Back from the edge

(James Arthur)

Toward the end of 2021 Ali and I decided to host a small bash for friends and family at our local pub – The Curlew – in lieu of a wedding reception.

We thought it might be nice to have some live music and so I approached Steve Oliver, a local resident and member – with former Essex pop royalty – of ‘The Ugly Guys’, a country rock band.

I met Steve at ‘The Curlew’ (our mutual local) for a lunchtime drink and chat, coincidentally on the day that Abba released their comeback album ‘Voyage’.

Steve suggested that we were about to see a number of ‘comeback’ albums.

He related that, back in the day, a band or artist could release a hit single, an album and then buy themselves their mansion. A few follow-up albums and tours and then relax, earning an income from royalties from radio plays and occasional sales from record shops.

Spotify and other (legal) streaming services have, he advised me, broken that model. Streaming services now pay artists so little – less than half a penny each time a track is streamed – that the ongoing income models are broken.

An artist would need around 250 streams to earn a dollar, while a million streams would earn just $4,000. There’s an article here.

As Steve predicted, we’ve since seen a host of bands releasing new material and touring, off the top of my head I can recall hearing new material from Bananarama, Billy Idol, Duran Duran, Simple Minds, and Tears for Fears – even Hawkwind have a new album out!

Meanwhile Adam Ant, Human League, Level 42, The Damned, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Paul Young and Roxy Music are playing gigs in 2023.

Having said that, and having been a fan of Bruce Springsteen since 1975, and being aware that his ’23 tour will almost certainly be his last, I baulked at paying over £100 to stand in Hyde Park or over £1,000 for an ‘executive’ standing area.

At least I was there in 2012.

Update – 
After the sad passing of my mate Tom (he and I were both at the Springsteen gig at Roundhat Park Leeds in 1985, a week before Live Aid) I relented and have tickets for seats at one of Bruce’s gigs at Villa Park, Birmingham.

Ticket - Springsteen at Leeds, 1985

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