Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Filler: Beat It

Jermaine Dupri, an R&B producer, struggles to pinpoint what's wrong with downloading music:
We let the consumer have too much of what they want, too soon, and we hurt ourselves. Back in the day when people were excited about a record coming out we'd put out a single to get the ball going and if we sold a lot of singles that was an indication we'd sell a lot of albums. But we'd cut the single off a few weeks before the album came out to get people to wait and let the excitement build.

Now, I'm still a little old school when it comes to music. I like buying CDs. I like going to music stores and just browsing. Then again, I like my albums to have as little filler as possible, none at all being the platonic ideal.

Dupri, on the other hand, seems to suggest that filler is somehow a right and that allowing fans, consumers if you must, to cherry pick the good stuff off the albums means he's missing out on some royalties. He doesn't see this as a message to up his game, no, he sees it as a reason to go whining to the press.

I have some sympathy. Giving the consumer just what they what does seem to be a way of stifling creativity, but, then, bands who innovate tend to have fans who'll buy the whole album because of that, I doubt that the non-single Kriss Kross album tracks are anything other than bland R&B filler. Like any other consumer I've bought plenty of albums that have the single and a bunch of other stuff on (I sometimes refer to this as the 4 Non-blondes 1 Decent Track phenomenon not that I've held any bitterness for this length of time), thanks to iTunes and so on we don't have to put up with that anymore if we don't want to and, really, it's about time.

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