Internet and MusicBack in the early days of Rock and Roll, many of us resorted to the six week old “news” of our favorite artists and their upcoming releases, who were “currently” in the studio, and pictures and such, all found in favorite Rock publications like Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy!, Trouser Press, Creem, Circus, Hit Parader, and the seemingly endless stream of varied Rock magazines that proliferated then. Of course, most of them went bye-bye eventually, due to what ever reasons that ate their guts out. These days, any of the left standing rock and roll print magazines have also disappeared, leaving precious few to resort to.

I bring this up because I had a thought. What if there was internet back in the infancy of Rock and Roll? We all know the results of internet on Rock and Roll in our current time. It can be considered a boon by some, and a killer by others. Many of today’s┬ábands that could have been huge Rock stars, usually aren’t as well off as they might have been given the propensity of the fans to use the internet to acquire their music freely rather than in carefully thought out purchases.

But, I wonder what the state of Rock and Roll might have been back in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s had the internet been as widely available as it is today? Of course, we all know that Trouser Press, Crawdaddy!, Creem, etc would likely not have gotten off the ground. But more interesting is where bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead (whom I think might have thrived better in an internet-powered world, if it had existed freely back then), T. Rex, Mott The Hoople, The Band, Bad Company, and, of course, a whole lot more than these, might have ended up. Would they have become as popular? Would we still speak about them in the same measure of awe as we do now?

Now, I’ve never been one to think that any of the artists made any REAL money off their million-seller release, much less the lower selling bands. In that, I think little is changed there.

I don’t propose to solve the business of a changing Rock and Roll world. I don’t know what happened. I got into doing MusicTAP largely to build my own music magazine-like structure. I wanted to know what was coming out when, a desire that drove me incessantly in those Billboard-ruled years. Even now, that sought after info is becoming a moot point, driving a lot of us to rethink the time allotments needed to keep such info timely. Who really cares these days anyway? Not many, I wager.

Still, I wonder just how impacted our business models, the bands and their upcoming popularity, and all the adored albums that they made, might be had the internet been as widespread available as it is now.

By MARowe

4 thoughts on “Internet In The Early Years Of Rock And Roll”
  1. I think we would have arrived to the same place we are now a lot sooner. Fewer album sales. Fewer “legendary” bands/artists. More choice. Etc, etc. Of course just having the internet isn’t the only factor. Would there still be as many competing forms of entertainment in your 1960 internet scenario as there are today; video games, 400 channels on tv each with original programming, movies on demand, etc. Would music have been as important to our generation if we had so many other options. Would the issues of the day (civil rights, Vietnam, generational divides, etc.) have outweighed those other options and made music the way to stage protests? Or are we assuming there would have been social media in the same form as we currently have to stir the pot? There are just too many variables to really say but, all things being equal, I still contend that we’d end up in the same place just a lot sooner.

    For me personally, the internet has provided me three benefits that I would have really liked to have back in the day;
    1) A thorough new release date schedule for both mainstream and obscure artists. Back in the 70’s and 80’s the only way I knew that something new was coming out is when I went to the store and saw it on the shelf or word of mouth from the handful of friends I had who had the same musical tastes.

    2) More awareness of what artists are out there and reviews of everything. Websites like Musictap constantly introduce me to bands that are new or those that have been around and I just never heard of them (which in the 60’s amp; 70’s pretty much meant being played on the radio). Stores like Amazon usually have several buyer reviews that can help to determine if a specific artist might appeal to me.

    3) The ability to purchase anything released no matter how obscure or in what country it is released. If it’s out there, it’s either on Amazon or ebay for a price. Back in the day, just finding a physical copy of a non-mainstream band from the UK could take months of checking out music stores every week.

  2. I just read your article Matt as well as Bill B’s, and my opinion is this: Part of the excitement in the old days was waiting on a groups new album, or if it was a new group, waiting for our favorite top 40 radio station to play it as a “Pick To Click or what ever your favorite station called a new top 40 release. The anticipation and waiting was part of the mystique. Now we have information overload, and as nice as it is to hear of events on a timely basis, we still lost part of the excitement. It’s like when CD’s came on the scene and everybody was talking about the new format that was reproduced perfectly. Of course now we know it is not and the return to vinyl is the most fun for me that I’ve experienced in years. With that being said, I can assure you of one thing. If there was internet available in the 60’s, there would be a change. Over a period of time it might be a huge change, but maybe not. We’ll never find out. My question would be: If you had the opportunity to go back to the 60’s and have internet, not knowing what the change would be, would you vote to create it, or vote to leave it alone and take what we ended up with. Just a thought ! Barry Kiefaber

  3. Not too many good thoughts on the internet from me. It basically cost me to lose 2 great independent record stores from my area. With customers coming in and talking about already hearing a new release online 2 or 3 weeks before its release and not liking it or liking it and getting it for free or constantly cancelling orders from the stores.

Comments are closed.