Sunday, December 27, 2009

From 1999 on, big changes were made on the music industry...

Like most music journals and magazines, I thought I'd share my memories about the ever-changing music industry. I've been in love with buying, collecting and listening to music all my life. There's been lots of memories of me trying to build my CD collection while dodging portable music players and at the same time, building my vast mp3 collection on my computer.

My mind is drifting back to 1999. I was a senior in high school, working at the same place I work today. Fears of y2k bug were on the rise, as well as anti-teen pop was in the air. Portable CD players were still cool to have around, and not many people had a cellular phone. (If they did, it would be banned from school...haha) DVDs were becoming the new crack, and bringing up stupid, random pop-culture obscure stuff was considered 'uncool'. The Bill Gates kind of 'nerd' was still in the minority. I hope this kind-of creates a picture of my vision from back then.

I had a cool 3-disc changer in my room at that time, but I would later sell it in a yard sale because it would stop working. My CD collection was enormous, as I would buy the latest hits and past stuff at my local Slackers store. I wasn't into video games or into buying movies at that time.

In mid-2000, my bro-in-law Kyle introduced me to this new Internet phenomenon, Napster. He couldn't wait to download it to my family's computer. I, along with many others, were immediately hooked into downloading songs for free. It was threatened to be shut down a few times before it permanently shut down two years later. Then we turned to iMesh and WinMX. I later bit the bullet and tried iTunes, which I liked. Today, I use eMusic as well as a website called Sometimes I use Audacity software to copy music off of Youtube for obscure songs I can't find anywhere.

It was tough to follow standards as music industry analysts saw as a slow poison to record labels and the musicians. NSync's 'No Strings Attached' is still the top-selling disc of this decade, with the Beatles' '1' closely following. Analysts definitely saw something wrong in 2002 when The Beatles compilation was the top-selling CD of 2001. On top of that, blank CDs outsold physical music CDs. Record labels wanted answers immediately to respond to this crisis. Internet outlets (not just iTunes) but Myspace, Facebook and even Youtube gave fans something to offer. Not all labels conformed, as pointed out in a previous blog, when Warner Music Group refused to have their work on Youtube and Hulu videos.

As for the portable CD player, it quickly went into hiding as the iPod took over. Younger people as in 12-18 year olds fell in love with their parents pasttime, vinyl records. The good news for vinyl lovers like me were that more artists were reissuing their CD-only material on vinyl. Rejoice! Guitar Hero and Rock Band were great for reviving classic rock hits, introducing them to a new generation. Radio, a different field, also began suffering in the 2000s, but is still alive and well. Satellite radio tried to break through, but still has yet to gain positive recognition.

I remember reading a Rolling Stone article about how the music industry has suffered, and one critic pointed out that the biggest mistake was that the so-called major record labels should have joined forces with Morpheus and Napster, instead of suing them. Remember, think Hulu. TV networks didn't like people posting clips and episodes of their shows online, so they decided to partner up with Youtube and other sites so they could get their slice of the pie. But who knows.

I'm glad to see that music is still alive today and on a positive note, several big-name bands have gotten back together throughout this decade. On a positive and negative note, touring has becoming bigger than ever. The negative thing about it is that's pretty much the only way a musician can make 'real money'. Some big name artists like Elton John have turned away at releasing albums, but luckily they still tour. Radiohead challenged the industry two years ago when they released their In Rainbows album for any price. To some people it was arrogant, but it gave people hope that it would bring music executives attention to what's happening.

So, here's to a new calendar decade. Live long, prosper, and rock and roll!

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