A group of us were having dinner the other night and all of us having been with a music company starting talking about the music industry. What all asked was, Is there really is a music “industry” per se and what exactly makes up this industry? Universal Music which all but owns all the other labels and with now Sony Music looking more and more likely to go under the hammer? A music industry with music conferences where no one has anything new to say and with squat follow-up results?
Hell, it reminds me of the time when a Mongolian band performed at Music Matters and were supposedly “swamped with offers”. And then nothing happened whereas their “angel Aussie investor” in the mining business in Mongolia who many fawned over ‘cos he was worth gazillions, pulled the plug on investing in the band and turned out to be a right twat. He could have even be something of a con and a great big groupie at heart who enjoyed his 15 minutes of “fame” in “music nirvana”. And then he disappeared.
We talked about China and mentioned to the musician amongst us with a CD made up of some instrumental versions of Chinese tunes that this might be a good promotional tool, but the real money was in touring. I know: Duh. Then again, if not Chinese, how much “touring” is there in China for an unknown foreign musician?
We listened- finally- to the music being played in the restaurant- really great classic Rock- and realized that Kenny G is not the only musician aking “elevator” and “shopping mall” music today; there is so much clutter out there, so much of a din, that the music- great music- is relegated to Division Four. Even then, no one wishes to kick it around and giving it a go. Music has simply been devalued and cannot compare with, let’s say, an app. If Angry Birds made a record and it came as an app, it will outsell any record by any artist. Rightly or wrongly. this is how the CONSUMER thinks and only the very stupid argues with today’s consumer.
There is a HUGE gaming industry- thanks to CONSUMERS. There is NO “music industry” so all of you in this make believe “music industry” just stop fooling yourselves and making you look more daft than you already are looking. The world want Angry Birds and, no longer, angry, brooding rockers. They died with Jim Morrison and later, Kurt Cobain. Learn to improvise- IMPROVISE like every great musician did and become business-oriented musicians by stepping out and walking away from the confines of old-fashioned thinking and old-fashioned thinkers.
It’s all very much like what advertising once went through and is, in some ways, going thought right now: There are the same old people waxing lyrical about what they have been saying for you and doing lotsa cursing as they think that this is “cool” and to make up for the shortfall in substance and others churning out the same old stuff. Consumers are tired of “stuff” and are even more stuffed of hearing this same old stuff by the same old people who get older and more fucking boring every day. I thought adding the word “fucking” might make this piece come alive.
Where, for example, would blogger Bob Lefsetz be without the word “fucking”? And what the fuck has he done for music in Asia since his fucking appearance at Music Matters in Singapore other than writing about who he met? Could 311 views of his hard-to-hear interview be telling us something? Jeez, guys, SOUND matters and who can ever HEAR a word of this repartee. What a waste of Ralph Simon.
Everything these days coming from that tight Old Boys Club is empty, lifeless stuffing and, especially in Asia. Frankly, anywhere and any place IN THE WORLD which resembles a music conference- something which is “trending” as everyone and their dog thinks that they can succeed where Branded has a monopoly on these tribal gatherings in the region and do very well- financially- with them- and good for them as it’s ALL about business- is full of the same old people being paid to talk about the same old stuff and with not one single original idea emanating from their mouths.
Then again, if one had a single original idea, which fuckwit would go onstage and announce and talk about it to a group of other fuckwits- though very nice fuckwits who only know one industry even though this industry doesn’t exist anymore and so talk in circles and get excited if China’s Baidu starts paying them ten cents more?
Sorry, but I am totally uninterested in stories about KISS or Madonna or Pink Floyd. One lunch with either Chris Blackwell or Bhaskar Menon and I have enough of great stories to last me a lifetime. I’d rather know why Beckham wasn’t picked by Stuart Pearce for England’s Olympic Squad.
As for our dinner, we moved on to talking about a music company with zero money that recently flew an entire army of its staff for a music conference in Ibiza. One had to wonder and ask, Why? What’s there to discuss when you hardly have any artists making music today? More “stuff” and more “navel gazing” and talk about “how we have turned the corner”? Turned the corner and done what? Walked straight into the nearest brick walk?
Look, the Old Boys Club can keep going and talking “stuff” until even they are stuffed, but now is the time for action and not more stuff. The NEW, IMPOVED, music industry needs to become partners with more successful BUSINESS partners. Spotify, iTunes in Asia does NOT matter. These offer ZERO to artists and what many forget is that artists make the music industry.
Wouldn’t you rather listen to Damon Albarn or Bowie or Todd Rundgren or Chris Martin or someone who keeps a very low-key role and is one of the most successful people in showbiz than some ancient pundit who has lost his relevance? Fuck yeah and then get inspired enough to go out there and fucking multiply. Getting second and third hand news and information about someone like Bono and what he was thinking from someone other than Bono is a fucking waste of time. It’s fucking Old School jive with Old Schoolers thinking they’re not Ancient Schoolers and like watching a third rate covers band and thinking, “Why bother?”