Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins frontman, believes that the music business model is outdated and takes advantage of artists. Corgan said, “The music business is mostly run by feckless idiots who do not subscribe to the normal tenets of capitalism which when they do, the business tends to work out well and stars tend to rise to the top, everybody benefits, but it is still a parochial business. It is run by thiefdoms way behind the times technologically.”
Corgan believes that there isn’t enough of money being generated, like other markets. He said “You’re gonna see a complete disintegration of the business model. And a reforming. The problem is because artists are generally manipulated, it’s an old business model, you’re told ‘you have no value, you have no value.’ They’re slow on the uptake on how much value they have in this market place. Because when it comes to athletes and rock stars, those are two people who can sell a level of independence that works with marketers that no one else can sell… But music’s been slow on that because the old music business continues to control its diminishing share of the market.”
Corgan was asked where the money in the music industry was coming from. Many assume the money is from touring. Corgan quickly said no, the money isn’t in recording or touring, it’s simply all about the branding.
Corgan spoke about not being paid for all the computers and telephones that he helped sell. These companies are eventually going to have to pay the piper and pay these artists what they’re worth.
Corgan made a valuable point that the music industry gave MTV the juice to start a music network, based on music videos and later telling labels to take a hike and replacing the music videos with reality TV. The tech companies are doing the same, they push music, until they can’t push anymore, and then they downsize and get rid of it all together. Like I have been saying for years, whoever controls distribution and licensing reap the benefits. The music industry has been leasing out distribution and licensing for years paying dearly for it. That is why they must find a new distribution pattern. They put their faith into businesses like iTunes and Spotify, everyone but the music industry controls the fate of the music industry. It is no wonder why the music industry is crashing and burning.
Even though he is a mega star from Smashing Pumpkins, he has left the music industry to do things in wrestling. Even though Corgan has brand power, he feels as though the well is dry. He hasn’t given up, but realized it was time to move on. He is no better than MTV, iTunes, or Spotify. Once he saw dwindling sales he jumped ship and went to wrestling. Like Eldridge Cleaver said, “If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.”