Which way do you want it, new model or old? Because like almost everything else in life, you can’t have it both ways.
For those coming up to speed, Jay-Z offers an overhyped “collaboration” with Samsung wherein the electronics company buys a million albums at five bucks apiece and distributes them via Android apps. And now Jay-Z is pissed that SoundScan won’t count the million as sold, that it won’t let him enter the chart at number one and garner all that publicity.
That’s how far we’ve come. The music is irrelevant. It’s all about the money and the media.
The money… Jay-Z gets millions. Isn’t that enough? Do you see the bankers bitching they’re not in the newspaper? No, the bankers are smart, they don’t want people to know their business, how much money they’re making, they fear the backlash. And they’re making the real bucks, unlike entertainers…
You don’t want your name in the paper. If you’re using the media to stimulate sales, what happens when they stop hyping you? Yup, nobody lasts forever.
Furthermore, what is a sale anymore? Does that metric even count? With people stealing, listening on YouTube and streaming on Spotify, et al? What we really want to know is whether anybody LISTENED to your music!
Hell, that metric is starting to appear. Go on Spotify, look at the play counts. It’s pretty fascinating.
Then again, the entertainment business hates statistics, at least those it can’t manipulate. Big time entertainment is all about smoke and mirrors, and the complicit press does no homework. Attendance figures? How many of the seats were sold at a discount, how many were given away? This is the currency of the insider, but the insiders won’t speak to the press, there’s no upside in this. Because the reporter tells the story and then…moves on to something else. If you haven’t felt ripped-off by the press, you’ve never spoken to a reporter.
As for a big first week so retailers will stock more physical inventory… Indie retailers are pissed Jay-Z’s doing the Samsung deal. And the whole concept of physical is utterly ridiculous. Let me see… You take orders based on hype, you manufacture and ship product, and then you hope you’ve got enough in stock to meet demand without having too many shipped back. Whereas online, inventory is ready to be delivered to the customer upon true demand. This is why the artists had it wrong about Napster, it’s not like stealing a CD, because the replication and distribution costs are bupkes.
As for keeping your songs off Spotify, what exactly are you accomplishing? That just drives people to YouTube, America’s number one streaming service.
It’s almost like artists want nothing to do with the future. Media outlets too. Radio doesn’t want to break new bands that start new trends, they just want more of what came before. Newspapers don’t have enough staff to cover the story as well as the frequently unpaid experts writing for the love of it do so well online. I mean who you gonna trust on record reviews, the “New York Times” or Pitchfork? And I can delineate the flaws with Pitchfork all day long! And then there are the data aggregators, like Amazon and iTunes, with their user reviews. You can see what the public thinks about the product, as opposed to self-anointed experts in the paper. Not that there are not good critics in the mainstream media, but so many are so self-satisfied, it’s laughable.
And then you’ve got the baby boomers propping the whole thing up. Yup, boomers just want to get paid until they retire, then they’re gonna withdraw their support and the whole edifice will collapse.
But rank and file citizens are not paragons of practicality, they don’t believe in kumbaya. If there’s any chance someone’s gonna suffer, that their job will be sacrificed for the greater good, for a move into the future, it just can’t happen.
And it used to be artists were the leaders, showing the new way.
Now artists are laughable clowns in search of revenue. Hell, Jay-Z, you got paid, isn’t that enough?