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If the music business concentrates on artistic greatness and the quest for same, then the other parts will sort themselves out.
LENNYBEERBLOG: GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER
In Seeking the Answers, Let’s Not Forget Why This Is Called the Music Business
I believe in the potential of the new models, I believe in the triumph of quality and, yes, I believe in the future.

Things change, and we've talked a lot about that in recent weeks. But most of you who have taken an active role in the dialogue share my basic belief that if the music business concentrates on artistic greatness and the quest for same, then the other parts—including the great unknown that is the future of technology—will sort themselves out through the activities of the capitalist system. In other words, we'll figure out the business parts over time, but we’d better make sure we have the great artists and great song potential that will be necessary to cut through the hail of noise that now competes for the music fan's moolah. So, attention record labels everywhere: Seek out the greatness and nurture talent, and you'll end up scoring, albeit in different ways.

Right now, for example, record companies can sell ringtones, cuts and CDs, license songs, even aid in touring by using their relationships and leverage for good. Somewhere in that mix, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some sources, there is a successful business model. How that money will flow, how it will be shared in future deal-making, etc.—all those issues are moot without compelling artists and music. The basic message is clear: Spend time acquiring and making great art.

Speaking of great music, six sensational female newcomers have emerged this year: Amy Winehouse, Feist, Colbie Caillat, Taylor Swift, Chrisette Michele and Lily Allen. The emergence of all that talent at one time is impressive and encouraging. We'll talk more about them in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, we welcome your thoughts and opinions. Hit us up at [email protected] and chime in.
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Lenny:

Whether Mr. Bean (and any others) hate the fact that technology has made it possible to do the things that many do despise online (file-sharing, P2P usage, downloading, etc.), nothing is going to change that fact.

Technology can't be legislated and as Andy Grove, the former Chairman of the Board of Intel Corporation, said over a decade ago: "Leaders have to act more quickly today. Because the pressure comes much faster...a fundamental rule in technology is that whatever can be done will be done."

That's the truth plain and simple, and there is no turning back the hands of time and hope for eliminating all the technology at hand.

Like it or not, this is the brave new world all media lives in and it's high time industry leaders swallow that pill, and move on.

The Internet and technology didn't kill the music business. Neither did Steve Jobs. (It's time to get off that horse already).

In September, IDJ chief L.A. Reid said, "Market conditions certainly have changed in the last few years, but the decay we are seeing has more to do with the lack of quality in music."

Let's start there, and as you point out Lenny, "So, attention record labels everywhere: Seek out the greatness and nurture talent, and you'll end up scoring, albeit in different ways."

You're pointing out that "six sensational female newcomers have emerged this year: Amy Winehouse, Feist, Colbie Caillat, Taylor Swift, Chrisette Michele and Lily Allen. The emergence of all that talent at one time is impressive and encouraging." It is also a sign that despite all the adverse forces on the music business, new talent is indeed emerging at a healthy pace.

Arguing and debating about technology and software is not going to solve any of the industry's problems. The RIAA has been filing lawsuits for four years and illegal file-sharing has not declined one bit despite the spin the association puts on it.

In this new digital environment, iTunes has managed to sell 3 BILLION songs (somebody is getting checks!), Amazon.com is coming on fast, and today the news came out that Napster cut its losses by 20%. So there's a good deal of money to be made from sales of music online. Just not the same amount as the profits generated from CDs.

Other bands like Wilco (whose founder and frontman Jeff Tweedy has said, " I don't believe every download is a lost sale. "Treating your audience like thieves is absurd. Anyone who chooses to listen to our music becomes a collaborator.") Radiohead, Arcade Fire and many others, have all used the Internet and technology at hand to further their careers.

Steve Meyer
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Let's not forget this is the music business in the United States of America under Article 1, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution: "To promote the progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." 

When technology provides services and software that do not preserve copyright online as a guaranteed American right, we are existing in a state of anarchy at best, and constitutional overthrow at worst.
 
Best,
David Bean
BeanBag1.com
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