"With the encouragement of what’s left of the music industry, they believe that the income provided by music streaming companies successfully replaces the purchase of an album. And they also believe that musicians can “just be more of a road dog, because you love it, right? Just tour more, right?” -- Dar Williams
My friend Andrew Hardin sent this to me, and I can't say it better. It's worth reading Dar's whole piece, because she is explaining so well what I'm trying to say with The Shopkeeper.
"Twenty years ago, I remember going through one depressing boarded up town after another, a doomed, Big Box dominated American odyssey narrated by my boyfriend at the time: “Look at that. You’ll never see a healthy Main Street again. You will only eat hamburgers. No more hardware stores to sponsor Little Leagues…” And he had a point. I found myself seeking out that one good neighborhood that had strong coffee and organic apples, like Monroe Avenue in Rochester, New York or the Broad Ripple neighborhood in Indianapolis and I’d escape to it like a science fiction character on the run.
But now the food is better in most places, many downtowns are back, complete with renovated old theaters, and I’m even feeling more safe as I see the expanding frontiers of progressive culture: openly gay couples and organic farms in so-called red states and Coexist bumper stickers beyond the parking lots of my concerts.
And the rules of the road are about the same: use the bathroom before you hit baggage claim since you’ll have to wait there anyway, clean your motel room to show respect and as an automatic idiot check, and don’t take it personally when you lose things. Lots of things. Touring artists are messengers, witnesses, nomads: in exchange for a lost shoe here and there, we see all the colors of the world and weave them into songs and then our songs get woven into American communities and cultures.
Many things are better, I’ve found, and yet touring itself is becoming unsustainable, and I think you know what I’m about to bring up. Most listeners resist becoming individual shareholders in the produced work of musicians: they don’t buy albums anymore. With the encouragement of what’s left of the music industry, they believe that the income provided by music streaming companies successfully replaces the purchase of an album. And they also believe that musicians can “just be more of a road dog, because you love it, right? Just tour more, right?”
Read the rest here.