An Editor’s Overview

Adapting to Change

by Willie Rose

While I worked on a piece in this month’s News section about the latest Radian record, On Dark Silent Off, MD editorial director Adam Budofsky dropped one of the band’s earlier CDs, 2004’s Juxtaposition, on my desk. Checking it out was somewhat surprising. Normally tons of albums come into the office, and there’s no shortage of music waiting in our emails from around the industry. It’s not necessarily the idea of getting a new record that’s unexpected. But checking out the physical copy of this particular CD, which was released over a decade ago, was a bit of a trip.

The CD’s art and marketing resembled the types of albums I probably would’ve randomly picked up after scouring record store bins back around the time it was released. Overcome with nostalgia, I thought of the countless hours spent searching at my favorite music stores, most of which are thankfully still around.

I also realized that I haven’t been to a record store with the frequency or unrelenting urge to search that I used to have in probably far too long. Today I can say that other than sampling physical albums that come into the office and the flood of advanced digital copies we receive, I almost exclusively check out new music by using a streaming service. And yes, although the service is much less expensive than picking up physical copies of albums, I still pay for it.

Thinking about the change in accessing music, questions arose that I haven’t necessarily been able to resolve. Music as an art form has been around far longer than some of the current mediums or channels that deliver it. What is considered music as an art form in today’s world? An album? Notation? A YouTube video? Are songs finished once they’ve been recorded? Or do they evolve? Or is music the live performance art that was around before the printing press, record companies, and the Internet? It seems as the changes occur, so come new ways of delivering, and monetizing, the art.

Regardless, in an artistic industry that has arguably taken one of the hardest hits by the relatively recent changes in technology, there requires a certain adaptation to survive as a musician. And this month’s issue features plenty of artists who’ve embraced change. Check out the story on Tony Hajjar, who had to make adjustments while getting back into the drum seat with At the Drive In. Or Ween’s Claude Coleman, who’s finding plenty of work and inspiration after a substantial move. And the constant search for change that drives this month’s cover artist, Chris Dave, arguably defines his career. Check out their stories, and much more this month, and enjoy the issue!

Willie Rose
Associate Editor