Monday, February 11, 2008

The Increasing Irrelevancy of the Recording Industry

Grammys a Ho-Hum Affair for TV Viewers
I'll do the full disclosure here - studio music as delivered by radio reached its qualitative peak in 1978. The industry had declined since then, a spectacular dissolution into self-referential chaos. And now, at last, when uber-geek and musical illiterate Steve Jobs effectively owns the recording industry, even its award show has fallen to a depth merely indicative of its essentially meaningless place in culture.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Amy Winehouse, Herbie Hancock and Kanye West didn't provide quite enough drama to enthrall television viewers. Preliminary estimates indicate the Grammy Awards telecast was watched by 17.5 million people.

Nielsen Media Research said Monday that would make it the third least- watched Grammy Awards ever if later estimates confirm those numbers.

And this during the 14th week of the writer's strike, when the only new content broadcast was this pallid corpse.

Fueled by dwindling but still significant profits, corporate tunage will continue a few years yet, but it's Cheyne-Stokes respirations at best. Available cultural channels, reimagined along digital domains, have multiplied and as yet cannot be controlled by central agencies. And as long as that remains the case, the music will be free.

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