Finally, the music industry is dying…

Guestbook Finally, the music industry is dying…

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      Korn Signs EMI Contract… OF THE FUTURE!

      My friends, my cynics, listen. Toward the end of our sun’s life, helium, the product of its fusion, will condense at the star’s core. As it becomes packed more tightly together, the sun’s temperature will rise to such an extreme pitch that the helium itself will begin to burn, fusing into carbon. The sun will then expand to radiate the incredible resulting energy, and the tiring star will become what we call a Red Giant. At this point, the sun will have begun its steady and suffering descent into extinction. I’ll spare you the ugly details — I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors, anyway — but let me suggest, for your daily dose of metaphor, that the mainstream music industry is not so unlike our hypothetical sun; and let me suggest also that you take a moment to imagine our Earth after its once-reliable source of life and light has gone supernova.

      Since our recent report on Garth Brooks’s new exclusive distribution deal with Wal-Mart [TMT News], evidence has continued to mount that the music industry is spiraling ever nearer its violent collapse. Music’s latest concession to the monster’s inescapable gravity is holler-metal act Korn, who have for years served as the critical social link between pogs and bonghits. Digital Music News reports that the band has signed a next-generation record contract with Virgin parent EMI, a deal by which, in addition to the standard physical/digital media rights typically retained by labels, Korn will cede authority — and share revenue — for nearly all of its creative byproducts, including, according to the report, “touring, merchandising, publishing, sponsorships, and film, TV, book, and video game projects.” This follows a similar deal signed between EMI and Robbie Williams a few years ago, presumably the first of its kind.

      According to various reports, Korn will receive $15 million upfront (more than doubled what the band would normally receive from a traditional recording contract). In return, EMI will share in Korn’s profits, receiving more than 25% of the band’s profits from album sales, publishing, merchandising, and touring. Basically, EMI has invested in “the Korn business” in order to take cuts from future revenue streams. “This is the direction that the music business is going,” David Munns, chief executive of EMI Recorded Music North America, told the Los Angeles Times. “The music and records we produce drive an artist’s career. But our margins are under threat and our marketing costs are getting more expensive. We should share in the other revenue streams that are created.”

      It’s nice to think that the time has finally passed in which we were constantly worried over whether artists were “selling out.” Of course few of us ever believed the motivation for Korn’s creativity ranged beyond blow, ‘tang, and Neo-Geo, but these days, as the nuances of the world’s 21st Century economy become more apparent, it’s at least easier for us to discern and appreciate the financial arrangements necessary in delivering art and entertainment to such large audiences. So despite what our tastes may tell us about Korn or any other act, we can probably still detect the hint of something troubling in this most recent EMI signing, even if it is only, as Jeff Kwatinetz, head of management company The Firm, puts it, “the necessary evolution that our industry must make, aligning interests among bands, management and recording companies.”

      In about two billion years, the sun will become so large it will occupy half the sky — that is, if you’re observing from the surface of the molten Earth. Then there will be no Tiny Mix Tapes, no whiskers on kittens, no Kevin Costner to plead his love for the cock, the pussy, and the hanging curveball. Well, no use worrying about that, I guess. Hell, tonight I’m gonna go out and meet me a pretty lady and we’re gonna take a spin in my Cadillac. Like in the old days. Yeah. I’ll see you there.

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