Chris' Interview: State of the Music Industry

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Chris' Interview: State of the Music Industry

Postby cyberyukon on February 18th, 2010, 8:55 am

Chris, in the recent interview with, explained as follows:

"The 'golden age' of the music business as we knew it is over. Kaput. Now, making music is a labour of love, pure and simple. Maybe though, it’s still possible to get lucky.”

Does anyone remember a few years back when Napster very seriously started to kick the supports out from under the music industry? Lots of folks, from artists and executives and insiders and others, used this as an opportunity to move music into a different place. Amalgams of multimedia became the hope of the future. Sony, Warner Brothers and countless others sought other outlets to market bands' stuff; "Guitar Hero" became a fertile source for some. Simon, Randy and Paula became somehow accepted gatekeepers to the industry. Myspace tried to corral and innovate by launching their own music store, allowing anyone with a kazoo and a digital recorder to put their music up for sale. The RIAA took 10 year-olds to court while Radiohead sold songs directly.

Out of all of this, what surprises me the most is that this same process hasn't repeated itself with the video industry. Or at least not nearly to the same industry-killing extent. After free .mp3-sharing became the norm, it seemed only inevitable that the same fate awaited the movie industry. I mean...didn't it? That within a matter of years people would be openly and freely trading digital copies of "Kill Bill", especially as memory technology expanded and "terabytes" became the common storage language. Video rental stores would close their doors and the DVD aisle at Walmart would be relegated to a small section of the "Electronics" section, dusty and forgotten.

But the video industry has somehow managed to prevail. Sure, the "Red Box" vending machine and services like Netflix have made distribution more accessible and cheaper, but it's still managed through corporate channels. This isn't extinction but rather evolution. Blockbuster Video stores may close their doors this year due to bankruptcy and the underground computer ranks swap videos through secret and complicated bit torrent channels.

But when was the last time you started up your free software and filled up your queue with free files of "Lost", "24" and "Inglorious Basterds"? I don't hear Hollywood complaining about this too loudly--certainly not in the same way that the RIAA did when this happened to the music biz ten years ago. Has Hollywood been able to avoid walking off the same plank, especially in light of the popularity of portable video players (e.g. the iPhone)? And people are still paying costly amounts to goto the movies.

What's different?

Maybe within this lies the answer to save (or resuscitate) the music business...

Just food for thought. Any comments?

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