The Apple of My EyeRobert Avrech
is a very big fan of Apple Inc. He is a user of their computers and iPods. He is an enthusiastic shareholder. He and I have recently been discussing Apple in an email correspondence. He is still bullish on the stock even though it has recently run up after their iPhone announcement. I am also a huge fan. Although I haven't made the switch to a Mac, I am the proud purchaser of about 7 iPods of the past couple of years. And, my recent foray into the Apple store on Fifth Avenue sealed it. It is one of the coolest stores I've ever been to (more on that when I have time).
(I told Robert that I also wanted to buy Apple stock last year but my $85,000 tuition bill got in the way. Of course, had I bought enough apple stock, its appreciation would have paid a significant portion of that tuition).
The real point of this post is that Apple has changed the word. In particular, the iPod has changed the world. Even more specifically, the iPod has changed the Jewish music world forever.
This has been brought home to me over the last few months since I released the CD I produced, U'Shmuel B'Korei Sh'mo.
Although sales have been solid, they don't seem to be anywhere near the level that they should be at based on the play that Nachum Segal has given the CD and the very positive feedback and word of mouth that it's gotten. Incidentally, Shlomo Katz is experiencing the same thing with his new CD, V'Hakohnim. Everyone he meets seems to have it but sales do not reflect this.
My experience today at the Mother Ship
confirmed what I've been thinking. During my trip in September, I left a box of 50 CDs with one of the boys. When I returned today (with OYS who is checking it out for next year) only 15 had been purchased. This surprised me. For a minute.
I later took a tour of the dorms with OYS. Every student has an iPod. Many have an iPod with a docking station that allows them to play the songs on their iPods through speakers.
So, why should I expect a kid purchase a useless piece of plastic? None of the students has a CD player. (In contrast to when OOS went to yeshiva and everyone had either a portable CD player of a boom box).
Like it or not, the paradigm has changed.
So, the Jmusic world has to respond to the changes or die.
Here are a few thoughts:
1. CDs will soon go the way of the cassette. Every car will have a built-in transponder that will allow you to play the music on your iPod over the radio. (You can buy a very good transponder today for $70). iPod docks will replace stereo systems.
1. Well produced CDs will only be possible with independent funding (such as what I will be providing through my not for profit, Shirei Shmuel, Inc.) or if the big bands are interested in promoting a performer with a CD as a loss leader (with a couple of exceptions for the Shiny Shoe megastars).
2. A lot of lousy CDs will be produced using home computer technology.
3. The major distributors of Jmusic will have to quickly develop their own version of an iTunes store or they will be hard pressed to remain in business.
My bottom line is that you can't fight city hall. I am no longer going to get agmas nefesh over CD piracy. I will adjust. How exactly, I don't know. But I will never produce another album with the expectation that the proceeds of CD sales are going to make me whole.
Labels: J Music