I have for years been a firm supporter of the music industry. Well, I suppose that is only in the sense that I continued to buy CDs from my favorite artists. I have been on the music downloading bandwagon since day one, blowing through such great programs as Napster, Kazaa, Limewire, and more. I stopped impulse buying of CDs before I heard them. That probably cost the music industry an easy $50 a month. I have listened to the industry talk about how all this downloading and file sharing is ruining them. But I am here today to tell them the truth.
Downloading doesn’t hurt you. Offering a sub-par product does.
I am a music whore. I can’t get enough music in my life. My CD collection is massive. My MP3 collection is massive. My iPod is maxed out. Nothing is more frustrating then running out and getting the newest CD from your favorite band just to get it home and discover that at best there are two good songs on it. Case in point, the new System of a Down CD, Hypnotize. I am a big fan of SOAD. But this latest CD is a letdown. I think that it might have been a better decision to take the twelve best songs off of their two-CD output this year and just put out one. But no, the money that would be lost on such an endeavor is scary. Like any corporation, the music industry only cares about money. They do not care about what you like. They do not care if they ruin their artists. And most importantly, the industry does not care about you. They care about making you like what they want you to like. It’s more about getting you to spend your hard earned money on the newest fart in a can CD from Beyonce than it is on developing quality artists. How many bands with sound-alike names can be shoved down your throat? Nickleback? Nicklecreek? Nickledimepenny? I can’t tell one from the other and honestly, I don’t want to.
So here is what I say to the industry. You want my money, then you need to do one of two things. Make the product worth the $12-$15 you want me to pay for it. Or reduce the price to under $8 and offer a money back guarantee on garbage. There is more quality and talent on independent music labels then anywhere else. But those labels lack the true money and backing to really market their artists correctly. So unless you pay close attention and read underground magazines you are going to miss out. I don’t bother to pay attention to reviews of CDs in major music magazines like Rolling Stone simply because their reviewers don’t give honest reviews. How can you give five stars to a CD that sounds identical to that of another band? It’s a money driven business that we consumers are stuck in the middle of. I always thought that payola was illegal but anyone with some sense can see how backwards the whole industry is. The only way the consumer can feel safe is to hear the music before buying it.
For me and most of the people in this country, downloading is the only way to protect ourselves. I am not looking to destroy artists or ruin anyone. I am just trying to spend my money on something worth while. I still buy CDs when I think they are worth it. Places like iTunes and other pay-to-download sites are fine, but their selection is minimal. You can’t take someone so immersed in the subculture and try to sell them some watered down version of the real thing. Until then I think I’ll be okay. Just don’t shut anymore of my sites down!