Monday, March 9, 2009

Requiem for a Pioneer will cease operations on March 13th. The following was posted on their home page today:

Fabchannel Stops

After nine passionate and beautiful years of sharing the most amazing concert recordings with you, Fabchannel is stopping. A great number of record labels still won't allow us to record their artists. This prevents us from offering what we need to keep Fabchannel alive.

We want to sincerely thank you for all support through the years! It has been an amazing time, but unfortunately this is where it ends.

With a bleeding heart we're pulling the plug of our online archive Friday 13th of March. Until that time, enjoy your favorite concerts and who knows… we'll meet again.

Justin Kniest, CEO

Everyone who loves music should observe a minute of silence. The future is put on hold again. The visionless Luddites who have driven the music industry to the very gates of Hell have claimed another victim. I would urge anyone with a financial interest in or a passion for music to read Justin's final blog entry:

Justin's final blog

Fabchannel made its share of mistakes. They scaled too early and they let their costs get too far ahead of their revenue. Many years in the venture capital industry taught me that being too early can be as fatal as being too late. On the other hand, their vision for the industry is absolutely spot on.

Live music is the future. As I noted in an earlier blog discussing Shepard Fairey, there is a complex relationship between using your art to promote your art and using your art to make a living. The modern audience is too technically sophisticated and nuanced to be reached by the ham-fisted approach of "charge for everything" and "pay for everything". There is an old saying, "If the only tool you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail." Unfortunately it appears that (most of) the recording industry has only a hammer when the times demand a more sophisticated tool kit.

Music - writ large - is going to survive the death of the traditional recording industry. Music will re-emerge in a format that embraces internet technology. It will rise from it ashes of the 20th century model. Music is too much a core part of the human spirit to die.

Unfortunately there is no guarantee that classical music will make this journey. We are fragile. We cannot afford to be followers. The loss of the promotional power of the recording industry could be fatal. There is a very real danger that the audience will vanish before a new promotional engine is created. Classical music could become a museum exhibit instead of a lively and thriving art form. Let us all hope that we can collectively seize the initiative before it is too late.