he pretty much 'nails it'....soundscan pretty much killed the chances of 'breaking' a record....after that, the 'end' of rock and roll radio was eminent. add filesharing(theft) and a subtle evolution of consumer habits, priorities, yada yada.......you can't go home again.
This is the same as what is happening in all trades. Greed and the all mighty dollar is all that matters. People and product quality is no longer part of the equation.
Greed is definitely the issue and the largest problem in the great USA... It's a shame that people can be bought and sold so easily, but unfortunately, money is the fuel of the capitalist machine. Now where's my bonus???
Shouldn't the consumers blame themselves for this state of affairs, the masses wouldn't know 'quality' music if it hit them right between the eyes.
I also don't believe consumers have evolved, rather they have devolved, popular music increasingly gets more annoying and souless as time goes on. Personalities matter more than the music today, witness the popularity of these idiot 'reality' shows.
I guess I've never understood the public's fascination with personality. Fanzines, which have always been around, are simply gossip, they are not about music. Hell, even Mellencamp's story is known by many, John Cougar, his life in Indiana, blah, blah, blah. Music is generally used as a vehicle to deliver gossip, music is only a secondary concern.
But then, do you really think music could ever be a purely artistic endeavor once big money entered the arena? I know a number of youth involved in music today who are only too willing to compromise everything in order to gain stardom. To make music today without expectations of a big payoff is too much like work for this crowd, they fail to see the intrinsic value of music. Too many of today's musicians are not really in fact musicians, rather they are purveyors of a commodity they call music.
Nope, the masses are solely to blame for this state of affairs. They buy up what the gossip purveyors serve them, they don't want or deserve more than they're getting.
Making and listening to music is really the domain of music lovers, really not a whole lot of them out there, never have, never will. Intrinsic values are simply not worth much in a material world, money is how we determine value.
Is John going to donate to charity all the money the corrupt and greedy music business made for him? If not, all the righteous indignation rings a little hollow to me.
Thanks for the link. My point of view may differ from the previous posts. I grew up with vinyl and still think it gives the best performance. CDs may have been a clever ploy to ensnare the masses but it gave us a portable medium which was better than cassette tapes. And the sound from a CD on good equipment is still damn good, just not quite as good as vinyl and without the pops, scratches and vulnerability. Also, my 16 year old son has brought music to me that he has discovered on Youtube, found the obscure recordings on CD or download, and is excited. The future will be high res downloads to music servers and distributed throughout our homes. I hope the future artists will record their own music, download it to the internet, bypass the companies ("The Man") and let us buy what we like, in high resolution downloads. To hell with the record companies, and Wal-Mart.
I think John has some interesting things to say--he recently interviewed on NPR. I was impressed by his gig last summer with Lucinda Williams and very impressed by his latest record. TBone Burnett produced and the sound quality is high. John has done a number of charity gigs and donated to support farmers and disabled veterans. I think he deserves your attention and support.
While John Mellencamp certainly has a right to his opinions,I agree with Tomcy6,unless he donates all his millions that he has made from the "music business",he really falls on a deaf ear, he talks about corporate greed, what about musicians greed etc.
I do agree with him on the "artist" owning and funding a record label, he should start one up, with all of its upfront overhead, signs some bands, make cds, and when they dont sell, and he loses millions,does he say, what the heck.
Record companies are not in this for fun,it costs alot of money to sign, record, promote, market a new act, and most go down the drain financially,doesn't mean their music isn't any good, the cd just didnt sell.
Has the music business changed, sure, the music and demographics have changed, the rock thing is over, and 50 -100yrs from now, it will go down as one of the great eras of the 20th century.
So, to John Mellencamp (and i do like his music) go ahead, fire up your own corporation, funded by you, and see what happens, I hope it works out.
I thought his best point in the whole article was: sing the chorus from I Need a Lover... now sing a chorus from any Mariah Carey song. I've asked a couple of people to try that and you can guess the outcome. I was reminded of the point when I heard Anoop sing an Usher song on American Idol the other night. There's just no song to sing there.
So much of what you hear today in popular music has no underlying song. There is a problem with the record business. His point on soundscan is valid. Music is Big Box business. A lot of what gets played in several genres - rock, country, top 40 come immediately to mind - is unabashed slick corporate garbage. I think a lot of the fractured genres we hear about such as alt country, new bluegrass, some folkie rock are outgrowths of the core problem. People can't stand the stuff played on radio and seek out these slivers of creativity.
Interesting comments. I guess I think this is a pretty hopeful time for American popular music. Lot's of mass-market junk (as always, I assume), but lots of smaller label stuff that is really good (the music more often than the recordings, alas).
While I agree that on the smaller labels you're finding much more 'creative music", the big problem is selling this music, beyond the few fans that actively seek this music out. Fewer places that sell these CDs/records, problems with people stealing downloaded copies of their music, recording budgets being cut for those artist that actually still have a label, extremely limited advertising budget, are just a few of their problems. Not that long ago I talked to one artist who records for a well-known blues label, and he told me that most of his CD sells anymore are from people buying them at his gigs or off his website. Great to see the middleman get cut out, but nevertheless it still severely limits the number of CDs that get sold, as only the "choir" is buying them. Add to that the number of venues that used to book him and his band (and other blues artists) that have either closed down or changed music formats makes it much more difficult for people like him to tour.
Funny I find that despite all the issues there seems to be more music than ever out there to discover and enjoy and even more ways than ever to enjoy it.
most musicians and songwriters are dirt poor. the music 'business' is also made up of working stiffs, just like any other industry.
mellencamp is a nice guy has produced one noteworthy album in a long, undoubtedly honorable career--i'm not sure he's acheive3d the status of visionary.
Just another liberal blaming everything on Republicans....