You have to hand it to the Big Five (still : ) record labels:
* They’re behind the digital media curve Big Time
* Their online efforts are banal, to be kind;
* Their offerings are once again grotesquely over-priced; and,
* They have almost nothing new or good in what we call music and what they call ‘product’.
They’re swamping the Net by blasting hundreds of thousands of tunes into CyberSpace at a ridiculous 99.9% a pop. And it all looks so, well, real.
In other words, it’s business as usual and what they achieved with vinyl, they’re starting to achieve with bytes. They’re once again persuading people to consistently pay through the nose for cheap and inferior quality ‘product,’ ably assisted in their marketing and promotional efforts by the on- and offline media.
But that isn’t a big surprise because the myth of a free press is exactly that. A myth.
It’s not about new technology, or space shots or advances in medical science. It’s about entertainment. It’s Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World with Sex and Stuff instead of Soma, which not at all incidentally is now an actual product.
The major (and, increasingly these days, minor) print and electronic media outlets are for the most part wholly or partly owned by the entertainment industry giants, or multi-nationals associated with them in one way or another. They keep the presses figuratively and literally rolling and the writers writing directly, or indirectly through advertising dollars.
Now, it’s almost the New Year and we’re seeing reams of grool and coovy articles on how digital tunes are now IN – and how the fact we’re seeing growing numbers of online music ‘stores’ owned by everyone from Apple to Wal-Mart sprouting like mushrooms makes that a proven fact.
But it’s the same old same old. Mushrooms grow in the dark and thrive on ….
This ‘new’ music revolution is impelled by the same forces as the ‘old’ one: share prices, dividends and returns on investments. And when it comes to the entertainment industry, anything they’re behind which genuinely serves the public, genuinely resembles new music or genuinely uses the new communication technologies in creative and positive ways is entirely accidental.