[Dixielandjazz] The audience makes the rules (long)

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Thu Dec 2 21:28:42 PST 2004

Try and transpose OKOM into this picture folks and see what is ahead of us, 
we either join them or go home and pout, the rules have changed.   It will 
never again be like the good old days, so figure out how to get OKOM into the 
current game or lose it as all those old record labels close up and go out of 
business.   You too can ride in the fast lane if you can find the ON ramp. :))

I found this most interesting article to pass on. it is long so delete if not 


Tom Wiggins

By Bob Lefsetz

There's a lot of hype, but no buzz.

Except for U2, which is the beneficiary of a huge Apple iPod television 
campaign, the rest of the new releases have no cultural TRACTION! 

Think back to the last time Eminem had an album. The world seemed to stop. 
His lyrics were debated in major newspapers. 

This time...nothing. Hell, there wasn't even much talk about his "Mosh" 

How about Shania Twain? Granted, it's a greatest hits set, but I don't hear 
ANYBODY talking about her. And the same is true with greatest hits sets from 
everybody to Korn to Creed. They appear to be thrown out there. No one cares. 
It's hard to believe anybody EVER cared! 

Destiny's Child... People don't even know what that moniker means anymore. 
They want to know if Beyonce is still sleeping with Jay-Z, what she's wearing. 
But that's not something you hear. That's something you read about in the 
"Enquirer", "Us" and the "Star". That's what our music stars are good for these 
days. Selling magazines. As for selling MUSIC? 

Oh sure, if you look at the chart Marshall's moving a lot of product. 
Actually, EVERYBODY named above except for Korn is doing well. But HOW well? After 
all, this is a business that has been bitching for YEARS about declining sales. 
If sales of superstar product are down AT ALL that's a reason to investigate. 

Forget business insiders. Go into the field. Are your contemporaries asking 
you about the new star product? How about the kids you're around, are they 
salivating over hit CDs they're gonna get for Christmas? Hell, it's strangely 
QUIET out there. 

Oh, everywhere I go people want to talk about "The Incredibles".

But they don't want to talk about mainstream music. 

How did this HAPPEN? 

Let's start with MTV. MTV used to set the national agenda. It was the arbiter 
of hip. Sure, the SUPER HIP pooh-poohed it. Then again, all these hipsters 
were dying for a chance to be ON the channel. But now EVERYBODY knows that MTV 
plays no music. That it's just a clubhouse for a very young demo. Teenagers at 
best. It's just part of Viacom's cradle to grave programming. It's just an 
older Nickelodeon. And there's nothing INHERENTLY wrong with that, it's just that 
there's very little place for MUSIC! Oh, MTV Networks will tell you about 
their plethora of digital cable channels, but...regular MTV stopped playing 
videos for a REASON! They're old hat. Nobody wants to watch them. 

You'd think if there was any justice, radio would jump in and steal MTV's 
thunder. Setting the musical agenda. But ClearChannelization is a household term. 
Known by KIDS! People think radio is CRAP! And it's hard to argue with them. 
What with twenty minutes of commercials per hour and the same damn urban hits 
on Top Forty, the same standards on Classic Rock and edgy stuff most people 
are not interested in on Alternative and Active Rock. Talk to a teenager. He 
wouldn't even THINK of turning on the radio.

No, a teenager relies on two things. Word of mouth and the Web. 

And, since there's no agenda set by the media, word of mouth adheres to no 
national standard. There's no tuning fork. People discover different stuff on 
the Web and then infect all their friends via IM and downloading. And this is 
GOOD! But only if you're a hip, outside band, not if you're a mainstream act. 
They don't want the mainstream acts, because they're not THEIR OWN! They belong 
to the system. They belong to the media. The stars groom their looks and sound 
to fit a paradigm kids want nothing to do with. 

And, since there's no FILTER, kids are into MUCH MORE THAN THEY USED TO BE! 
They can discover a PLETHORA of stuff on the Web. Downloading for free what 
they've heard about. Or having it e-mailed to them. Or, for the technologically 
backward, having it burned. It's a very fluid society. Which is one of the 
reasons the iTunes Music Store is a bust. Trading IS PART OF THE CULTURE! If you 
can't give it away, turn your friend on to something, you don't want it. 

Major labels have been talking about PIRACY! About the THEFT of the music. 
THAT'S not what's killing their business. It's their inability to assess a 
changing landscape. Just like we're not going back to three television stations, 
we're not going back to a national agenda-setting music outlet. No, the world 
has been broken wide open. Music is now like cable TV. A few big winners and a 
ZILLION profitable hipsters. And, like most of the stuff on network TV, most 
TRUE FANS want nothing to do with the big winners. Those are made for mass 
consumption. They want something rawer, made for them. Like HBO's "Family Bonds". 
Or, if you're older, "Huff" on Showtime. Or, if you like something a bit more 
titillating, "The L Word" on that same outlet. Sure, there's been a modicum of 
hype for all these shows, but without network budgets, the populace is not 
SLEDGEHAMMERED, and therefore series can percolate, and spread by word of mouth. 
To the point where when you read about the show in a magazine or newspaper, 
you say THAT'S MY SHOW!! And are THRILLED! Whereas when we read about anybody in 
today's Top Ten, we barely register an emotion. We don't care. It's just part 
of George Carlin's endless freak parade. If you want to be in the major act 
business, be my guest. But know that's not where the money is. It costs too 
much. Hell, that's why Viacom makes more money at the cheaply-run MTV than CBS, 
even though just about EVERY SHOW on MTV would be cancelled by CBS standards, 
not garnering enough ratings. 

Think about it. Dave Matthews hasn't had a hit in years, but he sells out 
every show. The audience thinks he's THEIRS! The lack of radio airplay actually 
INCREASES his viability. 

But let's not focus on Dave too much. He did have hits, and he's a superstar. 

Bottom line. Opportunities are ripe for slow starters making music on a 
budget, converting people one by one. And the goal is to KEEP EVERY FAN YOU EVER 
MAKE! The OPPOSITE of today's major label paradigm. The major labels burn out 
acts with their overhype, necessitating endless creation of NEW hit acts. 
Whereas one nurtured act, that isn't oversold, can pay dividends for DECADES! 

The audience feels all this. The audience makes the rules. We just live in 
their universe. Sue traders. Be beholden to Wal-Mart. Play by all the 
traditional rules. You're missing the point. The point is the AUDIENCE has left the 
station. People discover, acquire and UTILIZE the music of new bands COMPLETELY 
DIFFERENTLY than the major labels think they do. They DON'T hear about acts via 
the traditional ways the labels spend so much money, time and effort on. They 
don't want the CD. And they certainly don't want to PLAY BACK via a CD. They 
hear about music from their friends, from surfing. They want a computer file. 
And they want to play it back on their iPod. And, if they don't have an iPod 
today, they're PRAYING their parents will buy them one for Christmas. Much more 
than they want ANY CD. For an iPod is the ticket. Into the new world of music. 
A place to store ALL your discoveries. And listen to them whenever and 
wherever you want. 

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