The music industry is broken. The labels know it. The artists know it. Consumers definitely know it. Greg Kot knows it, and he seems kind of happy about it. In his book, Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music, Kot catalogues how different musicians found ways to go over, under, around, and through the majors in order to find new paths to fans and profitability in the Wild Wild West chaos of the digital frontier.
Most of the stories Kot included were familiar, but he also introduced, at least to me, a few new artists, such as Girl Talk, who are making some high-quality music—even if it is a mash-up of other unlicensed samples.
Here is the best music quote ever:
“[The album is not dying.] What’s dying is the idea of only the crappiest crap, made with the crappiest intentions, with the crappiest production, to entice the most airtime on the crappiest giant chains of radio stations, bought and paid for by crappy labels and dictated by some crappy, contemptuous, lowest-common-denominator projecting programming executive from his crappy polling printouts in some crappy office somewhere, to ensure we all swallow the same crap all over the country at the same time, and then placing that one slice of crap on a longer disc with a bunch of even crappier crap. That is the concept that is dying. Amen.”
– Jack Rabid, editor of The Big Takeover
Amen, brother. Let’s get back to the business of making great music and let the bottom line take care of itself.