Monday, June 11, 2007

Masters of the Obvious

The annihilation and reconstitution of the music business is one of my favorite subjects. My belief is that it is a good, if not great, time to be a musician. The old gatekeepers are falling by the wayside, and the bigger they are, the harder they fall. People won't pay for recordings, but they will gladly shell out their hard-earned money for concert tickets. The music business, as a whole, has been shrinking for years, but the portion that goes to tickets has been regaining lost ground.

The bottom line remains ever the same: make good music and you will make a good living doing so, provided you can put on a good show.

So it was with great glee that I read the inimitable blogmeister Will Divide's commentary on said meltdown.

"You have to read ten paragraphs into yesterday's Times story about the collapse of CD sales before getting to the heart of the matter, namely the suck-suck-suckiness of Pop music today:

"Even as the industry tries to branch out, though, there is no promise of an answer to a potentially more profound predicament: a creative drought and a corresponding lack of artists who ignite consumers’ interest in buying music. Sales of rap, which had provided the industry with a lifeboat in recent years, fell far more than the overall market last year with a drop of almost 21 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

"Not that the writer spent a lot of time examining this aspect of the decline, because, well, it was a business story. Seems download sales aren't so hot either. How big media enterprises evolved to manage free expression and smother creativity, co-opt and trivialize, and how bright, talented people lent themselves to such activities, for a chance for money and fame, is a story as large and shining as the sun in these parts, has been for years.

"That the mobility is finally growing tired of it (and YES, I am using the collapse of CD sales as indicative of wider concerns) says a lot about our times. The country has been soul starved for years. For me, the true tragedy of America is how little real culture, which is a higher order of social self-knowledge, our affluence has bought us over the last sixty-odd years. Our politics is as bad as our pop music (Nashville, I am looking at you), and both reflect a creative bankruptcy that bleeds into the moral realm."

Here's a blast from the past, from the rightly famed gospel queens, the Davis Sisters:

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