Klosterman: Anyone Seen My $4.2 Billion?


Speccy, beardy, cocoa-puff mulch scoffer Chuck Klosterman has made some interesting profferings for Esquire.

“There’s a lot of money out there in the economy that people used to spend on CDs. The question is, where, exactly, did it go?

…my specific theory is this: A lot of the money not spent on music in the twenty-first century is being used to pay off credit-card debt that was incurred during the nineties. In other words, not paying for In Rainbows today is helping people eliminate the balance they still owe for buying Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness when they were broke in 1995.

…People didn’t stop buying albums because they were philosophically opposed to how the rock business operated, and they didn’t stop buying albums because the Internet is changing the relationship between capitalism and art. People stopped buying albums because they wanted the fucking money. It’s complicated, but it’s not.”

He asks the right question, which is also being asked in the book and film worlds. It is a compelling doom-monger-less argument for one factor of an extremely complex debate which has hit so darn quickly that all anyone can see is symptoms and finger pointing. I dunno how easy it is for any studenty not-in-full-time-employment type, who no longer reads magazines (which’re dying too) to get hold of a credit card, which doesn’t help our favourite Saved by The Bell obsessed, low-slung philosopher/journalist/hero. What’s missing is he doesn’t factor in what’s been spent on consoles, laptops you upgrade every three years, nor those 110million iPods sold between October 2001 and September 2007. Or beyond file-sharing the rise of the CD burner (you can get 12hours of mp3’s on my CDR, etc) and yousendit links, which is much quicker and a higher quality than a tape copy. Then there’s the factors of an always available streaming world and lack of financial barriers to curiously check things out after reading about them. As well as rises in (child) drinking, smoking, uplifts in general cost of urban living, money spent in American Apparel, expenditure on going to live music and such-the-like.

Published in: on April 9, 2008 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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