From the WSJ:
A new five-concert series called "Social" will debut in East Hampton, N.Y., in July, with a pass to all five shows costing $15,000. (Tickets aren’t available for individual shows.) (…) The Social lineup is hardly cutting-edge — it includes Prince, Billy Joel, Dave Matthews, Tom Petty and James Taylor. (…) Then again, it’s not just about music: At Social, artists will exhibit, celebrity chefs will cook, parking will cost nothing and seating will include daybeds, ottomans and Moroccan pillows. Social will be marketed as a lifestyle, says Bulldog, to Wall Street executives, Hamptons socialites and the ultrarich.
Most ageing musicians will play anywhere, as long as the money is right, and for the people attending it’s less expensive than to organize a private show in their garden.
Amazon.com launches an DRM-free MP3 download store. (see NYT) I wonder if DRM will still be around at the end of this year.
Of course amazon has been selling "music without copy protection" ever since they started selling CD’s, but that’s just a technical detail…
I don’t know much about Jonathan Coulton, but this article from the NYT is really worth reading. It covers two aspects of how the Internet has changed things.
First is the financial aspects, how musicians can make a living without record labels. An important point to me is how people pay for the music because they want to support the artist:
Indeed, running a Web store has allowed Coulton and other artists to experiment with intriguing innovations in flexible pricing. Remarkably, Coulton offers most of his music free on his site; when fans buy his songs, it is because they want to give him money.
I understand this behaviour, but somehow I wonder if it is a viable approach going forward… Relying on people paying for something that they could also get for free will stay a niche approach. A bit like non-crippled shareware.
Another very valid point brought forward by Tad Kubler from the Hold Steady:
Are today’s online artists ruining their own aura by blogging? Can you still idolize someone when you know what they had for breakfast this morning?
People who follow Bob Mould’s blog can read plenty of stuff on his work-out routine and diet, which I would not have considered "rock" in the old days. It’s a strong contrast, for example, to the White Stripes who have maintained a mystery about their lives and thoughts. I am quite undecided myself, which of the two approaches I prefer.
Wired reports on another label that offers free mp3 download to buyers of vinyl. For me this is really the perfect solution. I bought the latest Bright Eyes on vinyl and was very happy about the free mp3 offered by Saddle creek (and the wonderful 180g double LP).
Of, course this has been already reported here.
Just as election fever has ebbed down a bit here in France, I received a message from the Wilco Mailing list today:
[…]We’re actually asking you to please go out next week and do the right thing for Wilco. That is, vote with your feet and prove the band’s faith well-placed and buy the record. It’s available from Tuesday at all kinds of retailers everywhere. Ask for it by name. It’s also available here, and for those of you who are more digitally inclined, here.[…]
I’ve already voted, as I pre-ordered the vinyl version and the special T-Shirt from wilcoworld a couple of weeks ago (and bought tickets for the concert at the Bataclan). Obviously I’ve also been listening to the album, which was easily found at the usual P2P locations and I recommend it to all of you.
Music can’t be free. Buying CDs/Albums has today indeed become a way of expressing support for you’re favorite band, record shop or whatever…