In a week when the U.K. record business reported album sales for 2007 down almost 11%, veteran concert promoter Harvey Goldsmith says he fears an over-confident live music sector risks suffering a similar decline.
Goldsmith, co-founder and co-promoter of the iconic Live 8 global benefit concerts and its predecessor Live Aid, is a panelist at the MidemNet digital-music forum on Jan. 26 in Cannes. “The live music market,” he tells Billboard.biz, “is in danger of being overpriced and oversaturated, and the secondary-ticketing business will kill the golden goose.”
However, Goldsmith believes that if managed carefully, touring can continue to play a key role in developing the careers of recording artists. “Nothing beats the live experience,” he adds. “Once you’ve got a live following, everything else falls into place.”
While he insists the major labels are not dead, Goldsmith accuses them of feeling intimidated by new digital media and burying their heads in the industry’s shifting sands.
The major labels, he says , “have to accept that life isn’t what it used to be and rethink their policy for signing-up acts. They are panicking. Normally, when someone comes out with a great song, kids download the pirate version for free, but a lot also go and buy the CD.”
Record companies, Goldsmith adds, “have to rethink their policy with artists. They used to act as if they owned the artists. Today, they need to have a different relationship and form partnerships.”
The majors will survive, he asserts, because “they will always be needed to prop up the sector’s financial needs. There is still no alternative to the large amounts of money provided by the major labels. And you still can’t make large amounts of money from digital sales alone; so the major labels are not going anywhere.”