Apparently even the suggestion of developing some kind of CD giveaway program to LA Times readers has caused a big uproar out in the City of Angels.
Unlike Q Prime's Cliff Burnstein I disagree somewhat as to the nature of the U.S. music audience. As I've written about many times before the U.S. consumer is faced with a dizzying array of choices on how to spend their time and money at almost every waking hour of the day. We are an extremely busy, overscheduled society. The sacrosanct record stores we grew up with - and even those placed strategically in major malls with heavy foot traffic - are no longer destination points per se, and even if they are we have far less time to browse around looking for the next great musical artist. We want to get in and out of stores and onto the next thing before we have to pick up our kids from whatever party or camp or play date they are at, or before we have to prepare that presentation or get ready for a meeting.
Music needs to be curated to us, even if it's music by well-known artists like Prince. If I was 13 years old now, the age I discovered Prince for the first time on MTV (with "1999" and "Little Red Corvette") I would not even be able to discover the artist via the same media I did back in 1983. You don't have to listen to radio to get new music. MTV barely plays new music (unless you're counting all the music they license in for their reality programming, a lot of which is from indie artists who will probably never get a video played on any MTV Networks channel).
So why shouldn't newspapers get into this game? Why shouldn't they help expose music to their readers? And why shouldn't they look upon this as a way to develop an advertiser-supported model when their ad dollars are drying up? I say they should.
Anyone at the LA Times (or any other major daily or newspaper conglomerate) want to answer that question?