Member since Sep 17, 2007

OtherArea: North Memphis



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Re: “Standing at the Crossroads

On the surface we look like we are in good shape and back in tune. Mr. Ralph Sutton seems ideal for the commission president and Dean Deyo is not only a proven CEO but also an accomplished musician. But digging deeper I find massive flaws in their approach and the harmony not so sweet. The Music Business is like every other "backbone" business in America, from Automobiles to computers. Like those other American icons, our traditional Record companies are "dead" and Sony and Universal are scrambling to resuscitate it. Mr. Sutton wants these two relics of yesterday (accompanied by ASCAP and BMI) come to our city? For what? The reality is that record companies have made all the rules, all the profits and forced artists to do their bidding in exchange for a few bucks and a lot of show! The advent of the ultimate distribution channel (the internet) has leveled the playing field; the record companies are removing the wolf’s clothing and changed their tactics. They now indoctrinate the artist with their version of the "independent musician" and convince the artist that they need the Sony/BMI and Universal distribution and publicity networks to be "real" artists. Well, their agendas are the same, but now, the artists assume all of the upfront risks of development and production; in the end the record companies still make the lion share of the money. This is the record company’s definition of "independent music". Well, it sounds like the same old deal to me. It’s a fact that the music industry was the 3rd largest employer in the city. Well the same people that Mr. Sutton and Mr. Deyo want to woo to our nascent city are the ones who destroyed the industry whey they pulled the plug on Stax some 35 years ago! Fortunately everything has changed! Itunes, Virgin Digital and DRM free mp3 music has leveled the playing field and the music hegemony is over! The musician no longer needs record companies for anything and can advertise, perform and sell directly to the customer. The rebirth of Memphis music should be lead by music business entrepreneurs who usher in new innovative revenue generating opportunities for the artist and revive a $100 million dollar industry for Memphis. The future music commission president must leverage this unique opportunity to create and support an industry that does not bow to the whim of Sony/BMI or Universal. I disagree with Mr. Sutton, we don’t need an industry insider; we need a free mind. Our city must be known as a place that encourages music artists from all over the world to come to Memphis, practice their craft, make decent money, and become part of our unique music heritage. The Rey Fleming era, tragically for us, was a metaphor for the music industry "self serving with no love for Memphis its people or its Music." Well, I believe in Memphis, I love Memphians and I love Memphis Music! It’s time for Memphis, the home of the blues and the birth place of Rock and Roll to become "the place to BE for the Independent Artist."

Posted by North Memphis on 09/17/2007 at 3:21 PM


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