Vinyl is back, but is digital dead? The general narrative of the music industry has been one of forward progress. Vinyl was replaced by tapes. Tapes were replaced by CDs, and CDs were replaced by MP3s. MP3 was replaced by digital streaming. Now it's been reported that Vinyl sales are on the rise, while digital is declining.
Posts tagged: Music
Anyone who knows me, understands I'm a true believer in the Internet. It breaks down barriers and allows for a radical DIY approach make all media accessible to any audience. Of course you get an audience of exactly the size you can draw, no more, no less. That means there's a lot of small cults running around. The Nerdcore rappers, Chip Tune hackers, and a litany of EDM producers. That large cache of talent has created a situation where pop music appeals to shrinking demographics, while there's all these small colonies of weirdness. I thought that this decentralization and the punk rock of everything was why the last decade and a half has been stagnant in terms of pop music. Even so called 'alternative' stations are half nostalgia playlists these days. EDM has kissed the edges of pop music when big time producers team up with pop stars. Hip hop has completed its ascension, and is now the default paradigm for pop. This has meant a lot of think pieces by well meaning Gen Xers and Boomers who talk about how all the great music has been made, and now we're in the prime era of crap. Of course they ignore the crates of junk music in every era, just ask the crazy vinyl collectors who catalog all the forgotten crap. The rise of EDM has been pretty significant, and has largely been ignored. This is a bit of a simplification, but bear with me for the sake of argument. However because electronic music has always had a flexible approach to copyright, the record business doesn't have a great way to sell this as the new revolution. Soundcloud and Bandcamp have subverted the traditional album model, and frankly DJs have been able to get paid without the traditional record business. So before you fire up medium to talk about the death of music, think that you might just not be looking in the fight places. Somewhere in Beijing there's a kid on his laptop making something truly insane that will negate all of this, but we'll all have to wait to hear it.
I'm cribbing a bit from my friend Dan here, using his Music Monday format for this. I don't intend this to be an obituary for Bowie, who died today. I'd rather just explore the music he made over a long and influential career. He was a guy so in touch with his art, he even said goodbye to the world with a new album in final flurry of activity. He was one of the true artists in rock and roll, and someone who was always looking for the next big thing.