Fix The Record Business -- Make a Hit

I can't help being haunted by this deep-seated conviction of mine (as unrealistic as you might think it is) that the big four record labels would be in a much better position today if they could make hit records.

I know, I know -- they have many other problems.

Steve Jobs and the iPod.

Legal and illegal downloading of music.

The growing unpopularity of their main staple -- the CD.

The decline of their hitmaking partner -- radio.

I know, already.

But, I still get the feeling that if these labels knew how to make a hit -- to find the next music genre -- they'd be in a better position to survive and maybe even thrive some day in the digital future.

In the late 60's when the British invasion, Motown and Philly Sound were cranking out hits, it didn't matter that these songs were played on scratchy, crappy little AM stations (okay, some were not crappy, but all were fidelity-deficient). The music sounded better on vinyl (until it got scratched) than on the radio.

Young people listen to illegal music on their computers' awful speakers -- that is, when they can find something to be passionate about.

With all due respect to hip-hop, it ended a while back. The labels just don't have much else to replace it with.

Kelly Clarkson -- please! Are you saying that's your future music business?

Sound-alike songs that drone on and on in angst are not even worth stealing by the next generation.

They hope for better. Never stop trying to find it. That's more than we can say about record labels.

The labels are too corporate.

Too consolidated.

Too constipated -- stuck on the same themes, same sounds.

They've cut back. Taken their ear off the street. They replaced their so-called "golden guts" executives with "no guts" people.

Take a chance.

Invest in finding the next "British Invasion" so we can let the baby boomers music follow them up the stairway to heaven someday.

Here's a novel idea -- make a hit.

Maybe you'll sell more CDs.

Maybe you'll get stoked about selling tons of downloads for less. (Sell the downloads as cheaply as Verizon sells text messaging and you'll turn a losing business into a winner).

And if you can't come up with a new hit genre soon -- and I mean soon -- don't stick your nose up at Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) who is having you for lunch on the Disney label.

Oh, and she's selling CDs to tweens in this digital day.

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