Chris Cera


Rockstars Aren't Dead, They Just Need New Investors

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Taken from Jim Stogdill\'s iPhone

I went to see NIN with Jim Stogdill from Gestault and it was a blast. The band has clearly worked very hard to integrate 3D visual effects into the music, and it was the most amazing visual show I had ever seen. I highly recommend going to see it.

I gave Jim some feedback on early versions of what ended up being a semi-controversial blog post he wrote on O’Reilly Radar called ”I Am Trying To Believe (that Rock Stars aren’t Dead)”. Here are some hindsights and comments.


I listen to a lot of “B-label” bands that I buy from emusic. I think many of these bands are fantastic and just as good as their “A-label” enemies. However, the majority of the people I know have never heard of most of them.

Established bands are able to do whatever they want. The Beastie Boys launched their own label [it failed for different reasons], but they were already huge. RadioHead did the “pay what you want” model. Walmart is inking exclusive albums and is positioned as an iTunes competitor (CD costs $12!). Madonna signed a deal with Live Nation focused on performances. Nine Inch Nails didn’t charge a price, but you had to register for marketing purposes. I can’t recall which car company launched a music label.

How do the Indies build an Enterprise if the marketing machines provided by the major labels no longer exist? Do-It-Yourself. Thievery Corporation is a rising star Indy band that created their own ESL Music label. The major labels are simply one type of investor, and the capital stream needs to come from elsewhere as they lose both respect and relevance. Monopolies get toppled, innovation takes over, and it is happening right now.

Related Predictions

I think the majority of music will be purchased [DRM-free] by consumers, and meanwhile the free streaming services will serve advertising. The free streaming services won’t replace the need for your iPod’s flash drive until every phone has pervasive and affordable internet access. Even when that happens, I think you’ll have the option to stream music you already own. I firmly believe in our ownership society and nothing is going to change that. is ahead of that game.