Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Demise Music Industry is Like the Demise of Our Cities


Noz's post on the end of KMEL has me thinking about both
the decline of the cities and the record industry in general.

In order for any partnership to work, there has to be
a meeting of concerned parties, so that everyone with
a vested interest has an opportunity vet, discuss, criticize
and new plans or procedures.

Functional cities and record labels follow this process.
The ones that don't, well, you can predict their demise
with precision.

The notion of demise brings me to Eric Arnold's recent piece on the

end of the Hyphy movement in SF Weekly.

... the largest single factor in hyphy's decline may have been the withdrawal of support for local music by KMEL 106.1FM, the Bay Area's top urban radio station and a powerful industry tastemaker.
The article is interesting in that it points how how
a record company can afford to be profitable
and major, while steadfastly refusing
to include
local voices in its programming.

What better way to kill a vibrant city by bowing to non-local interest
for short term gains.
Think about it.


Ball stadiums hyper subsidized with city taxes
with promises of jobs for the community

In another twist on the future of the music
R.M. London speaks on bootleggers
at Rhymehouse,
I got in touch with, Krooked1, one of the main contributors of HipHopBootleggers, the most popular hip hop album download blog on the internet that has received an amazing 1.5 million hits since the summer of 2006, and asked him that very question, he confidentally told me: "Well, if you look at hip hop at the moment the record labels do not do enough to get their artists the promotion they want and need. We get artists asking US to promote them, and they even resort to sending there albums to us to post. I don't think we're doing anything wrong. If it wasn't for the internet a lot of people would not know about what has been released, or what is due to be released. Yes, we are doing a service to the artists who do not get what they deserve (promotion wise). If you are signed to a record label, your album is about to come out, and the label is not doing shit about it before its release-- what is that? What is the artist to do at that point to get their name out? Yea, we put it online, but if we like what we hear we will purchase. Artists moan about their shit getting leaked on the net-- they should just not send it to the press."

This in turn affects how artist, the most out of the trunk guerrilla artists
remain regional, but get can't catch that one Big Break
which would allow them to go national.

Another example of how local support can be used as leverage to
do other things.
KMEL's provincial attitude toward local rap artists is perhaps best exemplified by the station's treatment of Mistah F.A.B., a charismatic Oaklander sometimes referred to as "hyphy's crown prince." According to F.A.B., a "personal situation" with current music director Big Von Johnson has existed for years. The rapper speculates that jealousy might be the cause: "Von wanted to be an artist." Still, "It's no bad blood, it's no hatred from me," he now emphasizes. (At press time, Johnson hadn't responded to several requests for an interview.)
I can't imagine how it feels to another city and asked why
your music isn't played on your local station.

A city, like the record industry is a delicate ecosystem.

But then again, arn't all ecosystems, by their very nature delicate?

Then there was a post at artstechnia where Nate Anderson
discusses why Music 1.0 is dead
. He writes,

An anecdote in a recent Economist perfectly summed up the problems facing the major music labels. After EMI, the smallest of the Big Four, invited a teen focus group to its London headquarters in 2006, it wanted to give the teens something for their time. The response is worth quoting in full.

At the end of the session the EMI bosses thanked them for their comments and told them to help themselves to a big pile of CDs sitting on a table. But none of the teens took any of the CDs, even though they were free. "That was the moment we realised the game was completely up," says a person who was there.

He then goes on to discuss independent movement and their
current and growing market share.

Greg Scholl, boss of indie label The Orchard, pointed out that the music business is not just four companies, and that indie music's market share is now approaching one-third... and it's growing. Indies have also been more open, historically, to experiments such as selling music without DRM. If the major labels take more than a decade to turn the ship around, they risk running a ghost ship with little in its cargo hold but a valuable back catalog.
So we have independent gaining more of a market share
and millennial's disinterested in taking free cd's.

Perhaps there is hope.


30% for independents?

Thats a good look.

Local food, Local music, Local......Power.



neo said...

I had a personal situation that I'll never forget. I hand to a friend of mine in law school who had a friend who works at the local radio station out here in Houston my two projects (debut lp and mixtape).

Personally, I wasn't expecting anything to come out of it save gaining a new fan. She came back to tell me homeboy said and I paraphrase-quote, "Your boy's stuff sounds like east-coast type rap, it's dope, but it will not get any airplay here..DJ's here know what's dope but they have to play what's on the playlists given to them, no one's trying to lose their jobs. So what they do is take the cd's and go home to listen to them, keep them and more than likely enjoy them but never share them over radio."

That should tell you a lot. So we indies gotta go viral and use the internet..and I really thank God the internet has risen during my lifetime as such a great outlet for music.

M.Dot. said...

So what they do is take the cd's and go home to listen to them, keep them and more than likely enjoy them but never share them over radio."


Making music for people WHO WORK in radio.

Novel concept.

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