+ This week
In the recording studios of Los Angeles and the boardrooms of New York, they say the record business has been hit by a perfect storm: a convergence of industry-wide consolidation,internet theft, and artistic drought. But the business story FRONTLINE will tell this Thursday night has a beginning many of us baby-boomers will easily recognize. As
producer Mike Kirk told me, "It was time to buy a gift."
"...So I went into a record store - but what to buy? As a young boomer, I'd grown up buying 15 or 20 albums a year. Then there was that period of twenty years where the music died for me; I missed out on punk, grunge and rap. My first discovery was that there weren't as many record stores as there used to be (1000 closed last year alone). My second discovery was that the Billboard charts were little help - how could I possibly decide between Nellie, 50 cent, and OutKast? Defeated, I purchased (again) "Beatles 1" and Norah Jones.
The experience haunted me. What happened to music? Where were the stores? Who were the new artists? What was hot and what was hype?
This winter, starting at the 2004 Grammys, my FRONTLINE production team and I set out to answer those questions. And this week, in "The Way the Music Died," we offer some of our answers. We'll also introduce you to some artists we met and followed along the way - America's hottest new rock band, "Velvet Revolver," and an appealing young woman named Sarah Hudson. She's attempting the nearly impossible - to find success as a singer/songwriter in a business almost everyone agrees is on the verge of collapse."