Joe Dart
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Big Poppa

So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star........

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
This is for you Craig....
If dreams were cognizant of reality I would be toast. Why? Up to now the perception of the Rock and Roll star for young kids was Hot Chicks, Limos, Touring, Recording. The finest of everything and boatloads of money. The perception created the dream of being a rock star drove the kids to play the guitar and emulate their fav's. Like a kid wanting to be Tiger Woods in golf.....arrrghh. Barry Bonds in baseball...Now the biggest selling Rockstar is an energy drink.

When I was growing up you dreamed of being a Beatle or a Stone. That drove sales. Sales of everything musical. What do kids today dream of being or emulating? Who is going to tell them that if you want to be a rock star that it no longer pays?.... Who is going to tell them that dreamed about career has a half life of a fruit fly?....

In the old days I would tell parents that their kid should enjoy the guitar and play for fun and the passions that the instrument can bring out and create in their child....the relationships that it can help develop and the outlet for application of the kids attention. That still works. I told them that their kids chances were about as good as becoming a senator....I said that in the eighties, nineties.....What is it now? More like an astronaut.

We had record stores..they were social hubs and stocked a wide variety of music and you sort of hung out in the section where your music was...the dorks were in the other sections. Record stores have gone the way of the banished politician...except for the politician will be back.

Business schools may study the fall of rock and roll commerce. They may start with Sony vs Apple. Here is the basic breakdown:
Sony. Owned the largest catalog of music.
Sony. Owned the largest record company
Sony Created the personal music player.
(remember the walkman?)
Apple Zero Music Catalog
Apple No record company
Apple No consumer electronics experience
Apple just two percent of the world
computer market pre itunes.
How on god's green earth does Sony get so thoroughly crushed? It was a dwarf David vs a Steroid Goliath. Apple won. Why? Because while the dipsticks from the record companies were expense accounting their relevance they suddenly realized that they may not be relevant due the fact that kids didn't want to pay $18 bucks for a crappy CD with one good song and they didn't have to anymore because of Napster.So they mobilized and lobbied capital hill...they hired the best lawyers. They legislated and litigated to protect their outdated model. Meanwhile Steve Jobs of Apple understood that the public would like to get their music differently and the walkman is in grannies hope chest and the Ipod is king. What if the record companies had spent the money creating the new sales channel instead of fighting to save the dead one? They actually won though....

Guess what? Itunes is great and Apple is the hero but not for the artist. You buy a song for 99 cents and Apple gives the record companies not the artist 65 cents.....then after all is said and done the aritst if they are heavyweights get 14 cents. The strugling artist average 9 cents a song and they have to pay back the record company for all of the costs involved in the creation and production of the product.

There is still retail but it is so limited...If you are on the "end cap" of Wal Mart you are one of those astronauts I talked about earlier. Who would have thought that Wal Mart would be king of retail recorded music? QWho would of thought a great selction of music was 25 cd's?

AM radio was the 60's...FM ruled the 70's and 80's...I think the nineties got lost. Consolidation of programming killed the DJ...Clear Channel came along and became radio. Satellite Radio tried but fouled their depends.....The internet once again saved the day....the pirate programmers of the late 60's and early 70's re emerged on the internet. I can actually listen to a channel called "Steel Guitar Radio"

Music is free now. How did that happen? I have Pandora radio and feel guilty listening to it.

On the live side there are no venues to start, grow and if you put the space suit on get ready for Ticketmaster to net more than you do. Can you believe that people are still FORCED to pay up to 25% over face value for the ability to purchase a ticket on to a concert?

The pimps keep makin more than the ho's.

We need to figure out how to monetize the right people here...the peole who write and create the music. The funny part is that the kids that steal the music are stealing their dream too.

You still want to be a Rock and Roll Star?

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  1. lowliferumble's Avatar
    As stupid as it sounds......probably not
  2. edhalen's Avatar
    wow - that is some insightful stuff. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
  3. Smellybum's Avatar
    Thanks Sterling enjoyed that, I miss record stores - I miss the smell of a new record in my hands, the excitement of listening to a B-side as 'previously unreleased' - I love my ipod, my iphone and by PC's with all the digital 'worthless' stuff that's in them, something tactile about a record in your hand and the feeling that you helped pay somebody famous' rent...

    Maybe one day they'll make a comeback, and the personal touch will come back.

  4. cellkirk74's Avatar
    I belive in the small indie labels like Suburban Home and direct marketing of the artist. But the era of the 'Superstars' is over.

    Good blog. Thanks.
  5. roburado's Avatar
    Love the post, BP.
  6. TonyEVH5150's Avatar
    I'm sticking to my day job. I'm better at performing ultrasounds than I ever was/was at guitar.

    Great insight.
  7. TheAntMan's Avatar
    BP, you hit it all right on the head. Awesome post!

    This is so true and sad

    Everything in our world is being homogenized to the lowest common denominator. Mass market appeal has a pinhead as a poster child! Choice is being taken out of things. People are buying the hype as to what is the best so they don't have to think for themselves as they are more and more distracted by their electronic devices.

    I only hope that things will cycle back around at some point. People might stop trying to be 'Stars' (a dead end) and start doing it just for fun (whoa! imagine that!!!). Others may want to see how that music stuff is done and ,boom, we are back to dreaming

  8. Powman's Avatar
    I gotta get my son to read this...He wants to be a rock star. 25 years ago, he would have succeeded for sure. At 16 he already has some of his acoustic guitar material on iTunes.

    But the industry is hard on true musicians. The age of the singer/songwriter has come to an end. Manufactured bands and music is what is promoted. The vast majority of kids pay nothing for their music. Plus all the stuff you mentioned BP.
  9. stu42's Avatar
    Great post but sad to read for sure.

    One thing I'd like to add is....I think us consumers have largely created this monster due to "our" need for instant gratification which has been enabled and strengthened through modern technology.

    I remember when I was young, I'd save up my money, go to the record store with my $10.00 looking for a record and I'd spend a long time pouring over a selection of records that I might want and finally...finally, make a choice.

    Then I'd get home and listen to the album and find that, yes, there were only a couple of songs that I liked. And then I'd be disappointed. There were records I regretted buying and they'd sit on my shelf for a year. Then one day I'd break out the record and force myself to listen to it. After listening many times I found that I actually really started liking the music.

    Some of my favorite music today started as something I couldn't stand the first 10 times I listened to it. Example: Rush: A Farewell to Kings. Classic album and I love it....but when I was 15 or whatever I was kicking myself for buying that album..until I gave it a chance and started to appreciate it. I can name many other albums like that.

    Nowadays, with instant gratification via super-fast, free downloads, YouTube and other transient content how is a kid ever supposed to learn to go through that process of learning - really learning - to appreciate art? Nowadays everything has to be instantly accessible and likable or else people will just hit delete and click on the next thing in the list.
  10. Mayers's Avatar
    I'm still young at 27 years old but I see that true good music is something very hard to find in pop/rock.

    I like to compare MTV,Much Music and VH1 as a fast food restorant. You have a need, you get it, it tastes so-so and you look for the next great thing. You heard it ... it is so-so, you are still hungry after but man, it was THE thing of the summer ...


    I still buy CD because I like to have a hard copy.
  11. Aminimegroove's Avatar
    Shure, Why not ... Every Change is painful, and good musicianship is needed anytime, selling needs to change the artist should get his correct, fee, who's gonna get the Money for all the new Beatle stuff now on iTunes? 1/4 for Yoko Ono?etc..i don't think so, we need to get rid of all those managers telling us how to get the most profit out ( for the Manager) and lets stick back to the roots, where music's in our heart. So no need to do something for the sake of Money in Music industry, the consumer will notice it. Artists should get encouraged (financially) to build up their own lables, isn't it?
  12. Basswave's Avatar
    I have basically had this comment in my heads (in not exactly the same woods) for over a decade now.

    "We need to figure out how to monetize the right people here...the peole who write and create the music. The funny part is that the kids that steal the music are stealing their dream too."
  13. J Romano's Avatar
    Sad, sad truth. Well said BP!!!!!
  14. luv's Avatar
    I would say that Amazon is the king of music retailers......just not in "big box" form. Actually, Amazon isn't even a retailer....just a facilitator. The Internet is the key to many of the changes we are reading about and discussing today. I still find myself buying all my music in CD format. I just get to have that shopping experience at my home and not at the store. I've never purchased a thing from Itunes. I do, however, cherish my Ipod. The form factor is undeniably genius. My entire library in the size of a deck of cards!

    BP - you sir are the man. I enjoy hearing your perspective. Thank you for sharing.
  15. mrfstop's Avatar
    Bravo!! Well said! Sad but true.
  16. fly's Avatar
    very well put........and brutal all in the sad,so true.......
  17. Dizzy's Avatar
    Man, that was blunt and brutally honest .
    ...... but so bloody poetic at the same time.
    A Great Read.

    Updated 10-28-2011 at 06:17 AM by Dizzy
  18. TSHOW's Avatar
    Very true...thanks for sharing!!!
  19. RobertJFortner's Avatar
    "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."~HST
  20. alf cockle's Avatar
    BP.Ithink 60 minutes has an opening for speak,unfortunately,the truth..a sad state of affairs for the hard working musician.
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