They’re killing the book business.
The old guard, the ones married to paper and indie bookstores, the publishers afraid of big bad Amazon, have achieved their goal, they’ve killed the e-book. That’s right, e-book sales are down by 21.8%, the entire book business has declined by 2.7%, this is what happens when Luddites living in the past refuse to enter the future. This is what would be happening in music if the insane artists screaming about streaming were able to get their way.
Alas, music is far ahead of the book business, with everything available for one low price, with streaming burgeoning, sales are up by 8.1%.
Daniel Ek single-handedly save the music business.
And for that he is Public Enemy Number One.
What has happened to our country? Is everyone so afraid of moving backward, losing what little they have, that they refuse to enter the future and cling to the past? Is this about income inequality, where there’s always an enemy and change is anathema? Or is this just fat cat baby boomer businessmen who are riding out their contracts and want to receive their bonuses and are holding back the future.
But not in the music business. Universal Music might be home to Taylor Swift, but it’s Lucian Grainge who’s spearheaded Spotify, who decried Swift’s anti-Apple, anti-free-tier comments. There’s no one as ignorant as an artist, never forget that. And I’d worry they’d be offended, then again, I’d have to ignore the venom directed at myself every single day online.
We’ve come so far in the music business. The means of production are in the hands of the proletariat, distribution is nearly free. And somehow the vocal minority which controls the airwaves cannot stop bitching.
Probably, you wouldn’t have been able to play in the old system, you would have never gotten a deal, never mind get your indie album into the record store, never mind coming up with the money to record to begin with.
And if you made a record, good luck getting it on the radio. Gatekeepers ruled. And streaming playlists are the new gatekeepers but they’re much broader in scope than radio playlists. That’s the dirty little secret of the major label world, everybody pays fealty to radio, even though it means so much less and is out of touch with today’s times.
The future’s so bright you gotta wear shades.
But it’s not gonna be bright for everyone. If you don’t have fans, streaming your music, you’re out of luck. Maybe you can play live, more power to you. But please stop complaining that no one wants to buy your overpriced CD or vinyl. Those are souvenirs, many people have neither a disk drive nor a turntable, sell these tchotchkes at your gig, your fans can keep you alive, I’ve got no problem with that.
But, please stop complaining. If things went your way they’d be so much worse.
E-books used to be under ten bucks. Now, in some cases, they cost more than the physical iteration. That makes no sense, with no printing and shipping. The book business is making the same mistake the record business once did. Believing it was entitled to profits. That it was all right to sell an overpriced CD with one good cut, that the public didn’t mind, but that proved untrue.
But at least people wanted to steal music. They don’t seem to want to steal books, they just want to ignore them, that’s the real disaster, how the book business has marginalized itself.
As for the film and TV businesses… Tell me once again where you can get everything for one low price? YOU CAN’T!
So piracy reigns.
And it’s dying in the music business.
But somehow YouTube is the enemy. An antiquated system that will be surpassed in time. The history of the world is people paying for convenience, and YouTube is mighty inconvenient. Spotify is not. As for Apple Music, if it ever gets its user interface right it might have a chance.
So the book business defeated the techies. The supposed rapists and pillagers who cared not a whit about the value of content. They brought Jeff Bezos to his knees.
But Bezos doesn’t really care, because books are a de minimis part of Amazon’s overall market.
The supposedly smart people, standing up for the lowly artist, did a disservice to everybody involved. E-books were the future, priced to reflect the advancement of digital distribution. But they couldn’t survive, because the writers and publishers were afraid of change. And you wonder why so few people read novels…
That’s right, so much of the vaunted literature is unreadable. There, I said it. It’s a small tent and they don’t want any of THOSE PEOPLE!
And the same thing is happening in music. There’s hatred towards successful pop, especially if it’s laden with EDM touches. That’s not music those with a megaphone say. But it’s fresh and new and it’s what the people want. Major Lazer and Justin Bieber are making better tunes than all the old fogeys and special interest groups, they’re hoovering up money, you don’t hear Drake complaining he can’t get paid.
But that’s not real music.
Why does everybody have contempt for that which they do not understand, which is new and different, both tech and art?
We’ve built the platform in music. We’ve leveled the playing field. The next step is to anoint winners, to add comprehension to the chaos, and with the tech issues resolved we can focus on art.