THURSDAY MORNING MIX March 5, 2009 Scott Foley
I like to think that, while I'm not surfing atop it, I am at least within splashing distance of the tech wave that has been destroying/transforming the music industry over the past few years. Nearly all my show research is conducted online, and I discover nearly every new, independent artist there as well. On any given Episode of TMM, anywhere from 5 to a dozen songs are played from MP3 downloads. When I solicit labels for new releases, more and more of them are zipping me digital copies, rather than the more tangible brown padded envelopes which used to crowd my mailbox. My curbside mailbox.
Talking with a radio friend this week, I was told that the music industry was collapsing into a heap of smoldering plastic. Not a surprise, really. I've always believed that while mega-labels and super-distributors are having a tough go of it, more great music is available (online, of course) today than ever before. Still, my friend told me that the CD was a thing of the past, and that in mere years, it would be obsolete, replaced by digital files.
Coming from a guy who sold his LP collection in college to fund a wild cassette buying spree, my 2 cents is probably not worth even that at this point. As a bookseller by trade, I've been eavesdropping on conversations about the demise of the book in light of Amazon's mighty Kindle. Apparently, between my two passions, I've dedicated my life to dying media ... No surprise, then, that I fall on the more conservative side of this argument. Both expressions of digital media will certainly make inroads over the next few years. I can't imagine, however, that our mainstream culture won't always need some material reminder of the music which they enjoy. It's no fluke that LP sales in 2008 leaped 89 percent, even as CD sales continue their freefall (down over 50 percent since their 2000 heyday).
I'll continue to (legally) download tracks for TMM as they are available. Most will remain on my computer (I have 2 lonely and unused iPods I do plan to enlist some day), while I burn my new songs and albums onto CD. It's probably no coincidence that I've never found a pair of "earbuds" that stays put in my ears ...
Until then, I'll be waiting for the hovercar at the curb.
* Anais Mitchell & Rachel Ries, "MGD" Country EP (Righteous Babe, 08)
* Paul Reddick, "I Will Vanish" Sugarbird (Northern, 08)
* Nels Andrews, "Jesse's Mom" Sunday Shoes (Little Kiss, 04)
* Blue Rodeo, "Losing You" Blue Road (Warner, 08)
* Jeffrey Foucault, "Late John Garfield Blues" Shoot the Moon Right Between the Eyes (Signature Sound, 09)
* Split Lip Rayfield, "Hobo Love Song" I'll Be Around (self, 08)
* Brigitte DeMeyer, "Without You" Red River Flower (self, 07)
* Ryan Adams, "My Winding Wheel" Heartbreaker (Bloodshot, 00)
* Justin Townes Earle, "Midnight At the Movies" Midnight At the Movies (Bloodshot, 09)
* Emmylou Harris & Mary Black, "Green Rolling Hills Of West Virginia" Singing Through the Hard Times (Righteous Babe, 09)
* The Resentments, "Home Again" Roselight (Freedom, 08)
* Robbie Fulks, "Irreplaceable" 50-Vc. Doberman (Boondoggle, 09)
* Malcolm Holcombe, "Sittin' Sad" I Never Heard You Knockin' (self, 05)
* Fleet Foxes, "English House" Sun Giant EP (Sub Pop, 08)
* Earl, "Beautiful Delilah" Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Undertone, 2004)
* Supersuckers, "When I Go I'm Gone" Get It Together (Mid-Fi, 08)
* Alela Diane, "Age Old Blues" To Be Still (Rough Trade, 09)
* Sarah Borges, "No One Will Ever Love You" Stars Are Out (Sugar Hill, 09)
* Star Anna, "If Wishes Were Horses" Crooked Path (Malamute, 08)
* Son Volt, "The Search" The Search (Legacy, 07)
* Kerri Powers, "Nobody Minds My Drinking" Faith In the Shadows (Gritty Ditty, 09)
* Drag the River, "Crawling" Bad At Breaking Up (Suburban Home, 09)
* Jon Snodgrass, "Brave With Strangers" Visitor's Band (Suburban Home, 09)
* Gretchen Peters & Tom Russell, "Billy 4" One To the Heart One To the Head (Frontera, 08)
* Blitzen Trapper, "Black River Killer" Live Sessions (Sub Pop, 08)
* Lucinda Williams, "Lately" Going Driftless: An Artist's Tribute To Greg Brown (Red House, 02)
* Deep Dark Woods, "How Can I Try" Winter Hours (Black Hen, 09)