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 Scary or What?

Scary or What?

The top-heavy pale-male international record industry is in trouble...not only here in Africa - but also worldwide. And they wonder why? Richard Haslop sent us this little peace.

Participating in the well-attended discussion was Mike Dungan, president of Capitol Records/Nashville.

Dungan noted that the cost of launching and maintaining artists in this time of tight playlists and slow movement of singles on the charts is driving up the number of albums a record company must sell to break even. Now, he said, that number has climbed to around 400,000 to 500,000. "Artists who have gold records [500,000]," he warned, "are going to start losing their deals."
Scary or what? [Richard Haslop] >>

No not really. What more will it take for us (musicians) to understand that the music "industry" is one thing and that the recording (CD) "business" is another? If we can hear it like that, then there's nothing to be alarmed about. If, for some strange reason, we as musicians are dying to impress some talentless Top 40 Radio control freak or keep people like Mike Dungan in office, then perhaps we would have to stoop to heed his typical record industry wailings & warnings with all that it entails...the Grammies, the Sammies, payola, TV1, MTV, cyber-space audio pirates (Pop Idols?) etc etc. All that peripheral rubbish has nothing to do with the pleasure of making music, other than detract from it.

The record industries around the world were warned, years ago - invest only in the product & not the content & you will eventually collapse. Let them go. We have the music, they don't!

Ironically, the SAfrican record industry - being as small as it is in global terms - still has a good chance to dance around this global village dilemma & take a few steps back in the process; after all we are supposed to be a new country in transformation? They still have a chance to get involved with music & musicians, being very good at what they do - which is marketing & manufacturing SAfrican Product; they are a unique African industry. However, judging from the way the Record Industry & the media approach & handle events such as the KORA & SAMA awards (and now SA Pop Idols), it doesn't look like they are listening! What a pity!

My humble advice to musicians is to do what many of us have been doing for years, in ever increasing numbers. If you are confident & comfortable enough making music in front of an audience, then with today's technology, you should record, manufacture, market & sell your own music on CD at your gigs. No more than 100 CDs will cover most, if not all your costs. Those astronomical scary top heavy USA record industry figures should mean nothing to us down here at street level or grass roots - and that's where the music is; nowhere else at this time in history - no matter what the hype (or the Napsters) tells us.

So, as corny and as obvious as I know it all sounds, let's not confuse making music with producing records anymore. If we can get back to the basics, then those record industry people & technocrats who so feel, can be left alone to play with themselves. Makes you deaf as well, I believe.


David Marks

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