In the wake of recent future-of-music discussions—Louis CK’s direct-ticketing move, which may indeed revolutionize touring for artists with that large of an audience, and the Emily White/All Songs Considered/David Lowery thing—I’ve been having arguments about record labels and money.
I was kind…
this is interesting, and i don’t think mike is wrong, but i DO think he’s looking at it a bit backwards. because, in all seriousness, why do we need radiohead? why do we need bands who can sell out arenas? it’s a nice fantasy, and probably good work if you can get it, but there are other kinds of bands out there.
i think the collapse of the major labels will bring back local scenes- if a band can’t afford to tour and build up a fanbase, they can still play locally, tour locally, and build up a fanbase. it’ll bring back indie labels and small presses, kids in their 20s and 30s who are in it for the music, working to make it happen. it’ll bring back indie venues and revive local scenes.
when i see a band live, i’m not looking for pyrotechnics and a crowd of 50,000 people. i’m looking for a connection with an artist and connection with the fans and a sense of community. i illegally downloaded plenty of stuff when i was in high school and college and didn’t have money to throw at musicians. now i’m 27 and i throw all the money i can spare at artists. people keep freaking out about kids stealing music and ruining everything, but if i hadn’t had access to such a wide variety of music when i was 18, i wouldn’t be the music fan i am today.
i’m still seeing plenty of artists make it work without labels. it’s hard work and luck and talent and having a few shitty years while you get started, but most careers are. i think we need to stop looking at what we had 15 years ago and start trying to figure out what we want 15 years from now and how we’re going to get it. the music industry is changing, which it does ALL THE TIME, so it’s the job of people who love music and musicians to steer it in a direction they want it to go.
(full disclosure: i illegally downloaded all of radiohead’s music when i was 18 and absolutely hated them. so i generally think we’re better off with radiohead anyway. also i am not and have never been any kind of musician, which y’all should be thankful for cos i am TERRIBLE.)