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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Pick Up A Classic
Friday, September 14, 2007

Do you dislike a lot of the music coming out today? Do you find yourself longing for a different era of tunes, be it from ten, fifteen or even twenty years ago? Well, as Michael Jackson once sang, you are not alone. A lot of people are fed up with the current music scene, but not a lot of people know what to do about the situation. Many former consumers have stopped buying music altogether. This is something that has been reflected in the Billboard and Soundscan charts, which are showing some of the lowest record sales numbers of all-time. I don’t think stopping our purchasing of CDs altogether is the answer, though. Now, I would never recommend buying a bad album, but I do recommend buying music as a way of making a statement. Just hear me out on this.

The music industry sees the monumental drop in album sales as people wanting downloads rather than hard product. They don’t seem to understand that the real reason we’re not buying albums is because we don’t like the music. That concept hasn’t even entered into anyone’s minds, or if it has those people have probably been given their walking papers. The fact of the matter is no matter how they package, or in the case of downloading, not package, the music they’re currently putting out we still won’t like it and we’ve shown that through our distinct apathy towards most new releases. What about the old releases, though?

For every person who dislikes the current landscape of the music scene there is a reason for that dislike and a notion that there were better times. When discussing those better times take a look at your album collection. Does it reflect the feelings you passionately talk about, or is it lacking a bit? The answer for most of us is that it’s lacking. The more we talk about how much we embrace our musical history the more we should realize we haven’t even fully investigated it. Lusting for a time when A Tribe Called Quest and all the Native Tounges artists were ruling the world? Well, do you even own all of their albums? Trying to tell kids today that The Beatles, The Doors, The Who and The Rolling Stones were the greatest bands ever? Shouldn’t you be able to pull out something other than a greatest hits album to prove your point? The answer to this issue is simple, buy the classics.

The music industry respects one thing right now, money, and if they see money coming in from sales of classic albums they’ll realize, eventually, that there is still a large music buying public out there, they just don’t happen to like the artists that are being pushed right now. If classic albums started creeping their way up the Billboard charts the music industry would have to react. First they’d probably attempt to put out reissues, or boxed sets, which would inevitably fail, but then they’d get the point that people are simply embracing good music that they enjoy and would adjust their practices accordingly.

It’s not hard for an album to make its way onto the Billboard charts at this point. 10K in sales for a week would probably land an artist in the top 20, so a slight spike in sales for classic albums would be very noticeable, especially if it happened across all genres of music. The hope, at least for me, would be that the higher ups would see the spike, ask themselves what they’re doing with their rosters full of non-selling artists, get rid of a good number of them, and let the few they retain develop.

Yes, this week will be a huge one in terms of first week sales with the likes of Kanye West, 50 Cent and Kenny Chesney all with much hyped first week debuts, but what about next week, and the week after that? Rather than not going to the record store at all, why not go there and see if they have one of your favorite artists on sale, or click on one of the many music retailers online and see what hidden gems you can find from your favorite era. Finding something you love is always more rewarding than complaining about something you dislike and if we all find enough things we love eventually the music industry will start creating records that we can put into that category again.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:05 AM  
  • At 11:07 AM, Blogger I Sort Glass said…

    Sound rather similar to a conversation I had with someone recently...

    You know, it's like this. There's so much music that you've never heard to begin with so saying there's no good music available is simply not true...

    I've been doing my homework. Following liner notes and discovering the supporting cast of some classic as well as lesser known albums. There's so much history in music. So much to learn and appreciate. Folks gottah stop complaining. Complaining is dead...

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