Michael Jackson really enjoyed touring

sueddeutsche.de: When you started you were on stage, today young artists mainly market themselves online. They put their songs on the net. Is the website the pub stage of this millennium?

Jones: With us everything happened much less quickly. And that's okay because the art of someone like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder could develop very differently. You have worked long and hard on yourself. It was a long process.

sueddeutsche.de: But the fame lasted longer.

Jones: Because of that.

sueddeutsche.de: Today you can be famous all over the world within a few weeks.

He nods vigorously now as he continues to stir his soup.

sueddeutsche.de: Doesn't that result in a completely different relationship between artist and producer? Is it more important now than in the past to squeeze as much money as possible out of someone as quickly as possible?

Jones: To squeeze out? How should it work? You have to write him a hit.

Now he laughs almost as loudly as he did when he did his cell phone survey.

sueddeutsche.de: But it is precisely the stars who are found on television that get Knebel contracts with some kind of production company - it's not about the careful development of an artist, but about making money quickly while the fame of the show continues.

Jones: There may be such a thing. But I don't think it's the rule. In general, there are fair contracts - and when a song becomes a hit everyone makes money. If it doesn't get a hit, then there's nothing to squeeze out.

Okay, another topic.

sueddeutsche.de: Record sales have been in the basement for years. . .

Jones: . . . it's over. Not the love of music - but when vinyl was still around it was a completely different situation than with digital distribution. Every CD is a master disc - you can copy it endlessly.

sueddeutsche.de: And people are no longer willing to pay as much money for music as they used to be.

Jones: You don't want to pay anything anymore. A whole generation grew up that never paid for music.

sueddeutsche.de: Will something change there again?

Jones: It has to change. But nobody knows where to start, the record companies are in huge trouble. If you're 95 to 99 percent pirated ...

sueddeutsche.de: Didn't iTunes, Apple's online retail store, help? That was at least a step in the right direction - after all, people are paid for music on the Internet in the first place.

Jones: If a teenager has 10,000 singles on their iPod, it doesn't help the record industry in the least. It helps Apple. A single on iTunes costs 99 cents, apart from the fact that it's too cheap: a single used to be something like a commercial for a whole package. If there's only one hit in a package, who pays $ 10, $ 13, or $ 15 for it?

sueddeutsche.de: So is it a record label mistake too?

Jones: The mistakes are on both sides. The last two albums I did with Michael Jackson had seven titles in the top five. Including five number one hits - it's worth buying the whole package. Everyone has to pull themselves together, but it will no longer be the same as it used to be.

That seems like a topic he prefers to talk about. He suddenly seems to hear quite well too.

Jones: Look at the numbers today compared to what they were in the 1980s. The black Eyed Peas For example, they had four incredible hits around the world, guess how many albums they sold: 2.3 million in two years, that's a disaster.

Sure, Jones is used to other numbers, thriller has sold 110 million times.

sueddeutsche.de: Can you get anything positive out of the fact that people are touring more again because of falling record sales?

Jones: That doesn't help the young artists. To make money with Tours, you have to be famous. Sure, when Bono or Meat Loaf play a concert today, thousands will come. I went with them two years ago Rolling Stones in Brazil, there were 1.5 million people on Copacabana. But they had many, many hit albums.

Quincy Jones is silent for a moment, visibly reflecting.

Jones: You know, I come from a time when people bought music rather than something to eat. It was food for the soul. . .

sueddeutsche.de: ... which are now available for free on YouTube.

Jones: I still believe that the last two things that will leave this world will be music and water. You can't do without music. Can you?

sueddeutsche.de: Probably not.

Jones: How long can you

sueddeutsche.de: A few days maybe if I had to.

Jones: You couldn't be a week.

The press officer looks at his watch and says five minutes more. So quick. What does a Quincy Jones, who became famous at a time when blacks had to sit in the back of buses and ran after Martin Luther King's coffin, think about Barack Obama?

sueddeutsche.de: How much does the first black president mean to you?

Jones: He means a lot to me. He's got a terrible job of having to clean up all the mess his predecessor left him. Iraq, Afghanistan, the wars.

sueddeutsche.de: How important do you think you and black music were for making a black president in the USA even possible today?

Jones: Very important. But not only the blacks voted for Obama, but also many whites. Nevertheless, there are currently developments in many areas that really frighten me. You can sometimes feel a mentality like in the times of slavery, things like immigration policy in Arizona - then we'll soon be back where we started.

sueddeutsche.de: And how do you explain these setbacks?

Quincy Jones sighs and looks a little sternly. What a question, he visibly thinks: Please, we have a black president. Some people will never be able to get used to it.

© sueddeutsche.de/kar/rus/jja