When Amazon announced 50 $5 albums for August I thought it was a one off deal, but September has dawned with 50 new ones, and just like last time, there are killer names right beside the mainstream ones. I mean maybe Hank III and Wayne Hancock are to be expected, but Devil Makes Three, and Roger Alan Wade? Whoa!
Now listen. I am fully aware that every time I peddle Amazon’s wares, some grumble that somehow that makes me a sellout. The simple fact is that Amazon, CD Baby, and other online distributors of music are not the enemy. The enemy is major labels, who before online distribution had the monopoly on distributing music, meaning only signed artists that labels wanted to push had access to distribution channels. Digital distributors are helping to erode that infrastructure and erect new ways to buy music that put the power back into the artists’s hands.
I understand that Amazon is a big company, and yes, the REAL music customer understands that the best way still to buy music is from the artist directly or local music stores. But one of the reasons I am glad Amazon is doing this is because they’re putting independent artists names right beside the mainstream ones. This is something country radio won’t do, the CMA and ACM’s won’t do, CMT won’t do. Only Amazon is offering a fair playing field, and good on them for that. Some of these albums will be purchase simply because they’re cheap. The artist may not receive much, but a new fan will be made who will buy more albums, support the band on the road, tell their friends.
Demonetization of the music industry is killing off the dinosaur infrastructure that has corrupted music for too long. But artists still need to get paid and still need support structure, and REAL music fans should want that to happen. Amazon is on the cutting edge of finding ways to keep some money flowing, and using price points as a promotional tool. And I applaud them for that.