So what exactly is this? That’s what you thought when you read the title above. Well I’m going to explain this to you. This is a new weekly feature that will be on the site and as you can see it’s called Hodgepodge of Country Stuff. If you’re a sports fan that visits major sites like ESPN, Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports, you’ll see some of their writers do weekly columns where they’ll discuss something and then have a variety of interesting tidbits that will follow it (think Bill Simmons and Peter King). This is just like those, except about country music of course. Got it? Good.
When I go on social media and check out what is happening in the world around me, I don’t go in with the intent of getting pissed off. It just simply happens. Well that happened earlier this week when I read the replies to a tweet sent out by Rolling Stone. The story tweeted out was this story, which was about Kanye West and his team using data to better maximize their profit. Why wouldn’t they take data and use it to make more money? It’s what any smart business does with their customers. And then I saw this:
— Country Perspective (@realcountryview) January 5, 2015
Seriously? Are you kidding me? I’ve read plenty about the idea of artists paying fans to listen to their music and I just laughed about it because I thought there wasn’t actually people out there naive enough to think this to be true. Sure enough there are and it sent me into a Twitter rant. If you want to see that click here. I can’t imagine how infuriated an artist must feel when they read these comments. They put their heart and soul into making music (most of them), yet some fans just don’t give a shit.
If you share the sentiments of the commenter I called out above, you’re an entitled dipshit. First off nobody is forcing you to listen to music. Second you’re not that important. To put this into context, should Leonardo da Vinci have paid people to look at the Mona Lisa? No because that’s stupid. “But their music sucks! Music has gone down hill for the most part anyway.” You know why the quality of music has slipped compared to decades before it? It’s because people started stealing it and not paying for it. All of the sudden artists aren’t making what they’re supposed to with their music. So why should they try as hard? The fans don’t care, so why should they?
“But Katy Perry and Taylor Swift don’t need more money. They’re rich!” Sure they’re rich, but these artists are part of the 1% of the musicians’ industry. What about independent artists, the 99%? This all has a ripple effect on their livelihoods. Streaming is the name of the game today, largely because of illegal downloading of music. Spotify pays artists per song streamed, between $0.006 and $0.0084. So after about 10,000 plays the artist makes $10. Can you live on $10? No! Nobody can live on this kind of financial mean.
The point of all of this is thanks to selfish music listeners, songs have been devalued into less than a penny. The quality of music has decreased in many people’s eyes. Labels and artists are making less money. Music sales are tanking. The Tennesseean had a great piece recently highlighting all of these problems. If you don’t have time to read the whole piece, here was the real eye-opening part to me:
Since 2000, the number of full-time songwriters in Nashville has fallen by 80 percent, according to the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Album sales plummeted below 4 million in weekly sales in August, which marked a new low point since the industry began tracking data in 1991. Streaming services are increasing in popularity but have been unable to end the spiral.
So in the end nobody is winning with the current system. Everybody is losing money and there’s no easy solution that can appease everyone. This problem was created by the selfish music listener though and this problem will have to be solved by music listeners. If you love an artist’s music, go buy it. Go to their concerts and buy their gear. Don’t support artists you don’t like. Don’t listen to their music. And don’t steal music ever. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases
- Reba McEntire just released her new single “Going Out Like That” this week. It’s the first song released under the NASH Icons label and the first single from Reba’s new album coming out this year. You’ll see my thoughts on this song real soon.
- Justin Townes Earle will release his new album Absent Fathers next Tuesday January 13. It’s the followup to his 2014 release Single Mothers. By the way I can’t believe I forgot to put this on my 2015 albums list. I didn’t realize it until after the article was published. My bad!
- Cody Canada & The Departed will release a new album that day also, titled Hippielovepunk. That’s certainly an interesting name. I plan on reviewing this as soon as possible.
- Zac Brown Band will debut his new single “Homegrown” during the College Football Playoff Championship Tailgate on ESPN next Monday January 12. It’ll be the first single off his new album coming out in 2015. It was announced several months ago he would be performing here and it’s a smart move on his part. Anything beats hearing “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy for the millionth time this season (college football fans know what I mean when I say this).
Throwback Thursday Song
Little Jimmy Dickens’ “Sleep At The Foot of the Bed.” The country music world lost a great artist and an even better person in Dickens this past week. I was going to write a post about it, but I didn’t feel like I could do him justice. I’ll admit I’m not the most familiar with Mr. Dickens, but I’ve known about him since I was a kid and I have heard some of his music. I definitely want to go back and listen to more of his catalog now. I saw a lot of great tributes to Little Jimmy, but my favorite was Brad Paisley’s tribute to him. I guess his tribute means a little more personally because Paisley is the one who introduced Dickens to me. If you haven’t read Paisley’s tribute, click here. I definitely recommend reading it. Rest in peace Little Jimmy Dickens.
My Non-Country Song/Thought of the Week
I have to say something about Kanye West’s new song with Paul McCartney, “Only One.” I have never understood the appeal of Kanye’s music and I still don’t understand it’s appeal. This song dropped on New Year’s night to the surprise of everyone and I thought this was a cool move on Kanye’s part. I decided to give his music a chance again, especially since Sir Paul was involved. I’m not going to beat around the bush: I think “Only One” sucks. The lyrics are good, but the auto-tune is so terrible. I don’t understand why people enjoy hearing auto-tuned singing. It’s grating, robotic and devoid of human emotion. If you want to hear this song for some reason, you can click here. By the way, Paul McCartney is barely present on the song too. I’m also not shocked Kanye fans aren’t familiar with him either. This is coming from a fan base that views Kanye as a genius.
Tweet of the Week
New term: ‘Crappers.’ Country rappers. You’re welcome, Florida Georgia Line.
— Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) January 1, 2015
Never change, Michelle Beadle. Also seems like every week I see a non-country music person diss Florida Georgia Line. I hope America’s hate for the group continues to grow until the point this group is a laughingstock like Nickelback. It’s not that farfetched of an idea.
Something To Make You Laugh
An actual search term somebody used to find Country Perspective:
Yeah I don’t know what to say. Get it together, Google!
That’s it for the Hodgepodge this week! Be sure to sound off in the comments!