The Aquabear Rant #1: Burn Baby Burn

by Rick Dodgson, Foreign Legion Correspondent

Rick Dodgson, Foreign Legion CorrespondentIt’s been a long time coming music lovers, but the end is nigh so raise your glasses and rejoice over the passing of the music industry as we have known it. Sony BMG, Universal, Warner Music and all the other corporate music money-pigs have been condemned to die, guilty of excessive greed and staggering cluelessness. 2008 will be the year of their destruction and I for one will be shedding no tears over their passing. Let’s face it, the major labels have been hanging around like rotting corpses for the past decade or more, putrid, wide-eyed and helpless in the face of new technologies and a disinterested MySpace generation. Stuck in an outmoded model of consumption, the majors have been desperate to recover the golden age of the 1970s with its pass-me-down groupies, mounds of cocaine and cash-cow platinum albums. But those days are long gone (unless you happen to be in Skeletonwitch). In 2007 you could make the top forty by selling just 20,000 CDs. That might sound like a lot to a Casual Future or a Southeast Engine, but in corporate terms those numbers speak only of failure.

Signs of the coming apocalypse are everywhere: Sony and the other majors are laying off workers left and right, Warner Music’s stock is down close to 50 percent—leading the pack in terms of its decline, but not by much—and CD sales are in the toilet, down 19 percent from the previous (disastrous) year. The first week of September 2007 marked the worst sales week in the industry’s history. Only one album sold more than 50, 000 copies that week—High School Musical 2, the year’s top selling record—but no-one over twelve bought much of anything else. The Xmas season brought some respite—Josh Groban anyone?—but not enough to offer any salvation for the industry. Were it not for manufactured crap like High School Musical and American Idol, the whole thing might have withered and died a year or two ago but as I write, the kindling is bone-dry and the pyre has been built. Now all that’s left to do is sit back and watch the bastards burn. Bring it on baby, burn baby burn.

By Todd Jacops

In-house Graphic Designer for Passion Works Studio. Co-founder and volunteer for art and music collective Aquabear Legion. Living in Athens, Ohio.