Moby’s suggestion to the music industry: ‘reinvent or die’

Musician and staunch critic of the very industry he works in, Moby holds some strong beliefs: on the recording industry; major labels; and free music. While a band like Metallica is synonymous with efforts to limit or prevent file sharing, Moby is the antithesis – a crusader for consumer rights who isn’t afraid to willingly give away his music since it typically ends up helping in the long run. For him, building new bridges is more important than taxing existing ones.

The artist recently offered a thoughtful if provocative opinion on the current state of the music industry, along with a bold ultimatum.

Moby's suggestion to the music industry: 'reinvent or die'

Speaking last week as part of a panel at UCLAs “EMP Pop Conference,” the musician declared that the old era of big music was long-dead and that embracing new tactics was all but required.

“There was a time when the music business was incredibly monolithic and there were only two ways to get your music heard: sign to a major label, get your music played on MTV and get it played by big radio stations. Thank God that period has come to an end,” Moby stated.

To be sure, other avenues are now open for budding musicians eager to reach an audience. While boasting a similarly huge number of both detractors and fans, someone like Justin Bieber got his start singing on YouTube. Ten years ago, that simply wasn’t an option for new artists.

“Signing to a major, for 99.9% of the musicians on the planet, is the worst thing they could do. They’ve treated musicians badly. They’ve treated fans badly. They’ve treated the music badly, most importantly,” he said. “For that reason, they either need to reinvent themselves or die quietly.”

It’s doubtful the music industry will “die” – especially not quietly. Despite the years-long battle against piracy, people continue to share music. It’s become part of the mainstream culture. People feel entitled to free music, though the success of services like iTunes demonstrates they’ll still buy it.