Sad? Yes. And a bit angry. And frustrated. And disappointed.
At bbc.com, there's a piece about 'How to save the music industry.' They asked some notable people in the biz...and some not so notable...and Donovan! Yes, the hurdy-gurdy man is still around but he ain't "singing songs of le..e..ove" any more, he's repeating the same thing that most of the contributors said: People need to know that music cannot be free...please pay us. And they all had to go hang out in Cannes, in the south of France, to experience this epiphany!
So am I sad because this is true? No. I'm sad because like many other industries (advertising to name just one) the music world has confused problems with solutions.
It's always been extremely easy to point out a problem once it's become clear to everyone. But the real issues of why they didn't see this coming and prepare for it, and what solutions they have that will work in a new world, never seem to get mentioned.
The record companies, as I've said before, have had it so good for so long - just like the ad agencies - that they really didn't want anything to change, least of all themselves. And when change was forced upon them they fought it rather than embracing it and eventually found themselves out of touch not only with their customers but with the artists they were supposed to be nurturing and helping.
I don't know the answer. I know it's not the over-touted Indie route. The only people making good money from that are cdbaby, amazon, the iTunes store and the guys who manufacture CDs (for a short while longer). Not the artists.
Anyway, before I get carried away, I just wanted to say to all the guys quoted in the article:
The headline was HOW to save the music industry. Not WHAT is wrong with the music industry.
The piece doesn't contain one meaningful, constructive suggestion. Just a load of crap about "relationships changing" and "giving the industry back to the artists"...and, oh yeah, a whole lot of whining about people getting music for free. Including from Donovan, who'd like help paying his electricity bill apparently.
95% of the meetings, conferences and other group events I attended while working in the advertising business were just like this get-together in Cannes - people sitting around "defining the problem" a thousand different ways. The 5% that were worthwhile were the ones to which someone brought an IDEA. You'd think an industry built on creativity - like the music industry - would understand that. But then again, you could say the same about the ad industry.
In both cases the idea people are ignored while the 'leaders' whine and dine in Cannes.