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“The Revolution Is on CBS Records!”
September 23, 2004 8:10 AM   Subscribe

A small new future. 1999 was the year the RIAA began writing checks the record industry couldn’t cash.
posted by xowie (16 comments total)

 
The Great Schism caused many listeners to become as obsessed with taxonomic organization as young zoologists do after spotting their first platypus.

so true! great read. thanks xowie!
posted by quonsar at 8:35 AM on September 23, 2004


It doesn't address the waves of people who "used to listen to [a band] before they went commercial" though :-)

Seriously though, it's a very interesting analysis, although I wonder if the argument would be as valid if "record sales" figures included some sort of extrapolation of purchased download numbers. Then again it seems purchased downloads, where you can get one song instead of one album, is yet another example of the "small is beautiful" mentality which pervades today's scene.
posted by clevershark at 8:51 AM on September 23, 2004


Really good article. Thanks.
posted by josh at 9:08 AM on September 23, 2004


Does this Shania Twain Up! nonsense strike anyone else as bordering on parody? Did that whole Red/Green/Blue albulm split really happen? It seems like something out of Spinal Tap.
posted by hughbot at 9:13 AM on September 23, 2004


Yes hughbot. The domestic release is a two disc set with one disc having the "pop" versions and the other having the "country" versions. Then the international release has one disc with the "pop" versions and one disc with the "world / rhythmic sound" mixes (or, eurotrash.)

As unbelievable as that is, I'm even more amazed that the Postal Service album sold 250k copies. Great album, but man.
posted by pitchblende at 9:22 AM on September 23, 2004


Interesting read. It took a bit for me to get into it after the "I am music guy at cool show" opening.

The idea of the incubator and smaller labels helping bands not quite ready for primetime is interesting, as is the redefinition of what it means to be a hit. With less expectation for 3.5 gazillion records sold, hopefully more decent bands can rise up in the future.

Of course, with lowered standards for sales, there may be lower standards for quality. I saw Jackie-O open for Interpol and not only did they suck in a "just pulled from the garage"-way, but they were booed off stage. I weep for whatever record exec type has to try and room them.

I'd be interested to hear about the impact of all this on radio. With more little hits, can Clear Channel keep up?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:27 AM on September 23, 2004


So many gems once you get past the ATP intro, but this one really sticks out:

Despite what the RIAA would have you believe, the shifts the industry has witnessed haven’t been a matter of quantity so much as they’ve been a matter of quality. People are making their purchasing decisions less on the basis of hype and blind faith, and more on the basis of what they actually enjoy listening to.

And that has really screwed up the trend-driven marketplace it took the major labels more than 40 years to perfect.


Great read xowie. Thanks!
posted by togdon at 10:06 AM on September 23, 2004


Napster allowed people to hear what they are going to buy before they buy it. The result is that good indie records are selling more copies, and bad major-label records are selling less.

Couldn't be more true. Replace "Napster" with whatever might equally apply: Kazaa, Soulseek, Morpheus, LimeWire, Suprnova and almighty Usenet. When you remove the risk-factor of the filler-full album, people will discrimate based on quality.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:27 AM on September 23, 2004


That's a well-written, optimistic article. I really want to believe it.

Not sure how this changes the way I make, or even sell, music yet, though.
(*shrugs, picks up his guitar, starts picking out "Won't Get Fooled Again" again*)
posted by chicobangs at 10:42 AM on September 23, 2004


. I saw Jackie-O open for Interpol and not only did they suck in a "just pulled from the garage"-way, but they were booed off stage.

I saw Blink-182 being literally lynched off the stage at a Metal festival in Italy, with people throwing stones, bottles and -- I don't where they found those -- bricks. the boys whimpered off the stage.
why their manager had agreed to send them to a Metal festival to begin with is beyond me
posted by matteo at 11:25 AM on September 23, 2004


That intro is typical alt weekly music column bullshit, which prompted me to go into skimming mode, but it's true: it gets much more interesting after the author stops rubbing himself. Thanks!
posted by majick at 12:57 PM on September 23, 2004


with lowered standards for sales, there may be lower standards for quality
I don't see how the music industry's standards can get any lower.
posted by adamrice at 2:07 PM on September 23, 2004


adamrice, every time someone says that, someone always seems to find that the barrel has a false bottom.
posted by chicobangs at 2:08 PM on September 23, 2004


overall a pretty interesting article, but calling dizzee rascal "britain's answer to 50 cent" is pretty stupid. in the sense that... they're both recognizable hip hop artists? very astute.
posted by jcruelty at 2:08 PM on September 23, 2004


Thanks for the article. I'd really like to believe the author, but I have faith in the muscle and strongarming of the music industry and their partners in crime, like clearchannel and ticketmaster.
posted by sauril at 2:10 PM on September 23, 2004


It doesn't address the waves of people who "used to listen to [a band] before they went commercial" though

What, you man the folks who listened to bands before they started selling product or charging for shows?
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:59 PM on September 23, 2004


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