Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A magazine, not a novel

...while he grew up treating an album like a novel, younger listeners, freely downloading music and setting their iPods on shuffle, are more likely to treat it like a magazine.
From the NY Times article on Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails

Interesting metaphor. I think some albums may, indeed, be novels: Supertramp's Crime of the Century, the Kinks' Muswell Hillbillies, Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix, Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall by Pink Floyd... but The Beatles ("White Album") is surely a magazine as is The Who Sell Out.

Some albums are open to interpretation: Kind of Blue anyone? Who's Next?

Also interesting are Reznor's methods of distributing his music; free, with several choices (Apple Lossless? I am so there!). While it's the perfect way (or a perfect way) for successful artists to go their own way upon completion of their recording contracts, it's not for everyone. New artists, in particular, might not be able to pull it off, BUT... if I were advising a baby band, I'd say, "Go for it."

Why the hell not? Other than an initial advance (of their own money), bands typically get little or no royalties, so why not use the Web to market music? It's a pretty inexpensive way to find an audience without having to deal with all sorts of filters and intermediaries.

Of course, for established acts, there's always Wal-Mart. Perhaps not for Nine Inch Nails, though you never know.

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