Every time I see a successful artist embrace the Internet as a storefront, independently of Big Music – I have to chuckle.
NIN has made its new album, 36 tracks of instrumental – available for download. A minimum of $5 will get you the complete album, whereas there are other – more expensive options – for those who want a little more flash in the package.
This shouldn’t be working! Well, if I was a record industry executive, that’s what I’d still be saying nearly 10 years after the original Napster showed us all the value in instant musical gratification. Imagine where we’d be if the industry – instead of attacking the consumer, embraced the new technology?
Good, now get that vile thought out of your head. Big music is composed of old farts who still think the Rolling Stones are viable and CD’s should cost $18. If they’d had a 10 year head start with online music, it would have only accelerated their demise. Forget $.99 tracks, you’d see single songs going for at least $5 with full albums for anywhere from $15 to $25 as they perpetuate the failed CD/Cassette/Record model of music distribution and maximize the profit based on minimal cost.
The best thing that can continue to happen is where artists like NIN and others make their music available without the crochety old middle man who smells like cheddar and mothballs. Will big music ever completely go away? I doubt it, but you will see a consolidation – you will see old names bought up by those who understand and embrace technology – and the concept of a fair price for the product.
Frankly I hope I see the day where Apple buys Geffen and burns the f**ker’s house down. A man can dream.