Music Industry Axioms for 2009

Some of you might remember my old list of Robert Fripp-inspired music industry guidelines.

I figured it was time to revise them, in this exciting new world of economic crises, declining album sales, the demise of the long tail, the expectation of free music, and the continual fade of major industry players into irrelevance as they hand out awards to each other.

  • Artists with direct relationships with their audience will inherit the earth.

That’s it, really.

Now if we assume we’re talking about an audience who is actually in it for the music, rather than, say, the artist’s disdain for wearing underwear in nightclubs, we can take it a bit further:

  • Audiences in for the long haul are interested in artistic integrity.
  • Artists who wish to submit themselves to a commercial environment will be unable to create freely, unless their artistic visions are aligned with commercial interests.
  • Any artistic vision compromised by commercial interests will be unlikely to lead to an increase in commercial fortune, and more likely to cause both a loss of artistic integrity and goodwill.


  • The odds of capturing a significant audience for an album recorded entirely for artistic satisfaction are so absurdly remote that the artist who attempts to release it is most likely (1) dumb, (2) crazy, or (3) incapable of doing anything else.

As I now bunker down to finish off the new Tunisia album before it finishes me, I’m pretty sure I can only rule out the first and third options.

Posted in Rants.