Music: O Brother's Wise Father

How the tall, taciturn T Bone Burnett taught the music industry a lesson. And here comes Chapter 2

The other day, a promotions executive at a major record label was bemoaning the state of his business. The Internet, bootlegging, CD burners--they were all killing him, he said. Then he turned his frustration on a new scourge. "I would really like to know," he asked, "who are the 6 million people buying O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

The music business is full of green souls, but envy often turns to mystified rage when the subject is the O Brother sound track. While the industry collapses, an American-roots album from a moderately successful film that received almost no commercial-radio play still...

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