Saturday, August 7, 2010

Where is the Music Industry Going?

In order to figure out where the Industry is going, we need to look back to see where it has come from.

My earliest recollection is of 78 rpm platters, pressed on one side, with warnings from my parents, not to touch under pain of severe consequences.

Rock 'n Roll brought us 45's pressed on 7 inch discs, with an "A" side (extensive air play) and "B" side (who ever listened except for the curious?). Tracks hardly ever exceeded 3 and a half or 4 minutes which gave program directors plenty of time for commercials on AM radio. We rushed home from school to watch American Bandstand, and hear the latest releases from the hottest groups.

One day FM radio was born, and along came 12" LP's (33-1/3 rpm). We traded our Hi-Fi's for Stereos, put our 45's in the corner and started collecting albums. We also needed cassette tapes of the same albums to play in our cars, and some of us bought the ill-fated 8-track tapes and players. Some can still be found in yard sales, everywhere.

Disco changed our lives by introducing longer tracks (up to 18 minutes), which didn't seem to bother program directors and DJ's on FM. 12" singles replaced the 7" 45's and along came the wonderful world of Compact Discs, requiring the purchase of yet another piece of equipment, and launching the never ending discussions about Analog vs. Digital. Ah yes, I remember it well.

One glorious day, Mtv showed up on Cable TV, and the record labels supported their major acts with lavishly produced videos, which could be seen in the comfort of your home, or in clubs everywhere, creating the need for another awards show. I'm sure it wasn't legal to do so, but many fans made VHS (or Betamax) copies of their favorite music videos.

Today's age of miniaturization has made it possible for us to store music tracks and videos on an MP3 player that can easily fit into a pocket, with hardly showing a bulge. Everyone with a cam corder and editing software can create a music video and put it up on YouTube for all to see, for free. Record company A & R executives no longer need to go to showcase venues, which seem to be fewer in number, to search for new artists. It's all just a click away.

So what's next... Mental Telepathy?

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