June 23, 2008
Here’s something to chew on:
Toby Keith has total control over his music now that he owns his own record company, Show Dog Nashville. Unfortunately, he has much less control over how people find the music, and that has left him a bit confused.
“I don’t even know what to do with the [next] album,” he says. “We don’t know what’s gonna happen with the recording industry.”
Currently, Toby’s cut 10 songs, and four of them are completed tracks. The other six still need to have some instruments and/or background vocals added in overdubbing, and Toby wants to give his lead vocals another run before he considers them finished.
But he still faces the same problem the major labels do, in that having music digitized and available one track at a time has hurt recording income.
“It’s pretty much a 99-cent world,” he says.
As a result, he’s not sure whether to release an entire album at one time after he puts out the first single or wait until perhaps three or four tracks have made the radio before he makes the CD available. Toby’s always been a businessman as well as a musician, so he’s certainly willing to roll up his sleeves on the issue. No matter how the business part of his career pans out, he doesn’t plan to give up on his passion.
I’ve been wanting country artists to capitalize on the digital market more aggressively by releasing alternate tracks, like unreleased songs, live or acoustic takes, and older catalog at a discount price. It seems an opportunity is being wasted. I love me some Jeannie C. Riley, but it’s crazy that I can get all of her old Plantation albums on iTunes but I can’t get those of the superstars of the same era. Should we still need to go to Bear Family in Germany to get these tracks? And is Toby right that the album is going the way of the dodo?