Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Killing the Music

From washingtonpost.com op-ed piece by Don Henley, The Eagles singer and drummer who is a founding member of the Recording Artists' Coalition :

"Contrary to conventional wisdom, the root problem is not the artists, the fans or even new Internet technology. The problem is the music industry itself. It's systemic. The industry, which was once composed of hundreds of big and small record labels, is now controlled by just a handful of unregulated, multinational corporations determined to continue their mad rush toward further consolidation and merger. Sony and BMG announced their agreement to merge in November, and EMI and Time Warner may not be far behind. The industry may soon be dominated by only three multinational corporations.

The executives who run these corporations believe that music is solely a commodity. Unlike their predecessors, they fail to recognize that music is as much a vital art form and social barometer as it is a way to make a profit. At one time artists actually developed meaningful, even if strained, relationships with their record labels. This was possible because labels were relatively small and accessible, and they had an incentive to join with the artists in marketing their music. Today such a relationship is practically impossible for most artists. "

Saving the Music Washingtonpost.com reader Dave Higgins, Albany, NY, replies to Henley:

"If recording artists want to regain control of their music, they should bypass the music industry as it currently exists. If radio stations will play only a select few musicians, artists should set up Internet radio stations to promote unique and important new musicians. If Wal-Mart or Best Buy won't sell a wide selection of artists, musicians should tap into new and legitimate music-sharing outlets such as Apple's iTunes music store to deal directly with customers. And artists should work with the non-conglomerate vestiges of the music industry that still exist: the independent radio stations, music stores and concert venues that are probably also feeling oppressed by today's mega-corporate music business. "

Absolutely.


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