英伦广角British Vision(34):音乐会--歌手们的最爱

Welcome back, now the world of digital download where top of the pops is dead and pop stars complain about piracy. The good old days are making a comeback. The Live Gig is now the biggest money maker in the industry with revenues from tours often matching or exceeding album sales. Madonna will take a record breaking 100 million pounds on a 60-date world tour. The Rolling Stones will make 30 million from T-shirt sales alone. But it is not just the big names. New acts are also fueling the festival scene, as Stephanie West reports.

Music buyers increasingly set their own agenda. They download, share and burn as technology moves at a mercurial speed, but when it comes to gigs, the artist still calls the tune. As this year, ticket sales hit global records, since May, Madonna has played to more than half a million people, with crowds of 59 thousand in Cardiff and 70 thousand in Rome. Now on her wembely dates, the last night falls on her 48th birthday, one big present is she's heading for her most lucrative tour to date: predicted to top 100 million pounds. Her figure is a dazzle, but the live market is buoyant across the board.

The top 100 artists touring internationally have grossed to over a billion dollars worldwide, it's about 40% up on last year. Ticket prices lately have gone up by 50% but it doesn't seem to be deterring people.

It means live music is now seen as one of the most important revenue streams in the industry. Figures show that since 2000, the global recorded music market has fallen by more than 50%, with the decline in album sales. At the same time, festivals are booming. The website, E-Festival, lists 400 in Britain this year alone. For promotors the explanation is simple.

Live music is one of the very few pieces of product that you cannot replicate, one of the few customary experiences that you cannot duplicate on the Internet, you can film it and you put on television, but you don't really in, it is not the same as being there.

In fact the money artists grossed on tours can match and eclipse album sales even when the records are chart-conquering best-sellers. Take Madonna, Confessions On A Dance Floor which went straight to No.1 in 29 countries has so far shifted 11 million copies. Those sales are equaled by her tour, where the top tickets are going for 160 pounds. At her show, fans are prime examples of this new passion for the live experience.

At the end of the year, I wanna see U2 and Kylie Minogue, in Sydney. U2 , I am going for the experience, same with Kylie Minogue. I do not have any of their albums.

Even those who have no new albums can fill a field. Fans of Guns N' Roses have been waiting 9 years for Axl's next release. But he still headlined the download festival in June, to a capacity crowds of 75 thousand. The record industry now wants a greater piece of this renewed passion. Labels are shifting focus, increasingly getting bands to sign contracts that cover live performance as well as album deals.

If you want to go into the music business now, you may be best-off to try enter the live field. There are some new acts that are exploding, and, and are making enormous impacts in the live circuit.

A few years ago, a prophetic David Bowie observed music will soon be like running water. A musician should be prepared to do a lot of touring, the only unique situation left. A brief always fulfilled by these record-breaking kings of the road, making 79 million pounds so far this year. Seven No.1 in the tour charts.

Keep it always fresh.

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