While listening to Sirius XM’s “The 80′s on 8″ I heard original MTV VJ Mark Goodman go on about John Mellencamp “speaking the truth” at the Grammy Museum.
Now Mr. Mellencamp is not just some aging rocker quietly collecting royalties from songs about “little pink houses” in order to pay for his daughter’s equestrian habit. No, Mr. Mellencamp is called an activist by the Huffington Post, which allowed him the space 18 months ago to vent his spleen about all that is wrong with the music business.
Mellencamp complains about the “culture of greed” and the “Wall Streeting” of the industry, “the artists were no longer the primary concern; only keeping their stockholders fat and happy and ‘making the quarterly numbers’ mattered; the music was an afterthought.”
The CD was “born out of greed,” he writes. He compares the music business to Reagan’s trickle-down economics. “The same holds for music. It doesn’t trickle down; it percolates up from the artists, from word of mouth, from the streets and rises up to the general populace.”
So, the internet should be great for artists, right? They can write songs, preform them, reach an audience, develop a following: controlling their own destiny on a shoe-string budget. No need to sell out and slave away for the corporate record company “Man”.
Well, no, says the guy who campaigned for Obama and helped Willie Nelson put on the Farm Aid concerts.
“I think the Internet is the most dangerous thing invented since the atomic bomb. [...] It’s destroyed the music business. It’s going to destroy the movie business,” said Mr. Mellencamp.
Free downloads to MP3s have destroyed sound quality, he complains, “the warmth and quality of what the artist intended for us to hear was so vastly different.”
And if all of that isn’t catastrophic enough, “some smart people, the China-Russians or something” may have already conquered America by hacking into the power grid and financial system, the rocker-philosopher speculates.
And there’s winners and there’s losers
But they ain’t no big deal