I don’t have a musical bone in my body, but I do appreciate it a lot… I’ve had a lot of ideas and questions floating around my brain lately regarding music. No surprise I’m a huge fan of independents, more specifically ‘podsafe‘ artists. I do still listen to mainstream music – I have a 6 year old, I have no choice but to tune into Radio Disney and the High School Musical soundtrack. Most of the mainstream I listen to is older, as I have not bought a new artists in 3 years (since I first heard of podsafe artists) at least. The exception to this, of course, is Rick Springfield. I did dig up some stats for him, on my favorite album he’s ever put out…

  • (2004) The single “Beautiful You” from the album “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance” reached #28 on US Adult Contemporary Chart
  • (2004) The album “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance” reached #8 Billboard Top Independent Albums

Didn’t see the breakdown on how many CD’s vs. digital downloads this divides up to. Now, Rick tours almost constantly, and although the venues are much smaller than Madison Square Garden, they are almost always sold out. So touring and merch I am assuming makes up a chunk of revenue as well. I can’t find the stat, but I remember seeing that commercially signed artists make more from the sale of a physical CD over a digital iTunes download. If you can find me links for info like this, please post it in the comments!! Independents that produce their own CDs (like on CDBaby for example) have GOT to make more cash than ones produced, marketed, and distributed by Universal Music. Googling around I did find one artist’s breakdown on how much he makes on his music, and from where, but that’s about it!

The big question I have is, regardless of HOW MUCH the artist makes off a song/album, how many are they actually selling? The only stat I could find for Rick Springfield was on his website, and it states that he’s sold over 18 million records worldwide. Now, that’s from the beginning of his published musical career to present day. I can’t figure out where to find a particular album’s sales (“Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance” for example), and how it compares to some high-profile, popular podsafe artists. They don’t publish their numbers from what I can tell. Now, I’m not suggesting they SHOULD publish their stats, but I often wonder if – knowing that 99.44% of them still need ‘day jobs’ to pay the bills – if they are selling 10’s, 100’s, or 1000’s of albums? Does all the hard work and inherent marketing that letting podcasters play their songs royalty-free work?

Especially after all the hub-bub over the Second Life Community Convention’s music scene, I’ve been thinking about this even more than usual. I love attending live music events in Second Life, partly because I’m 30 weeks pregnant and could never get out that much in real life, and partly because it’s global artists I’d never get to see/hear otherwise. Now, the total LACK of traditional/new media coverage of the musicians at SLCC broke my heart. After all that jazz about contract signing and (some) artists wanting their way paid by a non-profit entity, from what I can tell the turnout for their shows at SLCC was horrific.

I honestly believe that the traditional model of music creation, marketing, and distribution is long over. I did work at a huge record company for awhile, and saw stuff from the inside. Oh, the party is over, and that was back in 2000. But podcasting has been around for 3+ years, along with the concept of the podsafe music artist. Is it working?

PS – Rick just turned 58 and is still hot as hell.  Shit, that’s older than my mom.
[tags]Rick Springfield, podsafe, independent musicians, Second Life[/tags]