CNET Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg has a talent for finding audio equipment bargains, and I’ve gotten several reviews out of his finds.
However, I’m not fond of his tendency to write headlines as questions, with implied “yes” answers—answers I almost always disagree with (my assumption is that, in reality, the answer to these headline questions is “no”)1.
In this particular case, he’s arguing that artists don’t make much money on music due to streaming services and thus are making fewer albums. I doubt the streaming service issue is nearly as big as peer-to-peer file sharing. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that artists are putting out fewer albums because they’re not profitable.
But for as long as I’ve been listening to music, putting an album out every few years has been standard. So although it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s write about this trend, I’m not sure that he is.
More importantly, even if he is right, I don’t think this is a problem. In Rainbows has been out for five years and I’m still exploring it. I’ve barely listened to Radiohead’s latest record from a year ago. Between all the awesome music I already love, the might-be-awesome music that I’m still exploring, and the huge amount of stuff I haven’t even touched yet, there’s plenty to listen to. If Radiohead wants to take four years to make an album, that’s cool with me (maybe they should have taken longer; King of Limbs hasn’t done much for me). And if Magnolia Electric Co. wants to resume putting out a release every year, that’s cool too; I’ll keep buying them—even though I’m still not really caught up on several of the last few releases, not to mention Molina’s extensive back catalog (note to self: blog entry on why Molina hasn’t put anything out since 2009) that I’ve barely explored.
Point being: there’s plenty of music out there. Let artists take the time they need to make the albums they want to make. And don’t blame consumers’ buying habits for artists’ creative processes.