Why should rock stars expect to be rich?

You might enjoy a piece I wrote for Word magazine called Why should rock stars expect to be rich? - arguing that the future record industry simply won't be able to maintain the kind of salaries that pop stars of the last century were used to.

Excellent article! Not so sure if anyone wouold look up to a hedge fund manager nowadays but give it a few years and maybe...
Not a very informed opinion. If you don't think there are millions of dollars or euros to be made in the music industry, you are wrong. The paradigm will shift, and there will be different ways to make money, but there will still be pop stars, commercials, licensing, royalties etc. In fact... i would venture to say that the artists will become richer and the record labels will be the ones losing money. It seems you are getting the record labels confused with the artists.
There seem to be some gaps in thought, but thought provoking anyways. I fully agree about record labels and concerts, though.

In Japan, where I am currently living, major artist are always sponsoring products from beer to shopping malls, along with selling all sorts of crap including t-shirts, towels, cell phone charms, posters, stuffed animals, and anything that would be appropriate to slap their name on and ship out the door. Between that and TV appearances, live shows, and cross promotions (like Perfume and Pino to name a recent example) if an artist never sells a single CD, they'll be quite well off. Their record label might be hurting, but the band will be fine.

Even with CDs, limited edition prints, multiple color options, free giveaways for new releases, and bonus DVDs for only a little bit more are all good motivators to buy instead of download. I can download an album, but I can't download a "The Go! Team" hand towel.

What needs to happen in the rest of the world we need to lose the concept of 'sell out'. There is no real concept like that in Japan that I can tell. Also, if an artist endorses a product, it is generally something they actually enjoy and support. Does it make someone a sellout to get paid to be photographed drinking a beer they like?

I would love to see a day where music is legally free. If I could get free music from a record label in return for being put on a mailing list which would inform me regularly about artists and offer to sell me things, I think I would probably buy more stuff than I currently do.

Although, even so I'd probably still buy CDs of my favorites.
Well, duh! Because they're rock stars!
Apprication for rock stah now being taken in China, round eye. Appry now. Chop chop.

MUSIC THING GUY?!? You are letting me down. You need to sit down and rethink. Your arguments are not solid. You are smarter than this.

And, ah, when was the last time you spoke with a successful indie rock musician? I don't know any who are dreaming of making a fortune. They just want to keep touring and making their records and guess what, they are! And guess what, by and large, it's working!!

Yeah... I wonder what's really driving this article of yours? Why did you really want to express this?

You grindin some kindah axe not made in china but in your own mind? You rewite and repost chop chop.
I thought the basic premise of the piece was sound: Remember that copyright in music performance was essentially a 20th Century invention and may, in retrospect, turn out to be an exclusively 20th Century phenomenon.

For nearly all of mankind's history, musicians earned whatever they earned from live performance. The compositions were part of an oral history that we shared, so that (to take a nor massively representative but at least widely known example) when Mozart wrote a piece using themes from Handel, or Bartok kicked together a fantasia based on Hungarian folk tunes no copyright lawyers got involved - the music was just performed and enjoyed by the people who were around to hear it.

The smart money now is going into 360º deals covering recordings, publishing, performance & merchandise. If record companies want to survive those sorts of deals, I think, will become more common. The more savvy players will have more opportunities to just get out there & paddle their own canoe along with their few thousand fans.

Nobody loses but the lawyers - and not even lawyers like lawyers.
I like Joe Pernice's 'Cribs' episodes:

There's rock-star livin' for ya.
From a qualitative point of view, it often seems that the richer people get, the less interesting their music is.
The road to riches might be tastelessness, due to the standards of the majority of humanity.
If rock stars making significantly less money means struggling indie artists making more money, then I'm all for it.

But really... you think those bands made all their money on album sales? I mean, Coldplay has sold, what, maybe 25 million albums? Their £30m each didn't come just from album sales. Concerts are still big business - in fact, they seem to be bigger than ever. In 2005, U2 sold out an 18,000-seat arena in my area in 7 minutes. And it's only gotten worse since then. Recently, ACDC (big, but not as big as U2) sold out the same arena in 4 minutes, and Metallica sold it out even quicker (I don't have the exact number though).

Regardless, bands are finding ways to do exactly what your article says, and still make a ton of cash. Look at Nine Inch Nails' Ghosts I-IV. They made $750,000 on the "ultra-deluxe limited edition" in a matter of hours, and that was without even having a record label at the time.
Keith said: "What needs to happen in the rest of the world we need to lose the concept of 'sell out'."

So spooning fecal matter into the mouth of society should be an acceptable act?
mnqoqi said: "So spooning fecal matter into the mouth of society should be an acceptable act?"

You obviously missed my point completely. What I mean is we need to stop looking down on musicians for doing ads. I know this can lead to a slippery slope, but it doesn't have to. There's no reason to dislike a band if they're in a beer commercial or their music is being played in a car ad, yet it's still considered a very bad thing by many people.
Wow, nothing like slipping a little anti China racism in, that has nothing to do with anything! If said moronic racist garbage like that I'd stay anon as well, ASS.

As to "selling out" the reason I hate to hear songs in commercials is it supplants, or utilizes my vision, or the meaning of the song to me, to try to utilize those memories and personal feelings I associate with the song to sell me products.

But as I have been saying for decades, I don't begrudge any artist money, they just aren't going to get any of mine, if I feel that what they are doing is going beyond the love of music and creation into being crassly commercial, and exsisting merely to hawk products.

I think that maybe their should be "Fan Clubs" where you pay your money in advance, to help the artists you like to create. Sort of a subscription service as broached upon by the article.
Live performance seems to be where musicians make most of their money these days, considering bands usually get about 35% of ticket sales as opposed to like....4% or for album sales or some crap like that.
I remember reading Steve Albini's well-known article about 'Rock Star' earnings some years ago and vowing to keep the day job in addition to recording and performing.

I still recommend it to any friends chasing a 'major' deal.

In addition, a mate who was signed to a Very Big Label Indeed once told me exactly how much his band owed to the label after I made him get a round in.
Jaws were very much on the floor.
I just got around to reading the article and it's interesting, although I was disappointed it wasn't longer and more detailed.

I read up on Seth Godin, mentioned in the article. I would have thought he could afford a nose job to fix that broken honker.

Oh, money. My band can earn around $US10 per head per show. Usually that's in small venues <250 people but we do some 1,000 people shows. $10,000 a night between 7 people (band:5, boss:1, roadie:1) isn't going to make anyone rich but we do OK.

- although a lot of work goes into that.
great blog site,very cool. I'll be sending the link to a coupleof mates.

Check out mine if you like

I Found That Essence Rare
Yes i agree that they above article lags some information which might have made the article more interesting,if added. bridging the gaps might be the solution for the above..
Hey i loved the article. i've been thinking about this for years, glad someone else feels the same.
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