I found myself reading a New York Times article this morning and thinking a little harder than I generally like to at 5:45 AM.
Basically, small record labels are getting screwed by big corporations again—but now it’s the “cool” guys doing the screwing. YouTube specifically. Once considered an equal-opportunity format, YouTube is now accused of accommodating Universal, Sony and Warner.
It seems the technology that allows some dude in his basement to produce, promote and distribute an album, is the same technology that could eventually wind up preventing the dude from ever making any money from his endeavor. A double-edged sword. The innovations that giveth you life can also taketh it away. Unfortunately, in the age of perpetual sharing, it’s just so easy to steal. Why buy something when you can just click a link and enjoy it for free?
The answer? Records (vinyl, LPs, albums, plastic discs) that include a digital download. Hipsters have already adopted this idea—now it’s time to jam it down the throats of popular culture. Make kids yearn for album art and liner notes. Tell the youth there’s charm in the crackle of a needle dropping on the plastic surface just before the first song. Bring back the notion that music is something to be cherished and respected. Teach the children how to hold an album and how to wipe it down when it gets dusty. Educate them the way my dad educated me. Promote the format. Promote the artist. Make sure rich kids everywhere are buying records and maybe folks could get paid for their creative product once again. Maybe?
Or perhaps dedicating your life to a career in music is a path destine for failure and everyone should just sell out and work at advertising agencies and accounting firms. That could also be the answer.