Friday 10/28/2011 by jackl


It all comes down to radio. Either it plays your new single or you collapse. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Doesn't matter what you did in the past, if your new record ain't a hit on the radio, you're toast. Just look at Christina Aguilera. Her album stunk up the joint, she got no traction at radio, and she had to cancel her whole damn tour.

Didn't used to be this way. Used to be bands were developed slowly. The audience saw them as more than one hit wonders. These are the classic rock acts. Once we got to the video era, band shelf lifes shortened. Now it's nonexistent.

If you were made by the machine.

If you made it outside the system, if it was about touring and gaining fans slowly, you're laughing all the way to the bank. Recorded music revenue may be way down, but Phish is still cleaning up on the road, despite never having a mainstream radio hit, without having any radio airplay whatsoever, except for pockets of college and Triple-A exposure.

And then there are the electronica acts. Arguably, Tiesto is the biggest touring act in the business. Sure, there are a handful of acts who could draw more, but Tiesto can do it night after night, every show is different, people come for the experience. And most of America's got no idea who Tiesto is, they've never even heard the name.

Today's big Top Forty star, Rihanna, if she fails at radio next time, she's in the same boat as Christina Aguilera. Same deal with Katy Perry. See why the major labels are up in arms, why they're freaking out? You can't sell a record and nothing lasts, how's that for a paradigm?

From Bob Lefsetz' music industry newsletter,


, comment by forbin1
forbin1 pretty interesting read..although it's pretty obvious that artists these days rely on the radio...and it's still pretty amazing, that after almost 30 years together, and without virtually no air play..Phish is still going strong...See them while you can...
, comment by zachary
zachary phish is so unique in the sense that they did it there own way.they rose to fame at the pace that was given to them.they didn't try and write number one singles they just wrote songs that they wanted to write and eventually after almost a decade of being under the radar they blew up because people realized how talented they were. these guys set a framework for jambands to be succesffull and its quite amazing
, comment by forbin1
forbin1 God bless the tapers ...
, comment by DrEvil
DrEvil This band is so bad I don't know where to begin. Silly song titles for one. Lousy live band ( Hershey park 2000) etc.
, comment by thehurricane
thehurricane Clearly Dr Evil means bad like Michael Jackson meant it.
, comment by King_Williamson
King_Williamson There used to be a band where I lived, Knee Deep Shag, that were local Gods, if you will. People flocked to them because they were pure and didn't give a shit about airplay or selling records. However, as the group began to gain a larger following, the music began to change. Somebody saw an opportunity to make a buck off these guys and their sound completely changed. They went from a funk/soul/rock band to a straight up pop group. Funny thing about pop songs is they are usually devoid of any substance or staying power. There just isn't any depth, and in KDS's case, people began to see through them and realize that they were in it to make it, not to play what they loved to play.

Some of my friends say that Phish has sold out in a way, and I tend to argue that with great ferocity. They point to how their albums seem to have gotten a little more simple from the technical standpoint, ala Junta/Rift. However, I see an evolution and an organic growth. I see a development in the technical and exploration. I see a band taking chances and not being afraid of being burned. What I don't see is a band trying to get on the radio. I see a band trying to be a band, make music that they want to make and to attract fans not by airplay, but by their play. I should coin that phrase... anyway, I'm digressing from the point. If you play what you want to play and people listen, in my opinion, you've made it. If you play what you're expected or told to play, you're made.
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