What's killing the music industry? Auto-Tune? The Internet? American Idol? All of the above?
The music industry has been marked for death for a long time now, but amazingly, nobody has managed to come up with a concrete reason as to why. Sure, it's easy to assign blame, but the real reason the music is dying is still a mystery to most people in the industry. Thankfully, plenty of stars have weighed in on the subject, and most of their theories are amazingly similar.
5. Rick Rubin In an interview with Time magazine, Rick Rubin blames the dissolution of the industry on pitch-correction technology. "Right now," he said, "if you listen to pop, everything is in perfect pitch, perfect time and perfect tune. That's how ubiquitous Auto-Tune is." His argument is actually pretty solid, as a startling amount of pop bands these days either use Auto-Tune live, or worse, lip-sync their entire set. It also creates a homogenized sound. Whether that's T-Pain purposeful bad-singing to get a particular sound, or the less noticeable use on something like a Lady Gaga record, what comes out of the industry is so goddamn perfect that nobody can really love it, because it was made by a machine.
4. Bon Jovi According to Bon Jovi (who, notably, had one of the largest revenue generating tours last year), it wasn't Napster founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker that killed the industry, it was Steve Jobs -- as in, Steve Jobs personally killed the music industry by inventing the iPod and iTunes. While many will argue it actually helped reinvigorate people's love for music, the industry part has certainly dissolved. In an interview with The Sunday Times Magazine, Bon Jovi said, "Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to ten, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album, and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on a jacket." It's true: kids being educated consumers and not buying a Yes record because it has a sweet fucking painting on it, is certainly a major problem these days.
3. Usher In an interview with the Guardian last year, Usher, just weeks after his appearance on the show, blasted American Idol. "The true art form of music is being lost," he noted, "because it seems so easy that everyone can do it and that it can happen overnight. Television is a lie." His point is confirmed nearly every single season as the winners go on to do jack shit. It is, however, an interesting paradox when you consider Rick Rubin's theory. American Idol is about finding "real" singing talent and turning them into a star. Usher continues, "The reason why great singers cannot exist in this time is maybe because they're not being properly managed, and maybe they don't understand the full gamut of what being an entertainer is." Wait, is he saying that pop stars should be able to sing AND dance? Crazy talk!
2. Prince Our top two quotes come from two people who both believe the Internet killed the music industry, but who have varying reasons as to why. Prince actually believes the Internet is over, which is why he released his last record via an insert in a newspaper (another industry which is also thriving, we hear). His exact quote in the Mirror was, "The Internet's completely over. I don't see why I should give my music to iTunes or anyone else... The Internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip, and suddenly it became outdated." That's true, MTV isn't hip and it did became outdated -- BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET. Who needs MTV when you have YouTube -- in fact, YouTube (which is on the Internet, in case you weren't aware) is often credited as the driving force for making music videos popular again.
1. John Mellencamp John Mellencamp also believes the Internet killed the music industry, but in an interview with Reutars, the aging, apparently senile rock star stated, "I think the Internet is the most dangerous thing invented since the atomic bomb. It's destroyed the music business. It's going to destroy the movie business." While that statement is, you know, pretty hip for a 112-year-old like Mellencamp, his jumping on the bandwagon didn't stop there, he went on to say that rock would soon die, just like big band music did, ignoring the fact that people actually, you know, like rock music.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.