"Opie and Anthony" were seemingly fired this morning from Krock in New York City because rock music anchored the station into the ground. I am a big fan of O&A, but moreover I have been meaning to blog about how outdated the business model is for music. I have friends who believe that downloading an album is stealing, and wrong. While this may be true, I think the point is completely irrelevant.
The problem with music and radio is that technology has advanced rapidly, and the industry has not kept up on the business end of things. When tape recorders were invented people were worried that people would just tape the songs they liked off of the radio and stop buying music. Businesses adjusted accordingly and prevailed. Why is now different?
Radio is the perfect example of an antiquated business model. Pop music is easy to promote. There is a certain template for look and sound that when put together always sells. You find these artists, plaster their pictures all over, and play their songs to death on pop stations. This model still seems to work, and people still listen to these stations. Other types of artists by nature are not as marketable. In the case at hand, KROCK was a rock station, but why listen to KROCK? They play songs from famous bands that everyone owns on their iPods, and when was the last time a band got famous off the radio? Maybe I am out of touch, but it seems like self promotion on the Internet has worked a lot better than the radio. In a digital age where there are programs that recommend music to us based on our likes and dislikes, how can you not adjust? How can you just play the same songs and expect people to listen?
Then you have record sales. I get the stealing point. In theory you are taking something that doesn't belong to you, but back when Cd's ruled the land would you question a free CD from a friend? Times have changed. There is a new kink in the business model but rather than adapt to make money with a new business model, record labels are hanging on to whatever they can in hopes to squeeze out as much cash as possible from the dying industry. Should people feel bad about stealing from a guy in a suit who can't adjust with the times? That sounds cliche but I don't know how else to write it. I have no interest in fighting the man. That is not what this is about. What I do have a problem with is the fact the record industry feels like we owe them something. Encyclopedia salesmen don't have a job either and you don't see anyone complaining.
"Opie and Anthony" sparked these thoughts today, but they are a talk show. Rather than value original content, radio and record labels insist on telling us what music we should like still. Those days are over, and I am happy that current technology makes it easier to think for ourselves and find good music we like.