From Riches to Rags to Nothing

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In a story by Hans Christian Andersen called The Emperor’s New Clothes, a vain emperor cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes. He hires two people who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes. But, they say, the fabric can only be seen by those who are fit for his position. Why, those who are “hopelessly stupid” cannot see the clothes at all.

The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothing. What are they to do? They don’t want to look stupid. They don’t want to get fired. So they pretend to see the beautiful cloth.

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Finally the swindlers report that the suit is finished. They pretend to dress the Emperor who then marches through town in a big old parade to show off his new clothes. Not wanting to insult the king nor look stupid themselves, the king’s subjects lining the route of the parade play along with him.

Then a child, too young to understand the dynamics of crowd think, hollers that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all. Little by little the cry is taken up but the Emperor, even though suspecting the crowd is right, continues right on along as if he is in fact wearing his new clothes. You see, the emperor is highly invested in his own PR. 

How sad. In the music business today, one must ask themselves who the emperors are. One must ask who are pretending to go along with the notion that the emperors have new clothes, and why they are pretending.

Then one must ask, “Am I the child in the crowd seeing the music business changes for what they really are? A sea shift of tectonic proportions in how the business is and will be conducted from henceforth?”

Oh yes, my friends. Who are you in this story?

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