Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins is well-known for his controversial opinions, and he recently appeared on CNBC to sound off about the state of the music industry, which he says is run by “feckless idiots.” According to Corgan, the tech industry is blowing music out of the water in terms of innovation, and that’s partially why tech companies try to get musicians on their side:
The tech world is just blowing music out of the water, but music and artists remain incredibly valuable to launching things. Hence tech companies keep cycling back to music artists. Music artists need to figure out their true value in a free market, which they have been slow to do because you have that old model of telling artists they are not worth anything, that they are disposable — similar to the things you’ve seen in the sports leagues, and you are going to see that evolution happen in the music business.
When tech, music and the value of artists are in the conversation, of course Tidal becomes a talking point. Here’s what Corgan had to say about that:
Although I celebrate the idea of him creating his own model it leaves a lot of people out. At some point you have to have winners and losers because that’s the way it works. To try and sell it as an altruistic thing is disingenuous because it’s not. He is taking his slice of the pie, which he has every right to do — he is a powerful man and he works with powerful people. But by the way, I’m a powerful artist and I don’t recall getting a phone call from him. But I get phone calls from other people and I have to make similar decisions. To sell it as altruistic — I don’t buy it.
True, I think most of see through the supposed “altruistic” aspect to Tidal. In the wake of all these changes, Corgan concludes that the industry is now like the Wild West and will completely disintegrate before it reforms.
You’re gonna see a complete disintegration of the business model. And a reforming. The problem is because artists are generally manipulated, it’s an old business model, you’re told ‘you have no value, you have no value.’ They’re slow on the uptake on how much value they have in this market place. Because when it comes to athletes and rock stars, those are two people who can sell a level of independence that works with marketers that no one else can sell… But music’s been slow on that because the old music business continues to control its diminishing share of the market.
Watch him expound on all this and more below.