Monday, June 23, 2008

The Good Grey Lady agrees

Well, now I know it's not just punk-rockers and DIY exponents who've realized that you can't download or bootleg an in-person performance: the Paper of Record gets it too:

Live Music Thrives as CDs Fade

A little over a week ago, Patterson Hood, a guitarist and singer in the Drive-By Truckers, stood in front of a sleepy but amped noon crowd at Bonnaroo, the music festival in Manchester, Tenn., explaining profanely that it was time to, um, wake up....Like much of Bonnaroo, the set was a display of the fealty between band and audience so thunderous that you barely hear the sound of a dying business. Yes, the traditional music industry is in the tank — record sales are off another 10 percent this year and the Virgin Megastore in Times Square is closing, according to a Reuters report, joining a host of other record stores. That would seem to be bad news all around for music fans — 70,000 of whom showed up in this remote place to watch 158 bands play — and for Mr. Hood and his band.

Not so, he says.

“The collapse of the record business has been good for us, if anything. It’s leveled the playing field in a way where we can keep slugging it out and finding our fans,” he said while toweling himself off after the set.
It also makes for a hell of a lot better long-term job security, because the fundamental human need (and skills) for live music have endured a hell of a lot longer. Oh, and by the way? It does some young person who's never heard live music about six times as much good to play a show for them as to sell a CD (or a download) to 'em. If you as a musician need additional motivation to get out there and be a musician (as opposed to a "recording artist"), think about how much more good you're doing in the world.

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