There's something amusing about the concept of Steve Miller being the CEO of his own musical moneymaking empire.
He entered the rock pantheon as a joker, smoker and midnight toker.
But sitting in a business suit in front of 400 corporate executives, Steve Miller's message had more to do with knowing how to take the money and run.
"I love playing, but you can't get to the good stuff unless you keep an eye on the business," said Miller, immediately after speaking at a business conference put on by the Hackett Group, an Atlanta-based corporate research and advisory firm.
The singer — known for hits like The Joker, Fly Like an Eagle and Take the Money and Run — was part of a roster of presentations that included Benchmarking for Competitive Advantage and Generating a Return on Compliance Efforts.
Miller's speech underlies a truth that's become more obvious recently — rock 'n' roll is big business and, hard-living stereotypes aside, the rockers who succeed over the long run are the ones paying attention to their finances.
One can make jokes all day about this. My real purpose for linking to this story is to vent about the following bit of media bias:
Experts say changes in the industry are requiring artists to be even more mindful of ways to market themselves, and their music, to the public. Thanks to Internet downloads, album sales have been dropping steadily for the past five years. Concert attendance is down.
I've ranted many times before about how the kind of station that Steve Miller fans would tune in to would never under any circumstances play any new music by Steve Miller, and how that in my opinion is at least as big a drag on new music sales as anything else. I'll leave you with this quote from an author of the study about downloading:
Our research shows that people do not download entire CDs. They download a few songs, typically the hits that one would also hear on a Top 40 station. This suggests that P2P is much like the radio, a great tool to promote new music. The music industry has of course long recognized that giving away samples of music for free over the airwaves can stimulate sales. The same seems to hold for P2P.
The problem with radio as a promotional tool is that it can be quite expensive for labels to get radio stations to play their music. P2P networks are promising because they make the market for music promotion more competitive. From the perspective of the music industry, the more competition among P2P services, the less costly it will be to promote music.