You know what I mean by all this. Think about it for a moment: you were sitting on the couch late one night, watching E! or a similar channel, and you wondered how it could be that bands that had so much cult status just disappeared. (You’ve seen the documentary on the Grateful Dead, haven’t you?).

Or maybe you’re one of those who still follows one band or another – but we’ll talk about you in a minute. Free mp3 downloads have changed the cult of bands and the way people follow them.

Think about how expensive it is for bands to tour without a major label and the entire music industry apparatus footing the bill. Let’s think about how that affects everything else: How expensive have concert tickets become for consumers? It’s kind of ridiculous, especially with the Free MP3 Downloads. It’s especially ridiculous in the concert scene, considering that you can get most of the highlights on YouTube for next to nothing. Gone are the days of arriving days before the concert to park your VW bus, camp out, plug in and unplug. Gone are the days of downloading everything fast and furious, with free mp3 downloads ruling out any other option.

Let’s talk about the specifics. For bands like Phish, Grateful Dead, Blues Traveler and others, thanks to the Internet, it’s no longer necessary to be there in person to be part of the scene. Blogs and RSS feeds allow people to jump right on the bandwagon without anyone on top to kick out the freeloaders. The result of these artificial and virtual communities is that there is generally less of a sense of community. Newer music fans place less emphasis on virtuoso musical performances – they don’t care if the musicians play an instrument at all – and parodies are fine, too.

Free mp3 downloads and other new technologies have contributed to this development. Take, for example, the fact that anyone with a webcam and a Casio can be an Internet rock star – I’m thinking of the band (maybe it’s called GO! . . .) that made this video of all the band members singing the song on treadmills while doing a funny routine (all very well executed) choreographed by the lead singer’s sister Free MP3 Downloads . The lead singer’s sister! She wasn’t even a member of the band, but she was captain of her high school’s drill team or something like that. Next thing you know, they were on the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Granted, it was a really cute song and the video basically rocked, but it was the visuals that literally sold the band.

Free mp3 downloads and the rest of the internet have completely changed the face of what it means to follow a band or be a music junkie, but there are still the die-hards out there who go to the concerts, buy the t-shirts, get into mischief in trailers and behind concert halls and on the hills overlooking the venue and everything else – they’re just not all that common. In fact, it seems more and more that the hardcore followers of a particular group are not the ones old enough to be involved in the whole music travel scene in the first place. And why?

Because the bands that have that kind of following are groups like the Jonas Brothers or solo artists like Miley Cyrus – and their followers are all thirteen! So maybe it’s better to say that free mp3 downloads haven’t killed the music industry, they’ve just changed it.


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