Poor l’il rockstar

The 2010 Greed and Technology (G&T) tour resulted in about a 13% drop in concert revenue (Pollstar’s 2010 numbers).

This year, promoters and arenas will be working a little harder to sell tickets.

The tour schedule for the first half of this year is pretty light, at least in my area. Things should begin to pick up here in summer, starting with U2’s rescheduled summer 2010 concert.

So, what happened last year?

The glut of touring acts during the summer, increased ticket prices, resellers, a slower economy, and touring routes. More acts also performed overseas. Difficult to book dates in the US, particularly north of California and west of Illinois.

iTunes also continues to polish off the radio star.  Slowly becoming a  zombie. The playing dead. Ungratefully so. The album itself now little more than a relic, a soon-to-be fossil. The collapse of the pre-digital age.

Not to thunderous applause.

Or to much fanfare. 

Welcome to the post-digital age auto-intoxication.

The initial Greed and Technology Tour little more than ‘growing pains’.

No collections. No packages. No joy of unwrapping a new piece of music  and putting it on your record player or CD player. Album artwork is unnecessary. Choose what you like. Hit the ‘buy’ button. Mash-up. Get what you want, mix it up how you want. Turn it in to a ringtone. Design your own artwork. Delete when you want. Disposable.

The soundtrack to one’s life wiped away and trashed.

Music as little more than a meaningless commodity. What the market will bear.

Recycled, manufactured. Some kind of nothingness.

Is the album even relevant any more? Yes, the artist may have intended a cohesive ‘whole’ but what of it now? Does anyone even buy an album?

Music is a click here, a download there. Also ‘free’ for those who ‘file share’.

Canada’s proposed ‘iPod Tax’. Digital levies on the tech.

No change to the standard music business model.

Not much money to be made in album sales.

It’s all about singles now – for both the pop/rock artist and the audience.

The concert future?

The rise of the pop/rock star middle class. Slightly less excess. Playing to an average audience of 10,000 per show.  A crowd of 14-20,000 (5-10 years ago) will be a more difficult ‘sell’ in some venues.  Musicians will need to work a little harder. Not become ‘museum pieces’.  Relevancy is fickle. You’re only as good as your last download.

Yes, the audience has become much more selective.  It controls who sells. Or not.

Smaller shows, of course, mean even higher ticket prices to offset the smaller profits. And probably more ‘service’ charges.

Some of the ticket-buyers who have felt gouged-out will feel even more. They can’t get a ticket as the show sells out within minutes, the now-global resellers are too expensive.  The entire incestuous nature of the relationship between the ticket sellers and their own resellers will eventually also collapse. Everyone wants a piece of the action, but the slices are getting much smaller.

In the end, everyone loses – the performer,  the audience, and most of all, the music.

And it’s not February 3, 1959. The day the music died.


~ by hooklineandthinker on January 20, 2011.

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