Touring Can’t Save Musicians in the Age of Spotify

Touring Can’t Save Musicians in the Age of Spotify

Touring is, of course, the most ancient business model available to artists — and in many ways, it remains a vital part of their livelihood, even while the surrounding industry undergoes major upheaval to accommodate the new paradigm of streaming music. In response to the shift in revenue sources, standard recording contracts now intrude into the numerous nonrecording aspects of an artist’s career. But the advice given to the creative generators of this multibillion dollar industry is still one that would be recognizable to a medieval troubadour: Go on tour.   And yet from a business standpoint, it’s hard to find a model more unsustainable than one that relies on a single human body. This is why we have vice presidents, relief pitchers and sixth men. When applied to music’s seemingly limitless streaming future, the only scarce resource left is the artists themselves. You would think the industry would protect such an important piece of its business model, but in fact, the opposite is true. With snow, and now ice, covering a large swath of the country, my latest piece in the New York Times discusses the dangers facing touring musicians, particularly in the coming months. It stresses the importance of keeping writers’ rights alive, and seeks to undercut the tired refrain that touring is how musicians should make money in the “new paradigm.”   This is the “gig economy” as seen by those who popularized the term.   “Touring Can’t Save Musicians in the Age of Spotify“ http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/25/magazine/touring-cant-save-musicians-in-the-age-of-spotify.html?_r=0   Drive safe out there, friends.   M (Getty...
“Space Oddity” and the Power of the Story Song

“Space Oddity” and the Power of the Story Song

Exploring the brilliant techniques Bowie used to populate his Major Tom saga In my songwriting classes, I assign a week where the students are to write a “story song” — a piece of music with a character that develops and takes us on a journey of some sort. The students generally look at me cross-eyed. Once, upon hearing the assignment, a student asked, “You mean, like…Meatloaf?” To which another asked, “Who’s Meatloaf?” A third cleared things up by offering, “No, he means kinda like ‘Stan,’” referring to the Eminem song from their distant collective childhoods. Yes. Like “Stan.” At the moment, songs — and I’m generalizing, though popular charts do bear this out — tend to hone in on a particular moment and expand upon a fixed sensation. For instance, Adele’s “Hello,” the most popular song at the time of this writing, pushes out from a personal phone call to reveal her anguish over a past relationship. Songs with a wider lens use the first person plural (“we”) and are addressed directly to audience members in hopes of generating a rallying cry — the all-powerful “anthem.” (Fun’s 2011 hit “We Are Young” comes to mind.) EDM and electronic genres sidestep the whole concept of story by either eliminating lyric completely, or relegating a vocal part to a sampled and repeated hook. In this case, the music serves as a personal soundtrack that can be interpreted in ways that are not limited by language. Its inherent vagueness allows it to scale as others fill it with meaning, as if it were the audio version of Facebook. None of this is...
Mike Errico Holiday Sale: Full Digital Discography

Mike Errico Holiday Sale: Full Digital Discography

The Mike Errico Holiday Sale Shop at Bandcamp and get the full digital discography – all 11 Mike Errico releases – and save 30%. This is material that is not available on any other site, including iTunes, Amazon, Spotify,Pandora…anywhere. Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Vicious Circle, Wander Away [Instrumental Version], “Daylight” (Feat. Leah Siegel) from the film “That’s What She Said”, Tonight I Drink You All, Pictures of the Big Vacation [Deluxe Edition], Skimming [Deluxe Edition], All In [Deluxe Edition], Songs from “Lift,” by Kelly Corrigan, Wander Away [Deluxe Edition], The Mike Errico Podcast, and Free Downloads From Mike Errico. BUY NOW: $37.10 USD or more (30%...
Books Worth Reading: “The Circle,” by Dave Eggers

Books Worth Reading: “The Circle,” by Dave Eggers

“The Circle,” by Dave Eggers: The book didn’t surprise me as much as it should have, but I think that’s because this work of “fiction” describes a data-driven dystopia we are, in many ways, already living. I Keep a Pinterest board called Books Worth Reading. There are good books there, if you’re looking for...
The Mike Errico Holiday Show, Dec. 9th At Joe’s Pub, NYC

The Mike Errico Holiday Show, Dec. 9th At Joe’s Pub, NYC

I’m psyched to see you all at this extended-family tradition. Great band, new songs, surprises, and, oh yes, the HOLIDAY OMENS. (Newbies: check it out here.) The room is filling up but a question remains: You coming, or what? The Mike Errico Holiday Show December 9th, 9p | $20 Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater 295 Lafayette St., NYC Purchase Tickets Online Box Office: (212) 967-7555 (10am – 7pm M-Sat, Noon – 6pm...
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