Deemed “The King of the Road” by The Wall Street Journal, Kenny Chesney is the only country artist in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Top Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years – a staggering feat given he’s only been headlining since 2002. Known for his high energy shows, songs that celebrate life as real…
Listen to Kenny Chesney's most popular song
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As recently reported by Billboard, Kenny Chesney Big Revival Tour ended up grossing a whopping $114 Million, his biggest ever. Now, add recorded-music sales, publishing royalties and revenue from digital music and video streaming and it is tough for me to accept the belief the music industry has shrunk and the argument these famous artists are getting ripped off by streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, Rdio and Apple among others.
In reality, Kenny Chesney has always been one of the most consistent top earners in the music industry (in 2013, he was the second highest after Taylor Swift) and measuring the health and state of the music industry by his standards is a disservice to the thousands (possibly millions) of artists who are trying to make ends meet busting their asses to expose their music and to have a shot at getting paid by their audience.
Such is the case of Jack Conte, founder of Pomplamoose, a band with a respectable 500,000 YouTube subscribers and millions of views, who wrote an article detailing a very specific, and depressing, P&L (Profit and Loss) statement from their 28-Day tour in an attempt to shed light on the hardships professional musicians go through. However, and playing the devil’s advocate, a quick research on Jack Conte’s Pomplamoose reveals a clear refusal to label which could explain their inability to grow and engage bigger audiences.
In any case, Pomplamoose has leveraged social media, crowdfunding, streaming and online sales to conduct day-to-day business and monetize their efforts and connect with their fans in a way that would have been impossible for bands of the pre-internet era to even imagine. So, even though the financial gap between “raising artists” and “famous artists” is bigger than ever, I believe the new system, where bands have a direct relationship with their fans via the internet, has provided many artists a sustainable platform to create awesome music, gain exposure and possibly crossing the chasm to fortune and glory.