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An Important Question (or two)…

First off, it’s been a little while since I posted, so for that I apologize. Second, forgive a musician for addressing a music topic. This is one blog where the responses are more important than the blog itself, so please respond below…

So, this may be a bit of a trite topic, but something tells me it cannot be spoken of enough, especially right here, right now. As someone who has been a part of this industry for some time, I have watched the evolution of…pretty much everything that has to do with music in the last few years. And one thing I am noticing is that not only are things changing and changing fast, but they are changing at a faster rate.

And never has there been such opposing poles in the music industry.

On one side, there are fans–consumers–who have benefitted so much from recent trends. And by “benefits” I mean with the digital medium becoming more and more prominent, music listeners have increasingly cheaper and easier access to whatever music they want, whenever they want. It seems like there is nothing but upside on the surface in the current context of iTunes, MyZune, Torrents etc.

You really can get music nowadays for next to nothing, and basically as much as you want. And we have so many cool toys these days to play it on!

On the other side of the fence is the industry itself…the labels, the press, the producers, the publishers, the distributers, the radio stations, and of course, the bands. And everyone on that side of the fence has been whistling a different tune for quite some time. As music becomes cheaper, and as attention spans shorten with the accessibility to music, less and less revenue flows through the industry. This means less and less resources for developing new bands, for keeping bands afloat, and for keeping jobs in the industry. Plainly put, the whole thing is shrinking massively in a very short period of time, and it is becoming harder and hard for bands to do this for a living. It is becoming harder and harder for labels to sell music. And labels are executing worse and worse record deals for bands.

People are finding it harder and harder to be a part of this beautiful medium because there just isn’t enough resources to make it possible.

I myself am torn over the issue. On one side, I think this “implosion” (which will continue to feed on itself) will result in a desaturation of everything (less bands = a higher percentage of good bands, and FINALLY METALCORE/SCREAMO/CHUG/SQUEEL/BLASTBEAT/COOKIE MONSTER SCREAM/MONOTONE-SAME-NOTE-AS-EVERY-OTHER-BAND-CHORUS WILL END). I also love getting music at a cheap price as a consumer. But I also love packaging. I love holding artwork in my hands and reading lyrics. And it saddens me that physical albums are “slowly going the way of the buffalo.” And finally, I do this thing for a living, and all of this threatens the industry that feeds me and gives me life in my day.

I was having a conversation about this very topic with some friends recently at Maggiano’s in Costa Mesa (A great Italian restaurant at South Coast Plaza in SoCal), and here are the questions that popped up in my head, ones to answer in your responses:

How many of you really care that physical albums will be a thing of the past someday soon? Does it even matter to you?

How many of you support the artists you love by going to shows, buying CDs, merchandise, etc.? Do you realize the impact and influence you have by your support?

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How many of you aspire to work in the music industry in some form? Do you realize how significant these trends are and how they affect your future?

Do you realize that if you start a band NOW, or have started a band recently, your chances of meeting death from starvation and poverty are VERY HIGH?

Now, more than ever before, the power is directly in the hands of YOU. Music is a powerful force, and I for one do not want to see it go away in any way, shape, or form. I want to always have the opportunity to find new bands as a music fan, to be inspired by new songs. I want to do my part to inspire and to keep this medium alive and thriving. And I really want to know what all you think about all this.

Do you care?

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