Tom Delonge is the guitar player in the pop-punk band Blink-182. He’s also an unlikely businessman with strong views on the revenue models for the music industry. In this interview with Guitarcenter he explains why bands don’t really need record companies anymore and why giving away music for free is a good thing for bands. Told from a creators perspective his ideas translate to other industries that are facing changes that the music industry has allready learned to accept (to some extend).
In the interview he says that If you’re a business that supports a type of art you have to evolve with the art. A lot of things happened that made creating art easier and with this the distribution as well. A kid can go out and create a record with little or no money on her laptop now.
He says: “What I have chosen to believe is that if you look at your band with a modern filter it has all this potential to have all these different (monetizing) elements about it.” He mentions merchandise, concert live experiences, a website portal and mixing these elements, monetize them and not really worry about selling the record itself. He believes in taking down every barrier and putting as much music out there for free as possible.
He compares music to television that you can watch for free at prime time. “Music will be easier to make and easier to give away for free and that will enable the music and the band to be bigger than they’ve ever been.” He mentions his site Modlife that powers some of these experiences for his other band Angels and airwaves. He feels that bands don’t necessarily need record labels anymore unless you really don’t want to do the work yourself.
In order to monetize the music graphics and artwork have to be really good. He also says that in the end “all good art will be found, it might just take a bit more time”. Cutting through the noise by applying art in a clever way is essential. He goes on to say that the song is still the key to why bands are remembered. It’s about “how many people the music can touch”.