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Country Music Today

Kenneth Kraus focuses on entertainment, copyright, trademark and intellectual property law. While his primary emphasis is in the field of music. His notable clients include the Estate of Elvis Presley, Kid Rock, Bob Seger, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Carrie Underwood, Clint Black, Naomi Judd and Integrity Music. Mr. Kraus regularly lectures at the Practicing Law Institute, the USC Entertainment Law Institute, the Nashville Bar Association and other professional organizations.

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Ken Kraus discusses how illegal downloads have hurt sales in the rock, country and christian music business. Focusing on country music he notes that many people fled to country from rock for the lyrics and melody, although these fans proved somewhat temporary when rock reestablished some sanity.

Shoot Date:
June 2006
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The country business has gone through the same ups and down as the – the whole thing with Napster and stealing songs on the Internet. I mean, that’s hit everybody. It probably hit the rock area first and then country was not as into using computers, I think, as much as the general population so, as a result, they’re – it probably hit that second. And the Christian business you would think people wouldn’t steal in the Christian business, but, nonetheless, some of the kids managed to steal some of the Christian artists. So it happens there less, but it’s all – it hit all three so the business has been down and country, as it did in all the other areas, there’s been a bit of resurgence, a couple big artists, but I’d say if you look at the overall sales, it’s nothing like it was in ’93, ’94, ’95 when I moved here. That was definitely the boom.

I think what happened back then is, it was kind of a cultural thing as much as anything, in the rock side if you look to see what was happening, there was a lot of rap going on, there was a lot of grunge metal and things of that nature, which I think turned off a lot of older buyers. Back then an older buyer would have been someone in their 40s or 50s, you know. And I think country music came along at that time and was –was kind of the new country as opposed to the old, twangy, sink-your-nose-type country and people like Alan Jackson and other artists were singing songs that had lyric content they can understand and hear. And I think so a lot of people who normally were buying maybe a James Taylor record came over and started buying a country record and there was this big growth in the country business. But I think that had as much to do with the pop world turning off those buyers and pushing kind of over to country for a while.

But then when artists like Jewel and others that was kind of more singer/songwriters came along and that whole thing kind of came back, I think those buyers, which were more temporary, they kind of were country buyers for a while (Laughter), they kind of swung back and now you have more of your hardcore buyer buying all the country and it’s a smaller market so you don’t have the sales. Again when I moved here, artist after artists were going platinum, multi-platinum. Now there’s just a handful of artists that are going over platinum.

[End of Report]

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