Where is the music industry headed?
Richard Melville Hall, a.k.a. Moby, is one of the most important dance music figures of the early '90s, helping bring the music to a mainstream audience both in England and in America.
Born in Harlem, New York in 1965, and raised in Darien, CT, he played in a hardcore punk band called the Vatican Commandos as a teenager before moving to New York City, where he began DJing in dance clubs. During the late '80s, he released a number of singles and EPs before, in 1991, he set the theme from David Lynch's television series Twin Peaks to an insistent, house-derived rhythm and titled the result "Go." The single became a surprise British hit single, climbing into the Top Ten, and was named one of Rolling Stone's top 200 records of all time. Moby, his first full-length album, appeared in 1992. Since then, Moby has recorded eleven studio albums, including his multi-platinum breakthrough Play (1999), 18 (2002), Hotel (2005), Go: The Very Best of Moby (2006) and Last Night (2008).
In addition to his musical endeavors, Moby is the proprietor of teany cafe and teas. He is also a well-known advocate for a variety of progressive causes, working with MoveOn.org and PETA, among others. He actively engages in nonpartisan activism.
Question: Where is the music industry headed?
Moby: I don’t really have too many musician friends; most of the musicians I know have day jobs. So they play music at night, and they would love to get a record deal, but because the record companies are all falling apart, most people have been, it has forced people approach a more DIY, or to take a more DIY approach. The musicians I know, they are starting their own record companies, they are releasing things online, they are getting friends of theirs to do publicity, people are getting more self-reliant and a lot more autonomist which I think is great because the record companies aren’t going to be around in five years, you know, or at least they are not going to be around in anything resembling the form that they have had in the last fifty years. So it is a frightening time for a lot of people, and I know this sounds cliché but its also a really exciting time, and I think music has benefitted, the actual quality of music has been a lot better, because a lot of people are putting out records purely for the love of putting out records and not hoping to sell millions of copies, because no one sells millions of copies. So the rise of like the Indie rock scene, independent music in general, I think it has been really good for music creatively and has also, it has turned the music world into more of like a Scandinavian country as opposed to a South American country, meaning if you look at like Paraguay in the 1970s, all the wealth was concentrated in like .1 percent of the population, and everybody else was poor. Or you look at Sweden where it was sort of like the wealth was distributed evenly among most of the people in the country, and the music business up until recently was like Paraguay in the 1970s, where you had .0001 percent of the musicians on the planet selling tens of millions of records, and all the other musicians sort of like, you know, struggling to try and get the attention of a record company. And what has happened now is you have a lot of musicians and a lot of DJs are selling ten thousand records here or fifty thousand records there, and they can make a living, there not getting rich, but they are doing relatively okay.
I personally think, I mean, the demise of the record business is almost, if you have to point blame anywhere, sadly it is at the record companies themselves, you know, because in the ‘80s and ‘90s, they kept charging more and more for CDs even as the costs came down. So it’s almost like the record labels would arbitrarily just keep charging more and more, and they were signing bands who had a shelf life of about six months, so there is no loyalty. You know, people were buying CDs in the ‘90s because they liked the song they heard on the radio, but they could care less about the artist.
And, so, the labels were not doing artist development and as a result there was no loyalty engendered, and so when the record companies fell apart, most listeners, you know, it is hard to get too upset for record companies falling apart when they have treated artists terribly for so long and treated consumers terribly for so long.
Recorded on: 6/16/08
The demise of the record industry originated with the record industry itself.
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