• In the continuing story of the collapse of the CD-selling business, there was this little item that popped up last month:
"Wall Street Analyst Richard Greenfield, who recently said Warner Bros. shares would soon be selling for $5, has indicated that an earlier estimate of a 20% drop in floor space devoted to selling CDs would actually be north of 30% for 2008, which set off Bob Lefsetz. Of course, everything sets off Bob Lefsetz, but his rants are worth a dozen of the calmest, most rational evaluations of the music business by knowledgeable observers. This time, his take on the floor space shrinkage leads to an interesting conclusion: the future of music business is going to be entirely local, built around local scenes with local performers."
If this prediction is true, then Louisville should be in a very fine position, given the depth and breadth of the music scene here. Stay tuned.
• Continuing in the same vein, after all the years that radio drove the record business, to the point that record companies got caught bribing station managers and DJs (payola) to play their records, all is changed and the world is upside down. Record companies and their artists are now insisting that radio stations should pay performance royalties, since playing records on the air is what makes listeners tune in and hence is what makes radio profitable. While the artists' arguments are entirely valid, it's still hard to escape the sense of 'black-is-white,' 'war-is-peace' that pervades them, given the last seventy or so years of history.
• Is this a surprise to anyone? From a survey by the Norman Lear Center and Zogby International comes the not-too-surprising news that liberals have much wider range of musical tastes than conservatives. Among the more interesting results: the genre that conservatives dislike the most is not rap/hip-hip but world music. Conservatives don't like much beyond gospel and country, according to the survey.
• The building on Barret Avenue that was last occupied by Jillian's has a new tenant, a club called El'Ville. The Grand Opening was on Saturday, November 10 according to various posts on the 502 Board. They're advertising it as family-friendly, which means no alcohol and booking music - apparently rock. Stay tuned.
• As the traditional record labels watch their sales sink through the floor, other, non-musical corporations have apparently decided that having their very 'own' artists are the path to success among music lovers. Starbucks did McCartney and Joni Mitchell, Wal-Mart got an exclusive on the Eagles' project and now Red Bull is promoting a 'music initiative' that appears to involve a stand-along label, with a state-of-the-art recording studio at the heart of it. Already-successful artists willing to sell out completely should be lining up any day now. Maybe consuming the sponsor's product will make the music sound better, if not more authentic.