Saturday, May 26, 2012

J Dilla's Record Collection and the Economics of Music

Earlier this week I had an opportunity to have a small chat with Scotty Hagen of UHF Records who lucked out and came across a good chunk of J Dilla's Record Collection while purchasing an old storage facility. In addition to the records he found TONS of beat tapes and unreleased recordings made before Dilla's passing. After this hit the net, the internet went apeshit angry about this for a reason I cannot begin to understand, especially because the folks at UHF did every single thing RIGHT in this situation. What better way to let Dilla's legacy live on than to spread his love to fans of his music?

The most hilarious response I heard was that these records should be in a museum, you know the vintage record museum we all visit to stare at records someone else owned 30 years ago, apparently attendance is booming.

UHF ended up in contact with Dilla's mother and returned the beat tapes to her, which clearly shows he isn't in the "fuck them, give me money camp" because those tapes were worth more than the entire record collection combined. The outrage persisted though as people were FURIOUS someone was selling A DEAD GUY'S old albums.

What I came to realize from this situation is that the music industry is the most dysfunctional business from top to bottom that I've seen (and this includes consumers). It's beyond obvious that the remnants of major labels are clueless, bands are so focused on the "art" they don't realize how much they get fucked financially to increase exposure and fans are the first to cry sell out when something doesn't fit their ideal of artistic integrity. This isn't even touching on the evil that is the RIAA or unlistenable terrestrial radio.

It's interesting that in this day of digital music ubiquity, the most honest and well meaning people at any level of the food chain, are those at your local mom & pop record store.

If you want to do real good, download a bunch of Dilla's music and donate money to the Ma Dukes fund to help pay off Dilla's huge medical expenses left after his death, or go to UHF Music and support a business that does what a business is supposed to do, serve it's customers.

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