Irving Azoff: It’s “Way Different, Way More Difficult Now” for Musicians

Add Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff to the list of people who think it’s harder, not easier, for artists to make it in the music business these days.

And according to Azoff, part of the problem is that it’s easier to make music than ever before, with less monetization, a stark contrast to the ‘golden age’ of the 60s and 70s.  “Basically then versus now, you’d have one hit record and you could come to Los Angeles and sell out three days at the Staples Center – then it was the Forum, but now it would be Staples Center,” Azoff recently told interviewer Jude Apatow at the ‘Grill’.  “Now, one you can’t get a hit but if you do get a hit, you get to open up for somebody at a club.”

And instead of getting signed, the new lottery card is… the Voice?  “In those days, no one would consider going on a competition music show,” Azoff relayed.  “Now you watch the Voice and hear all these kids say, ‘this is the greatest opportunity of my life,’ and yet, you’ve got 64 contestants on the Voice.  We’ve had 10-11 years of American Idol, so you’ve had 100 or 110 top ten people, and you can count on your hand the number of careers that have sustained off of that.”

But what are the culprits?  “Theft and choice, and also, it used to be very expensive to record a record, now you can do it at home,” Azoff said.  “Music is now the soundtrack of people’s lives, but it has way less monetization.”

The complete interview (roughly 10 minutes) is here. 

11 Responses

  1. James M

    Well, I’ll agree that it’s more difficult than ever to get big these days with the death of labels. People can hate on them all they want for screwing artists out of royalties, but the reality is that they had the resources and power to break an artist that don’t exist anymore.

    As far as recording goes, however, you really can’t just “record at home.” Unless you’re putting out some mediocre electronica with Pro Tools, you still should be utilizing the services of a professional producer who has both the equipment and skills to do a good job.

    • GGG

      I think the idea is more that you can get your music out in any quality in the first place by recording at home. Sure, if you want to sound like a pro record you’re going to have to spend either a shitload of time learning the gear or spending at least a few grand, which is still comparatively cheap.

      You can still record decent demos at home, maybe get someone experienced to mix/master and it’ll sound OK. Or you can just upload shit straight to YouTube. It’s about not having to record in the classic sense to be heard. There’s other ways to do it. That ease, especially YouTube, makes every asshole with an acoustic guitar now an aspiring songwriter. Your music can be heard around the world in literally the 3 mins it takes to play your song.

    • Artist

      Yes, if anything it is signifantly more expensive to make music..

  2. Visitor

    …and yet another guy who thinks gear is cheaper now.

    He’s right about theft, though.

  3. Jason Miles

    Finally someone of real power in the music world speaks the truth!

  4. The Gays

    Join my evil Ticketmaster tour, you kiddie bands…

    mwaaaaha ha ha ha ha….

  5. Me

    Why is it that nobody ever points their fingers at commercial radio? The majority of the stations nowadays have limited playlists, and very rarely break new artists. Look at KROQ in Los Angeles… The majority of the stuff they play is rooted in the 90s. They tout themselves as a modern rock station, yet they are living in the past.

    In the Grizzly Bear article, it was noted that “the band feels that without major radio support, they are unlikely to reach a new tier of success.” How is that supposed to happen when there are no stations playing new music?

    People are obviously craving new music, otherwise Spotify wouldn’t be so popular. I firmly believe that the current state of commercial radio is one of the biggest detriments to today’s music industry.

  6. Dalton Priddy

    What Mr. Azoff fails to tell is the monopoly his Ticket Master/Live Nation/Frontline Management created. An elitist organization create to screw the music buying concert go’er by monopolizing the whole revenue stream.

    If you do become a big successful artist and bypass or boycott Livenation/Ticketmaster…your screwed.

    The digital age offers creative content creators new realms to grow and prosper without a giant elephant stepping on your flower garden.

    These new age 21 century artist’s will soon learn to adapt and manage their careers without the need of big corporate entities cooking the books and setting the rates to lock out millions of fans who would never afford to hear you live.

    Long live Creative Digital Technology, and long live freedom, liberty and a choice to be heard.

  7. Just A Fan

    Its way different because we dont have to buy the whole album anymore. Its way different because we’d just as soon play Call of Duty or Angry Birds, or surf the web as listen to music. Its way different because theres a massive back catalogue of music to listen to in our parents dusty CD collection. Its way different because the art form is MATURE.