banner of Tapes 1
IMP logo
 

Frontpage
Featured Article
Features Archive
Browse IMP Profiles

Join IMP!

Music Industry Needs to Observe the Drug Dealer

Ron - 2008-11-18 01:21:01

The Music Industry has been confronted with the epidemic of file sharing for some 10 years now. Their cumulative response has shown nothing pattern of reckless incompetence and greed. An illegal downloader is more likely to be struck by lightning than to be prosecuted. Not only is this strategy ineffective, but it has been a PR nightmare and created tremendous ill-will among the music consuming public. Any technological advances the industry comes up with are hacked into almost immediately. Before you know it, the word is out across the internet. The so- called 'protected' CD is downloaded thousands of times before the first BMG executive can get home to take out his frustration on his dog and wife. Record companies don't get any sympathy from those of us who are old enough to remember having to buy an album full of craptastic filler to get the one or two songs we want. (Queen? I'm looking at you. Yea, you may be a legendary band, but your albums were all 2-3 great songs followed by 45 minutes of band practice.) The industry seems to be emulating the popular but wildly ineffective War on Drugs. Ironically, it's the Drug Dealer they should be looking to for an effective business model. Morality or lack of it has nothing to do with this argument. Whether you're pro or anti-drug, you have to admit, drug dealers know how to sell. I'm not talking about the addicts, I'm talking about reaching the New consumer. What do dealers do to get a new 'customer'? They give it away at first until they get someone hooked, then sell it. Some artists have started to catch on to this marketing method, and those who have have seen positive results. It has been mostly the established acts that have embraced this philosophy so far. But it's actually newer or more obscure acts that will benefit most. Bands like Radiohead have a built in fan base who will buy a new album cold, without hearing even the single. But not many people are going to drop $ on an unknown artist without hearing them first. Not only are the big corporations slow to join this movement, but it instead has adopted the mind-numbingly stupid practice of mixing every part of a song at equal loudness so that, they say, IPod users can hear all parts of the song better. This is the same as a drug dealer trying to get a new kid hooked on coke by selling him stuff that's cut 50% with baby laxative. If you're listening to music exclusively on an IPod, chances are you're not that concerned about quality. In the meantime, record companies are pissing off the traditional consumers by selling crappy sounding CDs while raising prices. If BMG, Sony, don't wake up soon, they will be as relevant as buggy whip manufacturers. Fortunately, unlike the poor auto worker, the artist will survive and thrive. There are ample tools available for them to create, promote and sell their music without the need for a producer, a studio and record company cash. These same tools could save the industry itself, but it is too blind and impotent to use them.