1. Sales count.

They’re almost as irrelevant as the old billboards on the Sunset Strip, they’re a way to stroke the egos of the players involved. It’s no longer whether someone buys your album, but whether they listen to it, that’s the relevant metric that everybody seems to ignore as they trumpet the anemic, irrelevant SoundScan numbers. Want to know if an act is truly happening, check their TICKET COUNTS!

2. Social media builds careers.

This would be like saying a baseball player’s interviews make him a star. No, it’s his statistics, what he does on the field. Social media is the penumbra, a way for fans to stay in touch with their musical heroes. Music always has been and always will be the epicenter of any career. In other words, if you’re good enough, you don’t have to tweet, you don’t have to maintain a Facebook page, your fans will spread the word and keep you alive. But you must have your music on YouTube and streaming services, you’ve got to make it easy for people to access/listen to it.

3. Publicity sells tickets.

If this was so, Miley Cyrus would sell out. But she doesn’t. And she’s gotten more ink than anybody. It’d be like expecting Kim Kardashian to fill arenas.

4. Terrestrial radio is forever.

It is the dominant listening format, it’s still the best way to break a record. But if it’s so big and powerful, why can you not name the number one record?

5. Record companies care about art.

They only care about money, it’s a business, and if anybody tells you different, they’re lying.

6. Google Glass is the future.

It breaks the number one rule of fashion, it’s dorky! Wearables will play a part in the future, but they’ll be relatively hidden, accessories. Only the geeks at Google could miss this. In other words, give a nerd a billion dollars and he’s still a nerd.

7. The horse race matters.

We’re not only seeing coverage of the 2014 election, but 2016 and 2018 too. But the truth is very few people care, media outlets are marginalizing themselves, not realizing when we know movie hype is irrelevant, that we can wait until opening day to know whether we’ve got to go, we don’t need to read endless reports stoking the fire of an interest that we don’t have. America is still about the hype, but the hype means less than ever before.

8. Selling out is cool.

No, credibility is cool, it’s why people are writing about the marginal new Neil Young album, because they believe Neil himself is calling the shots, he’s beholden to no one.

9. Raising a ton of money on Kickstarter means anything other than the money.

It’s not about money, but how many pledgers there are. And in most cases, especially music, the number of people ponying up is miniscule. They’ll support the artist, but they won’t help grow the artist’s reach/career.

10. Sound quality counts.

If it did, no one would be wearing the execrable Beats headphones. They sell because they’re a fashion item. This is what is scary about Apple buying Beats. Sure, Apple products always looked cool, but they were also the best, that’s why the company often charged more. But by aligning with a laughable enterprise built on momentary hype they’re squandering brand equity just like Sony, which continued to charge premium prices for me-too products. If you don’t know who you are, how do you plan to succeed in the future? Apple doesn’t have to invent everything, but they ultimately have to do it better than everybody else. So they’re selling mediocre, overpriced headphones and a me-too streaming service that has problems scaling and it shows that the company is creatively bankrupt. Steve Jobs was all about breakthroughs, where’s the breakthrough here?

 


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Category: Music, Think Tank, Weekend

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2 Responses to “Myths”

  1. J Kraus says:

    Speaking of Sony… From the mid 70’s to mid 80s, Sony was the Apple of the era. From the Emmy-winning Trinitron picture tube through the Betamax and Walkman, Sony was riding high. Not only were their products top-notch, they had some great designs available, but only if you chose carefully.

    Two products in particular stand out; first the KV1945 and KV1545 televisions of 1979. When most TVs were wrapped in wood-look vinyl and all looked pretty much alike, these were covered in titanium-colored paint with charcoal-anodized control panels. In lieu of conventional knobs, all functions were controlled by miniscule chrome pushbuttons set in a grid pattern. The curved picture tube was covered by a flat tinted-glass screen. By the end of the eighties, nearly all TVs had adopted variations of this look.

    The second example is the ICF-C11W “Dream Machine” clock radio. This was a perfect five-inch silver cube with a black-screen blue-LED readout with all controls recessed or flush to the surface. If someone set one of these on a store shelf today, most people would think it was a brand-new product; it still looks contemporary.

    The problem was that Sony never committed to these adventurous designs; they continued to crank out many more me-too products alongside them, never developing a consistent Sony look. And as competitors caught up on the technology side as Bob alluded to, they could no longer justify premium pricing. Sony products began to look and perform just about the same as anyone else’s; their edge disappeared.

    • Chad says:

      Agreed and iTunes is one of their current major mistakes. I built I high end computer last fall with only top of the line SSD’s and iTunes isn’t any faster than it was on my 5 year old HDD computer. It is immensely disappointing.

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