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Axl Rose Proves Music Business Theory Correct


For a long time now I have been saying that touring is what makes a band, and moving into the future, touring will be the only way bands will survive. With a dying record industry, it will only be a matter of time before artists all but abandon their record labels and look for salvation in the arms of booking agents, promoters and venue manager. In this ever changing world bands are going to new lengths to make sure there records are heard, from setting up bubbles in crowded cities, to staging monumental world tours. One thing is clear, as Axl Rose has helped demonstrate, not touring is the most costly thing any artist can do.

Very few artists have the pull with a record label to say “we’ve decided not to tour in support of our new album,” unfortunately Axl Rose is one of them. As we all know by now, Axl and his new band of misfits, otherwise known as Guns and Roses spent the better part of a decade recording what would become a defining record in rock history, “Chinese Democracy.” Although Axl hoped it would help define a generation, bringing rock back to it’s roots, it will instead be remembered as a colossal failure.

Don’t get me wrong, I listened to it pretty early on and reviewed it here. I didn’t think it was half bad but instead of riding his wave of media attention to a big tour, radio shows, television appearances and a huge marketing campaign the record was simply left to rot. There is no one here to blame except Axl who decided that he would not tour or do any promotion of any type for one year.

What does this mean for the famed rock band? Simply this, when Axl finally gets his act together and puts on a world tour, it will be hugely successful but at that point not one person will care about the new album (which rest assure they will beat to death onstage). The album will be buried under chants for “Welcome to the Jungle,” and “Patience.” So what have we all learned from the most outspoken lead singer in music? If you release an album you better be ready to back it up with a full campaign, no matter how good a musician you claim to be.

Moving forward touring will be essential and without even blinking I am confident in saying that if Guns and Roses had skipped the last ten years, never recorded “Chinese Democracy,” (or taken the normal few months to record it), they could of toured the world man times, and reaped the benefits of people remembering who they were, and why they care. When push comes to shove Axl is a hell of a front man, just not good at much else.

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