What do Max Wood and Trent Reznor have in common?April 5, 2007
Male. Skinny. They both enjoy wearing green? “Very white” according to Keith Hayes. Misunderstood perhaps? Whether or not any of this is true, they both want you to listen to new music they have online.
Local Jacksonvillian, Max Wood, has new songs posted, under the name of ‘Teen Vogue dot Com.’ They can be heard here. The equally white Trent Reznor, of the group Nine Inch Nails, has a new album coming out called “Year Zero.” Though it officially comes out April 17th, an be heard here.
So, what gives? Is downloadable music the great equalizer? From artists included in Pitchfork’s Worst of 2005 list, to someone earning multiple Gold and Platnium awards – everyone wants you to listen to music online. We all know it’s nothing new. The Wall Street Journal notes that CD music sales are down 20% from the same week a year ago. The seven year decline in CD sales doesn’t look to be turning around anytime soon, if ever. And while legal music download sales are increasing by 50% or so a year, overall industry revenue is still down 25% from a year ago. The industry is slowly, but surely, becoming less top-heavy. Downloading music is hardly the great equalizer (I think Trent Reznor will have a bit more PR behind his new music than Max Wood), but it’s certainly a rather large stone cast – or maybe the equivalent of a snowball thundering down a mountain side? That metaphor only makes we wonder if it will melt, or when.
Next to no one cares that vinyl record sales are down. That’s mostly due to the simple fact that next to no one buys records. Last year 858,000 LPs were sold, compared with 553.4 million CDs, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Tangibility is important to some people though. But is this just sleazy capitalistic ownership? Record collecting? CD collecting? Mp3 collecting? Labels, spanning all genres and net worth, are offering MP3 downloads with vinyl records. From local label Shrug Records to larger labels like Touch and Go.
Cris Ashworth owner of United Record Pressing says “a lot of people spend their lives doing something as opposed to making something, and I wanted to make something. I wanted something tangible in my hands at the end of the day.” So we want to hold our album collection, whatever the format, but we also want that shit on our iPod. Like now.
Where does this leave the artists? For hundreds (thousands?) of years, musicians have always been broke and on the road most of the time. The exception were the few that were subsidized by wealthy households, royalty, or the church. The last 60 years of record sales and music business has been a weird break from the norm. Now we are correcting this perhaps?
What format do you buy? If any..
Do you have an portable digital music player?