The music business world is changing every day. It has happening right now as I type this. That is how fast change happens. In the sixties and seventies groups/artists released an album each year on average. Then in the Eighties all the way up to Napster in 1999, it was okay to release an album with a couple of good songs every two to three years. It was all about getting it out the door.
Then there was the handful of albums that ended up as great iconic albums. These ones took a lot of months to write and record. The labels had the cash and they had the distribution. So they would put their acts into studios for long periods of time knowing that they will be able to recoup.
But in today’s world perfection is the enemy of progress. We’re moving to a world where artists either win it all or win nothing. The in between is slowly dissolving. And no one has time to wait for something to be perfect. Hell if that was the case, Apple and Microsoft or Google would not have released anything. Why do you think our computers are always installing updates for our operating systems. Because those operating systems are not perfect.
There is a reason why some bands have a sold out sign on the door while others are playing to empty halls. It is the product. No amount of marketing will break you. If your product fails to connect or just plain sucks, it’s over. Back to the drawing board. Ozzy Osbourne started the “No More Tears” with a different band and different producers. In the quest for a perfect album, musicians came and went and the producers also got chopped and changed. In between, songs got written and tweaked and outsider writers got called in. However for Ozzy to get to that level of comfort, all the way from his Black Sabbath days he was involved in releasing albums on a yearly basis.
Warrior Soul and Galactic Cowboys are two bands that come to mind that failed commercially. They had big label deals with Geffen. Great label support. Good music. They had critical acclaim however no money to back it all up. The labels put money into breaking them however the audience just wasnt ready for them. Their products just failed to connect like the labels expected them to connect. By 1994, both bands had been dropped by Geffen. On 1992’s “Salutations From The Ghetto Nation” this is how Kory Clarke from Warrior Soul summed up the song Love Destruction. “We have a lot of critical acclaim throughout the world but no money to back it up.”
Then on the other hand, you had Geffen Records hedging their bets. A flyer of Geffen’s which did the round in a May 1992 issue of Hot Metal has the label promoting the following albums. “User Your Illusion 1 and 2” from Guns N Roses, “Nevermind” from Nirvana, “Want Some” from Roxy Blue and “La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One” from White Zombie. Whatever connected was kept and whatever didn’t got discarded.
The end result is that once a song becomes a hit, it then becomes a megahit. Music lovers demand excellence and they have the ability to filter out the average. So any artists that are just good at what they do are actually the same as average and more closer to bad than great.
HBO knows this. That is why they have first pick at the best people and best stories. Netflix knows this. That is why they are signing up filmmakers and TV shows. John Kalodner knew this and that’s why he fought to get good bands to become great. He knew that a ten out ten album was 300% harder to make than an album rated a seven. What this means for newbies is that the world has no place for good, let alone average material.
In the world of entertainment technology the two best technological developments for consumers is the “Bit Torrent” protocol and “The Pirate Bay”. And the creators of the tech have done it so great, that both products are still alive and relevant when you compare it to other tech products that launched the same time as these two products. And “The Pirate Bay” caters for music, movies, eBooks, TV shows, software, comics and many other different products. So even though Netflix and Spotify go a long way in addressing a problem, until there is an encompassing entertainment product that is better than The Pirate Bay/Bit Torrent relationship and a product that allows consumers to have all the options that “The Pirate Bay” offers, piracy will always exist.
Ask yourself, this. If people are downloading your music is that a good thing or a bad thing? If people are listening to your music on Spotify free, is that a good thing or a bad thing? If people are listening to your music on YouTube, is that a good thing or a bad thing?