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Where is Music Going?

Within the span of one week, I recently spoke with two musicians from different bands about the future of the music business.  Both have new albums expected to release this coming Spring.  Both are eager to see what the next album will bring.  Neither band was a headliner.

One disclosed the decision to go to a new record label in hopes of getting more attention for a sophomore release.  In the same breath, this starving artist of sorts said he could make more money at Starbucks than he is making in a day on the tour.  Did you know that the band receives a certain previously agreed upon per diem fee each day on the tour, and at times makes more money selling merch than this per diem fee?  I purchased some merch that day in hopes of helping out my starving artist friends.

The other musician whom I spoke with declared his hopes of receiving more exposure with another headlining band than what had been occurring on the fall tour.  Apparently, the same tour was to be continued in the spring, but due to low ticket sales in the fall and necessary budget cuts, this band was cut from the spring tour, resulting in plans to embark on a different tour.

My friend was hopeful to get an opening slot for a larger tour to help promote the new album, the fourth national release for the band.  He explained how the band still has not seen money from the third album, and won’t see any money until several more thousand albums are sold.  For those of you who don’t know, the record label generally spends money on an artist to help make the album, and then record sales help pay that money back to the record label.  That is the simplified basic version, as I understand the process.

This is just one more reason why music should be purchased, and not stolen.  But I digress.  

Both conversations led to deep discussions about where the music industry is going.  It is something that has been on my mind a bit lately, and is sure to come up in my interviews with various artists.  I don’t have the answers.  But if I did, I’d be rich.