Country Music Is Not Dead

CMT, the channel that doesn’t entirely suck, gives me another reason to think so by featuring Chet Flippo and his always thoughtful and enlightening commentary on The Nashville Skyline section on their web site.
Chet has a nice recent commentary about rescuing a frightened turtle of a feeder road off Highway 100 west of Nashville and sees this terrified reptile as a symbol of the recording industry in the twenty-first century, the myopic economics of radio programming the strong-arm tactics of Wal-Mart and, alas, the inevitable death of the CD.

“But what does country music really have to offer these days? I think it offers more than the exploiters see on the surface. I think the many layers of talent in country have never been fully presented commercially, and, of course, if I knew how to do that, I would be a rich man today. And country has a steady stream of fresh new talent, most of whom will likely not ever get a chance to gain wide exposure because of the changing nature of the marketplace. Already, a number of new artists are having their debut releases postponed because of the market.”

Though I take exception to Chet’s argument that Nashville needs another mega-star like Garth or Shania (I think the mindless pursuit of cash cows is part of the recipe for crap), I do agree with his fundamental point that county music needs to take chances and risk alienation of some fans in order to survive. And I hope indy labels, local bars, the internet and blogs like this one and my other twangy-blog buddies can help usher in a new dawning of country music.

If not, we’ll have a damn fine time trying.

By way of The 9513.

3 Replies to “Country Music Is Not Dead”

  1. I don’t think country music needs another cash cow either. Part of the success of indie labels has to do with them not trying to appeal to everyone. Some people start up their own labels with the intention of releasing music that they like and other people like them will like. Basically, they’re filling a niche that is being neglected or poorly handled by the major record labels, which reminds of the quote “a jack of all trades is a master of none.” The major labels are being greedy by trying to appeal to more people, they see dollar signs and forget about the quality of music being produced.

  2. True Brody. Check out the book “The Long Tail” for a pretty nice description of the niche economy that could allow a lot of these bands to quit their day jobs.

  3. I’ve read a lot about that book around other parts of the blogosphere, particularly in the SEO segment, but haven’t yet had a chance to check it out. Thanks for the referral.

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