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Teresa Wiltz · Washington Post

"... does a credible job illustrating the demise of the industry...."

"...Yet, for sexiness of the subject matter, and for all the hand-wringing and cries of 'The sky is falling' by industry insiders and journalists, 'The Way' never advances the argument. ... this documentary hits one note and doesn't veer from it in what is a much more complex, multi-note story. ..."

"Music is struggling, the industry is in the tank, sure. But the film doesn't, for example, look at the phenomenon of the underground: Many musicians ... are going the true indie route. ..."

"Perhaps more egregious is the virtual blindness toward any musicians of color. ..."

"...watching this, you'd think that the only people making music today were preternaturally pale rockers with a penchant for bad dye jobs, the better to hide a receding hairline. ..."

Mark Brown · Rocky Mountain News

"... a good review of recent music history, particularly the fact that the music industry's golden years were artificially extended by the advent of the CD, which found baby boomers re-buying their collections and inflating sales for a few years."

"And to its credit, Frontline notes that rap rose on its own, without record-label support and radio airplay until it had already established itself. But that's a story that's a decade old, too, and Frontline goes no further in looking at the changes in the music industry -- and those who are thriving despite the problems."

David Bianculli · New York Daily News

"... The Way the Music Died is producer-writer-director Michael Kirk's stab at explaining why today's music is so controlled, contrived and slickly packaged."

"A lot of what he cites, while true, is also obvious..."

Mike Duffy · Detroit Free Press

"... This lively, entertaining report explores the decline of the recording industry due to arrogance, corporate mergers, Internet theft, ethically challenged radio monopolies (Hello, Clear Channel) and plain lousy artistic development. Instead of encouraging new, innovative artists, desperate record companies try to recycle old ideas. Like whipping up a hard rock supergroup, Velvet Revolver, with head-banging alumni from Guns N' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots. Oy. And the banal beat goes on."

Glenn Garvin · The Miami Herald

"The venerable PBS documentary series Frontline makes a rare -- and, unfortunately, entirely unintentional -- foray into comedy tonight with The Way the Music Died, a ludicrous look at the recording industry."

"No laugh track is supplied, but believe me, you won't have any trouble producing your own."

"A combination of senescent hippie ranting, voodoo economics and self-important rock star blather, The Way the Music Died makes a convincing case that my parents were right: Rock and roll really can make you stupid. ..."

Roger Catlin · The Hartford Courant

"When it wanders away from subjects of grave importance, the usually excellent 'Frontline' can stumble badly. It happens tonight on a rambling report on the music industry that almost forgets to mention the effects of digital downloading on sales."

"Music documentaries on MTV and other outlets are so common by now that the struggles of music industry hopefuls are rather dull. It's strange that you have to watch public television's best news show to figure out the dim Duff McKagan hasn't exactly been going to night school since the decline of Guns N' Roses."

Joan Anderman · Boston Globe

"... It's an entertaining and informative window on the industry's woes, but surprisingly incomplete. ..."

Cary Darling · Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"The music business is in shambles. It doesn't take a nuclear physicist to figure that out. Sales have tumbled $12 billion in just three years."

"Still it's compelling to examine why, and that's exactly the mission of The Way the Music Died..."

"... What this documentary doesn't really address is that music hasn't died at all. People still make it, people still consume it. But the way it gets to people is radically changing, and this is what has the industry flummoxed. ..."

Barry Garron · The Hollywood Reporter

"... 'Frontline' presents a broad outline of several of the problems but goes about it in a circuitous way and without its usual penchant for hard facts and figures. ..."

"There's no question that [producer Michael] Kirk's docu has its finger on several of the major trends that have beset the music industry. Mostly, though, the information is anecdotal and subjective, less than what you'd expect from the authoritative 'Frontline' imprimatur."

Alex Strachan · The Gazette (Montreal)

"If video killed the radio star, can the same be said of American Idol and pop music?"

"The ills affecting the music industry are a lot more complex than one improbably popular TV talent show, however, as the fascinating PBS Frontline news special The Way the Music Died illustrates. ..."

 

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posted may 27, 2004

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