Don Was, the Grammy-winning star producer who has worked with everyone from Bonnie Raitt to the Rolling Stones, comes on board beginning this week for a writing stint on the new Star Traction blog at Metro Times (Detroit).
Was, who co-founded the hit-making machine Was (Not Was) in Detroit in the 1980s, remains intimately tied to Detroit’s local music scene, in recent years organizing and leading cross-genre, multi-generational revues during our annual Concert of Colors and featured on his Wasmopolitan Cavalcade of Recorded Music.
Was, who has plenty to say about the music business, kicked off his guest blog run with a post concerning iTunes and the death of liner notes, sparking the kind of involved online discussion that the MT editors were hoping for. Don’s central point is that by separating the digital file of the sounds from the context of liner notes, the music industry has diminished the album experience that changed lives like that of Don’s and countless other fans.
Recounting how impact of Frank Zappa’s Freak Out! Liner notes on his life, Was writes:
Frank Zappa schooled us in counter-culture history, gave lost teenagers an identity along with a mythology and provided four sides of groundbreaking rock ’n’ roll for five bucks! Some 44 years later, I’m still a fan – that’s what the music business is about.
The column has already become the subject of further commentary by Fred Mills of Blurt who endorses Was’ final call for action:
It’s time for everyone — Apple, the record labels, artists, ASCAP, BMI, the Federation of Musicians, SAG , the recording academy, music publishers — to ante up and show more respect for music fans by insisting on providing them with the complete experience of recorded music. A great, timeless album is more than just an entertainment app.
Look for more from Was in the weeks to come at metrotimes.com.