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Who's Killing the Music Business?

    A few weeks ago I wrote a piece entitled, “Why is Terrible Music Popular” where I attempted to gather insight as to why artists’ with lesser quality music have larger fan bases than artists who have been in the industry longer and have mastered their craft to an unparalleled degree.  I used examples of mainstream favorites as well as current underground heavyweights in order to give my readers some perspective on this issue.  Because the way I see it, if terrible music is the only music selling and music sales are at an all time low, then we’re about to crash and burn this industry unlike anything anyone is prepared to realize.

    Its reaching the end of 2014 and only one artist has released a platinum album this year, of course its Taylor Swift; go figure.  This can only mean one thing in my personal opinion.  And that remains clear that its become overly obvious that we’ve reached a turning point in the digital age of music and nobody, especially the labels and artists knows where to go from here.  Truth is, I saw this coming several years ago.  Even as as naive as I was as an aspiring artist, I knew the trends were shifting and with the current climate, there is no way things were ever going to be as they once were in the early 2000’s.

    We live in an age where information is immediately accessible and people have become used to this instant gratification which prevents them from seeing the bigger picture and looking several years or even months down the road.  Its quite sad actually, and just like you can’t put a bandaid on a gun wound to heal it, this industry has been bleeding itself dry for quite sometime.  I could point fingers but to be honest, we’re all to blame for it.  The labels with their archaic business model refused to shift gears as the digital age hit head on.  Artists refused to take responsibility settling for badly orchestrated record deals and quick paychecks.  And the fans of the post file-sharing generation simply conditioned themselves to get used to not paying for a single shred of music.

    And here we are, almost 2015 and look who remains atop the music charts.  The usual darlings of MTV/BET along with the random breakthrough artists who managed to build an internet buzz made up of die hard hipster fans that make sure their artists garner their fair share of popularity much against their philosophical tendencies.  And as 2014 comes to a close, its become abundantly clear, fans are no longer going to pay for music.

    My question is how did it get this way? When I was 16-22 I was more than willing to take my overenthusiastic ass to best buy to cop the newest album from my favorite artists.  So why can’t kids today shell out 9.99 for a digital album or even $5 on their favorite tracks?  I don’t have the answer to that but I can take one quick glance at my twitter timeline and tell you we’re dealing with a generation of self-centered egomaniacs who have no appreciation for any of the technological advancements we’ve been given, nor the work that gets put into the entertainment they’ve been provided.  They’d rather spend more time arguing on the comments section of YouTube videos than actively show support for their favorite artists until it comes time to attend a concert.

    Of course this isn’t entirely their fault.  Popular music of numerous genres for the past decade has done well in pushing a message of egocentric behavior, caring of nothing but personal satisfaction that can only be fulfilled by sex, money, status, and recognition without any acknowledgment of the consequences of one’s actions.  It doesn’t take a doctorate in sociology to see how obvious that reality is.

    And that’s why to be honest, I’m a tad bit afraid of what 2015 holds in store for us as a whole.  The music industry is made up of so many participants of both professional and consumer backgrounds.  And still, we have yet to come to a viable solution that makes it fair for everyone to get their deserving share of the pie.  And let’s face it, we need to find some solution quickly because from what I can gather, regardless of who is topping the charts and selling albums, there is no shortage of talent out there. Its actually quite the contrary.  There’s more talent than we know what to do with, which is also apart of the problem.  But that topic is for another discussion, another day.

    Its high time we finally put away foolish pride and unite as a whole.  Artists, industry professionals, and fans need to work together in order to revive this dying entity because lets face it, things can’t go on as they have been the past few years.  Fact of the matter is, artists can’t make music with no money to cover the necessary expenses.  And that being said, do we really want to live in a world where good music is virtually non-existent and hard to come by?  Think about it for a minute.  I think your precious need for it deserves at least that much.

    Matt G