The Future Of The Music Industry Is...Drumroll Please...The Past! You Heard It Here First, Folks!

Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA, 1979...or is it?

I have seen the future and it is...the past.

I had a dream the other night where I was driving down famed Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood and saw a billboard for the new Blondie album, Autoamerican.  Behind it on the horizon was an even larger billboard hyping Bowie's Scary Monsters.  There was even one for the new Judy Collins album, the one where she posed naked on the album cover.  Across the street were inflatable caricatures of Van Halen, circa Women & Children First, atop a five-story building.

It was obvious my subconscious mind had dropped me smack dab in the middle of 1980 Los Angeles. Needless to say, I was like a kid in a candy store.  After all, these were the halcyon days of major label rock & roll, when new wave was just starting to make its presence known to L.A. teens thanks to radio station KROQ having their finger on the pulse before anyone else even knew there was a pulse.

Then my cell phone rang.  Wait, then this can't can't be 1980, can it?  That's when I realized that I wasn't revisiting the past at all.  Nope, this was actually the future and the powers-that-be in music industry had finally tired of the ego, the excess, and the idiocy of the average pop star and decided to simply market artists whose likenesses they could control completely, like the aforementioned Blondie.

In fact, holographic Blondie was set to begin a sold-out ten-night stand at the brand new Apple iDome that was built almost overnight on the former site of the Staples Center.  There had been nothing wrong with Staples Center, of course, except for the minor detail that Staples had gone out of business long ago and the building had sat mostly vacant for quite some time.  Being that Apple wanted a building in the shape of their iconic logo, the very second that the ink was dry on the deal, Apple had a crew on-location within minutes to reduce the building to a pile of rubble.  One day it was there, the next day folks could barely remember that it had ever been there at all.

The first band to headline the Apple iDome were the holographic Beatles, who cheerfully performed the Abbey Road and Let It Be albums in their entirety.  Holographic Badfinger opened the show.

Holographic technology had come so far that actual reproductions of rock stars like Debbie Harry, Steven Tyler, and Marc Bolan were seen "hanging out" at the latest hip clubs around town.  In truth, the projections were so lifelike, even up close, that people often didn't realize that the reason Bowie wasn't more talkative was because he was nothing more than projected light..

Never mind that the chronology was all out-of-whack, to a generation completely unfamiliar with such artists as Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne, this was nothing new, but it was new to them, which is all that really mattered to the music industry.  To a new generation of kids too busy gazing at their iPhones to watch where they're walking IRL, there is nothing at all to suggest that Elvis Costello & The Attractions, or the classic Pretenders line-up, weren't new bands on a vibrant and burgeoning music scene.

It all sounds a bit outlandish and far-fetched, right?  But, admit it, the more you think about it, the more plausible it becomes.  One need only take a look at the current lot of pop stars to see that, more than ever, they are mere liabilities standing between fame and the execs who pull their strings.

This was a far cry from those days when record executives tolerated the eccentricities of their stars because doing so yielded great songs, platinum albums, and vast fortunes in sales profits.  Imagine a Brian Wilson that hadn't suffered a nervous breakdown in his living room sand box, or a Paul Simon who wasn't continually trying to distance himself from Art Garfunkel.

It's going to happen.  Trust me.  I just hope I live long enough to see it.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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