Columbia Records came up with a solution to saving the music industry over a decade ago?
After an exhaustive 72-month long search in which we literally sacrificed the best years of our young lives combing through and examining reams and reams of articles, spread sheets and op-eds, and wading through countless more hours of supposed expert opinions miring us in endless conjecture on the subject, we finally found the simple solution for saving the music industry. Wouldn't you know it, right when we gave up the ghost, there it was, plain as the nose on your face, in a box tucked away in our crawl space sandwiched between two other random CDs that have likewise been out of sight and out of mind for more than a decade. Who would've thought that Columbia Records had the answer all along?
See also: Train at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 9/19/12
Yessir! There you have it: the simple solution to a vexing problem in thirteen words. We're not the brightest bulbs in the box, but if the once almighty music overlords put their fucking money where their mouth is instead of wringing their hands and wracking their brains about surviving in the digital era, problem solved. That simple, yes? What if every album came with a guarantee like this? You love it or your money back? Or what if a band offered the same sort of qualitative assurance?
That would mean bands would strive to write better music, and A&R reps would have to be more discerning with the music they endorsed, only putting forth things they truly believed in, music that moved them rather than mass-produced, homogenized pablum they trade in these days. (Yes, we're well aware of the irony that this guarantee was affixed to a CD from Train, which many folks would agree fits that qualifier.)
Of course, you're always going to have the requisite assholes who buy the disc, burn it and then return it. There's no accounting for that. But if the music truly resonates, folks will hold on to it. It will move with them. They'll save it from a fire. Doubt it? Try to find a used copy of A Love Supreme on vinyl sometime.
In this case, Columbia -- or, more specifically, Don Ienner -- believed in this record, so much so that the label was willing to underwrite fans' investments. Well, for a limited time, until September 30, 2001, that is. If you didn't notice, there was an expiration date on that shit. You bet there was. Ienner was no dummy.
According to the band's recent Behind the Music episode, Ienner recognized the song's potential immediately after hearing just a rough demo. He must've also anticipated that by fall, six months after the record was released, radio would play the living hell out of the album's title track until everybody in the country was literally sick to death of hearing Train, and would subsequently demand all of their money back, along with reparations for any associated pain and suffering.
So there you have it, the simple solution to saving the music industry.
If all else fails, two words: picture discs.