Monday, September 7, 2009
The $1 Rock Star ain't cuttin' it: Apple & Majors battle for album sales.
You know that feeling of opening up a new vinyl record. The delicate splitting of the shrink wrap, carefully removing the liner notes. Then listening to album for the very first time while looking at all the artwork, reading the lyrics and notes. It gave you a certain feeling, it's an indescribable connection to the music and artist. Even though I still listen to vinyl, and find solace in vintage LP's and many Indie Label Releases. I miss that complete album connection.
Major Record Labels and Apple miss it too, but for completely different reasons. Plummeting CD sales and low complete album downloads have the men in suits sweating. So they've each concocted a scheme to try and lure former CD buyers and digital downloaders into buying complete albums again. The major labels are going with a CMX format which Apple refuses to endorse, so Apple decided to come up with thier own project and code-named it “Cocktail”. They claim that full downloaded album purchases will include a complete digital booklet with liner notes, artwork, ringtones and videos. All will be accessible and displayed through this digital tablet interface to try and replicate the full album connection. Hmm, sounds cool, but is this gonna make your 13 year old sister download the next Riannah album? I doubt it.
In my opinion, the majors are missing the point. The masses are spoon-fed these hyped up singles and eating it up, carrying around thousands of $1 Top Songs on their iPod's. After the record industy was apparently forced into the MP3 Era they created this new generation of $1 Rock Stars that put together a couple commercial hits. Then they surround these chart toppers with filler and then expect people to buy the complete album. Artists were once cultivated and allowed to grow naturally, which led to the blossoming of many iconic musicians and influential bands who have back catalogs that are filled with amazing complete albums.
Hopefully distance gains perspective and the majors will re-focus on cultivating quality artists. I'm afraid until then, the One Dollar Rock Star will live on.