The main premise of this film is to give volume to the dying voice
of authentic music in America.
Part One: The Problems
In part one of BTMD, we investigate the current state of the music
world and the forces at work within that world, who are producing
two parallel trends which the filmmakers find alarming.
The first trend addressed is the loss of individuality, creativity
and ultimately the idea of taking risks in broadcast radio. Due
in large part to deregulation, companies such as ( ) have been allowed
to purchase hundreds of radio stations across the country. In the
process, these corporate entities have replaced an almost equivalent
number of DJs with a small, centralized pool of on-air talent, who
are able to create and forward content via these stations. A single
DJ can deliver programming that plays to millions of listeners in
any number of cities nationwide.
In the case of record companies, we can see similar market forces
at work as the larger corporate labels narrowly focus their efforts
on Top 40 talent, while simultaneously swallowing the smaller, independent
The emphases on producing quarterly returns for investors, and
the career-preserving instinct not to rock the boat, combine to
produce bland acts who simply mimic what is already selling.
This method of increasingly risk-adverse talent development often
results in a label dropping an act if the act's debut effort fails
to produce an immediate hit. If current A&R practices had been
in effect 30 to 40 years ago, legendary names such as Aretha Franklin,
Otis Redding, David Bowie, and Bruce Springsteen, as well as dozens
of other rock and roll hall of famers (who didn't connect with the
public until their 3rd or 4th albums) would never have seen the
light of day.
The second trend we find alarming is the growing monopolistic power
of the media giants. With ( ) again as our example, we can see a
company that not only controls radio stations, but also owns entertainment
venues. This gives them the freedom to insert one of their acts,
that they've developed into one of their many multi-genre playlists
across the country, and then book that act into venues which they
With so much power over talent that they have a vested interest
in promoting, these media behemoths have little reason to book acts
that are higher risks, outside of the label's control or that the
label simply doesn't understand.
The last issue is the most disconcerting, because it speaks directly
to the net effect of these two trends. If media consolidation means
that companies are unwilling to take these risks, and local markets
are losing their individual voices, then there is no traditional
vehicle left to connect the American public with these new musical
trends or the unique artists who develop them. In the country that
gave the world gospel, blues, rockabilly, bluegrass, jazz, rock
and roll, rap, grunge and hip-hop, we may be witnessing the death
of new ideas and new creative forces in music.
Part Two: The Musicians.
In the middle act of our film we examine how the trends we have
outlined in Act One affect both musicians and music fans. In this
segment we seek to personalize the film by speaking with celebrity
musicians (i.e. Perry Farrell, Lauren Hill, Dave Mathews,
G.Love, Sheryl Crow, Wynton Marsalis, Patty Griffin, My Morning
Jacket, David Gray, Willie Nelson, Erika Badu, REM, Tribe called
Quest) who can provide insight and personal experience that support
- Introduce bands. Need Primary band, two secondary bands,
and various tertiary acts. Need to personalize the interaction with
a record company, with radio, with the promotion machine.
- Contrast with ‘the teens’ (cookie cutter acts).
Our acts are not under 25, they are not picture perfect, and will
not be candidates to sell shampoo or appear on reality TV. They
are, however, damn good musicians.
- SNL, Auto Tune footage.
- Personalize what has happened with disappearing record stores.
Access director Jeffrey Lyles and “Last record store”
- Through a very creative process, we explain of what a “big
box” store is.
- We prove how “big box” stores have become the
only place to buy music in many towns and regions. Example footage,
Rome New York (just outside of Woodstock)
- Visit one of the music department of one of the world’s
largest music retailers (in upstate New York) to find
out who is in charge of selecting the music that makes it to the
shelves. We set out to go shopping at the some “big
box” stores in search of real American roots music such as
Jazz, Blues and even Blue Grass. “Excuse me, do you have any
John Coltrane?” Muddy Waters?
Part Three: The Solutions
Cameras roll as we visit the headquarters of one of the retail
giants and offer a solid solution (#1) at a very low cost . If our
solution is adopted by the chosen store chain they (the company)
will benefit from positive publicity. If they choose to ignore it,
they instantly become the film's antagonist.
Cameras also roll as we visit the headquarters of a radio giant
to make a similar solution (#2) that can easily be implemented.
If they chose to accept our solution, they too will benefit from
positive publicity. If they chose to ignore it, we have verified
Cameras continue as we share our valuable information ( solutions
#1 and #2) with a giant record label and give them a chance to take
some positive steps from which both they and their consumers can
Part Four: The Future
In addition to the "solutions" section of our film, we
examine the future of American music, and music distribution. We
take a look at what changes in technology have meant to struggling
musicians. We examine how the advent of iTunes, Satellite Radio,
Hear Music kiosks, and other technologies have changed the market
for musicians, music fans, and the existing establishment.
We highlight the industry’s entities that give us reasons
to be optimistic about the future of music.
- ATO records are the best example of a label that puts musicians
(of all ages) first by developing their careers over several years
and allowing creative freedom.
- We look at the self-sufficient success _tba__band and how
they carved their own niche through grass roots and Internet marketing.
- We turn to the sold-out ACL fest and spotlight (through
promoter/musician interviews) how it has become the best showcase
of real musicians (of all ages and genres) in the nation. ACL fest
is the quintessential place to find variety and celebrate the importance
We close with a five-minute (soundtrack) musical mosaic featuring
still photos from Acts 1 through 4. This piece will also feature
some classic music photos as well.
The final frame will end with a dedication.