The two thoughts in this are connected, buy only just:
This week Apple made an announcement which had the world's practically cooing for the scoop before anyone else got it. When I heard news of the upcoming "big announcement" my first thought was that iTunes was going to announce a something related to "the cloud" or maybe a paid subscription service.
Apple announced in May that it building a data server farm in North Carolina. Presumably it's got something to do with Apple TV, though the idea of iTunes in the Cloud has been kicking about for a while, which I guess would be like Spotify which currently operates in Europe.
If Apple was going to go down the cloud storage route for music, then in theory you could have your iCloud pod machine with only a minimal flash drive in it, and then run a micro-payments system at say 0.5 of a cent per song; the iCloud would send off some sort of request into the cloud play the song, and then delete the song from the flash drive.
I imagine that it would be a similar business model to XM Satellite Radio mashed with pay-per-view which would be essentially a pay-for-service affair rather like cable TV.
Instead we only got the rather paltry announcement that the Beatles catalogue was finally on iTunes. Wow... really, just wow... sigh.
I think that it's a sad indictment on the current output of the record companies if almost 50 year old music is able to cause a stir. When you consider that they're whinging about falling music sales, I think it makes a pretty strong statement. What this does say is that EMI, Virgin, Warner et. al. should start producing music that lots of people actually would like to buy.
When you have bands who grind away in sheds, garages and playing small venues like pubs and RSLs, they tend to produce music that appeals to more people on average than manufactured pop idols.
Bands and musicians who have to learn their craft, tend to produce higher quality of music than technicians who in principle aren't musicians, playing with computers in a back room. This is compounded when those same people with computers can turn people who already can't sing into autotuned marvels, with an electronic drum beat.
I that you'll find generally that when rock music sits atop the music charts, that there probably a higher turnover in music sales. This might sound ridiculous, but I think that you're more likely to pack out very large stadia with a rock concert than a dance outfit.
No offense to Ke$ha (who according to the Herald, went skydiving over Sydney yesterday), but she isn't exactly going to fill the SCG in the same way that U2, The Rolling Stones, or Green Day might do. In fact it was the Beatles themselves who played the first major stadium concert in history, before a crowd of 55,600 at Shea Stadium in August 1965.
I don't think that it's actually fair to blame flagging music sales on illegal music, when for the most part with the age of the digital download, you can buy a song for $1.29. In a world where glorified no-talent shows like Pop Idol, X-Factor, spit out saccharine "singing sensations", is it little wonder that when the TV show's season ends, no-one cares anymore?
Almost 50 years after the Beatles started making music, their records are still able to cause a stir for the simple reason that they put in the effort and learnt how to be real musicians.
Image isn't everything despite what you've heard because music itself is an aural experience not a visual one. If record companies simply just shut their eyes and actually listened to the crud they're putting out, maybe they might be able to sell proper music again.