Musicians Making Money

In music, as in almost everything, is the big question of how bands will make money in the face of declining recording industry.  Some novel ideas came out this week. First, from NME, an article about Public Enemy using a fan funding engine, to basically ask for contributions from their fan base to collect enough money to make their next album.  In contrast, a separate blog post on the same site poses the musical point: Why fan-funded music will never work.

At the same time, Bloomberg reports, marketers are sponsoring artists’ tours in deals that have them promoting products first.   As U2’s manager says about the band’s deal with BlackBerry, “”BlackBerry made the TV commercial with our music and then spent many millions of dollars on media and TV worldwide,” says U2 manager Paul McGuinness. “They provided a budget that no record company could have possibly matched.” Likewise, BMW is using a Paul Weller song to celebrate its 50th birthday, Groove Armada is being sponsored by Bacardi, and some of the major record companies have set up units that will match artists with sponsors, thus relieving them of any marketing duties.  It was only a matter of time before big-name artists started to forego the connection with the label altogether. Pearl Jam made a deal with Target to release its newest album through iTunes, and Wal-Mart has done the same with AC/DC, Kiss and the Eagles.  I somehow cannot imagine Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin being sponsored by Excedrin, but then, they’re dead.  So this will work well for major artists, and for the up and coming, it will be as it has always been.

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