“Even if tour revenue is increasing, it might not be trickling down quite enough.”

Not entirely surprised by the results of this SeatSmart study linked below, but interesting to see the information presented visually.

Even if tour revenue is increasing, it might not be trickling down quite enough. You heard me right, Reaganomics is failing the music industry. Let’s just hope streaming services can reform themselves enough to plug the hole.

via Does The Death Of Album Revenue Spell The End For Rock Stars As We Know Them? – SeatSmart Blog – Sports, Music and Ticket Data from SeatSmart.

Lefsetz’s Life Rules

1. Karma exists.

2. Niceness triumphs.

3. Be yourself.

4. You can’t please everybody.

5. Education is everything.

6. Learning is lifelong.

7. Possessions mean less as you age.

8. No one has the answers when it comes to love.

9. Do the right thing. Not only will it make a difference, you’ll feel better about yourself.

10. Time starts accelerating sometime in your late thirties or forties.

Source: Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive Life Rules – Lefsetz Letter

“In a city that promotes itself for music, those who do it can’t afford to continue”

Michael Passman has a pretty interesting piece on the challenges Austin is facing….problems that seem pretty common to a lot of other cities.

In a city that promotes itself for music, those who do it can’t afford to continue, there are fewer venues for them to do so, and those venues left are threatened with going out of business, not to mention less time in the evening for musicians to actually play.

We know the causes. People come here for SXSW, SXSW gets bigger and bigger, people decide they want to move here, the tech startup boom is ongoing, the economy is healthy, and buildings get torn down and replaced by high rise condos. It happens everywhere.

Source: Michael Passman: The Beginning of The End: Austin’s Public Face on Live Music Contradicts Reality – Blurt Magazine

David Lowery on Millennials and the Punk Rock Generation

Punk Rock Generation: We rebelled by protesting wars, dictatorships, apartheid, government corruption, the military industrial complex, polluting corporations, the christian right,  the draft, nuclear power, the slaughter of sea mammals, and even other punk rockers.  We were at times tear gassed and beaten by police (See Dead Kennedys Wilmington CA).

Millennials:   We rebel by not paying for stuff.  We want bean bag chairs at work.

So what you’re really saying is:  Millennial rebellion is rooted in some pseudo moralistic justification of theft based on which businesses use the discredited web 2.0 “freemium” business models? That’s where you take a stand?

(Personally I don’t buy this crap. I don’t believe there is a “millennial” generation with a different set of values than any previous generation.  Every generation has it’s selfish lazy assholes who are willing to justify any sort of behavior by claiming to speak for their generation.  And every twenty years or so marketers invent a new generation so they can pitch their consultancies, books, analytics and speaking tours.  But since the media seems determined to cram this current fiction down our throats we might as well have some fun with it by following the fiction to it’s logical conclusion.)

Source: Millennials vs the Punk Rock Generation: APM’s Marketplace accidentally illustrates absurdity | The Trichordist

“Twenty-five percent of Americans are spending more than half of their income just to keep a roof over their head.”

A recent Harvard report revealed that 25 percent of renters in the U.S. are spending 50 percent or more of their income on monthly rent…with no apparent end in sight.

Basic wisdom (which was largely established by rules governing public housing eligibility) warns a healthy bank account means that one’s housing costs shouldn’t exceed about one-third of a person’s take home pay.


A recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard, puts some numbers on just how bad this problem is: About half of all renters in the U.S. are using more than 30 percent of their income to cover housing costs, and about 25 percent have rent that exceeds 50 percent of their monthly pay.

Source: Rent Is Too Expensive – The Atlantic

The Median Salary for Freelancers is What?

I’m sorry, what was that salary number again?

Freelancers are optimistic about the current state of their working conditions, with 65% reporting an increase in job satisfaction in the past year, but there is still reason for concern. Many freelancers still aren’t making enough to live on. The median salary of those surveyed by Contently was between $10,001 and $20,000 per year, with just over 19% earning over $50,000 in the past 12 months.

Source: The State Of The American Freelancer In 2015 | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Mike Wiebe of Riverboat Gamblers: “We’re just kind of doing this because we want to do this.”

There’s a really good interview with Mike Wiebe, the singer of one of my favorite bands, Riverboat Gamblers, below:

Some of it is that we all kind of do other stuff and it sort of reinvigorates that band. There’s different fuels for the engine. For that last few years it’s been a little bit nicer now that we took the pressure off ourselves to try and just do this band full-time and try and make an adult living off of it because there’s only a handful, especially rock bands, that can really do that. We kind of took the pressure off that. Some of it is just getting older and enjoying writing more, learning to stuff in the studio on our own. Some of it is getting along and getting more comfortable and taking chances. A lot of it is taking the pressure away from trying to do this every day of the year. Now we just kind of pick and choose the stuff we really wanna do, the stuff we like to do. If were doing a show now, or if we’re doing a record, it’s only ever because we really want to do it — that we enjoy it. It’s never forced. There’s times for any band where there’s a bunch of shows, where it’s, “Gotta pay the bills, gotta pay the rent.” Now we don’t have that pressure so much. It’s nice to get back to the old days. We’re just kind of doing this because we want to do this. We turn down so much stuff now because, no, it doesn’t sound fun. Even if, sometimes, the show is to our financial benefit, we’re just like, “No, I don’t think we’d really enjoy doing that.

Source: Central Track // Gambling Man

Paul Krugman: “I would have expected the Internet to be a leveling force…But, so far, that’s not reflected in the numbers.”

There’s a really interesting interview with economist Paul Krugman in Billboard which includes this quote:

would have expected the Internet to be a leveling force, because you don’t have to be promoted by a major company to find your audience. But, so far, that’s not reflected in the numbers. That may be because the algorithms at companies like Spotify are not democratizing the field as much as I would like. Or it might be that people are all pretty much the same — and they all want to hear Taylor Swift.

The Internet has made music much more democratic for its creators (anyone can make music with a minimal amount of money and effort) and its listeners (you can find just about anything online). So why hasn’t that democracy spread i.e. to concerts and sales? Has music tech (Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, etc.) just codified a winner-take-all system?

Or do most people just want to hear Taylor Swift?

Krugman also raises a point about ticket prices:

If, say, we had to pay $25 for a ticket to see a band at Bowery Ballroom instead of $15, and the artist got paid a bit more, it’s probably true that the great bulk of the audience would still come. So, I shouldn’t knock it. Organizing could make the difference between not surviving and barely surviving.

And while I agree that one quick and easy way for artists to make more money is by raising ticket prices, I’m not sure that’s the best move here. Wouldn’t lowering ticket prices increase access so that more people had a chance to see the bands?

But I agree that organizing is important.

His last point is worth noting as well:

The fact that Canadian musicians have publicly funded health care is not trivial. Policies that help low-earning workers, like health insurance and minimum wages, lead to somewhat better income for [them]…The majority of artists do not make a living, or they barely scrape by.

We have to do a better job of supporting working artists in this country.

Interesting food for thought here. Any thoughts?

An Interesting Article on the Physical and Mental Health Effects of Touring via The Guardian

I’ve always loved touring, loved traveling, and love being on the road, but there’s an interesting article below that sheds light on the mental and physical toll that touring can have on working musicians.

For many, the contrast between the highs of a successful show and the anti-climactic low that often follows can be hard to adjust to, a phenomenon that has been termed “post-performance depression’, or PPD. Mental health professional John C Buckner writes: “When the body experiences major shifts in mood, it is flooded with several different neurotransmitters, resulting in a biochemical release that leads to a feeling of ecstasy. After these moments the nervous system needs time to recalibrate itself to prepare for another release. After an exciting performance the body starts to balance out the level of neurotransmitters, and therefore it is not releasing the same level that caused the exciting feelings, resulting in the lingering sadness. In normal day-to-day life, biochemicals are released and rest/recovery follow, causing the typical ups and downs of life. In the case of PPD, the process is more extreme with higher highs and lower lows.

Source: Insomnia, anxiety, break-ups … musicians on the dark side of touring | Music | The Guardian

Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and finding ways to reduce stress on the road have been key to recent tours. I’m curious if you have any other suggestions or thoughts on the above?

Slim Moon: “I thought music was so healing and transformative that I wanted to give it to the world”

Pretty interesting interview with Slim Moon, founder of Kill Rock Stars below:

The thing is, I thought music was so important. I thought music was so healing and transformative that I wanted to give it to the world and giving it to the world was more important to me than moving up the job ladder or making more money or buying a car with my first middle-class income.

The thing is music touches us in a way that is beyond verbal. And to get really mystical, it’s like we’re made — it’s hard to figure out what evolutionary purpose our musicality serves, but we’re clearly made to really respond strongly to music.

Source: From Punk Rock Mogul to Unitarian Minister – OnFaith