[this post was inspired by a conversation with my cousin,who has been a manager in the music business for 3+ decades, and has seen it all]
On the surface one might look at the ticket frenzy caused each year by Lollapolooza and declare the music industry alive and kicking [not the record labels, but the music industry].
But take a careful look at the big-draw headliners for Lollapalooza 2009 ...
Yes, folks ... all achieved their fame and fortune in the pre-Napster era. These bands are legends. Kings of Leon are a fine band. I'm sure The Decemberists are too. But chances are neither will be the headline draw for an outdoor music festival 25 years from now.
The era of music superstar will die-out with the generation of bands listed above. After that, we'll be left with a much wider array of artists, but none that are likely to capture the hearts, minds and spirits of the population at large.
Blame it on whoever you want, but the fact is that young consumers don't value music the way they should; and record labels couldn't have handled the digital revolution in a more inappropriate fashion.
And while some celebrate the 'long tail' era of music, I for one will miss those superstar bands ... the ones that sell out arenas every night; the ones that bridge generations; the ones that we all know the words to their greatest hits; the ones who define eras, not just the moment. The Killers are a fine rock band ... of the moment. Tool is a superb rock band of a generation. It's that simple.