The changing economics of touringJanuary 9, 2009
Two recent articles, one in the Economist’s culture magazine (link) and one in the Independent (link) both take the recently released 2008 concert revenue figures as a starting point to discuss the future of touring musical acts. Unsurprisingly, the Economist gives a deeper historical perspective (I’m impressed by their ability to work in a reference to Tom Stoppard), whereas the Independent’s article focuses more on the numbers, including a list of the highest-grossing tours of 2008, with Madonna (pictured) at the top of the heap. The Independent reports that music sales have fallen in the last five years due to, among other factors, “the corrosive effects effects of piracy.” They also note that concert revenues are up by 13%. While they fail to connect these two things, both articles quote David Bowie:
The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within ten years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it. …Music itself is going to be like running water or electricity…you’d better be prepared for doing a lot of touring because that’s really the only unique situation that’s going to be left.
Even more remarkable is that it’s from an interview with the New York Times in 2002.