Not many active artists in the world of music have seen as much as Billy Corgan. The front man for the Smashing Pumpkins has found mainstream success but has also been on the fringe of the music scene thanks to his unique blend of goth, industrial and alternative rock that really defies classification. Like Corgan’s career with and without the Pumpkins, the world of music has seen a lot of turmoil and change, particularly as record companies and consumers wage war over their preferred channels of distribution. As a veteran of the road and the record studio, Corgan has experimented with many ways of getting his music into the hands of fans, from traditional records to free online releases. Recently, Corgan shared his thoughts on the future of the industry.
According to Corgan, the music industry is at a pivotal moment – record companies may have soured fans a bit too much with years of high prices and albums consisting of just one or two good songs and a lot of filler.
“Evidence so far suggests that music has lost its moment. But I think that will change soon,” said Corgan. “I never thought we would see a near collapse of the music business and its dominant control on how music reaches people.”
For his part, Corgan has experimented with novel forms of release, including releasing 2000′sMachina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music as a free download. The experience turned out to be a positive one for Corgan and fans, but he didn’t foresee digital releases as becoming a dominant format.
“I think the fan response at the time was very positive, as the fans who were around at the time seemed to like Machina 2 better than Machina 1,” said Corgan. The musician didn’t expect free downloads to become so popular with artists, though. “At the time I saw it as a one-time thing,” he said.
Even now, Corgan harbors skepticism about the format. The singer pointed out that reaction and popularity is incredibly hard to gauge, as there is virtually no risk in clicking a mouse to download a song or album rather than handing over hard-earned cash for one.
“You can’t [gauge reaction]. The numbers aren’t real,” said Corgan. Because of this, Corgan plans on releasing his current project (a batch of 44 songs to be made available separately on the internet) on disc. “The final box would hopefully be all 44 songs plus a DVD or two, and maybe some bits and pieces, themes, demos, pictures, and whatever else I can stuff in there. That will be sold and would then become the final ‘album’.”
While the process of creating such a complex project is very time consuming, Corgan said he relishes the effort and is determined to make something worth listening to for a long time.
“Every song gets a unique approach,” said Corgan. “It’s very time consuming but I love trying to come up with new ways to communicate the crazy sound in my head.”
The first edition of Corgan’s music, an EP titled Teargarden by Kaleidyscope Vol. 1: Songs for a Sailor, will be released May 25. For more information and the lowest price on the album, CLICK HERE. The latest Smashing Pumpkins release, Zeitgeist, can be found HERE.