State of the music

Every now and then, the president will present a State of the Union address to discuss problems and concerns within the country and to present possible solutions.

For some reason, I feel like music deserves the same treatment, and as the semester winds down, I have some thoughts, concerns and solutions.

The problem most industry experts would blame for the decline of sales and interest is Internet piracy (illegal downloading). Certainly, this is a major problem, and it does prevent a lot of music from being made.

Often times, people think that musicians are rich, and they don’t need the money.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Sure, Beyonce and Kid Rock may not miss your $10, but think about the artists that tour in clubs or theaters. Many of them are very well-­known, but they can’t be called rich, by any stretch.

I won’t get into the name game, but I do know artists that struggle because the number of people that have their music doesn’t equal the number or records sold. Make no mistake, nobody gets rich from record sales alone, but it certainly does matter.

Many iconic artists are now taking the bull by the horns and handling the entire record-making process themselves. Some have their own labels, and some make deals with smaller, independent labels. Either way, these artists have a limited budget and are left with the bill for

studio time, manufacturing and distribution, let alone paying for studio musicians or outside engineers.

This can often amount to tens of thousands of dollars that are at stake, and if the “fans” download the record, rather than buying it, that artist is left in debt and unable to record another record until the money is scraped together, usually from constant touring.

But is illegal downloading really the big problem?

Think about it. How many times have you burned a CD, or emailed music to your best friend to hear? That’s still a loss of record sales.

From what I’ve seen, the problem is that the industry has successfully fooled the public into thinking that they’re hearing the best of what’s out there. It’s to the point that some record labels actually own and operate radio stations. You can see where there might be a slight bias in the programming.

This is why I’ve always said that you have to dig to get to the good stuff. We’re in the worst period for formulated music since the 80s, and the industry’s not letting up. They’ve found a handful of artists that work, and they’re creating more clones as we speak.

So as we all go our seperate ways for the summer, I urge you to give this some serious thought. Think about the artists that you use to listen to.

The only reason it takes this much effort is because we’ve let it get this bad. It can be changed.