For What It's Worth
November 21, 2014
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville
The names have been changed to protect ... (Interesting how we can just pull out old phrases from TV shows, movies and songs) ... Ran into a situation this week that has troubled me.
With a group of young people... smart, that's a given. Nashville residents, most from out of town. They just didn't seem excited and passionate about much of anything. But why? They are here in a very exciting city. Or so I am told.
The entertainment field is where these young ones are moving toward. But look at the landscape where they begin. It's not all sunshine and lollipops.
Music Row is turning into condo city. The concentration of media in a few blocks has been broken. Labels are spread all over town and the recording studios are, too.
The consumer is split between free music and renting it with a few folks still using CDs. DVDs at even Best Buy are few. Movies cost way too much to make and even more to market. Concert ticket sales are a bright spot, but you wonder how deep that well is. Radio is more and more voicetracked and not live.
In the real world, families are knee deep in rising healthcare premiums, the cost to send a child to school, the safety of their families dangers from too many angles to count.
The '60s were troubled times, too. Maybe every generation is faced with obstacles. We just have so much social media, regular media to remind us. Gmail every 10 seconds instead of U.S. Mail once a day.
Stress is off the scale.
Maybe these future media people are simply stressed out.
Maybe it is all the more clear why the Chesney concert party shows work so well, for the slightly older the comfort of the Garth Brooks sing-along shows. For me, McCartney's Nashville show was like going to a worry-free place for a little while.
The party music is an escape.
Country music has moved on up from rural origins to the big city, from the barn dance to the country club. As we move into 2015, that will continue. Country is not just for Country people anymore.
Targeting the consumer. The paid consumer or the free consumer? How do you make some pay for something they once got for free? That is a huge challenge.
YouTube and Google, the mother ship, may soon be in full battle with the songwriters. Garth says they don't pay squat. Squat is not enough to make a living on. The future media people know that ... remember, if nothing else they are smart.
But will some of the corporate types dare take on these modern corporate giants and get fairer compensation rates for the songwriters? One foreign corporate music owner this week sure didn't sound like they were in a hurry to battle. Taking more of a wait-and-see stance. Meanwhile, Taylor got her good sales numbers. Hmm.
Kids of the '60s were and remain loud. These kids of the 2000s are not. They seem to lack the drive and ambition of those of came before them. They don't seem to want the lifestyle and pressures of their parents. But busting your butt was what you did. Not sure how you reverse those engines and still move forward.
The young stars right now signed to the Nashville-based labels are a good bunch. The talent show winners especially have good voices and personalities. The radio gatekeepers seem tentative or misguided completely in some cases. Hard to score a touchdown if you don't know where the end zone is! Making money is a goal ... creating worthy art is a goal. Making people happy and spreading love is a great goal.
As we wrap up 2014, we all need to recheck our maps and see where we are heading and why were are heading that way!
How do you give your understudies passion? Enthusiasm? Charity? That should be all of our homework assignments over Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, can't these future people be a little more loud?