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John Mellencamp Insists The Internet Destroyed The Music Industry

| Filed under: Music MinuteJohn Mellencamp


And he’s right…kind of. But some of the accusations he makes in a recent interview are extremely near-sighted.

“I think the Internet is the most dangerous thing invented since the atomic bomb. It's destroyed the music business. It's going to destroy the movie business,” says John Mellencamp. He claims that the rise in online music sales, decline in CD sales, and the increase in internet piracy will crush the music industry.

Really? An atomic bomb? While Mellencamp is a great musician, he’s also getting old. And like many old people, he doesn’t understand the potential for the web.

Why not think of it this way: the Internet is revolutionizing the music industry. And like in any revolution, old institutions (bloated record companies) must be torn down before new ones can be built. Just because we’re not certain what the future model for music will be doesn’t make it inherently evil.

Can ya dig that, Mellencamp?

Without the Internet, would OK Go be the sensation that it is? Probably not. Would Justin Bieber’s music be so popular? Well, yes. But that’s because who doesn’t love Justin Bieber? The Internet gives an opportunity for ANY band to have their music heard, not just the ones picked by the "industry."

We hope Mellencamp changes his tune, and stops being an old guy scared of change.

[Image via WENN.]

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86 comments to “John Mellencamp Insists The Internet Destroyed The Music Industry”

  1. 1

    Very true Perez or whoever wrote this. Mellencamp is just trying to preserve his social order though. People in power hate to lose it. It's lovely to watch :D

  2. 2

    Who is he again … ?

  3. 3

    Well said Perez. 100% agree with that.

  4. 4

    ”Would Justin Bieber’s music be so popular? Well, yes. But that’s because who doesn’t love Justin Bieber?”

    LOL! Maybe you should have asked would Justin been discovered? Oh well!

  5. 5

    Well you once again prove to me how fucking stupid you are, you are so fucking ignorant this man makes sense, he isn't the first person to say this but if 'lady' gaga says this you'll be licking it up.

  6. 6

    When explaining to Mellencamp what is RIGHT with today's music industry, you shouldn't mention Bieber… of all people!

  7. 7

    right perez ok go is just so huge, millions of youtube hits do not always translate into dollars. i could give a shit about online music, it sounds like garbage, terrible quality, but a whole generation have grown up without hearing good sounding music. do yourselves a favour kids buy a turntable and a good set of speakers, u may just never download a song again

  8. 8

    Doesn't John's wife con women into buying that Almay Lotion she promises will make them young & beautiful….LIAR!

  9. 9

    its your first post in a while I completely agree and love the commentary!

  10. 10

    >implying Justin Bieber is "music".

  11. tasha says – reply to this


    Besides pedophiles like yourself and tweens pretty much no one like Justin Bieber. He diffinitely won't make it to being an older artist like Mellencamp, He'll go the way of the wind like other teen popstars went.

  12. 12

    That reminds me to download John's entire music catalog for free via bit-torrent…

  13. 13

    well…hes not wrong…the internet has been the atomic bomb of the entertainment industry.
    and really using JB are part of your argument perez? not helping

  14. 14

    Re: Be-Atch

    Go listen to Gaga you fucking cun*t.

  15. 15

    I agree with a lot of what you say, Perez. Making an industry out of music, a basic form of human expression, is inherently rotten at the core. The fact that the music industry survived for as long as it did is a testimony to the mass illusions of a youth culture which is now getting old. A long time ago everyone made music, it was part of ordinary life, but the industry appropriated it and made music something which only "stars" could do. Time for a change, and the internet seems to be the vehicle.

  16. 16

    I totally agree with Mellencamp. Some of you leaving remarks need reschooling, learn some values and have an attitude adjustment or two!

  17. 17

    If it weren't for the internet, musicians would not be ripped off to the tune that they are now. OKGO, they would be watched on MTV, you know, before they became this crappy reality channel. Back when they and VH1 actually PLAY MUSIC. OK GO might be an internet sensation, well, for a while, but did they make money off of it? Or was it someone else? You, Perez/Mario talk about bloated record companies-at least musicians KNEW who to sue to get their money. Now, you hear a song EVERYWHERE, but does the writer, singer get their reward for it? I highly doubt it, but I am sure, others, and it is probably spread out among MANY OTHERS are making money off of them. As for OK GO, they will grow old, but not rich and they will be sitting around, trying to tell their grandkids how everyone knew who they were, listened to them, blah blah blah and the GK will go 'yeah right'

  18. 18

    Mellencamp has put out better music and has had a more successful long-term career then any of these "paint by numbers" artists out there. He's not old and he' not done. He has done more for music and for our country then a vast marjoity of artists out there. I'd take his music over that freak Lady
    Gaga or Justin Bieber anyday!

  19. 19

    I totally agree with Mellencamp. The Internet is the devil's play toy. Some of you leaving stupid, ignorant and vulgar remarks should go back to school and learn some values in your life (not to mention an education). All you knotheads need to have some standards and values in your lives, not to mention an attitude adjustment or two — no perhaps a lobotomy!

  20. 20

    Well said Perez. A lot of bands I listen to now, they wouldn't have been known if it wasn't for the internet. Hell my favorite band Dir en grey wouldn't be having shows around the world right now and they would only be known in Japan if it wasn't for the internet.

    It's amazing how people in high places try to cling to what little power they have left.

  21. 21

    The internet has destroyed a lot of industries. It created some new industries but ones that ultimately require less man power and in the long run are not very good for the economy.

  22. 22

    ur so creepy perez..ur fascination with justin bieber is disturbing and sickening.

  23. byho says – reply to this


    WELL HE IS RIGHT!!!… I miss the record store… i miss album covers…and discovering music.

  24. 24

    well said Perez!!

  25. 25

    I discovered a lot more interesting bands, when I use to go to local record stores and there was something special about going to the record stores and buying a cd when it first came out. The trill of a new release is not there anymore. Also I now there is a lot more access to free music, which is hurting sales. Just because music is being heard on the internet does not mean that more bands are making more money.

  26. 26

    OLD is not an insult!!! Some of you kids won't even make it to 60 or whatever he is.

  27. Slore says – reply to this


    Girl, can you come smell this? Is that a yeast infection?

  28. 28

    Wait this from the guy that whored himself to MTV in the '80s. Does anyone remember the "Pink House" giveaway/debacle?

  29. 29

    First Prince, now this old fart. It's called being old and of touch with technology and fearing what you don't understand.

  30. 30

    While there are lots of opportunities for bands to be heard on the internet that wouldn't be heard otherwise, there are also more opportunities for artists to get ripped off, as in not getting paid for their art as in people are downloading free music left and right. Mellencamp has a point and he is not the only one that feels that way. You've got guys like Jack White, a rock genius who is half Mellencamps age saying the same thing about how much the internet has destroyed the music industry. Age has nothing to do with John's opinion.

  31. 31

    He's a grumpy old man who's music isn't relevant anymore. Personally, I have discovered all kinds of music artists on iTunes who I never would have heard of before. He needs to "pipe down"…isn't that how the old people say it?

  32. 32

    I do not love Justin Beiber. I don't think I've heard worse crap, maybe Taylor Swift.

  33. 33

    So-called musicians such as your favs Bieber and Gaga wouldn't make it without the internet . . . I am sure some people have convinced themselves to enjoy them just because they are popular, and don't know anything about real music. I wasn't really a Mellencamp fan, but can see his point.

  34. 34

    Re: byho – Exactly. And we're NOT dinosaurs, either.

  35. 35

    John Mellencamp is right. And it's bred an entire generation of spoiled, untalented, whiny, wanna-be musicians. You need zer0 talent to have a band today. Back then you had to have musical talent, a great voice, & at least a grain of integrity. You used to be able to cut an album & the consumer could buy something tangible & get GREAT cover art, posters, photos, info. on top of it. Now you pay for AIR w/ a track of talentless bilge.

  36. 36

    what ol' melle-mel better focus on is his looks!
    holy cow! age much?!
    that grim reaper shiz ain't gonna hold his wife, fo' sho. plus she makes her own paper!
    now that the kids are older, i predict hot-ass 'almay girl' elain irwin will be plotting her exit in…
    5, 4, 3, 2…

  37. 37

    To all the haters. I just partied with John Mellencamp on Saturday night at Caesars in Vegas. The best guy ever,he is not grumpy. He was so much fun,I cannot wait until the next time.

  38. 38

    i just had to respond to the whole part of who doesnt love justin bieber?i know tons of teens and people who dont!the kid has NOOOOOO TALENT!!!!hes not even cute,im sorry,when he was on SNL,ugh it killed it for me even more,isorry,justhad to say it,i hate that kid.

  39. 39

    that is such bullshit and he shouldn't talk smack about the new technology
    i mean if it weren't for YOUTUBE.COM I wouldn't be able to watch his videos that I forgot about at one point in time-plus it helps bring him new fans-most that just stumble upon his videos and actually like them-so quite bitching John and embrace it!

  40. 40

    Like many old people he doesn't understand the potential for the web??? Fuck you, you ageist piece of shit. First off he's not that old and secondly there are tons and tons of older people who understand perfectly the potential of the internet. Fuck look at Gates and Jobs, both older and if you can find any two people who better understand the potential of the net I'd like you to show them to me. You really need to shut that homely hole of yours and stop yapping about shit you obviously know nothing about

  41. 41

    Well it's true, the internet has destroyed a lot things. People's reputation, marriages… music…. movies…. there's only a handful of people who havent downloaded something illegally online.
    There's too much contact in the world since internet and too many ways to stir up problems. Too easy to go download a new released movie too, and most of the time; people don't get caught.

    I wouldn't be hurt if internet just went away. I think it's what society needs, getting back to the REAL world and facing life. I find myself spending too much time on the internet, but I've lost contact with the real world and I've hurt myself and don't know how to get back into the swing of things. It's caused a lot of problems in my marriage as well with my husband doing things online. Its too much temptation.

    That' just my word on internet, no one has to agree =) just a friendly thought and opinion of my own!

  42. 42

    Oh, by the way, who invented and developped Internet: old people (well from your moroninc point of view). He his 100 % right (and you will always be 100 % wrong),

  43. 43

    Re: megaera
    Eh.. you really are on some type of drug to say moronic things like that

  44. 44

    "Without the Internet, would OK Go be the sensation that it is? Probably not. Would Justin Bieber’s music be so popular?"


    WHAT THE FUCK IS OK GO??!!!! if they were so "good" they would be known by everybody and if you're trying to make a point please! pleaaaaaaseeeeeee!!! DON'T USE LEZBI BIEBER!! don't use IT ( "we" don't know if it is a boy or a girl… ) oh! and STFU! mellencamp is right if the internet didn't exist we wouldn't have pieces of shit like caca lezbi bieber and more shitty disgusting bands and "singers" i have to say to you the last decade of GREAT FANTASTIC music was the 90s the music died when the 90s ended that's all i've got to say…

  45. 45

    I am with Mellencamp on this one. You only have to listen to the utter shit out there these days to see that something is terribly wrong. That some 12 year old turd like Bieber can be so big, not to mention a retard like GaGa - well, enough said.

  46. 46

    Oh jeez Perez…Mellencamp is correct. The internet has destroyed the potential for any artist now to make money off of his/her music. No matter what penalties are levied for illegal downloading, no matter what copy protection software is used, it will be defeated within 6 to 12 months by those who think music should be "free". All forms of encryption can be defeated given enough time and enough brainy people/hackers working on it. Same with satellite TV and cable.
    The internet would have killed the Beatles and Led Zeppelin as they NEVER would have generated any profit from record sales.
    Add this to the fact that technology has no allowed non-musicians to write "songs", and we now have hundreds of thousands of shitty, crappy, thump-thump-thump Lady Gaga-type dance songs spread like insects across the world. And they won't sustain any careers out of this either unless they tour with ultra-jacked up ticket prices (which has been happening). Sure the internet allows "anyone" to be heard….but it also allows "anyone" to have entire songs, albums and catalougues downloaded in seconds or minutes with high-speed connections and up-to-date computers - without paying the artist a dime!
    It's a good thing all you have to "sell" is gossip Perez because it's valueless within hours and has no "quality control" on it's validity. If you couldn't get advertisers to support your site…you would last MAYBE a month, because no one would "buy" gossip….

  47. 47

    In an ideal context, the Internet would suport the exchange of ideas, cross-pollination of creative projects, promotion of quality music and positive give & take between the public and musicians.
    Last time I checked, this wasn't and ideal world. Greed, ego and a weeping vacancy of integrity, smarts and depth pretty much dictate what gets the most "hits" on the Internet — and that translates into a mutation of the music industry. Mellencamp speaks truth. You can dislike what he says but trying to dismiss it based on how many years he has been alive is cheap and shallow.

  48. 48

    Re: Be-Atch – you wrote "Who is he again … ? "
    The Rock & Roll hall of Fame probably doesn't have a YouTube channel so you wouldn't know who Mellencamo is.
    Your loss.

  49. 49

    I agree with him… If we are going to consider Beiber "music" then fine, the internet has been helpful… but in reality, all the internet has done is watered down our mainstream to the point that labels are only willing to promote "formula acts" so they don't risk losing money … sick…

    All the people saying, "oh the internet allows us to discover new artists" only want to justify their piracy… Discovering new artists to download of Limewire… brilliant….

    For all the musicians out their trying to make it, really, how many have gained real success via the internet… a handful…

  50. 50

    Oh what a moron, honestly. Just like when 45s gave way to LPs artists had to adapt it's just another change. And what a ridiculous comparison! These people crack me up. Dude, if the bomb got dropped tomorrow and we all had to get real you'd see PDQ how unimportant you are. Entertainment is just that, something for when the real stuff is taken care of. If it all disappeared tomorrow we'd be fine.

  51. 51

    btw, Agent speaks the truth…props Agent.

  52. 52

    Damn you really don't have a clue about the music business do you Perez. I seem to recall you posting an article about how OK Go, despite their internet success, is broke. Why is that? It's because that music labels are still essential to break real artists. If people quit buying music, the labels will not put up any money for artists to tour(including your precious Ga Ga) so they will not make any money(artists, venues, road crews, radio, retail). Internet hype does not make a music performer a lasting star. Even comparing f*ckin' Bieber in the same blurb as a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend is just ridiculous. Perez, you're not that young, and like it or not Mellencamp has been around for 30 years. Let's wait and see where Bieber douche will be in 5 years.

  53. marc says – reply to this


    Who writes this shit? Respect people like Mellencamp, rock legend all the way!!!!

  54. 54

    all you plp say is true-but in reality do you know how many plp get sued for downloading a song-so stop trashing the guy-keep listening to perez and you will all be in jail!!!!!!!!!!! lol

  55. 55

    Sorry I agree with John Mellencamp. The so called "stars" of today really have no substance, originality or anything for that matter. If you want to listen then pay for it.

  56. 56

    Who gives a sh*t about the awful 12 year old hairdo called Justin B. Is this really a reason to contradict Mellencamp??

  57. 57

    The Internet is very dangerous Perez. For everyone who uses it in the best spirit, there are 5 out there abusing the privilege. One virus, one piece of code and the banks are wiped out, the defenses the military have are compromised. People will steal anything they can including your money, your intellectual property (music for instance), your safety net. Mellencamp isn't old. Just much wiser than many you praise for so little. The Internet isn't there for music. Its there to enhance the knowledge base we have. To learn, to expand your life. Change is good …in the right context. BTW-Mellencamp has done more for his communities than you ever will. Because he is a hell of a lot smarter AND wiser.

  58. n. says – reply to this


    The music industry ruined the internet.

  59. 59

    It's not a matter of changing his tune or being old. For the seasoned musician, this change has actually lost them tons of money. If they can stick it out through the transition then maybe they can start making the really, really big bucks again.

  60. 60

    That's like blaming a bank for being robbed because that's where they have the money. The internet simply provides the access, it's not like the internet sneaks into your computers and forces you to download illegally. It's still up to the downloaders. People have been bootlegging for years, albeit not on such a large scale, but it's been around since mellencamp was middle aged, years and years ago.

  61. 61

    The internet is killing the music industry…although i do agree it is helping some bands get heard, if things keep up the way they're going…music industry may very well die out and things will be very very different…

  62. 62

    No, no, the internet is like toxic waste, or like hitler! No the internet is like SATAN! yes, it's just like satan!

    get a grip, how totally inappropriate to compare the internet with ana tomic bomb, it's ridiculous!

  63. 63

    There's always been ways to discover new music–the internet just made it more efficient and convenient–but that is not what he's talking about, Perez. And to debase this man's opinion just because he's "old" is pretty vacuous of you. You're 32 and not getting younger, and in gay years that means you're ancient. For someone who can't get any of his new artists or tours off the ground, I would hardly say you qualify in giving advice on the music business.

  64. 64

    Maybe he should listen to lyrics from his own song, "If you're not part of the future, then get out the way!!!"

  65. 65

    Mellencamp rules…saw him in concert twice and the guy puts on a phenomenol show! Please tour again John! As for Perez…yes even horrible artists can get a chance to perform on American Idol too!

  66. 66

    Re: WindDancer – Hey asshole, I assumed you wrote this message by carrier pigeon and had one of the devils children transcribe it onto the evil interwebs?

  67. 67

    "Who doesn't love Justin Bieber?" Oh, only 80% of North America, I would say.

  68. 68

    I heard John being interviewed on the radio once, he's not the sharpest tool in shed! Sad that he would broadcast how dumb he really is with ignorant statements like the ones above.

  69. 69

    Can't really lie there…

  70. 70

    Justin Bieber may be the hottest thing out there right now (why, I don't know), and in terms of sales, he is doing better than other artists. Compared to similar artists, though, like New Kids on The Block 22 years ago, he's selling just a quarter of what they were selling with their album back then. That is what John is getting at.

  71. 71

    Money was stolen from my paycheck to fund the creation of the Internet….I STILL HAVE NOT RECEIVED MY ROYALTY CHECKS!

  72. 72

    I have spent a LOT of my hard earned money on Itunes so I resent this. I mean, this guy made his money 30 yrs ago when there werent even CDS, just vinyl records!!

  73. 73

    Re: byho – I never had albums but yeah I agree the covers were cool and something you could collect. Also, the videos they used to make back in the day…thye put in so much effort they were fantstic.

  74. 74

    I do agree with you.

  75. 75

    Mario. You stole this story from NPR almost word for word. This story is almost 3 days old. Your an idiot…

  76. 76

    can i just say not everyone likes justin bieber. Sane people hate him, like me and all of the people i know :D

  77. 77

    Re: Peter5150 – I didn't even read your post and I don't agree with you.

  78. 78

    So because you don't like what he says, you call him "old"??? Fucking spare me! Justin Bieber is nothing but a no talent, prepubescent, candy ass pop star! I would think anyone over the age of 13 would be embarrassed to listen to his crap!

  79. 79

    Fine, true, revolutionizing. piracy is still extremely destructive. youtube alone is raping artists of their money.

  80. 80

    The internet may have hindered the 'music industry' but certainly not 'music'. Music has been around from the beginning of life's existence, it's an integral part of life's experience and always will be but the avenues it which music is shared will continue to change as does everything whether referring to music or leaves on a tree. My personal opinion is that the 'music industry' lends itself to money and control where as 'music' is freedom. Viva la Musica!

  81. 81

    Re: mustbenargles – get a new husband….apparently he "just not that into you"…stop blaming the internet. You are a psycho.

  82. 82

    Oh yeah…forgot to mention that having sex with your husband once in a while might make the "temptation" less intense.

  83. 83

    Mellencamp is right on. Most of you are missing his point. He's not talking about the money or getting ripped off (the record companies already did that to him), he's talking about the quality of music. I heard him in an interview today on NPR saying that GM, which did a truck commercial with his song, treated him better than his record label ever did - because they actually did what they said they were going to do (not sure of the back-story there). The internet has dumbfounded record companies. All they see is red ink and blame music piracy, not the crap they're selling. Maybe, one day, they'll realize this and start producing music people will actually pay for instead of the crap put out today, which no one minds ripping off.

  84. 84

    Mellencamp is correct.

  85. 85

    Im with JM. And using Bieber as an example of the merits of the internet sort of destroys your argument.

  86. @v@ says – reply to this


    The other thing you can count on besides death and taxes, is change. That music golden era is gone, but has been replaced with an information golden era. I mourn the loss as well, but am trying to embrace the future with all of its new rules. Music hasn't been good for a while, anyway.