Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Frontier Records founder Lisa Fancher is with TVD all week as we celebrate the label’s 3oth Anniversary.
Today, a clarion call:
Welcome to Reality
I've been spending so much time detailing about the wondrousness of moi that I decided to turn my sights toward my nemesis, The Music Business. Much as I'd love to dance on its grave, I'm too magnanimous and wonderful for that. Though its never been good to me (more on that another blog) and has done nothing to deserve it, I'm gonna give it a reprieve. I still have an inexplicable fondness for you—once upon a time you brought me Elvis, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Here's the deal, M.B: record buyers aren't buying your shit anymore. Literally.
You are a big, sloppy mess that doesn't deserve a decent burial. There was well over a generation of fans who, like me, grew up living and breathing music, even falling in love with the artwork. Nowadays teenagers don't know which band wrote what song, when it came out, or where they came. Call from Philip Morris: Teenagers are extremely susceptible to peer pressure—imagine if you hooked them on music again. Now there's a diabolical scheme!
Look at the misery you caused with your new fangled CDs! Buyers were once crazy for CDs, profit was fat… until they discovered they could easily upload and download digital files themselves. Surprise! Profit retrograde. Are music fans inherently dishonest? I don't think so. I think they're tired of paying $20 for a record that probably stinks to begin with and they know it only cost around $1.00 to manufacture. Instead of paring down the roster and insisting upon better music, you (unsuccessfully) tried to sue consumers for home taping, trading in promo CDs, and now for "file sharing."
What to do about the problem of stealing instead of buying? I know—pick me, pick me! Add extra tracks and/or visuals to a CD by your "hot" artists, call it DELUXE and charge several dollars MORE so that their fans will resent them since they don't have several dollars more. How to send the upward trajectory of people BUYING downloads spiraling down to earth? Charge $1.29 for MP3s by hot selling artists when customers were reluctantly paying .99 cents. You heard vinyl was "in" so you bombarded stores with mediocre back catalogue at a $25 list price even though the original LP can readily be found in bins for .99 cents! Nice job, wizards.
Consumers don't have to get music from record labels. Wake the fuck up—you're not in charge of how they get music—THEY are! YOU made them disgruntled by continuously changing formats and raising prices instead of making better records. Oh, that's right, there are only four "Major" labels left and the corporate masters made a point of firing anyone with musical knowledge from every department, not just A&R. From wax cylinders to Super Audio CDs—single and duo layer— they're not going to buy a new piece of gear every time your bottom line needs a bump. Bump = cocaine, get it? JOKZ.
The Music Business took a nation that was obsessed with pop music starting with Frank Sinatra and drove them away, now there's something to be proud of. Then again, I'm no business major. Music is not a fuckin' hamburger some kid can make in under two minutes, it's ART created by HUMANS. It connects humans with other humans and saves their lives. People can't do without music, they will always seek it out and cherish it, tell their friends about how a song or a band or an album changed their life. Oh, that's right, there are only four "Major" labels left and the corporate masters made a point of firing anyone with musical knowledge from every department, not just A&R.
The only music lovers you haven't turned away are truly independent record stores and fanatic record buyers. The huge chains you catered to have been reducing floor space on music for years and since you can't consistently deliver them hit product, they're now going to sell DVDs or educational toys instead. And yet Indie stores are opening all the time, many of them are seeing their best months ever… Passion drives the music business, only the passionate work hard enough to keep it afloat. It's time for everyone, myself included, rethink their pricing strategies and cater to the music buyers that are still in the game.
The strong survive, Major Labels, and if you're intent on dying I certainly won't stop you. Look on up from the bottom, there's no place to go but up. Do you like how I worked two Frontier songs in here? I knew you would.
Posted by Jon at 10:08 AM