[This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]
Before the internet, a band could break up, its members retire, and still be a profitable venture.
The Beastie Boys, for example, sold so many records that they could count on albums like Licensed to Ill and Ill Communication to each sell a million or two copies a year. The Doors’ catalogue went gold again and again. Same with Led Zeppelin and scores of other heritage acts. All the members had to do was cash fat the royalty cheques that showed up in the mailbox like clockwork. It was like having an annuity or an RRSP that paid handsomely and reliably.
Those days are gone. Physical sales are a tiny fraction of what they used to be and that lovely mailbox money has dried up. Meanwhile, streaming doesn’t pay like physical sales. If you’re an artist of a certain vintage, what do you do?
Two options: (1) Sell your catalogue to a company like Hipgnosis Song Fund, Primary Wave, or the dozens of other entities buying up the publishing rights of successful composers. And (2), get the band back together, go on tour, and top up the retirement fund for everyone involved.
These seven bands always come up in that discussion. What are the odds of them getting back together? Keep reading.