What a Drag It Is Getting Old: Many Think the Struggling Music Industry's Future Is in Live Performances. but Aging Acts like the Rolling Stones Account for the Lion's Share of Revenue. What Happens Once They're Gone? Jillian Cohan Investigates and Finds Hope in Entrepreneurship

By Cohan, Jillian | The American (Washington, DC), March-April 2008 | Go to article overview

What a Drag It Is Getting Old: Many Think the Struggling Music Industry's Future Is in Live Performances. but Aging Acts like the Rolling Stones Account for the Lion's Share of Revenue. What Happens Once They're Gone? Jillian Cohan Investigates and Finds Hope in Entrepreneurship


Cohan, Jillian, The American (Washington, DC)


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

You can't steal a concert. You can't download the band--or the sweaty fans in the front row, or the merch guy, or the sound tech--to your laptop to take with you. Concerts are not like albums--easy to burn, copy, and give to your friends. If you want to share the concert-going experience, you and your friends all have to buy tickets. For this reason, many in the ailing music industry see concerts as the next great hope to revive their business.

At a November touring-industry conference, promoter Charlie Jones, a partner in the Austin, Texas, company that produces Lollapalooza and other American music festivals, told his colleagues a story. The night before, Jones had been reminiscing with a friend about his most memorable concert experience. The show had been held in an ancient amphitheater on an island off the coast of Italy. Jones's buddy pointed out that concerts, whatever their trappings, have a long, long history. "He said, 'You were attending a show at avenue that's been around for 3,000 years,'" Jones recalled.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"It's a testament that the live entertainment industry has been around for 3,000 years," he told the crowd. "It's not going anywhere. Recorded music has been around for [much] less.... In the big picture, it's going to be a blip on the radar."

It's a blip that already is fading, to the dismay of the major record labels. CD sales have dropped 25 percent since 2000 and digital downloads haven't picked up the slack. As layoffs swept the major labels this winter, many industry veterans turned their attention to the concert business, pinning their hopes on live performances as a way to bolster their bottom line.

Concerts might be a short-term fix. As one national concert promoter says, "The road is where the money is." But in the long run, the music business can't depend on concert tours for a simple, biological reason: the huge tour profits that have been generated in the last few decades have come from performers who are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. As these artists get older, they're unlikely to be replaced, because the industry isn't investing in new talent development.

When business was good--as it was when CD sales grew through much of the 1990s--music labels saw concert tours primarily as marketing vehicles for albums. Now, they're seizing on the reverse model. Tours have become a way to market the artist as a brand, with the fan clubs, limited-edition doodads, and other profitable products and services that come with the territory.

"Overall, it's not a pretty picture for some parts of the industry," JupiterResearch analyst David Card wrote in November when he released a report on digital music sales. "Labels must act more like management companies, and tap into the broadest collection of revenue streams and licensing as possible," he said. "Advertising and creative packaging and bundling will have to play a bigger role than they have. And the $3 billion-plus touring business is not exactly up for grabs--it's already competitive and not very profitable. Music companies of all types need to use the Internet for more cost-effective marketing, and A&R [artist development] risk has to be spread more fairly."

The 'Heritage Act' Dilemma

Even so, belief in the touring business was so strong last fall that Madonna signed over her next ten years to touring company Live Nation--the folks who put on megatours for The Rolling Stones, The Police, and other big headliners--in a deal reportedly worth more than $120 million. The Material Girl's arrangement with Live Nation is known in the industry as a 360-degree deal. Such deals may give artists a big upfront payout in exchange for allowing record labels or, in Madonna's case, tour producers to profit from all aspects of their business, including touring, merchandise, sponsorships, and more.

While 360 deals may work for big stars, insiders warn that they're not a magic bullet that will save record labels from their foundering, top-heavy business model. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

What a Drag It Is Getting Old: Many Think the Struggling Music Industry's Future Is in Live Performances. but Aging Acts like the Rolling Stones Account for the Lion's Share of Revenue. What Happens Once They're Gone? Jillian Cohan Investigates and Finds Hope in Entrepreneurship
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.