An article somewhat related to my previous post was published on More Intelligent Life (http://www.moreintellignetlife.com/); Gigonomics: Now Rock Bands Must Sing for Their Supper. The article discusses how the music industry is changing due to failing record sales. From a situation where record sales was the main source of income for the artists and record companies, it is now the live music concept that is emerging as the big money-maker.
In those days, for up-and-coming bands, touring was a loss leader. However much the gigs fizzed with anarchic energy, in economic terms they were little more than a long marketing slog to sell records. Now the tables have turned. […] The big money is [now] in live music, and the records help sell the tour, not the other way around.
First of all, I think touring still is mostly a marketing strategy for up-and-coming bands. As the article points out, however, todays up-and-coming bands must be just as much marketing geniuses as well as musicians to break through. For a live-music lover like me, the focus on the live experience sounds like good news. It does, however, mean that records will in the future have a different position and function than before, both for the artists and the fans. Even though I enjoy live music very much, most of the music I’m listening to is conventional albums released on CD, and I like it that way. As many people, I have a natural sceptisism towards change. A change towards less focus on releasing records and more focus on the live experience sounds a bit scary to me.
Live music is to me mostly about the music. My impression is that when the music industry wants to focus on the live experience, it is about everything else than the music; fireworks, video screens with live footage, t-shirts, VIP lounges, etc. I’ve been to a few big concerts lately (R.E.M and Neil Young, both in Bergen, are the most recent), and even though the fireworks and video shows were impressive, I would not list them among my top five live music experiences (sorry Neil). When it comes to my top live music experiences, it’s always all about the music!