What We Want: Better Music (not necessarily cheaper)

This Gizmodo post about a potential price-war in online music sales ends with a wish that music prices would decrease in general:

The upshot of all of this? Ignoring Wal-Mart’s initial lower-price entry into the music download space, this could be the start of the first legal music downloading price war. Apple probably won’t flinch (yet), but hopefully this is a sign of lower prices all around in the near future.

Tell you what. I couldn’t give a rat’s nasty bits about CD pricing. The real reason I haven’t been buying many CDs, and I strongly suspect the real reason that nobody else is either, is that the stuff that’s available from the major labels is, for the most part, and most simply put, crap.

I haven’t heard a new band in over a year whose album I thought was worth buying. Queens of the Stone Age comes to mind. They first started getting serious attention in the spring (or was it still winter) of last year. I can’t remember the last time before that, that I bought music from a new band. It was probably Soundgarden.

$1.00 a song is fine with me, especially since most new acts only have one, or a few songs really worth owning. Why’s that? Because the majors don’t do development deals anymore. They look for one-hit-wonders, with the outside chance that they’ll stumble on a social phenomenon like Nirvana. But for the moment, $1.00 a song is ok with me.

The last thing artists need is downward price pressure. They have enough trouble making any money from music sales as it is. What we really need is not price decreases, but rather labels that have some enlightened self-interest:

Labels who are willing to work with artists over longer time periods, either with development deals, or by putting young artists with potential in situations where they learn from more experienced artists.

Labels who are willing to spend a tiny bit less money on gigantic advertising campaigns, $100,000 cars for their executives, and extravagant mega-tours for the few big hit "acts". Instead, turn some of that moeny into a better standard of living, and some longer term financial security for the serious, and talented artists who aren’t lucky enough to have trust funds, or big tits and a tight ass for tour poster pictures.

Help the serious musicians do what they’re good at, and make some money, and have some fun in the process. It’s a fact: Treating your work-force well results in greater productivity. It’s been proven over and over, in all kinds of businesses.

And to other artists: Don’t put up with this crap anymore. Don’t sign the bad record deals. Insist on being treated better. Don’t be bullied into taking their shit because that’s all there is to get. Let’s get a clue here. Go grass-roots. DIY.

In the meantime, another year has passed in which I essentially bought no new music. I’ve had a budget for it, but there’s been nothing to buy. Until there is, I’ll be spending my money elsewhere.

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