The Eagles have done it. So has AC/DC and Guns ‘N Roses. Exclusive deals with major retailers seem to be a growing trend with veteran artists these days and it is a trend that seems to be heading in an upward direction.
The music industry continues to struggle with questions surrounding the issue of dwindling profits that are blamed on the easy availability of music in digital format that can be downloaded from the internet from an almost endless supply of sources by way of numerous techniques such as P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing programs, bit torrents and large file sharing websites.
Popular contemporary artists don’t seem to have as much trouble earning the big bucks from sales of their albums, but the challenge is more daunting for classic acts that don’t get as much attention from the pop scene and whose music is pretty much limited to airplay on classic or oldies radio stations.
One classic group that appears convinced that exclusive deals are the wave of the future for the artists of the past is Def Leppard. Frontman Joe Elliot now believes that these relatively new arrangements between artists and retailers is “the only way to put records out.”
Elliot, referring to the success that Australian hard rockers AC/DC have enjoyed as a result of their exclusive deal with retail giant Wal-Mart, said that, “Look what AC/DC just achieved — it’s phenomenal what they did, and if there is a blueprint to keep your eye on, it would be the way that Journey’s album and the Eagles and AC/DC has done.”
Although some contemporary artists have dabbled a bit with exclusive deals, it’s not something that the majority of them seem to have much interest in due to the exposure they are able to receive from generous helpings of airtime in major markets, not to mention television and movies.
In 2007, a RIAA survey revealed that the majority of consumers buying music are in the over-45 age group. Perhaps some of us aging music lovers just aren’t savvy enough when it comes to using the internet to download music, but there surely could be other contributing factors as well. Maybe we just want to give the artists their due or perhaps it’s that desire to hold something “real,” like a CD or DVD, that can be stacked or lined up on a shelf like our old LPs.
Whatever the cause for the success of these new exclusive deals, it is refreshing to see at least some in the music industry adapt to the challenges it faces from recent developments like internet file sharing. Keeping the profits from album sales flowing should only improve our chances of seeing more new material from old favorites like AC/DC, the Eagles and Def Leppard.
Few people want to work for free, and the older these classic artists get, the more difficult it must be to travel from venue to venue while touring. I’m sure the relative comfort of the studio is still appreciated by those that can still sell enough albums to put food on the table and pay the mortgage.
You can read more at the Providence Journal.