How to Fix the Music Industry v2

Muse
Muse
Yes, I like to complain. But only about things I’m passionate about. I went onto NME.com and read that Muse covered the Hendrix version of “The Star Spangled Banner” and Nirvana’s “School” and couldn’t help but wish I could see or hear them.

If the music industry was smart they’d have someone recording these cool moments professionally and releasing them as iTunes tracks or directly on the band’s website–or both. I’d buy this things like crazy. Just like when I heard Travis cover Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” years ago. These are brilliant moments only left for people in attendance to enjoy. What a massive waste that such brilliance gets lost after the moment is over.

And if you care–here is Travis covering Britney.

Please, let the Grammy Awards die

Lady Gaga 2010 Grammy Awards
Lets be honest, there are two reasons the Grammy Awards exist: Advertising revenue for CBS and so stars can pat themselves on the back. Well, one of those things will never go away, however as viewers stop watching the Grammys the advertising will go away.

The Grammy Awards will go the way of the CD and album. The Grammy Awards used to be exciting because you rarely got to see a rock star other than on television the few times they would be on. Even in the era of MTV you only got to see the video version of the band–it was like watching an actor in a movie. But now with Twitter, websites, tabloids and YouTube we see them all the time. In fact, we probably hear too much about them. There is only one person that anyone cared about this year: Lady Gaga. Why? Because she is so mysterious. She’s like KISS back in the ’70s. She’s always hiding behind these crazy outfits and makeup. But one star can’t carry an awards show.

So, its time to let the Grammy Awards die. Music artists are putting on their own shows every single day online for the entire world to see. How can you compete with that?

New Jackson Music: Does anyone care?

Michael Jackson
The last time Michael Jackson wrote a song worth listening to was a few tracks from “Dangerous.” So it’s been nearly 20 years since a good Jackson song has been released, and yet people whip themselves into a frenzy after hearing that a new song was leaked. Apparently it was written with the underwhelming, but pretty, Lenny Kravitz. Frankly, Kravitz hasn’t written a good song himself since “Again” released in 2001. We have a better chance of Elvis coming back from the dead than Lenny Kravitz and Michael Jackson making a good song–together.

Here is Lenny discussing the leaked Michael Jackson track:

How to Fix the Music Industry

The music industry is doomed. Like the newspaper industry, car companies, housing, etc. Except none are really doomed, they just need a reboot. The old ways of doing things is doomed.

So what about music? I still buy albums on iTunes but I also buy single songs. The problem with the music industry is that when you like a musician you usually get a new album once every two or three years. In a world that is moving so fast that is a mistake.

If I was an artist I’d abandon albums. I’d release two songs every three months. If an artist wrote twelve songs ever year and a half they’d have enough songs to constantly stay in listeners ear. It would probably also keep artists creative.

So, rather than going on tour for two years and then trying to remember how to make an album they could do micro tours. An artist could tour for a month and then working on songs. Someone who is really prolific could release a song every month or two.

I’m not saying this is a perfect formula. My point is that artists and record labels need to rethink their industry. The best feature of this approach is that you don’t panic when a fan doesn’t buy all twelve songs from an album because they buy one or two at a time and they know they are good. If they aren’t then there is no one else to blame. Not to mention the extra money from ringtones. I’d also make sure all my songs got into video games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Not months later, the same day as they are released.

Should an artist be able to reclaim a song?

I was listening to Christmas music on a local radio station and Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time.” Wonderful ChristmastimeIt’s a dreadful song. Not because of the lyrics or Paul’s voice–its the music. It’s dreadfully dated like a green shag rug. So here is the question: When an artist records a song that is good, but dreadfully dated should they be able to rerecord the song and erase the old version for good? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be rid of many of those bad disco tunes with something a bit more timeless?

In case you can’t recall what “Wonderful Christmas Time” sounds like here it is:

Is Lady Gaga the most over-rated artist today?

Lady Gaga Greets Queen
Sure, Gaga is able to make people talk about her. Madonna and Michael Jackson had the same ability–both of which influenced Gaga. But at least Madonna cranked out hit-after-hit. Gaga is just getting by. Why doesn’t Leona Lewis get the ink that Gaga gets? It’s because Gaga is interesting. Think KISS. KISS was a passable rock band who were lucky to make one hit an album, but because they wore make-up they became a huge phenomenon. Even the barely talented Marilyn Manson caught a wave of popularity for a cover song (see “Sweet Dreams”).

So is there anything beyond the Gaga shtick? Is she more talented at dressing herself or is she also a talented singer/songwriter? Or does that even matter? Is the only thing that matters is that she is entertaining? It’ll take a few more albums under her belt to answer these questions. For now, at least Gaga has added some excitement to the otherwise boring pop charts.

Why Snoop Dogg lost his flow?

Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg
Snoop was on the Howard Stern show and he said that he used to keep a diary of rhymes. But he no longer does that. Instead he just flows on songs. It’s no wonder he isn’t as good as he used to be. I don’t care how great you are at ad libbing, it’ll never be as good as someone who has rehearsed and worked on tracks for a while to perfect them. In fact, it seems that Snoop has just gotten lazy.

Music doesn’t seem to be his number one interest anymore. Instead music has become a side project like everything else he does. Just one listen to Snoop kicking it in the early days compared to his most recent releases confirms his slide from the list of top MC’s to has been.

Should a band own a name forever?

Charlatans
Charlatans
After answering a reader’s question about song lyrics it occurred to me that bands, especially the ones that suck, get to keep their names forever. And yet a crappy movie can easily be forgot and the title can get reused again and again. Case in point. “Twilight” was a movie in 1998 with Paul Newman and Susan Sarandon. Anyone remember? In ten years no one will remember the vampire movies either.

So, why should a crappy band with a cool name get to sit on it forever? Anyone remember Propaganda? Charlatans? Dope? Well the list could be exhaustive. I’d be interested to know other band titles that readers think should be back up for grabs.