Give it away and then play live, says Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters

Thanks to a retweet from Greg Spawton, I found out about this news story: Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters (who have an excellent new album out) is not up in arms like Taylor Swift over Spotify and people listening to free music, but thinks instead that musicians should just get their music out there in any way possible and thereby entice people to live shows, which is the best way, he says, to get them excited and turned on to your music and eventually turned into buyers. Here’s the argument:

Grohl … encouraged artists to channel more effort into their live shows like they did “when [he] was young”, instead of worrying so much about the “delivery” and “technology” of music.

“You want people to f**king listen to your music? Give them your music and then go play a show,” he said. “They like hearing your music? They’ll go see a show.

“To me it’s that simple and I think it used to work that way. The delivery was completely face to face personal. That’s what got people really excited about s**t.”

And if you missed it, here’s some great parody journalism that makes fun of Taylor Swift’s newest video (and her larger ambitions as well): How Taylor Swift’s Blank Space video redefines music, politics and everything else ever: Last week, Taylor Swift redefined the entertainment industry by withdrawing from Spotify. This week she’s released a new video and literally changed the world for ever by smashing every paradigm.

From Albums to Selfies

Taylor Swift in the WSJ on progress:

Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.

In mentioning album sales, I’d like to point out that people are still buying albums, but now they’re buying just a few of them. They are buying only the ones that hit them like an arrow through the heart or have made them feel strong or allowed them to feel like they really aren’t alone in feeling so alone. It isn’t as easy today as it was 20 years ago to have a multiplatinum-selling album, and as artists, that should challenge and motivate us.

There are always going to be those artists who break through on an emotional level and end up in people’s lives forever. The way I see it, fans view music the way they view their relationships. Some music is just for fun, a passing fling (the ones they dance to at clubs and parties for a month while the song is a huge radio hit, that they will soon forget they ever danced to). Some songs and albums represent seasons of our lives, like relationships that we hold dear in our memories but had their time and place in the past.

I think forming a bond with fans in the future will come in the form of constantly providing them with the element of surprise. No, I did not say “shock”; I said “surprise.” I believe couples can stay in love for decades if they just continue to surprise each other, so why can’t this love affair exist between an artist and their fans?

There are a few things I have witnessed becoming obsolete in the past few years, the first being autographs. I haven’t been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera. The only memento “kids these days” want is a selfie. It’s part of the new currency, which seems to be “how many followers you have on Instagram.”

In the future, artists will get record deals because they have fans—not the other way around.

Another theme I see fading into the gray is genre distinction. These days, nothing great you hear on the radio seems to come from just one musical influence. The wild, unpredictable fun in making music today is that anything goes. Pop sounds like hip hop; country sounds like rock; rock sounds like soul; and folk sounds like country—and to me, that’s incredible progress. I want to make music that reflects all of my influences, and I think that in the coming decades the idea of genres will become less of a career-defining path and more of an organizational tool.