The Problem with Music (1)

The Industry Formerly Known As Music faces two enormous problems today:

Problem 1: people like their product too much.*

Most corporations would love to have problem numero uno. They would not even consider it a problem. They might consider it 'great positioning' or even the
fulfillment of their mission statement! 

For Big Music, it's a serious problem.

The only industry I can think of that is successfully confronting this challenge on a trans-national basis is the narcotics industry. They have the decided advantage, of course, in that the sale and use of crack, smack and crystal meth is situated in a discourse that's about as far from 'virtual' as it gets.


As an industry, narcotics testifies to the power and possibilities inherent in the classic Industrial approach, with its rich possibilities for control, price fixing, adulterated product and affordable legislative change. Small wonder its been such a driving force for Empire for more than 200 years.

The Industry response has to consumer response to their product has been bold, creative and virtually unique- the Customer as Satan.

In a virtual world, it's just another fantasy in ones and zeros... a web
fact that many people in key music-buying demographics could tell them is so, so, so not going to happen, no matter how many elected officials are willing to trade-off the public good for a campaign contribution.

Elvis has left the building.
The horse has left the barn.
The genie has left the bottle.
That Greek chick left the lid up on the box.

In fact, many people in those crucial demographics have told them this, and continue to say it in many ways all over the net.

The Industry has not been listening. It is not listening now and there are no signs that it plans on listening in whatever time may be left to it.
In any industry- aside from narcotics, perhaps - that could be a big problem.

For an industry based on listening, and listeners, not listening is ironic in the short term, and probably fatal in the long...

* By 'product', of course I mean 'music' and by 'too much', I mean they don't set aside enough money to pay what it (allegedly) costs to hear music today.



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