think back to some of the bands in the late 70s and early 80s,who 
really blew me away,and became some of my favorites,to this day.Bands 
like The Jam,Joy Division, Bauhaus,The Stranglers,X,and such.In 
America,hardly anyone knew who they were, Corporate control of radio was
 even worse than it is now,and unless you lived near a really good 
college radio station,the only way to get exposed to a lot of this stuff
 was to frequent really good indie record stores,which was how I learned
 about much of this stuff at the time.This continued,for me,into the 
early 90s,when I learned about the likes of The Mummies,and Man or 
Astroman? .The few such stores that still exist noawadays,are staffed by
 20-somethings,just like they were then,but they are more likely to be 
playing Miles Davis,Big Star,or a Stax compilation,than anything new.

 we have YouTube,My
 Space,and the rest,that are filled with unheard and unsigned acts,but a
 lot of the new stuff is so isolated,because it's buried under a 
mountain of other content.There are no websites,or other outlets,that I 
know of,that perform the duties magazines like Trouser Press
 did back in the day,and if there are,they certainly are not as obvious 
or as high profile.Most people are not going to pay to go to a concert 
by somebody they have never heard before.

As so many people 
here,and elsewhere,have said,the media/music landscape is so fragmented 
and insular nowadays,that something new like punk or hip hop,when they 
first hit,could never happen today.Let alone something as radical as 
Jazz,when it first emerged in the 1890s,or so.

We are doomed to future of increasing stagnation,and worship of the past.


--- On Mon, 1/24/11, Bob Olhsson
 <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Bob Olhsson <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Interesting discussion topic for a Monday
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Monday, January 24, 2011, 11:34 AM

-----Original Message-----
From Tom Fine: "I still think that if better new music, in general, was
being offered for sale and better marketing was being done to sell it to
younger folks, and there was more education about the benefits of own hard
copies of music (liner notes, better sound quality, etc), it might help..."

I agree however as far as I've been told by sales and promotion people at
labels, records have never really been sold by what we think of as
marketing. We get exposed to music and we like some of it enough to want to
buy it. It's almost entirely a
 viral word-of-mouth process.

At one time radio played the best-selling recordings because it was a cheap
form of market research to use for selling advertising. Today focus groups
determine what gets played rather than actual sales. There is unfortunately
a big difference between what people will say they like and what they'll
actually forego another latte at Starbucks to purchase. This disconnect
between exposure and what music fans will purchase has crippled the ability
to break substantial new artists as opposed to the cookie-cutter "identity"
music that does well in focus groups.

I believe this is really a grass roots problem. The three ways new music
used to get exposed were broadcast, affordable live venues and small record
stores. We lost all three by the '90s. We also lost the ability for most
talented young musicians to support themselves with a full time music career
a decade earlier. Most younger
 people are absolutely shocked by the quantity
and quality of live music performances that can be found in the
entertainment section of large city newspapers prior to the late 1960s.

I'd also argue that full time performers learn to do a lots better job than
part time performers. For this reason the average live music we encounter
today is significantly worse than what one ran into 40 years ago. It isn't a
question of a lack of talent but rather a lack of the ability for most
people to afford to do the amount of work that was common then. It's a sad
fact that a huge number of America's musical icons of the 1920s-1980s could
not have a music career today for purely financial reasons.

I'm not sure how to address these problems but failing to look at them
squarely or being in denial of the general downturn in average quality isn't
helping any more than the massive leadership changes at the major labels
 Great recording artists are not created by record labels. They are
grown in live venues.

Bob Olhsson 

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