We’re A Generation Of Concertgoers, Not CD-Buyers.
This is part two of my interview segment with Hannah, who is the writer behind File Sharing Represents New Generation. She could very well be the new music consumer, depending on who you ask. I found her short essay online and thought it was be an interesting take on the current happenings in the music industry – from the perspective of someone not as deeply as entrenched as most of us. In part two, Hannah shares her thoughts on how the free flow of music has benifited artists and what fans are willing to pay for.
Do the advantages of the free flow of music—for fans and artists alike—outweigh the disadvantages? Or, is it the other way around? Why do you think artists should embrace the flow of music rather than stigmatize it?
Hannah: I really feel as if the free flow of music increases fandom for artists, which ideally, is the goal of being a musician anyway. My absolute favorite band, the Avett Brothers, I never would have even heard if one of my friends hadn’t said, “Hey, listen to this band. Here, I’ll burn you a couple of CD’s.”
Because of that, I have already paid $300 for a Bonnaroo ticket to see them, and I would absolutely pay more money in the future to see them again.
My generation is a generation of concertgoers rather than a generation of CD-buyers. Our favorite artists are starting to come to much more accessible venues than previously, like clubs and even college campuses. I think that is a sign of artists recognizing and beginning to embrace the changing listener-ship.
What are fans willing to pay for? If they won't pay for digital downloads of music, how else are they planning to support the creativity of artists? In what instances do you feel inclined to buy music, compensating an artist?
Hannah: Fans are absolutely willing to pay for concerts. And all this is not to say that we will absolutely never download legally from iTunes, etc. We will, if we can’t find another easy way. Really, it's all about accessibility.
If someone we know knows how to get it for free, then of course we will do that. But if it's easier to log on and buy it, we’ll do that too.
Fans are also willing to listen to ads; Pandora has ads now, and many websites like HypeMachine have limits where you can’t skip through songs. That, in addition to being a restriction that we are willing to put up with, also exposes us to stuff we wouldn’t necessarily listen to otherwise.
How has the web changed and fueled your fandom? Are more fans becoming actively engaged in their cultural lives? Or, have we entered an era defined by more passivity and the failure of fans to pay for music?
Hannah: I definitely think we are becoming more actively engaged. The accessibility of the internet doesn’t just make us lazy and unwilling to pay for things, but it makes it much more easy, and frankly, trendier, to find new music.
There’s so many really cool Web sites out there that people go to, and even the music industry is seeing how cool the fluidity of music has become. Watch MTV; it’s not really even Top 40 anymore. I mean, you’ll get the Top 40 stuff, but half of the commercials on TV today have dubstep in the background.
What are the primary sites and ways that you consume music?
Hannah: LimeWire was probably the most primary way up until recently, but we still use iTunes a good bit as far as downloading goes. However, I would say that to discover music we generally use Pandora and HypeMachine.
In fact, I would say I download a lot less on iTunes now that I have my Pandora pretty specialized; I know that while I may not be able to pick exactly what I want to hear, I will probably hear one of my favorite songs during the time I’m listening.
We also go to a lot of shows; people at my school at least think nothing of going to concerts in Atlanta and Nashville, and we also go to a lot of local shows.