When listening to music, do you prefer a live sound and setting, or a clean studio version on a cd? Well there are many benefits to the artist on both sides, however, with benefits of financial aspects and ticket sales, visual experiences by the listener of the performance, and artistic credibility onstage, live performing artists have become more successful in the music industry. When an artist is out on tour, the fans benefit from more than just the music. When a fan buys a ticket to a concert, that fan not only hears the music that the artist is playing, but sees the artist perform, and the concert becomes an entire visual experience.
Some bands use many elaborate effects on stage that really turn the live band into a live act. This adds a significant amount of aesthetic value to the performance with all the bells and whistles such as lights and LED screens, pyrotechnics, and even stage props. The alternative rock band The Flaming Lips is well known for their ever-changing, eccentric performances and use of fun props onstage. Lead singer, Wayne Coyne, is well known for entering into a giant inflatable bubble and using it as a device for crowd surfing.
At the beginning of every show, this clear, plastic ball is blown up and he enters through a Velcro patch. He uses it much like a hamster ball to walk over the crowd for a few minutes before returning to the stage. This allows for interaction between the audience and the artist, which cannot be achieved through listening to an album. The multiple animal costumes, confetti machines, and giant laser hands that the band uses onstage give them, alongside many other touring acts, a unique quality. The hard rock band KISS is another musical act that has become renown for their performances.
Waddell’s article “Touring: Rock Solid” shows that they are ranked as no. 21 on Billboard’s top touring acts and have sold out all 35 of their shows on their recent tour. Much of this is due to their stage presence. Their painted faces and armored costumes have become legendary in rock and roll and their abundant use of fiery pyrotechnics bring a certain energy to their show that is both loud and compelling. These stage acts engage the fans into much more than just their music, and provide them with an entire visual experience. Live performing bands benefit financially from touring.
Big name artists under a label spend most of their time on the road playing shows with the intention of promoting their album. A major label artist will typically have a royalty rate of 12-18% of album sales, but after so many costs having to be paid back to producers and other costs, most don’t see a dime. Many bands hop from bar to bar or venue to venue and sell their CDs at the show. Smaller artists end up making more money from playing these constant shows and selling few CDs. Many big name artists are making more money by touring than they are by album sales.
According to the article off of The Equity Kicker’s website, Bruce Springsteen’s concert sales grossed $443 million compared to his album sales of $133 million, a considerable difference. Their album sales are nothing compared to their ticket sale revenues. More and more artists today are touring to promote their album due to a decline in sales in the market. “Total album sales, including CDs, cassettes, vinyl and digital albums, dropped 12. 7 percent with nearly 374 million sold compared with 2008’s 428. 4 million figure” (Smith).
Not only are album sales declining, but ticket prices are changing as well. Ticket prices have risen over the recent years but have started to level off. Statistics about ticket prices point out that in the year 2007, “the average ticket price for the top 100 tours inched up a relatively modest 49 cents to $62. 07”. Overall, artists who tour end up making more money than just recording an album and letting it sell. A live performance may offer many benefits to the person who bought the ticket and witnessed the show, but it cannot be repeated and enjoyed throughout time.
Studio work can be enjoyed and listened to constantly. Albums are everlasting and can be listened to throughout time. Once the band has gone through the process of recording an album, it can be put on the market for purchase. Production companies are constantly putting out remastered versions of albums that were recorded and first released many years before. These remasters sometimes have subtle change and promote new sales. Pink Floyd’s concept album “Dark Side of the Moon” is an album that has been successful in the market on a consistant basis.
First released in March of 1973, it became a success on the Billboard album chart, reaching the number one spot a month later on April 28. The album has become on of the best-selling albums of all time, remaining on the Billboard 200 for 741 weeks. The Beatles are a prime example of music that has constantly been bought on the market, selling 30 million albums in the past decade alone. Albums that have been recorded and preserved can always be listened to and appreciated throughout the years. Although some artists make significant amount of money touring, studio recordings and album sales have made many artists successful in the industry.
Many artists decide not to spend the significant amount of money it takes for staging a tour and have benefited strictly from album sales. “A performer such as Taylor Swift, whose 4 million album sales overall made her the top album seller of the year, does not make the touring list as she spent the year opening shows for Rascal Flatts” (Gallo). An article states about disc prices to the consumer, “cd sales are for single albums at an average of $12 each” (Concert Revenue vs Album Revenue). These numbers multiply and benefit the artists greatly.
The Beatles are an exellent example of an artist who has have had success just from studio work. The group stopped touring in 1966 and have continued to sell albums ever since. According to Ritholtz’s article, “The best-selling artist of the 2000s was Eminem, selling 32. 2 million albums. The Beatles’ were a close second, selling 30. 2 million albums. ” They have continued to top the charts in album sales and even have become part of a video game according to the article “The Beatles: Remasters of the Universe. ”