Tuesday, 29 December 2009

A Top 12 of the Noughties in Paris, Part Ten


Jussieu Music Closes (2008)
Ok, this was not a major event in the history of Paris. It wasn't even a major event in the city the week it happened. For me though it was full of significance.


I wrote about it at the time, calling it the day the music died. This was just to spin some song lyrics into the title of the post, but it certainly marked the moment when I realised that the whole musical scene had changed. To my shame, I'm not even sure when the fateful day was. I used to visit regularly, taking an hour or so to flick through the extensive collection of second hand CDs, or more excitingly, the dirt cheap pre-release discs sold on to them by music industry insiders. My visits got further and further apart until one day I wandered along the Rue Linné and found the shop closed. A few months later I passed by again and saw that it had become a Subway unit. From take-away discs to take-away sandwiches. Real food for thought.

Most of the items in this top 12 have been specific events, but other changes happen more gradually. At the turn of the century, it was possible to predict that the music world would change - indeed, it is an industry that thrives on it - but few would have predicted quite how far. In the year 2000, I was working for an internet publisher, producing a music website. The format of the media was different, but the content was pretty much identical to paper magazines around at the time. Who today though would launch a website that didn't offer readers the chance to instantly purchase and download the music?

The website closed down in 2001, another victim of the internet crash, but it wouldn't have survived the music revolution anyway. There is little place for an all-encompassing media today in the MySpace and Itunes world where musicians can promote and distribute their own creations. Record companies are unregretted victims, but further down the chain, many others have suffered too. This was what brought about the death of Jussieu Music and several other CD retailers across Paris.

So is the music world a poorer place in Paris today? Almost certainly not, but it is a different place.
As musician Jesse Vernon pointed out to me when I spoke to him recently, there has been a huge increase in the numbers of bands around on the circuit, and as a reflection, an increase in the number of live music venues. Music has come out of the studio and back onto the stage. The industry has exploded and new rules are still being defined, but music will always find ways to exist.

2 comments:

Peter (the other) said...

As you point out, this is part of the wider problem of music sales, but for an old musician who has spent many years of my life (starting in the 60s in Harvard Square's music emporiums, mostly gone now, too) accumulating a huge collection of recordings, so many days spent standing in front of racks, flipping... flipping, the sound of the muso store clerks arguing about some obscure recordings in the background, this is a truly sad, tectonic shifting that has darkened my life. I chose my own little corner of Paris (a few blocks away from Jussieu, bought near the peak, alas, in 2006) partially because of the proximity. I wonder if Croco-jazz is still open, up behind the Pantheon, or the Jazz Corner by the arena?

(sigh)

Peter said...

... and Fnac Bastille just closed!

Well, if there is more of live music around, it's a nice comfort! Also, the leading artists who used to sell a lot of records now have to give more concerts to make their living and compensate for less record sales, maybe another good thing!

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