Futures and Investing in Music

I Swear I Don’t Hate Technology!

Are any of you out there saying, “Why does this guy blog about ‘technology leads to crimes’ and ‘records were better than mp3’s’ and ‘we should listen to the radio’ and ‘kids today blah blah blah?’”  I really hope that’s not the voice you’re hearing.  I am an expert at almost nothing and have no intention of telling you how to live your lives.  I am not a cranky old ex-teacher but I do miss the students.  I started Gigspots to serve the young and the young at heart.  Yes, it’s ironic that I use social media to suggest that people get away from their computers and go socialize at musical/cultural events.  I don’t hate technology.  The internet has made the world my classroom and I love being a student more than I ever loved being a teacher.  But you won’t catch me confusing “virtual” experiences with real-life experiences.

There are two trends with computers and hand-held devices that worry me, though.  One is the enormous trend of buying music one song at a time.  The other is ear buds.

I get that if you like a song, you want to own it.  I bought lots of 45’s in my day.  One song is affordable.  But are you investing in the music or just something to have?  My daughter and all my former students have thousands of songs and can make great playlists just like we made mix tapes 30 years ago.  What I don’t see is relationships being built between consumers and artists.

I think part of it is the lack of opportunities for young people to see the artists they like in concert.  Hip-hop and rap music is fun to dance to but how often will they get the chance to see these artists live?  In Lancaster you never see hip-hop concerts except once a year at LAUNCH.   You can draw your own conclusion as to why that’s true but I think it’s a shame.

What artists have sold albums versus singles in the last three years? Adele and Taylor Swift.  Why?  I think it’s because their songs are accessible to a wide audience and that young people identify with them.  They are story-tellers.  Most hip-hop and rap artists do their best work when they’re talking about themselves.  You might like the beat but you can’t identify with the message.  Who is going to sell a ton of albums this year?  Bruce Springsteen will.  Everyone can identify with being frustrated about our government and our economy and Bruce can really tell a story.  Plus, his concert tickets are affordable and fairly distributed.

What’s my beef with ear buds?  I certainly worry about hearing loss but I can’t make a case for it after all the concerts I’ve attended.  I do wear ear plugs now.  No, my issue with ear buds is that they isolate the user from their surroundings.  Is this the only way people can get some privacy these days?  I’m glad that everyone carrying and listening to music today isn’t carrying a giant beat-box like we used to.  Can you imagine the noise from that?

Go to a concert.  Meet the musicians you admire and buy a cd from them at the show.  It wasn’t that long ago that Adele was playing free concerts at World Café Live and Taylor was giving away cd’s on the streets of Nashville or playing as an opening act at country music shows.  How invested would you be if you were there then?  Who knows where the next star will be born?

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