Daryl Hall Pinpoints the Music Industry’s Biggest Problem: The ‘Backward Bunch of Idiots’ in Charge
The music industry's current woes have been attributed to a number of factors over the years, many of them technological. But as far as Daryl Hall is concerned, the main problem facing recording artists today is one of human error.
"If you work with what is real today instead of trying to fight it and resist it, it is a great time for making music. The real problem for young artists is that they don’t have any help or understanding from the record companies," Hall told Salon. "Record company executives are the most backward bunch of idiots I’ve ever seen in my life. They are probably only surpassed by television executives."
Though he stopped short of offering a detailed outline of industry-wide idiocy, Hall made it clear he doesn't believe illegal downloading or dwindling royalties in the streaming economy are a sufficient explanation for the uphill climb facing young artists today. "If I had a record company, I would know what to do, and how to promote new artists, and how to make money for myself, and for the artist," he continued. "Now, all the artists are floundering, because all they can do is play live, and hope that they can gather a large enough tribe to support them. There is far too much ignorance right now and refusal to accept change."
As an example, Hall maintained that a number of industry execs have resisted offers for young acts to perform on his popular Live From Daryl's House program, saying "they think anything new is the enemy." Given the opportunity, he believes the show could be used as a model for the entire industry. "If I was the head of Atlantic Records, and not to single them out, I would start an internet show, and I would pair my young artists with my older artists for every broadcast," he argued. "They have a big enough name. They’re as big as me."
Hall went on to say he's currently working on an "old-school soul" solo album, and bristled at the mention of the debate over cultural appropriation — the idea that, on some level, it's stealing for an artist to cross racial or cultural boundaries in his or her music. "It is not about being black or white. That is the most naive attitude I’ve ever heard in my life," he retorted. "We live in America. That’s our entire culture. Our culture is a blend. It isn’t split up into groups. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool – worse than a fool – a dangerous fool."
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