A recurring theme these days is, “musicians should give away their music for free, and make money through touring and selling merchandise.” But I have trouble with the idea that the music business is now going to be sustained primarily by things other than music itself:
This is the position in which our musicians now find themselves. They’re expected to multitask in order to succeed. Their time is now demanded in so many different realms that music is no longer their business. What we can increasingly expect is a conveyor belt of smug accountants living a pop star’s dream, performing aggressively marketed, lowest common denominator, unchallenging dross.
If musicians have to make money by selling t-shirts, where’s the incentive to record new, innovative music if your career is going to be a t-shirt designer? Is the idea of “make good music, ask fans to buy it” completely unrealistic these days?