The Future of Music Abolition
Glenn Boothe / Local 506
gboothe2 at earthlink.net
Sun Feb 26 13:00:07 EST 2006
This is from a newsletter written by music industry 'analyst' Bob
Lefsetz. I especially agree with the 'disappear' category but what
caught my eye was his take on smaller clubs (under Appear.) Some of it
gets music-industry'y near the end (lawyers, managers, et such) but
still an interesting read for any one into music...glenn
ps: the first one, Discs, strikes a personal chord, i recently realized
I'd outgrown my CD shelving, but decided I'd rather buy another iPOD
instead of more shelves...
What Will Disappear:
It's going to happen sooner than you think. What with Apple
introducing a $149 Nano and a $69 Shuffle today. We've seen this movie
again and again. Old wave technology holds its own, with slight
erosion, and then CAVES! It happened in photography, it's going to
happen in music. And the labels are just not ready for it. Oh, retail
is. Every music retailer has either gone bankrupt or is letting its
lease(s) expire or is diversifying greatly into other merchandise. As
for Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc, it was NEVER about the music. They can
survive fine without it. They'll find something else to give away
below cost to get people in the store. But, record labels...they're
Blame it on Microsoft, who can never get software right until the third
Blame it on the major labels. Who didn't see downloading AHEAD of time
and push rental.
But don't blame it on the people. The people want to own music. After
all, what's more valuable than your favorite tunes?
Music On Terrestrial Radio
You can't compete with iPods and commercial free music on satellite.
Radio will go talk. Its local flavor being what saves it from going
Music On MTV
Wait, it's ALREADY gone. Give up the ghost, MTV only plays videos so
you'll give them talent to use in their promotions. They'd eviscerate
it completely if they could, it gets HORRIBLE ratings. Music video,
which will be sans major production in most cases, will be a Net form.
Actually, for the under-thirty set, they've ALREADY gone.
Music is portable. That's the main place you hear it, on the run.
Except for when it emanates from your computer, whether through
speakers attached directly to it or via bridges that throw the sound
around your house.
You doubt me? Check out a dorm room. Go to a store and try to buy
two-channel, even at a HIGH END shop.
Long Term Recording Contracts
Hell, they're already dying in the U.K. The majors LICENSE a record or
two and end up with NOTHING!
It's gonna be like the movie business. Everybody's a free agent,
nobody's locked up for a long time. Except to THEMSELVES!
THIS is what the Net is bringing us. THIS is why the majors are
fighting Net distribution so hard. If you can be on an indie and get
paid...shit, what do you need the major for?
Furthermore, those contracts that are signed will be more equitable to
the artist and clearer and shorter.
What Will Appear:
Nothing replaces the out of the home experience. This dancing and
drugging to prerecorded tracks isn't gonna go on forever. People want
live music. It will start locally, in small places, and grow from
there. People want to see the acts they've read about/and heard on the
Net. The Net is a conduit to LIVE, not to traditional major labels.
It's gonna be hard to break someone, but once they've been established,
they're gonna be here for good. Because the fans that supported them
on the way up, who built them, who sold their story, won't abandon them
because they believe they've got an investment. It's THEIR band, not
A Ton Of Music
Do you remember the one album, three year, five single paradigm?
I don't give a fuck if your album has five singles anymore. The
correct parlance is five HITS! You'll release a steady stream of
product, building investment in the band. Dividends will pay off not
only in sale of this music (as part of a bundle, not as single tracks
on iTunes), but touring, merchandising... Fans will give you ALL their
As for singles artists... It will be the early seventies all over
again. You can run a track up Top Forty radio, but you can't make any
real money. Hell, the only reason the labels could make real money
selling tracks in the past decade was because you HAD to buy the
complete album to hear them. Those days are THROUGH!
Gatekeepers of talent. That's what the major labels thought they were.
In the nineties all the mid-level managers went to work for the labels
and the company dictated to those that were left, even the big
powerhouses had to deal with "corporate policy". No more. The manager
will be king once again.
A Final Price For Tickets
Once the dinosaurs slow down, and the business has to WORK for live
revenue, it's going to be scary. Developing new talent is the first
criterion for health, but the next will be consumer trust. The final
cost of a ticket will be clear. The public will demand it. The days
of ordering a $25 ticket that turns out to be $40 are coming to an end.
It's gonna be $40. Actually lower, since the ruse will have been
These weasels will just adjust their loyalty to the managers from the
First we kill all the lawyers?
Sounds good to me. They don't write the music, why should they have
such guaranteed tenures/incomes? The problem is too many of today's
lawyers are loyal to the label before the act, since the label will
survive and the act won't. This is truly heinous.
Right now there's some twentysomething sleeping on a mattress, working
on sweat equity, who's going to be the new king of this business.
Actually, a FEW! Just like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates stole computer
thunder from IBM, these guys will decimate the old players. Mainframes
are history. Replaced by localized PCs (or PCs strung up in parallel!)
Think of the music business the same way. As something DECENTRALIZED!
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