Blink-182's Tom Delonge: Time To Adapt, Give Music Away For Free, Monetize Other Things

from the another-one dept

This one’s from a couple months back, but I missed it at the time. Reader Amber Walker sends in this fantastic video interview with Tom Delonge of the band Blink-182 from the Guitar Center blog, where he makes many of the points that we discuss here, noting how technology has made it cheaper to make, promote and distribute music, and he thinks the big opportunity is in giving your music away for free, and recognizing that there are other things to sell, such as merchandise, but also subscriptions and other types of events.

Some quotes:

The one thing I’ve learned is that, like any other type of art, it evolves. So if you’re a business that supports a type of art, you need to evolve with the art. Now, a lot of things have happened that have made creating art a lot easier with the computer. And it’s also made the distribution of art a lot easier…. What I have chosen to believe is that if you look at your band with a modern filter, your band has so much potential to have all these different elements about it. You can create all this really cool merchandise and concert/live experiences. You can create a really cool portal on your website. You can mix all these elements together and I always believe that if the tools are available, you can monetize all these other elements, and not really worry about selling the record. In fact, I believe that, you should take down every barrier and put as much music out there for free…

In my mind, the way the music industry is changing is that music is easier to make and it’s easier to give away for free. And that will enable the band and the music and the art and everything to be bigger than it’s ever been. It’s just how do you collect that and how do you build your business…

I think the internet’s a funny thing, because anything… that cuts through the noise on the internet will get found. The beautiful thing about the Western world is that all good art will get found no matter what. It just might take a little bit more time for some than others…. To try to really make a presence known, a band needs to capitvate people online first, no matter what — it can be with a video or a film. It can be a song or a live broadcast. It needs to be something that’s really clever. To do that, you should study the campaigns that work….

Of course, he notes that at the core of this is still good music. He says that you don’t remember a band years later just for the marketing, but you need that to get attention, and then you need the music to live for itself, which leads to an interesting mantra:

The true art is not just creating the music. The true art is seeing how many people that music can touch in various ways. That’s the art. Because you can be as artistic as you want and no one hears it and no one likes it. The true art is trying to break through the noise and getting millions of people to notice.

Sounds quite a bit like the difference between invention and innovation that we talk about, doesn’t it? Nice to see yet another artist who has this all figured out.

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Comments on “Blink-182's Tom Delonge: Time To Adapt, Give Music Away For Free, Monetize Other Things”

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Derek Reed (profile) says:

Guitar Center

It’s encouraging also to see that there are some big business that are already more inclined to support a new mindset towards music distribution, and support discussions about it. Perhaps there are others like Guitar Center that make their money from music, but not from cd sales or some such media directly. Perhaps those others will start to recognize the opportunities to publicize themselves more by bringing about discussion on these topics.

In who’s best interest is it for the media landscape to evolve? Someone who sells computers. Someone who sells sound equipment. Someone who does merchandising well. Someone who promotes concerts.

Live Nation, Guitar Center, Zazzle; Maybe these are the companies to watch. Maybe these are the companies to start.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well that’s just great. Now what are the artists who don’t give away their music for free supposed to do?

How can those artists compete for the attention of the buying public when other artists give away their art? For free? That’s balderdash, is what it is.

All artists must unite in strengthing copyright laws to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen.

And to kick people off of the internet.

kyle clements (profile) says:

good video

While I agree with most of what Tom says in this video, I think he got one very minor thing wrong.

Good song writing is objective? I disagree, I believe good song writing is subjective.

Blink 182 might be one person’s favourite band, but their music is not to my taste. I don’t enjoy their music, but my opinion says nothing about their songwriting.
I’m not a fan of and R&B or hip-hop, either. I love nine inch nails and skinny puppy, yet many dismiss those acts as producers of noise, not music.

If good songwriting were an objective quality of music, people would not centre around a certain genre or style; tastes would be far more eclectic.

other than that one minor nitpick, I agree with just about everything said, and it is fantastic to hear that another big name act ‘gets it’.

Curt says:

Re: the true art?

No I dont think hat was his point at all. A band may come up with dozens of ideas for songs to put on a album. Great thats alot to work with. Shit most of them might even all written. Great like i said. But the true art is figuring out just which ones to put in the album or demo. These dont have to necessarily be th “best” written songs or the most slick tracks you made. It just has to work with the entire body. “Nevermind” by Nirvana is a textbook example I think. Its not really grungy, or metal, or Punk. Its just pop in a rock sense. Everyone got into it at the time and the reaction was obvious.

Pete Smith (profile) says:

Give it away

Most of our tracks are released under a creative commons license.

We are an independent record label not a big bad corporation out to sue you for file sharing, we WANT you to spread our music around.

With such an overcrowded market place giving away your music is essential in my opinion. The biggest problem for emerging indie artists today is obscurity, not piracy. To find out more listen to The Antiqcool Podcast .

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