Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Rock the Big House Down

Now Begins the Revolution—and its big…REALLY big

I was at the grocery counter when the cashier—a lad less than half my age—said, “You look like your getting ready for a party.”

“My fiftieth,” I said, sheepishly.

“Wow, you don’t look fifty,” he said. Before I could wish him a God-bless-you-for-that, he added, “I’ve heard that fifty is the new forty.”

What an idea. Stay with me here, because his insightful comment speaks to a lot of things about our changing world. Today I will build a musical analogy.

Okay, what if fifty is the new forty? I’m game for that. I’ve got a parallel in the music world. I’ve been thinking it’s time to turn the music world upside down, and to steal back the control of making music from the record companies. Here’s my observation: “Pop Music” is the new “Folk Music.”

Yeah, I know—I’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.

First, my definition of “Pop Music”: rock and roll, blues, R&B, hip-hop, rap, rock-a-billy, jazz, punk, ska, and just about anything you want to throw on the pile—except for classical.

In days of yore, for century-after-century, people made music in the caves, tents, hovels, living rooms, and garages of the world. The influences of the times and the regions have fertilized the evolution of music that fills thousands of genres. In short, music has been developed by the garage-bands of the ages, and it’s still going on now.

But things have changed

Now there is a lot of technology to back the garage-bands up. The equipment that filled a million-dollar recording studio in 1975 can now live on a PC for $7,000 or less. That means an album that once cost $100,000 to produce costs “virtually” nothing (pun intended). With the introduction of digital downloading, our modern “folk musicians” can move their product to market with very little production costs. Thanks to the Internet, I think we might be ready to cut out a certain really ugly middle-man—the record companies.

Music only got seriously “product-ized” over the last 70 years. Oh, sure, all the classics had their concerts and king’s-courts to make money from. But the music of the Earth, the many-ethnic folk songs, the blues, rap, and rock-and-roll didn’t have a real mass venue until the record companies made one.

Well, thanks, Fat Cats in the Big House, but it’s time to reclaim our ownership. Want to join the revolution? Start checking out and buying independent music of all kinds using the Internet. Granted, this takes a little more work than what the record companies spoon-feed you with their advertising. But it’s worth it, AND you have help.

Read the blogs, listen to Internet radio stations that feature your kind of music. Get out there and get some musical passion back in your life, while encouraging the artists that are making the music. Find the stuff you like, buy the CDs or download songs and get them onto your MP3 player. You do have an MP3 player, don’t you (please don’t be hopeless)? Songs cost a mere 99 cents to download, and the price is going down. Check out the following:

Now get out there and rock the big house down!