Why is this a story?

Reviewing his latest album, whose name eludes me, is like writing about a blank CD. Because no one can hear it.

I get the train-wreck value. With the diminutive one and his constant anti-internet/technology blathering. But why give him ink at all? Why not say NEXT and move on?

If a tree falls in a forest does it make a noise?

If a has-been releases an album exclusively on Tidal does it matter what it sounds like?

Access and attention, these are the two concepts you must keep in mind.

Imagine being un-Googlable. It would be like you didn’t exist. No one could find you. With phone books having fallen by the wayside, no one would be able to get in touch with you you didn’t already know, assuming they remembered your number and e-mail address. Would you like this? Some treasure anonymity, but the youngsters who drive this culture and are the future of this world are all about social, creating bonds online. They can be criticized for their lust for fame, but at least they understand the game. Prince is so detached from reality he’s one step away from the mental hospital. And like other train-wrecks before him, from Sid Vicious to Amy Winehouse, we refuse to send him to rehab, we just follow their actions as they self-destruct.

And in a world overrun with media, attention is everything. The enemy is obscurity, not a theoretical non-paying public. Where did that start anyway? If the public expected everything for free people wouldn’t pay for concert tickets. And it turns out they are paying for music, via streaming, and if you don’t understand that you’re not in the game. If your Spotify royalties suck it’s because not enough people are listening. Sure, the label may be taking the lion’s share, and not enough people are paying, but the truth is streaming is a train that’s leaving the station everybody is going to get on. And then it won’t matter if you sell a record, but if people listen to it. And you’ll be competing against Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, who didn’t used to get paid after the first sale but will forevermore. This is a good thing, we want to reward those who are actually listened to. But in this era of chaos those being left out are lamenting it publicly and those who don’t understand it keep demonstrating their ignorance.

Like Prince.

The truth is, Mr. Nelson, no one wants to listen to your new music. You utilized YouTube recently and your tracks sunk soon. Because you just can’t write a hit. And that’s all we’re interested in these days, hits. Except for the hard core, every old act has fans, but that does not mean the rest of us should care.

But if you do something as good as the new Bieber, which is astoundingly good, beyond expectations, if not great, then it matters. Assuming we can hear it.

But that’s what’s wrong with old media, no editorial voice. These are the same people who are so busy printing both sides of the story that facts are thrown out the window. How about printing the number of Tidal subscribers at the beginning of your review. How about stating that Prince has had so many attempted comebacks that those who used to care no longer do. How about reviewing tracks instead of albums, creating playlists categorized on what we must hear, shouldn’t hear and might be interested in. It’s this refusal to enter the future that makes me cheer on the internet news sources. That is when they’re not trolling for link-bait. Then again, BuzzFeed could compile a list of five Prince albums most people have never heard of.

And while we’re at it can we have a moratorium on vinyl stories? Or get statistics on how many discs are purchased as souvenirs and are never listened to? If people were interested in quality sound they would have bought Neil Young’s Pono player, and you know how that turned out. Then again, the press gave Neil a pass on that one, even though anybody with a brain knew it was a nonstarter. I don’t care how much you raise on Kickstarter, I look at the number of donors. And if it ain’t in six figures, you’re not a mainstream band…and that never happens. Whoopee! You got a ton of believers to lay down money because they remember what once was and are desirous of smelling your farts. Name one Kickstarter album that graduated to the big leagues? I rest my case.

And let’s admit streaming won and concentrate on that which is being streamed. They do call it the music BUSINESS and the truth is everyone wants to get paid and the way you do this is by creating something that streams in quantity. I can name scores of failed bands from the days of yore, if I was like the bitching barons I’d say they deserved to be well-known millionaires. But unlike the blind I know that life is unfair. And I also know that the internet did not uncover loads of unsigned talent that the majors were ignoring. The truth is there are very few quality acts and now, more than ever, we’re gravitating to those at the peak.

Sorry… But it’s the way of the world. If you’re not overwhelmed by choice, which is the problem Jimmy Iovine is trying to tackle by delivering so many playlists you’re still overwhelmed, you’re streaming the same damn stuff as everybody else. Most people are. Sure, you’re free to play your obscure favorites, just don’t tell me they deserve to be rich.

And don’t tell me Prince’s new album is relevant and worth paying attention to. Hell, it wouldn’t be worth paying attention to if it was on Spotify.

As for Taylor Swift, Ms. Greed, she doesn’t want us to respect creators, she just wants to get paid. And isn’t that the point I’m making above? Why do all these big shots say they’re doing it for the little people…who are on all the services and are being ignored? They’re doing it for themselves. And the truth is not being on Spotify is hurting Ms. Swift more than it’s helping her. But I don’t expect to see a story about that by the fawning press which has been given access. I also don’t expect to see a story on how many people have never heard “Blank Space.” Taylor Swift may be the biggest star we’ve got, but she’s not that big, there’s no ubiquity, she’s making pure pop for poor people. How about making something we all can sing, that isn’t reliant on beats and has more to say than a billboard?

That’s coming.

When people understand the power of music is in the grooves, not the system of distribution. That a hit song is a ubiquitous item we all find satisfaction in, that we want to sing along with, that we want to get closer to.

Why do I have to endure stories about how Prince worked with a producer? Why do I have to read about songs I’ll never hear?

Here’s the message Mr. Nelson… Get your head out of your damn ass and put your music in the marketplace where it will either succeed or fail based upon its merits. The truth is you’re too scared to do this, because you can’t write a hit. As for all your bitching about being screwed by the business, I want to know how many tickets you’d be selling if you never signed to a label.

I’m not saying there aren’t inequities, but come on, come down from your throne and get into the pit. Where we’re all willing to give you a chance. In a competition that’s ever more cutthroat.

We want to listen, but we might not want to listen to you.

But if we are listening to you, you’re gonna get rich and have more power than you know what to do with.

Welcome to the modern music business.

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