You’ve got to hand it to Tom Delonge, Angels and Airwaves frontman and erstwhile blink 182 guitarist: he doesn’t do small. Especially when he’s talking about his new plan to “help” the music industry. The solution, as he calls it, is Modlife, a new “operating system” that:
“…allows bands to give away their music away for free if they choose, but be connected to the fans basically through the best technologies that exist right now. Yeah, my company, I started it, and we spent a lot of capital, resources and energy and passion on this because we really believe we have an answer for the music industry. So, we’re going to look for about ten of the world’s best athletes and musicians over the next ninety or something days, to launch the next versions of it with and then the world will get it around spring/summer.“
I went to Modlife out of curiosity. What I found was a rather involved website for Angels and Airwaves, along with a subscription service that promises high quality music and video. So, as I see it, it’s a way of making a shitload of online, high-quality digital content available to fans of a band.
Setting aside the issue of whether the music industry, rather than musicians, deserves to be saved at all, it’s worth noting that Modlife seems to offer a lot of the same features as, say, iTunes, except that it appears the subscriptions work on a band-by-band basis. This is the crux of the problem for me. My recently played list in iTunes has about fifty different artists of whom I consider myself a serious to very serious fan. Am I going to go for technology that requires me to engage in an individual subscription with each, or am I going to look for a service provider that provides almost all the quality, in terms of digital content, but that makes shopping much easier?
Odd: the increasing availability of technology and lowering of the barriers to entry for recording music are going to return musicians to the lifestyle they had before recording technology existed, when the only way to earn money from music was to perform it or compose it for other performers.
True story: On Sarah and I’s third date, we went to a sushi place on Pacific Highway in Solana Beach. I was worried I wasn’t dressed well enough to get in. Sarah pointed to a guy in black board shorts and chucks, and said that if he could get in, I could, too. We got seated right next to said guy and his date, who was sporting a diamond large enough to cast a shadow on the wall six feet away. That man was Tom Delonge. He was nice enough to give us some advice on good rolls.