Tomorrow night I will be heading to the Commodore Ballroom to see Gary Clark Jr.
Gary is a fabulous, edgy, blues rock musician from Austin, Texas. It’s perhaps unlikely I would have heard about Gary Clark Jr, if not for a friend and the internet.
Like many others, I have a subscription to Apple music which allows me the luxury of listening to most anything I want, at any time, at little cost. The internet allows new or unknown artist to get plenty of reach but with even modest success, can they make enough money to carve out a living?
If we think back to a couple of music business events:
-Record Companies discontinued the album and implemented the compact disc in the early 80’s. This maneuver eventually caused a lot of self inflicted trauma and death to some labels. The “new” digital music solution would later prove an effective way to copy and share music.
-In 2000 Lars Ulrich from Metallica takes a stand against the growth of Napster and the royalties his band was missing out on. Many people did not like Lars at that time, calling him a greedy rich spoiled musician.
It is a different time now. The music stores are gone and we are settling into the music “subscription” model.
Does it work? For the consumer, I would have to say… hell yea! Having instant access to a library of most all recorded and sold music in history for a low monthly cost? Sign me up! For the artist, understandably, it appears not so much.
If Pharrell (based on the article below) makes $2,700 for his song “Happy” I don’t think Gary Clark Jr is likely to make enough in royalties to buy his band a beer tomorrow night.
Sorting out the M&M’s will not be easy but obviously there needs to be changes made. At the end of the day if we are enjoying the art, lets get the artist paid!