Sunday, August 10, 2008
The Decline of the American Empire
It's all right there. Just know it and you can have it. Find it and you can take it. Regardless of the laws and the MPAA attempted crackdowns and preventative measures, it is all just sitting right there. What is the crime? The taking of music for free. Is it a crime to point out where someone can take something from? Well, lock up over half of the people online then. Who does downloading affect? The record industry for one, with dwindling sales across the board. Artists struggle to get a major label deal. Manufacturers losing ground as MP3's become the clear medium of choice. Can an artist still go platinum in a week? Yes, but the golden age (at 25$ a cd no less!!) is clearly gone. But that is just the business side of things as the industry is painfully slow to react to a movement that has already shown how things must change. In actuality, music and it's followers are at their zenith because all this bureaucracy bleeding in from what was once behind the scenes does not change the most important thing. The quality and quantity of the music.
From bloggers posting everything from artifact funk records to underground art rap to un-released CD's and live performances, there is more music available now then at any other time in history. And anybody with a computer and a song can make a track, post it and expose it to the masses. The masses are now the media. Truly anybody with the inclination to say something, now has a free soap box to preach from. Does this increase the amount of expendable music that we come across? Yes, but half the appeal to being an audiophile is the act of searching, sifting through the endless sleeves and re-releases, remixes and singles, just waiting for the song that blows you away until you find another hours later that tops it. The downloading and file sharing not only acts as screener, allowing the customer to listen to an entire cd before deciding whether it is worth their hard earned dollars or not, it more importantly acts as a guide. Leading us from songs and artists to entire genres we would never have come across if this advancement had never come to be. Often, due to the music industries hesitancy to embrace net music, file sharing does not get it's deserved recognition as the progress that it truly is.
If the music industry is in decline, then it is due to the fact they are holding on too firmly, too stubbornly, to methods that haven't just already walked out of the room. They've leapt out the window.