Music will be free + Touring is where the money is = BS!
When talking about the future of the music business, it’s become a trendy statement to say, “In the future, musicians will look to playing live and touring to make their money instead of selling CDs and mp3’s because music will be free.” Well, I’m not afraid to call those people out with a big BS and here is why.
First off, I find that these statements are made by people who are, either, not musicians, or people who made money as a musician years ago. They are not an artist or a member of a group who is actively playing live and touring in today’s market. For some reason, they are working with the notion that bands and artists somehow forgot to put a focus on live music revenues and just need to return to that to see the money start rolling in. The fact of the matter is, bands and artists never stopped touring. And if they did, it’s because the money stinks! Even successful tours these days barely break even, much less make enough money for the recording artist to consider recorded music as just a free piece of promotion and nothing else. It takes an immense amount of work, time, and talent to build a serious revenue stream from playing live. Let’s not forget that through the internet, you can reach an endless amount of people worldwide, but with live performance you are working with a select number of venues in confined markets. Last time I checked, there weren’t many venues with the reputation of paying out big to artists. While there are echos of the past through the return of the single release as opposed to the full album, we are not returning to the 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s like some suggest.
The future of music lies completely within the artist’s hands, period. If they want to focus on selling recorded music and their fan base will continue to buy it, selling music will be a big revenue stream for them. If they are fantastic live and want to give away a track to entice people to come to a show, then live shows may be their big revenue stream, but it’s all up to the artist and what their fan base will allow. The future of the music business is NOT in the hands of companies who dream up business models that artist should follow. The future is NOT free music because some guy with a degree and years working in the industry says so. The business plays by the artist’s rules now, and that scares the pants off the gate keepers that used to make a living deciding what the artists could do.