Ain’t that America.
Straight from the heartland, John Mellencamp, or is it Cougar?, recently lambasted the current state of digital music, and even went so far as to compare the Internet to the Atom Bomb.
Speaking at a public seminar at the Grammy Museum, The Globe and Mail relays how Mellencamp conceded that while the Internet is great for personal communication, it’s having an adverse effect on the state of the music industry.
“I think the Internet is the most dangerous thing invented since the atomic bomb,” Mellencamp explained. “It’s destroyed the music business. It’s going to destroy the movie business.”
Well, we’d be more apt to agree with Mellencamp if he was crusading against the quality of music today, but how can you not argue that breaking down the draconian walls of the recording industry isn’t a good thing? Artists today have a lot more control over their careers, and they’re no longer subject to the tastes and whims of cranky old white men in suits. How is that a bad thing? Independent artists who, in the past, would have been ignored can now have their music heard by the masses. The level of music accessibility these days is nothing short of astounding.
Mellencamp went on to criticize the popularity of MP3 players and computers, noting that the convenience of music anywhere comes at the expense of sound quality. Mellencamp recalled listening to a Beatles song on an iPod and observing that ““you could barely even recognize it as the same song. You could tell it was those guys singing, but the warmth and quality of what the artist intended for us to hear was so vastly different.”
Hmm, maybe he just needs some better headphones?
In any event, Mellencamp believes that rock-n-roll, as we know it today, will soon go the way of the Dodo, much like how Big Band music faded into obscurity back in the day.
At any rate, most rock ‘n’ roll – including his own contributions – will eventually be forgotten, he said, likening its demise to that of big-band music, which was all the rage during the 1930s and ’40s.
Rock ‘n’ roll – as important as we think it is, and as big as it was, and as much money as people made on it, and as proud as I am to say that I was part of it – at the end of the day, they’re gonna say: ‘Yeah, there was this band called the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones, and this guy named Bob Dylan…’ “And the rest of us? We’re just gonna be footnotes. And I think that that’s OK. I’m happy to have spent my life doing what I wanted to do, playing music, make something out of life, but forgetting about the idea of legacy.
Now if only there were some sort of portable music device where you could store thousands of songs from important artists of yesteryear to ensure that they don’t fade into musical oblivion. If only…