After having read an article by Kristy Loye of the Houston Press entitled 'Rock and Roll Is Dead, and Even Axl & Slash Can't Save It'. I had a discussion with some friends about it.
 

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And the main thought I took away from that discussion is that people who don't know, still think bands and labels should just 'adapt' to the digital age instead of bitching about all the lost money in file sharing. So I wrote a response to that theme. This is it below. I think my response may be longer than Kristy's article, but they echo the same sentiments. sort of. She claims Rock and Roll is dead. I think rock will survive, but we'll never have another Rock Star. But maybe, just maybe, someone out there will hear this over the din of the 'hear me, see me!' clamor of all those unfound bands out there trying to make it, trying to be the next Axl or Slash....
 
 
 
Let's say...
I'm in a band. I have a decent following in my hometown.
We bang around for a while playing covers to get some money as we write originals and test them out at our gigs. We can't play our hometown every week. So we have to go a few miles down the road occasionally for shit money just to be able to gig. We slowly but surely add more originals to our set. our following builds a little more each time we play a hometown gig.
Now we've got enough money to pay a guy we know with a home studio to record us 'properly'. Now we have a CD we can sell at our gigs.
Eventually we're playing to 400-500 heads once a quarter in our hometown. Time to hit the road! We have some t-shirts and CDs to sell at the shows. We're making a couple hundred bucks a show.
We have 2,000 likes on our Facebook page.
We have 5,000 Twitter followers.
We sell our CD on CDBaby.
We sell 100 CDs online. Over 6 months.
We come home. We play to 400-500 people in our hometown.
We dump everything we made on the road (who are we kidding, we lost our ass on the road, the 20 year old van we were in kept breaking down every 600 miles).
We dump everything we have into CD #2.
We play a hometown show to 400-500 people. We go back out on the road for $200 a night.
We sell another 100 CDs on line.
We do this cycle for 5 years.
Why?
Because someone keeps ripping our CDs and putting them online. We keep trying to get them taken off Youtube and off torrent sites, but to no avail.
We don't have enough sales to get on streaming sites, but who cares, they don't really pay anyway. Maybe someone hears us on Spotify and comes to our show in their town? Not likely, because the next free song comes on and they forgot about us.
There is no market to break new music. As the article said, there is no way to 'make' a new rock star.
The digital age, as convenient as it is, is killing music as we knew it.
 
It doesn't make sense for a band the size of Metallica. The largest, most well known 'metal' band in the world to put out albums.
The biggest selling acts of our time, Eagles, Rolling Stones, etc, etc, etc, know that there is no sense releasing new music. Just tour and play the old stuff.
 
And the new bands coming up?
These festival bands that can headline theaters? They can pack a 2,000 cap room. But they will never make it to a shed or an arena. Why? Because you've never heard of them, I've never heard of them, no one has ever heard of them.
 
There are too many outlets and sources for music and information on bands. No one knows where to turn to find new music. When it is all accessible all the time it means that no one can access it because they can't find it in the crush of the 'See Me! Hear Me!' coming from every direction.
 
What kept the music industry afloat (live and recorded) was the casual fan. The die hards were always there, they will always be there. But the casual fan heard a song on the radio, at a friend's house, in a bar, and had to buy the album to hear that song. They had to seek it out and pay for it. They had to pay money for a ticket to a show to see the band play that one song they liked. And they did it. In droves.
 
But now, I can stream that song. I can watch that show on Youtube.
I don't have to pay a dime. And I don't have to seek out new music, because I never hear new music. Because streaming is not the outlet for 'new music'.
Adapting to the new age, the digital age of music means not recording new music. Because nobody is buying it.
 
Sure Adele sold a million copies of her new album the first week. Because she is one of say.... 50 artists that labels put promotional REAL promotional money behind to sell to the masses. That song, regardless of how good it was, was everywhere, was shoved down our throats on TV, on the radio, on social media... everywhere.
 
That is how music used to be pushed. But the money isn't there to push bands, to nurture their talent for 4 or 5 albums till that 1 big one hits and they take off and you make your money back on them. That will never happen again.
 
There will never be a new Rock Star.
There will always be processed pop stars.
But the Rock Star is dead.
As Lemmy and others begin to fade away...
The Rock Star goes with them.
We may be lucky and we may always have rock music, but we will never have a new Rock Star again.