Music Industry New Year's Resolutions
Just because the music business has been reduced to a dying ember of quarter-cent streaming services, earnest cultural analysis of the VMAs, and rappers with horn players, doesn't mean we can't make sweeping, declarative reformations to help make our proud old-media industry just a little bit better. As we enter 2014, a year you used to read about in science fiction novels, let's propose a few New Year's resolutions for our artists, labels, critics, vendors and producers.
Stop Overpricing Your Vinyl and Confusing Your Consumers It's great that vinyl has made a comeback. Really, it is. It offers a tangible, collector's compulsion that the convenience of downloads and streams could never quite offer. But I don't know what it is with bands and their deep, pining thirst to accessorize their records until the pricetag hits the $30 mark. Color! Gatefold! 200-gram! Bonus tracks to force the package into a double! I consider myself a reasonable man, and a climate where the average piece of vinyl can range anywhere from $12 to $40 seems aggressively unreasonable and a little bit exploitative. Fix this, please.
See also: How to Write a "Vinyl is Back!" Story
Stop Reviewing Things That Totally Do Not Need to Be Reviewed A few months ago Pitchfork reviewed a Killers Greatest Hits collection. They gave it a 6.4. I cannot for the life of me imagine someone turning to Pitchfork to figure out whether or not they should listen to the Killers greatest hits album. Is there someone in a Target right now who's putting the Killers greatest hits album back down after considering what Pitchfork had to say? I mean, it's a greatest hits album. It's The Killers. I get that Pitchfork has to run five reviews a day, but seriously, why? A review for the Killers' greatest hits album might as well be the fucking track list. It has "Mr. Brightside" on it. Does it need nearly 2,000 words? Wasn't there some other album by some other band that maybe could've used some cursory attention that day? At a certain point, doesn't our endless quest for content begin to parody the very nature of criticism?
No Cassette Releases Unless It Is Black Metal or Noise In some ways I'm all for tricking hopeless indie kids into new, hilarious fake ways of being hip, but this one almost seems too cruel.
Stop Going to Music Festivals If You Actually Don't Care About Music Festivals If we could all finally admit that standing out in the sun watching a bunch of bands you're mildly interested kind of blows, we probably could make the whole music-festival industry a lot better for all of us. Music festivals run on the pure, limitless power of the fear of missing out. Coachella is essentially the entire nexus of FOMO condensed into a three day weekend. If we could somehow throw off those shackles, and realize that, at the end of the day, the only Pulp song we really know is "Common People," all of a sudden we'd be a happier, calmer populace. Let's join hands and make this happen, America.
Stop Judging Music on a Sliding Scale of Benefit-of-the-Doubt-ness If Radiohead puts out an album in 2014, imagine that the music was made by a few random art-school kids somewhere in Portland. Would you still even remotely give a shit about the songs? If not, reevaluate your perspectives. This could also be known as "The Kanye Rule."
Stop Acting Like Your Opinions About Popular Music Is Activism I can't think of too many things that help disenfranchised people less than your opinions about the VMAs. This goes double if you are a white person currently residing in Bushwick.
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