Legendary recording engineer Steve Albini (well, legendary if you love bands like Nirvana and The Pixies) doesn’t think the sky is falling on the current music industry. Far from it. In fact, he thinks today’s music industry is healthier than ever.
Albini recently gave the keynote address at a music conference in Australia where he talks about how the Internet, the end of the major label stranglehold on distribution, and rapid changes in our cultural attitudes towards copyright have helped create efficiencies that empower musicians in ways the old, broken system could never, and would never, have dreamed of.
It’s an optimistic, even celebratory assessment of an industry that Albini famously compared, 20 years earlier, to “a trench, about four feet wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with runny, decaying shit.”
Albini spends almost every single day with musicians (producing both famous and unknown acts), and he also fronts the rock trio Shellac — so he has an interesting vantage point to watch how changes in the industry actually affect working bands. The way he sees it, most of those changes are positive.
Check out his keynote speech HERE and let us know what you think in the comments below. Are musicians much better off today than they were 20 or 30 years ago?
[Photograph of Steve Albini by Jayden Ostwald]