PASSION OF THE CRANKS: PART 4
It's that time again, when we write something along the lines of "Wake up, folks! Time to start buying CDs and enjoying music again!" And, as usual, we'll get responses like "Hey guys, great email! I read it while I was burning my friend's CD collection onto my hard drive and checking out the new Playstation game. Keep up the good work! And let me know when someone starts making good music again!" Not to mention a few, "How dare you say to me I don't enjoy music anymore? Why, I just downloaded a song by the Shins the other day!"
As music retailers who are suffering through the worst time for our industry since we opened over 13 years ago, we can't help but take the turn of events a little personally. And it's not just us. The people behind the scenes -not the creepy, money-loving putzi who don't know the difference between Bob Dylan and Matt Dillon, but the die-hards who create and produce the music you "used" to love - are all suffering right now, as well. Why should anyone care about these people, or us, for that matter? Well, maybe you shouldn't. You've got your own fish to fry. But that doesn't change the fact that at one time, the same people who drooled over a Johnny Cash box set, and its wealth of unreleased material, now seem to think anything more than buying "I Walk The Line" for 99 cents on iTunes is unnecessary.
Somehow, we are being led to believe that it has become as dramatic as Sophie's Choice to decide between buying a CD, seeing a movie, or owning the second season of "Grey's Anatomy" on DVD. Don't get us wrong -- just because the economy seems to be getting better doesn't mean you are required to spend your disposable cash on a CD. Just don't blame the musicians. Don't blame the record execs. (Not this time, anyway.) And don't blame us. Just a few short years ago, "unreleased bonus tracks" were three very exciting words that got people all sweaty and happy. Now, those words get the proverbial "eye roll," as if we're trying to sell you a hot Rolex or asking you to play three card monte.
It seems that people are trying to find ways to not WANT to buy music anymore. We have heard excuses ranging from downloading, to the tired ol' "CDs are too expensive." (No they aren't. They haven't been for years, now. While people were busy not going to record stores, the prices generally came down.) Another common reason for this drop in music sales seems to be the endless choices of entertainment. Video games, computers, and expensive toys seem to be giving music a scary run for its money. But wait, haven't video games and computers and movies been competing for the music fan's dollars since the '80s?
The single most blasphemous excuse, and the most inaccurate, is "There's no good music to buy." Have you bothered listening to some of the music you bought 20 years ago? It was CRAP! Try telling us the "Beverly Hills Cop" soundtrack is better than anything that's out there now. Seriously, try getting halfway through "Neutron Dance" or "The Heat Is On" without gagging. So it's not like you haven't settled for garbage before now. Besides, there's plenty of great music out there to buy. There always is. It's not about "settling" for anything. It's a matter of caring enough to look for it.