This is clearly ‘future of music’ week in the zeitgeist. I wrote a bit about it based on a Boston Herald article about how Pretty & Nice met Built to Spill‘s bassist managing a Jiffy Lube in Boise, and I just stumbled on a Village Voice music blog post on much the same theme, this one focusing on licensing versus developing a fanbase:
Which is to say the model now is to completely bypass the consumer—whose thumbs-up/thumbs-down was once the obvious, inarguable standard of success—in favor of the television drama, the movie soundtrack, and the TV commercial….What is curious about this model is that it essentially imagines an industry future without fans. People will consume music the way they consume actors and actresses: as part of a much bigger whole, to be judged as such. Beatles-type fame is a casualty, although I’m sure these dudes have no trouble getting laid; so are about a million tropes, some good, some bad, traditionally designed to appeal to ‘music fans,’ a demographic that may well not exist in ten years.
So, to recapitulate: mobs of screaming fans – out; a modest revenue stream through licensing, direct CD sales, merch, gigs, podcasts, etc, etc, and yet more etc – in. Hmmm. I’ll have to give some more thought to what I think this trade means for both fans and artists. If you have thoughts, feel free to share them in the comments.