Monday, March 24, 2008

Music in the 21st Century

Over the weekend while we were in the car traveling we listened to Randy Jackson's Top Picks on the radio. The number one song this week (2nd week in a row) is by a young woman who bucked the system and went out on her own to make her name in the music business. She posted her song on MySpace Music and a homemade video on YouTube. After receiving over 200,000 downloads in one week, and more than that amount of hits on YouTube the record companies took notice. She's making her own music and did it without a big record label or backing.

Then, there's Dolly Parton. She hasn't had a major record deal in 10 years. Her last top five hit was in 1991. She did something a little different; she decided to invest in herself. She recorded her new album herself and hired a promotion company to promote it. Her album reached #2 on the Billboard chart its 2nd week. Her best showing in 17 years.

What do these two things say to me? They say the music business is changing. And it also tells me that the public is a better voice in what they like than the record companies who keep spoon feeding us re-recorded decade hits. It tells me that if you have talent and creativity that you don't necessarily need a big record contract to be heard. With MySpace music and YouTube you can sell your own music and forge your own path. The day is coming when all music will be online or via downloads and the record companies just might be obsolete. Or at the very least, less of an influence on the artist's choice of music.

What does this mean for those of us who are craving an original body of work from Mr. Manilow? Maybe he should give Ms. Parton a phone call and see how it's done. Or give this young woman a call and get a few pointers from the generation that grew up with mp3 and
online videos. The way I see it, we're never too old to learn some new tricks or forge some new paths.

As Dolly so eloquently put it: "Now the majors (labels) are what they used to think I was: history," she said.

Here's to music in the 21st century,
Texas Fan


Scooter said...

I suppose the independent route just isn't where Barry wants to be at this point in his career. When Clive promised him a top charting album, I guess it was too sweet a deal to not take as I think he said he "grabbed for that brass ring." So he left Concord, home of his masterpiece, Here At The Mayflower. And Clive kept his promise again, and again, and again as he knows what Joe Public will buy. So originality sort of got left in the dust of sales and chart numbers. Hopefully one day, creativity will win out again.

you begin again.... said...

What's amazing is, Barry is the one who complained about the "golden handcuffs" of pop music. And now that the nature of the business has changed, such that it's easier to get original, creative work out there (for anybody, not just musicians of Barry's caliber) why not take advantage of it?
There are plenty of big-name bands and musicians from the past 30 years that this change is perfect for - but they just don't want to produce new music. I must be missing something.

Steph said...

I do appreciate Clive Davis. He is a genious at what he does and I do credit him for giving all of us Barry Manilow the musician/songwriter, but......I wish Barry would break loose and market his own material if Clive isn't interested. I am definately ready for some original Manilow.

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