Every time we talk about music industry business models, we get some folks who have to chime in with some claim about how musicians should be able to sell their music just like they have for years. Of course, the truth is that it's quite rare for any musician to make money from selling their albums, as has been pointed out for years. The latest to make that point is Lyle Lovett. Reader Rose M. Welch sends us this link to a story about Lyle Lovett, pointing out that in two decades of making music, selling 4.6 million albums, he's "never made a dime"
from album sales, but has instead used those record sales to make money on tour:
"Records are very powerful promotional tools to go out and be able to play on the road..."
He does go on to say, however, that he thinks music sales should be self-sustaining. Of course, if he can make money from playing on the road, and giving away the music means it's an even more "powerful promotional tool," then why not focus on that? At least he seems open to new ideas:
"If a major label is interested in working with me after these next two records and is able to come up with a strategy that does engage some of the new technology in a way that can benefit everybody, I'd be very interested in that."
The problem, of course, is that most record labels aren't looking at using technology in a way that can benefit everyone. In the mind
of your typical record exec, it's the recording industry against
anyone else -- and if others are benefiting, that's a sign
that the industry is losing. The idea that everyone can benefit doesn't even register.