The music industry today seems, to the casual observer, a veritable “Chicken Little” scenario, with all its members and participants, heads craned piously upward, scurrying about as if the sky were falling—the firmament of their reliable, decades-old business model crashing about them. From the haughtiest record company executive to the lowliest basement-dwelling ensemble, everyone in the music business is struggling to shore up their respective rungs on the industry ladder.
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Here’s a quick story about change that might surprise you …
Leo and Harry knew firsthand that new technology has the power it turn the status quo on its head.
They were part of an economic boom in the music industry that allowed songs to spread faster and more efficiently to more people than ever before.
The movement they were part of had the additional effect of encouraging amateur musicians to participate in music in ways they had never been able to in prior years. The wave Leo and Harry helped create affected the entire music industry.
However, within a short period of time, an even newer technology came along that disrupted everything. The stable business model these two men built and profited from began to crumble.
I remember as a kid in the late 1970s that where I lived there were three television stations & no cable or VCRs or home video games. My oldest brother is seven years older than me & the big thing with him & his friends was coming over to the house & playing whatever new vinyl record loud enough to rattle the paneling on the wall. It was a social event. New albums & a decent stereo were the center of the social world & what made you the coolest kid in school & my family’s house was a center for cool. Every new Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, or Kiss release meant a week of non-stop rocking.
A couple of years later my other brother hit high school, the center of things in teenage social events had shifted from music to a couple of things; the Atari gaming system & the VCR. This time around our family wasn’t at the center of a social circle & my brother spent most afternoons at some other family’s house. Until my dad broke down & got us the Atari & VCR so that thirty years later I can still close my eyes & pretend I’m playing Yars’ Revenge & still have dreams inspired by watching Dawn of the Dead when I was eight.
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(Updated April 6, 2015)