, that's 2 hours of entertainment, not including some of the special features, extra, etc...

I think RIAA needs to take a few clues from the MPAA. Having hte luxury of a DVD burner I can copy others' movies, download create my own.. whatever. But with the price so low for movies, it's not worth it to me. The point? Make the price for creating your own stuff more expensive than actually purchasing a pre-packaged one. Factor in your time to download the songs, getting the best quality, and making sure they all work (if from P2P programs) and it may in fact be better to just purchase it yourself so long as it wasn't $20.

Re:The big problem: too expensive!! (2, Interesting)

CommieOverlord (234015) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277093)

No, that isn't the classic case of a cartel being undermined. The classic of a cartel being undermined is when one member realizes that if it cuts its price to below the artificial price created by the cartel, then it can screw the other members of the cartel by sucking all the business away from them.

That's why cartels are typically so short-lived. Greed convinces one party that they can make more (short-term) by screwing their partners than abiding by the agreements of the members.

Very insightful journeyman's view (1)

l33t-gu3lph1t3 (567059) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277031)

It's nice to get a little history lesson from someone who was there during the "birth" of the industry as it exists today. His words strike a chord with me (bad pun, not intended) and I am saddened by how they don't don't seem to offer any hope for our generation of music. Even if the music industry dies, it's not going to happen overnight, and we have to sit here and wade our way through the sludge that sells for "music" these days.

Anyone notice... (4, Insightful)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277056)

that everyone is posting :

"the one reason the music industry died is . period." ??

and ALL of them are different reasons?

maybe its a combination of shitty music, greedy record companies, greedy musicians, drugs, cmdrtaco, drm, napster, filesharing in its many forms, mtv, britney spears, lack of innovation, disney, lawyers, riaa, ....

get the point? there's no 1 reason the recording industry is in the current state that it is.

and think about this...
Recording... INDUSTRY...

one more time...
Recording... INDUSTRY...

notice that second word:
INDUSTRY

They operate like a business would because they are a business and their main purpose is to make money. They may do it the sleazy way but hey thats BUSINESS.

Besides, there are plenty of indie bands (the mindset, not the genre) that work their ass off and distribute their own music and such. You just have to look harder because all that is advertised is the hot product from the Recording INDUSTRY.

Hey theres that word again...

rant over.. sorry for the caffeine overdose :-D

The reasons why (5, Informative)

Synn (6288) | more than 10 years ago | (#9277080)

It was a good show, the reasons they listed why the music industry is in such trouble:

CD sales in the 80's caused a massive boom in the industry because everyone was replacing their older records. This caused major industry corps to come in and gobble everyone up, because they wanted in on the action.

But the new corp culture revolved around quarterly reports and set schedules. So musicians are pressured to produce on a schedule to meet profit quotas. This doesn't make for good music.

MTV also changed the face of music. If you can get on MTV you get massive exposure. The problem with MTV though is that it's about image as much as it is about the music. So we end up with pop stars like Britney Spears who's pretty to look at but sounds like drek.

Clear Channel now owns a significant amount of radio stations and they will only accept so many new songs in a week. Record people now look for a "sellable" song that the stations will play(basically something just like they're playing already) because you want that mass exposure to hook people into buying your album. It's not about good music, it's about having a hit single.

You have to ask yourself... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9277088)

Could a song like "Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida" be released today?

And is that a good thing or a bad thing?
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