Back to 1985? Dream on, Doc
They won’t like this, but there’s no going back to the bad old days for the Marty McFlys of the music biz. Still, as long as there are fans, there is a future for music. And there’s always a place for a good song
THE ORIGINAL idea here was to take a leaf out of Chief Keef’s book. You may already know the bolshie Chicago teen rapper with a propensity for trouble, a fondness for weed and a great, naggingly infectious tune to his name called I Don’t Like. In the tune, he lists the stuff he doesn’t like, such as snitches, fake shoes, counterfeit jeans, ugly girls, poor weed and people dissing him behind his back. You may need Rap Genius to help you decipher the tune, but that’s the idea in a nutshell: the stuff Chief Keef and his mates don’t like.
NUTTED BY NAPSTER
You could write a lengthy list of dislikes about the music business without having to talk about footwear as 2013 begins to rumble. There is so much to detest about an industry which is still running for cover in much the same way as it was a decade or more ago when Napster kicked it in the nuts.
Since that point when the goose that laid the golden CD eggs was decapitated, this has become an industry which has veered from one crazy get-rich-quick scheme to the next in an attempt to keep things like they were in the Eighties and Nineties.
Memo for those at the back who didn’t get it the first, second, third or fourth time: you can’t go back. You can’t return to an age whe nvested interests dictated what was going on. You can’t, as the cliche goes, put the genie back in the bottle.
Yet the attempts to emulate Marty McFly never stop. Those of us who work the music business beat seem damned to write the same copy year in and year out, as we watch a risk averse industry hell-bent on protectionism continue to hire the same lawyers to fight the same old battles.
You can understand the record industry’s preoccupation with, for example, online piracy from the point of view of the financial bottom-line, but where’s the eagerness to try something different or new now that the old business model is broken?
Music fans have had no problem moving on and embracing new innovations, yet the professionals and vested interests still fear change and fail to see beyond the here and now.
Perhaps that’s the curse of incumbency. Over Christmas, live music big cheese and veteran manager Irving Azoff announced he was stepping down as chairman of Live Nation.
Speaking in the wake of his exit, Azoff expressed frustration about how he was unable to use Live Nation’s standing in the live business to fix such problems as high ticket prices and touting. When the man at the top of the biggest name in the live music game can’t get things done, you know there are problems. But this also demonstrates why you won’t find the answers to this particular pickle at the top. When you’re at the top, it’s all about holding onto your position and not giving ground. You use your clout and legal team to protect what you already own.