Is the music industry about to die?
Point / Counterpoint – Music industry dead or alive?
I noticed an interesting set of stories come out within a month of each other earlier this summer. Funny how two successful musicians have completely differing outlooks about the internet and music industry.
Back in June, Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke, who’s band completely cut the cord from the record labels with their last album In Rainbows (awesome, btw) back in 2007, said the music industry is on the brink of collapse, and warned new musicians to resist signing contracts with record labels because they’ll “completely fold” with months.
He said, “It will be only a matter of time – months rather than years – before the music business establishment completely folds. (It will be) no great loss to the world.”
Apparently, the band made more money selling their last album on their own (and told fans they could “pay what they want” for the digital recording) than they ever did with the fat-cat recording companies.
However, a month later, Rock Superstar Prince – who’s completely cutting the cord from the digital music format (and even shut down his own website) – said something that’s practically insane: “The internet is completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me in advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it.”
He added that, “The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated.”
However, Prince did say something that had some echos of truth to it: “All these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”
He may have a point. While the “computers & gadgets” are definitely cool, most often useful, and a true sign of human innovation and evolution – I’ve been reminiscing about simpler days. The world is a very complicated place, and it seems that we have so much information, coming at us at such breakneck speed, that us “connected” humans seem to have less time to truly think about life, smell the roses and not worry what is going on around us (or in our digital worlds). At some point, maybe the human race will suffer from “mental obesity” – as in “too much information?”
Anyway – I digress. I think both musicians are incredibly talented and are entitled to their opinions. But with the new hidden laws the U.S. Government is enacting (like the capability of shutting the internet down) – Prince may just be a soothsayer?
PS – Prince performed Radiohead’s “Creep” at Coachella in 2008.