8/22/2008

The Current State of the Music Business (continued)

On his Fistfulayen blog, Ian Rogers addresses in a recent post the question of "Who is going to play The Staples Center in five years?” coming up at a panel he attended last week:

"Who the fuck wants to see a show at The Staples Center? Do we judge the health of the music business by how many people are pulling half a mill in a single show at a terrible venue? I don’t. Let me be clear, unless your sole source of music discovery is network television and Radio Disney, I hope you never have to see your favorite band at The Staples Center. I saw Bob Dylan there once. It’s a bummer, only fun for the people counting the money."

The question isn't "Who is going to play The Staples Center in five years?” but which current acts will still matter and be around then? We're living in a time when artists are going from buzz bands and hipster darlings to residing atop the Where Are They Now? garbage heap at an alarming rate/speed. Like it or not, the artists Rogers uses in his post as examples of a new approach to releasing music (Radiohead, Dandy Warhols, Paul Westerberg) are beneficiaries of formerly doing time in the big machine and now utilizing that name recognition to their own benefit. (Radiohead acknowledged as much during the In Rainbows hoopla.)

As popular music becomes increasingly more disposable--regardless of the artists' creative merits/street cred or lack thereof--the number of established acts will steadily decrease. We hapen to think it's why we're seeing artists past their prime but with a solid following (Madonna, U2, Jay-Z, etc) being courted by the likes of Live Nation, instead of say, Kings of Leon. Right or wrong, the backlash suffered by bands like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Tapes n Tapes, Vampire Weekend (it's around the corner) etc just bolsters their stance.

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