How a Plan from the 1920s Could Change Music for the Better Today
People have long forgotten that the music industry was at war with itself in the 1920s. Record labels fought with radio which fought with musicians unions. Basically, it was tech vs. music’s status quo. Sound familiar?
Back then, RCA held the position Apple has today. How did they navigate these waters? The Daily Beast has a look back.
You don’t need a degree from Julliard to understand why this is bad for music. The people making the key decisions affecting musicians today have never written a song, produced a record, or played a gig. Their goal is to sell devices or generate clicks or convince consumers to sign up for Amazon Prime. Music, in many cases, is a “loss leader” for them.Apple, Google, and other tech giants would even be willing to give away every song in the universe for free if it helped them gain enough share in their base businesses.
Stop and think about the long-term implications of this shift. What happens when our music ecosystem is controlled by outsiders with no stake in the health of the art form? What happens when artistry is forced to serve technocrats who see creative talents as mere “content providers”? What happens when the dominant business model is built on squeezing profits out of songs and reinvesting them in new gadgets, watches, Google glasses, and the like? Well, that’s pretty obvious, no? You get a decimated music business and software developers earn ten times the wages of a typical musician.
One thought on “How a Plan from the 1920s Could Change Music for the Better Today”
You could say the same thing about record labels as compared to tech companies. Many people who are on the business side aren’t musicians. Labels were always parasites when it came to music artistry. That’s why the industry is in the state that it is today.