Big surprise or obvious next step?

I’ve been out of the game for quite a while now (almost 2 years!) and I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed these daily posts.  After being laid off from a small record label in L.A. I found myself straying from music-related positions, and scouring the job market for anything that would pay my bills.  Thankfully, about a month later, I landed a great job at an amazing company that just so happened to have NOTHING to do with music.  I’ll admit it was a breath of fresh air to be out of the industry for a bit, but after almost 2 years I’m getting an itch to come back to it all.  I’ve had moments where I seriously consider quitting my job, living off my savings and doing everything possible to get back into music.  But without starting a quarter-life crisis (think: savings gone, jobs nowhere to be found, forced to schlep all my crap cross-country to move back in with my parents) I’ve decided the first, most realistic step is re-vamping the trusty ole’ blog.

So here I am not even sure what to write about, but feeling like there’s so much I want to say.  A lot happened in the last 2 years, and diving back into music and music news, I expected to find something mind-blowing, but strangely nothing seems to have changed.  One of the things I found most interesting was this notion that fans – if given the chance – WILL pay for music they truly love.  Perusing billboard.biz the other night I found a video of Amanda Palmer’s TED talk (here) focused on this topic.  And then tonight an article on the unexpected successes of “Harlem Shake” after it was first released as a free single.  I honestly am not sure why this is such huge news to people.  It seems only natural to buy an album that really has me hooked.  Maybe it’s because I’ve always been an audiophile at heart, but there’s something special about owning a piece of music.  It’s your own personal slice of history, and an ever-open window to wherever you happened to be in life when you first heard it.  You’re not just paying for music, you’re paying for an experience, and your own experience at that.

It’s been more than 10 years since file sharing/torrents turned the major-label model on it’s head, but reading things like this makes me feel as though it was just yesterday.  It’s a bit shocking to me how slowly we have managed to adapt/change.  The reality is, allowing people to freely consume and share music didn’t do away with their desires to pay for it, it forced them to consider just exactly what they’re paying for.  Is this latest Ke$ha single really worth my hard earned $1.99?  Do I really even like this song?  

I personally continue to purchase physical albums for only a select few artists I have a special connection with (Butch Walker, Sara Bareilles, Alkaline Trio, etc.) but I also pay monthly for Spotify so I can sample virtually any artist with a recording to offer.  I support local music, and I go to shows whenever possible because I love music…and I will always love music.  Sure I don’t buy as many records as I did when i was 15, but that’s only because I don’t have to.  I have other options, and i like options – everyone likes options!

Bottom line here is the creation, recording and sale of music will never be the same as it was in the 90’s/00’s.  And as consumers, our participation in music will never be the same either.  We’ve begun to develop other avenues of supporting artists, but we still have a lot of work to do. I just hope it doesn’t’ take another 10 years to get there.

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