It’s kinda like vinyl records.

They make no sense, but there’s a vocal minority whose heartfelt desire is to jet back to the past.

Oh, don’t get your knickers in a twist, put your emotions aside, I’ve got thousands of discs, and a turntable to play them, but I don’t, because it’s too inconvenient. But the truth is it makes no sense to listen on vinyl to that which has been recorded digitally.

Sure, there are a couple of rich, high profile acts that record to tape, like Dave Grohl, but everybody else uses Pro Tools. It’s a complete digital chain. And at the end you put the result on a record, where you have to compromise the sound just to make sure the needle won’t jump and compensate for the inner groove being shorter than the outer?

Makes no sense.

But it FEELS right.

Kinda like a return to what once was. When albums were king and listeners couldn’t easily cherry-pick the tracks they wanted to hear.

But there’s a huge contingent of people who love the new system, who use it to their advantage, not only Drake, who releases endless mixtapes, but the wannabes who can now participate, who can record and post their material, options that were unavailable to them previously. You had to have a deal to record, and distribution, both retail and radio, were closed off to you. You still can’t get your product in the record store, that inane place with little inventory the Luddites can’t stop venerating, and radio is still closed, possibly more than ever, but you can get your stuff into the iTunes Store and post it on YouTube and Spotify where people can hear it for free.

ANATHEMA! Those entities are the ENEMY! They’re ruining the business!

So which way is it? Was the past better than the present or do we live in a changed world and the best thing to do is adapt and cope?

Or, to put it another way, if we had a music industry vote, how would it turn out? Would streaming be eviscerated, albums be everything and record labels be all powerful once again?

But we can’t go back, that would be ignoring the digital revolution, which happened spontaneously, with Napster. And when that outlet was closed, new ones popped up, not only utilizing P2P but lockers and…

So one can argue we’ve created some order in a land of chaos.

But it doesn’t FEEL that way.

Now you understand Brexit.

Daniel Ek is the foreigner.

The youngsters are the elite.

And the old farts are the same as ever, unable to fathom a changed world, doing their best to return to the old.

Yes, I think it would be close.

The old acts would certainly vote for a return to the past, their recorded revenue has sunk precipitously. You could tell them that live money has gone way up, far outpacing inflation, experiences being king in a digital world, but they’d say there’s still a shortfall. And that they’ve got no desire to employ social media to enhance their “brand.” They just want to spend 500k to make their albums and drop them every three years, parceling out singles to radio thereafter. They’re sick of the competition, when everybody can play it diverts fans from their work.

And this appeals to a segment of youngsters too. They’ve read about the old days, they want some of that. You can tell them all day long that odds are they won’t get a deal and even if they do they won’t get rich but they don’t believe that, they think they can sell 10 million discs.

But the fans, who get no media, having no house organ, love the new world. They can sample everything for free, dig down deep on websites, learning more about their heroes, even interact with them on social media. Sure, the world is imperfect, one can catalogue the failings ad infinitum, but is it really possible to return to the past, and is the past really that much better?

It’s a global music business. Which means successful acts can make more money than ever, without leaving home their wares are available to stream and buy in far distant lands. But few acts can achieve this ubiquity, shouldn’t we cripple this option so the disadvantaged can get ahead?

I’m fascinated by the Brexit vote. Things haven’t been up for grabs since the 2008 crash. It’s kinda like making Trump President. If you’re bored with the status quo, if you believe you’ve gotten the short end of the stick, put the stick you have left in the spokes of the bicycle and watch the whole thing crash, see how it all plays out.

But then I realized, both of these financial meltdowns were preceded by the music business meltdown, we’ve been coping with change for fifteen plus years.

But I don’t want to give up my iPod.

Which I gave up for my iPhone.

I don’t want to give up my Sonos system, I don’t want Alexa to lose her hearing and be unable to play the music I call out to her.

I don’t want to only be able to play my tunes at home.

I certainly don’t want to go back to recording cassettes.

MP3s don’t sound as good as vinyl. Then again, Tidal allows you to stream in CD quality, as does Deezer, and it turns out most people don’t want to pay for it. Funny how we’ve stopped hearing about the quality issue, the war is over.

So, feel damn lucky you live in today, that the music business has adjusted so much. The landscape is confusing, progress still needs to be made, but if you want to return to the past…

You’re probably playing vinyl records.

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