Dar Williams: No, musicians can’t just tour

Eric Garland Music 4 Comments

I’ve been a fan of Dar Williams for some time, a talented songstress who cuts records with mega-bassists like Mark Egan. She’s a mainstain of modern New England culture, and I’m glad she’s taking time to call bullshit on the fantastical economics of music currently propagandized by the tech sector.

In this piece from American Songwriter, Williams sharply contradicts the notion that buying music is an old-fashioned part of the industry, to be replaced by free spins and touring. In fact, she thinks that the economics of 1995 are still the only way to survive.

The Attitude of Gratitude will not fix what’s happened here.  Our industry is not sustainable right now.  Patronage helps (you know who you are). People who still believe in buying music help (you truly do—you make all the difference at this moment).  Crowd-sourcing campaigns have varying levels of success (I had a good run and am grateful). Thank goodness for flush car companies whose ads depict couples doing happy things to the soundtrack of artists under forty.

But to the ethos of endless music consumption with no investment: BOO. To bloggers who tell David Byrne to keep playing his pretty music but leave the income distribution math to the experts: BOO. To the industry people who tell us there is still money, it’s just in different places: BOO.  And to ALL streaming entities right now: BOO BOO BOO.