Saturday, March 1, 2014


Once the free downloading of music became acceptable to the mainstream, record companies found themselves on the brink of bankruptcy. Blood was running down the streets. Mid sized and smaller bands were all axed in a matter of months. 
If Mick Jagger can't get no satisfaction and Bono still hasn't found what he is looking for, then imagine how those poor bands felt. 

The bigger acts didn't get out unscathed, they had their tour support pulled. It used to be that tours lost money but the revenue was made up for by the record sales. That all changed. Now bands have to tour leaner and meaner. That's why we now rarely see a full bells and whistles stadium tour. It's also why ticket prices made a huge jump.
Record companies stopped signing new bands. They couldn't afford to make the ad buys, pay the A and R personnel to wine and dine radio stations or cover the costs of an effective PR campaign.
New bands are the life blood of the music industry; they keep bringing the younger generations into the fold. Sure the Stones and Bruce and the established acts still have a career, but they are getting long in the tooth and don't exactly speak to eighteen year olds like they used to. The music industry has to look inward and ask tough questions.

What was finally ironed out to fill the record company void was a new relationship between big agents and promoters. Think of the United States as forty large markets. Each market has a King Kong promoter. The agent calls the promoters to book the tours. Now every large established act takes out an agents pet baby band to play the middle slot. The promoters are given a fair price to take on the package and to pay the baby band well. The promoter can't piss off the big agents or they get replaced so they know they have to make the new band famous in their market.

After hanging up with the agent, the first thing the promoter does is call the local big radio station and tells them they have to start giving air time to the new band. The promoter then calls the daily newspaper and says a feature story needs to be written about this new band. The same type of calls are made to the weekly and monthly newspapers along with all internet publications in the market as well. They all do what the promoter tells them. The reason is because the promoter is the gate keeper. 
Who gives the radio station 30 tickets to U2? Who gives the daily newspaper 20 tickets to review Elton John? Elton John doesn't need the review and it doesn't take twenty people to write a review. Who gives twenty tickets to the weekly, monthly newspapers and internet publications? The promoter does and no one in the media wants to lose that access. They all get VIP seating and free drinks. The promoter is now allowed to take four hundred tickets from the big shows and throw them around like confetti to the media. When a small band goes out on a tour playing to seventeen thousand to forty thousand people a night for two months they are on their way to real fame. The big agent send them out on several of these tours and that's how bands get famous now. It's also the reason record companies line up to sign the bands after they hear the artists are with a big agent. 
Unfortunately small agents have taken it on the chin and it's career suicide for bands to work with them because these days you won't make it by playing to forty people a night for seventy nights out of the year.