THE MUSIC INDUSTRY - The State Of Things In 2006

Designer Magazine doesn't receive a press release nowadays without scanning for the words Myspace or internet and 9 times out of 10 if they mention either of those phrases in the first sentence you can guarantee the band will be a crock of shit. Here we put forward two arguements for the internet generation and music. First up is 16yr old Will Slater who grew up with Napster, downloads and Myspace from an early age who argues that Myspace used wisely could be the future and then a rant from Designer Magazine's Editor Alex McCann, aged 28, about how music has become worth less than two pints of lager and a packet of crisps and that rather than giving away for free albums or downloads should be sold at the real value they give listeners

Is Myspace revolutionary or a waste of time?
Myspace has become a revolutionary way of making yourself known as a musician. Forget sending a tape to your local radio DJ and crossing your fingers that theyll air it, its now all about setting up your own demos and promos and getting around by word of mouth until suddenly, you end up recording sessions for Radio 1.

Because we have proof that this has actually happened (Arctic Monkeys) we can presume that this will change the way the music industry works. I welcome this new method of talent searching: at least this way some talent is found. The other system is that we have to put up with groups of pretty boys or hot sluts that have been manufactured by money grabbing morons, like Louis Walsh, so that theyre all practically clones because they have the same old boring voices and dance routines (I wont bother with examples, you know who Im talking about). Those bands fill the charts with such bull crap to an extent of which the charts mean nothing anymore and are watched kids who have no musical opinions whatsoever. Also, with the Myspace way absolutely everyone has a chance at the success, not just the lucky ones. No good musician is missed out and theres always something new and exciting around the corner.

There is a downside to everyone having a go at the success however. Long before any of us were born, if the head of a record company found a vinyl lying on his desk, it usually meant that it made its way there because someone besides the artist actually liked it, a professional, who had access to the equipment for making records and later, tapes and even later, CDs. Today, we have something that a monkey can create the MP3. The consequence of this is that only the artist likes the song as opposed to the professional, so we end up with millions of billions of people who only just might have that dominating, pulsating, sweeping sound that we have all been waiting for. That is not enough, we need that band or soloist who I have just described for definite, but they are lost amongst the growths and weeds of those who dont deserve the opportunity.

Myspace can very much can change the way the music industry works, if only things were as still simple, it isnt always good to evolve.

Will Slater

How much do you value you music collection or are you just passe?
You can buy Marvin Gaye's "Whats Going On?" for £2.99 in a HMV Sale, so called music fans on the Metal Hammer message board think that £5.50 is too much for a gig by an up and coming rock band but think nothing of paying £15 for the latest buckle or belt and bands have to give virtually their whole catalogue away free so that people come to gigs and buy the T-shirts rather than CDs.

Is music so devalued now that gig tickets really are worth less than a pint of lager and a packet of crisps. Have we come to the point where people are only prepared to pay £6.99 for albums such as "The Queen Is Dead" or a 3 CD collection of the Clash but spend £40 on an imported T-shirt because Pete Wentz or Alex Turner is wearing it?

When I was 15/16 I used to save up dinner money just so I could afford a £12.99 album and at the end of the day it was justified because value for money for some of the greatest albums I've ever heard. At the same time tickets used to cost about £7 for a band playing to 1000 people at Academy 2 and the t-shirts were £10 at most - that meant that the CD album was always perceived as the most important thing to buy as the value of that £12.99 was paramount.

Compare this to 2006 where fans expect to download for free (in a large number of cases the whole album rather than exclusive live tracks or samples from a new album that bands rightly give away for free and enhance the business / relationship with fans), ticket prices are kept to a minimum whereas the bootleg T-shirts outside are snapped up for a tenner a piece and the t-shirts inside often cost more than the tickets themselves.

How much is music really worth? How much would you pay for your favourite album of all time? When did music start to mean nothing more than throwaway background music to 90% of the population?

Is there a way we can give music it's true value back? What schemes or pricing structure would you put in place to ensure that the actual CD / Download prices are reflected to be more important that the t-shirts and peripheral merchandise that comes along with it?

Alex McCann

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