Larry Stessel Weighs In

My kids never go to record stores. "Why would I want to go in there daddy?  Do they sell video games?"

Ironically, the video game industry is starting to hurt now too, and for the exact same reason as the music business.  The BLOCKBUSTER MENTALITY!  Spend a fucking fortune on a TITLE!  Hype it to high hell.  And, when it doesn’t meet expectations, you lose MILLIONS of dollars.

The key is to create something great.  It’s not like the old days.  You can’t keep a good act/game down.  It’s human nature, you want to tell EVERYBODY about your new discovery (and with the Internet, it’s easy to do this!)  Amazing that the labels have forgotten this.  By BOMBARDING their audience they’re eliminating this one key aspect of human nature, and hurting their bottom line at the same time.

Independents know it’s first and foremost about the music.  There must be CREDIBILITY!  The band has to play live.  There has to be a relationship with the fans.  People need to feel that they can OWN the act.

Many indie record stores are still cool.  But people have gotten out of the habit of buying CDs.  The CD lost its value when AOL started giving away discs for free and DVDs could be purchased for under twenty bucks.  But music was lucky.  It was at the technological forefront.  If Napster had been HARNESSED instead of REPRESSED the major labels wouldn’t be in the situation they are now.  Larry Stessel’s kids would be downloading Zeppelin and the Beatles P2P, not worrying about either spyware or the long arm of the RIAA.  ALSO, acts that can’t even get in the indie store, never mind the big box retailer, would sit equally, side by side with the major releases, available for the listening, for the experimentation.  Hear about something from a friend, download and check it out!

But instead we’ve got fucked up systems like Urge.  Where the music is locked up.  And you’ve got to get an authorized player to take it with you.  God, could you imagine needing an authorized turntable to play vinyl?  And, that you had to use an Admiral or GE instead of a Thorens or Linn-Sondek or even a Technics?  THIS is what the labels are fostering.  Open the format and you open up the technology.  Better and better players emerge.  But, the majors would rather have the online music landscape like Eastern Europe.  BALKANIZED!

Here’s the paradigm:  More music for more people.  That leads to a healthier industry.

Then again, will the majors rule??  They’ll make a lot of money, but competitors will eat market share.  Should we save the majors at the risk of hurting our own emotional well-being, our desire to experience the joy of music?

Make no mistake.  The majors are keeping the music from the people just like the Administration is keeping AIDS drugs/relief from Africa.

Where’s John Lennon when you need him.  Power to the people, RIGHT ON!

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