Quite simply, the fact that many talented musicians simply do not have access to enough money is endangering their career and rock music in general. There are a lot of reasons that the well has dried up. Too many to discuss here. But, the problem remains that we may never find the next Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan, because he or she does not have enough money to get noticed.
It is a romantic vision that the internet allows artists to talk directly to their fans. The problem is that there is such a glut of horrible music on the internet, it is difficult to sift through the shit to get to the good stuff. In this day and age anyone with a rich uncle can make an album. Just because you can make an album, doesn’t mean that you should.
So as a result, any artist without a benefactor is spending weeks on end on the road. Traveling in the middle of the night in a Ford Econoline van, pulling a trailer. They are traveling in snow, ice, rain and on about two or three hours of sleep. Many bands choose to sleep in their van, because they want to save money on motels. They have to live on $10 a deal meal money. It is only luck that has prevented more tragic stories than we have about bands rolling their vans in the middle of the night. Throw the potential of alcohol and drugs into the equation and it is a very dangerous lifestyle. Yet tens of thousands of our young people are doing it every day.
If you are a talented dancer from urban Chicago or a violinist from Harlem, our government might just find ways to funnel you money to advance your studies. But if you are a terrific guitar player from a band in Fort Smith, Arkansas, you are on your own. This has to stop. What the hell is wrong with our government? Other nations, such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia and others give their talented young rock musicians money and send them abroad to work on their craft. They see their talented artists as national treasures. We look at ours as tattooed losers.
Our politicians are asleep at the wheel. The music industry, and specifically many superstar artists such as Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, James Taylor and many, many others give tirelessly to politicians that they believe in. Candidates that they feel will help change the world. These same politicians have allowed piracy to overtake the music industry and bring it to its knees. The politicians take from our industry, but they give NOTHING BACK. Recording industry organizations such as NARAS, the RIAA, BMI, ASCAP and others need to work vigorously on getting our government to take steps to more vehemently support our young musicians. Not just the classically trained musicians, but the kid that lives down the hall from you, who is tucked away in his room for eight hours a day, working on writing the perfect song, or mastering a great guitar rift. Our government is simply not doing enough.
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama explained how we are falling behind the rest of the world in Math and Science. This is a huge problem. But, the failure to continue the development of our musical culture is a crime as well. It is time for an organized effort to allow our young artists to thrive in the 21st century.
It is time for the government to begin to look into the future an realize that we may be losing a big part of our history. The legacy of music must be allowed to be passed down to the next generation of artists. Spend more money on our youth and less on Cluster Bombs.