Larry Lootsteen - Conestogo, Ontario, Canada
We can see it coming can't we? How many of you listen to the radio these days? Do you? At home? Not likely so much anymore. If you are like me, you only hear any radio in the car. And even that is becoming less frequent.
If you go to car shows or pay any attention to information coming out in articles or on the news, you'll realize the audio systems in new cars are no longer radio-centric. 'Infotainment' consoles are the way of the future with internet connected cars. You'll be able to stream music or connect your phone or iPod or whatever device.
As radio dies, what does that mean for the artists? It is clear that online, music is not money. Bands are having to create their own revenue streams and most indie artists give away their music to generate fans and use social media to connect. There's some real creativity with bands selling original sheet music of new songs or having VIP experiences for their new fans.
So what does this mean to a band like U2?
To me, not very much. They've have always been decently progressive and they have all the money they would ever need for generations of their families. As their career slowly works towards a close, they have nothing left to prove. What would I like from them at this point?
I think it would be great if they took some of their vast wealth and invested in providing a model for young bands to be able to survive and grow. Maybe create a non-label that supports artists in their development. A non-profit type organization on a global scale that provides paths to revenue that they could not do on their own.
Let me ask a not-so-nice question.
Do you believe U2, for all their generosity in the charitable world, are capable of doing something for music that does not give them direct revenue? Can the money machine that is U2 leave a legacy beyond their disocography and touring records? I, for one, have my doubts. I know they have done a lot to support certain artists, especially in Ireland. Are they capable, or even want, to leave a different kind of legacy? I'm not so sure.
What I do know is they have the clout and the connections to be involved. They've worked hard to get where they are. Will they go away and sit on the beach? Or would one, some or all of them provide a parting gift for the generations of new musicians that follow?