Over at the Huffington Post, John Mellencamp has gone on at length about the state of the music business today.
–“Sadly, these days, it’s really a matter of ‘every man for himself.’ In terms of possibilities, we are but an echo of what we once were. Of course, the artist does not want to “sell out to The Man.” Left with no real choice except that business model of greed and the bean counting mentality that Reagan propagated and the country embraced, there is only ‘The Man’ to deal with. There is no street for the music to rise up from.”
–“These days, some people suggest that it is up to the artist to create avenues to sell the music of his own creation. In today’s environment, is it realistic to expect someone to be a songwriter, recording artist, record company and the P.T. Barnum, so to speak, of his own career?”
–“Sing the chorus of ‘I Need A Lover.’ It’s not the best song I ever wrote nor did it achieve more than much more than being a mid-chart hit, but nevertheless, you can sing that chorus. Now sing the chorus of even one Mariah Carey song. Nothing against Mariah, she’s a brilliantly gifted vocalist, but the point here is the way that the songs were built — mine from the ground up, hers from the top down.”
–“The CD, it should be noted, was born out of greed. It was devised to prop up record sales on the expectation of people replenishing their record collections with CDs of albums they had already purchased….Sound quality was supposed to be one of the big selling points for CDs but, as we know, it wasn’t very good at all. It was just another con, a get-rich-quick scheme, a monumental hoax perpetrated on the music consuming public.”
Again, you can find the whole story here.
So is the music business fundamentally different than it was 30 years ago–for the talent and for the listener? Can musicians still rise up from the streets? And is there anything fundamentally wrong with musicians dealing with “the man” by selling directly or exclusively through Wal-Mart or Starbucks?