June 10, 2002

Facing the Music: Michael Wolf
This has got to be the most realistic and honest look into where the music business is heading. Saltire chimes in with commentary on the piece too. From the New York Magazine:

Starting in the fifties, and then gaining incredible force in the sixties, rock-and-roll performers eclipsed authors as cultural stars. Rock and roll took over fiction's job as the chronicler and romanticizer of American life (that rock and roll became much bigger than fiction relates, I'd argue, more to scalability and distribution than to relative influence), and the music business replaced the book business as the engine of popular culture.

Now, though, another reversal, of similar commercial and metaphysical magnitude, is taking place. Not, of course, that the book business is becoming rock and roll, but that the music industry is becoming, in size and profit margins and stature, the book business....

Radio, heretofore ad hoc and eccentric and local, underwent a transformation in which it became formatted, rational, and centralized. Its single imperative was to keep people from moving the dial -- seamlessness became the science of radio. ...

From mono to stereo to Walkman. It just happens that the next stage of technological development in the music business has largely excluded the music business itself.

I would comment, but I think it's all been said.

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