The State of The (Music) Nation

Once upon a time, launching into a career in the rock music industry had pretty good odds of setting you up on a very comfortable financial cushion.

Even if you never really hit the big time, there was plenty of room for radio fodder. Studios had rosters full of B-list artists that they could trot out at any time they needed to fill a slot on a radio program, talk show or even to cover a live event.

Those artists weren’t making the big bucks, but there was enough for everyone to get by.

These days, even some of the biggest names in the industry are struggling to get by. Record deals are no longer the lucrative cash-cow they once were, and the royalties paid by radio stations and online music players are little more than a pittance.

To replace their ever-dwindling traditional income, the high rollers are turning increasingly to live music for their bread and butter.

This, however, presents us, the music fans, with a dilemma.

While it’s fantastic to be able to see our favorite artists more frequently, and in a more diverse range of venues and types of concert…

We are increasingly aware that WE are the commodity – not the artists.

This has become blindingly obvious, with many bands being brazenly sponsored by energy drinks and the like, their performances peppered with subtle-as-a-sledgehammer references to their sponsors and their products.

More and more, live music has simply become a vehicle for artists and big businesses to make more money together, while delivering a less authentic and less enjoyable experience for the people actually coughing up the dollars.

Until record companies, the online music stations, festival organisers and the artists can come to a workable agreement for all, this commodification of the art form will go on, cheapening it and damaging the very prospects they are looking to grow.