It has occurred to me that there is a very obvious way for the recording industry to save itself. The disappointing present state of the business, reflected in low sales figures and high salaries, can be counteracted in a very sensible and simple manner. Actually, it's sort of surprising that this idea has not yet been put into general use by now, considering its intrinsic values, no matter what the business climate is.
I propose that record companies eliminate the artists altogether. The savings in royalties, publishing, tour support, hookers and blow will easily help swing the lagging concerns from their present deep bloody red into the blackest of black. In a boilerplate recording agreement, the artist has been known to gouge the company traditionally for somewhere in the neighborhood of twelve percent. Imagine the elimination of that disbursement and its effect on company profits! Can you say "Cancun"?
When you eliminate the artist, you necessarily eliminate the artists' managers as well. More work with less interference can take place in a day.
You feed no massive egos, you become 'the people's company' and you merely deal in songs. The record company, to use the arcane term, no longer needs promotional pictures or discs or postage for them. The buyers will no longer need the copious liner notes and packaging (which the artist had been billed for) since there will be no artist to need information on.
And since you're dealing only with songs, why not eliminate the songwriter? All of the good songs have apparently been written at this point, and now, as in the movie business, it's about the remake and the remix. If a new song is needed, surely there's a team of specialists who can reconstruct an entirely different song from what's come before, with a slight adjustment of a chord or a harmony (or three).
The most important facet to be preserved, as we know, is the infallible infrastructure of the music company, its perks and pleasures. Of course, the entire A&R departments can be eradicated at every label, sent packing along with the artists they signed. As industry brethren, we feel certain they'll land on their feet at as potential Kinko's assistant managers and massage therapy trainees. This, too, will free up wads of much-needed cash, and office space to be sublet to bankruptcy attorney firms. It will allow the accounting departments to grow as well, which is where we know the tastemakers of the future are residing presently.
With the dismantling of the old business model and its unnecessary leech-like creative types, we stand to inject what amounts to anabolic steroids mixed with PCP into our undeservedly walloped milieu. We can grow like a Disney time-lapse movie of a Venus flytrap, nibbling on the consumer's wallet pocket like a tasty housefly. Just because music has ceased to be a commercial venture in 2008 does not mean that the industry that nurtured it for so long has to disappear as well.
It pleases me greatly to be able to offer this suggestion FREE OF CHARGE, to be used by any so-inclined company in need of saving.
(Houseflies will be served directly after the meeting.)
*apologies to any artists, record company executives, copy center managers, massage therapists, bankruptcy attorneys, leeches and houseflies this may have offended.