The Music Industry & The Music

Since the advent of Napster in the late 90s, fans, musicians, industry-insiders and even the public at large have experienced an endless barrage of news about the impending collapse of the music industry. The RIAA launched suit-after-suit targeting their customers. Some labels inserted damaging rootkits into CDs. And some of the more paranoid artists went after their fans, tech folks and anyone and everyone who "stole" their music.

What's been lost in this has been the music itself. I can't think of one article in the last decade that focused on the possible harm, if any, that these changes will have on those creating the music that we all live to hear. In other words, how will downsizing at the majors impact artist budgets and ultimately the ability of the great acts to continue recording great records? If there's a young Nirvana out there just getting started, will they have the opportunity to reach anyone outside of their hometown? Are there A&R reps. still hungering to find these acts? And if not, do services like MySpace, IODA, imeem, iTunes and CD Baby offer enough tools to help these artists reach the fans who would adore their sound? And if so, what else do they need? An agent? An attorney?

If music enthusiasts want to continue to have access to the music that helps us absorb all that music has to offer, these are the questions that need to be addressed. And they need to be addressed now. If not, those teenagers in Santa Fe or St. Paul will be lost in confusion and likely abandon what they long to deliver and we need to hear.