The Vine column: ‘Group Therapy’ #1 – ‘What is the value of recorded music?’, April 2011

A new column for The Vine. Excerpt below.

Group Therapy #1 – ‘What is the value of recorded music?’

This week we here at TheVine are positing a new column. The idea is that Group Therapy will operate as a semi-random music industry related Q&A, a missive we send out to a great many artists in order to gauge their feedback on any particular issue.

This maiden edition is a good way to start: back in October last year, journalist Andrew McMillen was intimately involved in the One Movement festival in Perth (a festival which, incidentally, has just been deferred pending a review of the event). McMillen was well placed to engage with a wide array of artists attending the five-day event. Whilst there, he saw fit to ask them all this question:

“Your recorded music is an advertisement for your live show. You should not expect that people will buy your music. Agree/disagree?”

Responses below.


The Jezabels [pictured above, left]

“I guess so. You can’t stop downloads, and I’d rather people have the music than not. Also I think it’s a pretty healthy thing for a band to view touring as their livelihood. It’s when you contact most of the people who might become real fans.”

The Great Spy Experiment (Singapore)

“Do you mean it the other way? That is, if our live show – as an advertisement for our recorded music – sucks then we should not expect people to buy our music? Either way, I probably agree. The best thing about our live sets is our dancing. And you can’t get that on our records. So we understand if you don’t want to buy our CD.”

Big Scary (Melbourne)

“I agree. I started realising this switch in the industry a few years back. For most musicians – I don’t think this necessarily applies to super famous and successful artists like Lady Gaga etc – firstly, the live stuff is usually band’s bread and butter. Secondly, people can get their hands on so much free music from downloading and blogs and all the streaming on Myspace that it’s not easy to encourage them to spend on what they can easily get for free. We’ve been giving away our singles all year because we know it’s better to get people to our shows.”

Richard In Your Mind (Sydney)

“I agree that recorded music is an advertisement, but it’s a product too. That’s the great thing about music: it comes in different forms to be enjoyed in different ways. Some people don’t like going out to shows, they prefer to sit in their lounge room listening with a cup of tea. Less people are actually buying music because of the internet, I guess, but there will always be those who still pay for it.”

For the full column – which includes artists who disagree with the statement, as well as a few fence-sitters – visit The Vine.

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