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Opinion

What are the chances of these seven bands ever reuniting?

[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.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38413 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “What are the chances of these seven bands ever reuniting?

  • It seems weird that artists aren’t able to generate much money from royalties anymore but somehow are able to sell the rights to those same songs for tens and sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars. How exactly do those buyers expect to make their money back? Or is it some weird financial con?

    Reply
    • This has bothered me as well, and makes me ask “how much is the industry stealing from these artists?” All of the big music labels seem to be making record profits, yet the artists are struggling to make ends meet? Something is screwy in the music industry and as usual, the little guys at the bottom loses.

      Reply
  • Mike and Adam have stated that it’s not Beastie Boys without the three of them.

    Reply

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