HFCS Music

Ex-TuneCore CEO Jeff Price addresses the dismantling of big media’s hold on recording and distribution and how that will transform the music business.

Say what you will about record labels, but I believe that many of them saved us from ourselves.

I think that if we’re looking at a recorded music industry in which there are no gatekeepers then we are facing an era in which the only music that becomes successful in the marketplace is the music capable of going viral. It’s already happening.

By the way, that’s not viral in a “wow, you NEED to check out this band! This song gives me goosebumps! Here’s a link.” way. I mean viral in a “Hahah – look at youtube video- IT’S A NYAN CAT!! HA HA! I SAWRD IT ON REDDIT!”

Or, what I like to think of as High-Fructose Corn Syrup music. Things like Autotune The News and that iPhone antenna song. Fun, cheap to produce, oftentimes latching onto whatever the latest meme is, and of little nutritional value.

HFCS Music will be so sweet it will ruin our palates. You won’t be able to taste anything else. Nothing else will have the opportunity to grow. You might as well be pouring Kool-Aid into your ears.

Yes, record labels today have done the same thing to an extent. Today, major labels market acts that have carefully calculated ROI that’s not even all that dependent on their music, but on image.

But at least record labels have a history of taking chances on acts they’re uncertain about. I’m not sure the same can be said of people who grew up on Youtube who will pass on something if it doesn’t amuse them in the first five seconds.