Interesting article - The Bands Are Never Coming Back

It never ocurred to me but almost all popular music is by individuals now, even when the name sounds like a band.

The Bands Are Never Coming Back


POP is such a slick machine in a lot of ways nowadays

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You know the thing with bands is the usual… one person is paid more, rather than everyone equally. Which really doesn’t matter as everyone is getting ripped off crazy by the music industry. Not always the case, just saying, some groups I’m certain have divided everything equally.

If you notice, about 90% of people go in when they get popular make so much music then disappear. It’s mainly probably because they realize how much they are getting ripped off.

Even more crazy, Aerosmith made more money on some video game they released than they have from contracts direct their entire career. Not including residuals.

Now on the opposite side in a band sharing money means less money for everyone, since the pot is divided. Look at Beyoncé or Justin Timberlake they take whatever is going to be the money maker and have them go solo. You would think it’s their choice but really it’s the industry who chooses.

Groups still do exist obviously, but those people do it for the love or passion in music. Clearly they are paid to perform, but it’s not like what they get when they “sell” their souls lol

I don’t know. Ted’s a smart guy and I’ve read his books, but he’s also kind of a Boomer Cassandra (I don’t know his age). Because an artist doesn’t present as a band doesn’t mean they aren’t intensely collaborative. Even egomaniacal “its all me” artists like Kanye hype all the guest performers, proteges, and collabs they’re involved with. Taylor Swift’s recent artistic peaks were assisted by guys from The National. Also if you step away from music that is strictly McZillion selling (or streaming), you can look at jazz where it’s all bands (often fronted by a leader, but more often a collective endeavor regardless of the name). Sheesh, jazz has endless bands … sometimes the same musicians reassembling week to week. It feels like this kind of complaint (or maybe it’s only an observation) is driven by nostalgia for the '60s or '70s, for conventional rock’n’roll, and so on.


I’m not a music historian or expert on the nuances of the different terms but I think he’s saying that a band is not the same thing as a collaberation.

Seems like a band is the same group of people who create and perform together over a long period of time.

Collaberations that form and change seem focused on one production where a band seems like it’s focused on the people.

He really needed what a band is or what sort of music he discussing. If it’s just the pop genre, it’s a little hard to dispute, but bands are still around

If one looks into Rock, Heavy Metal, and Blues, they will see lots of bands. Some of the very popular such a Dirty Honey, Greta Van Fleet, and Foo Fighters. And they on the Billboard top 100 pop, probably not. Are they top on other charts, absolutely.

I would say he’s also not looking beyond the US market. Rock bands tend to do better in the UK and south America. Sourth-rock sound does pretty well in the UK. Heavy metal does very well in South America. Plus, K-pop is popular in many places beside Korea such at BTS.
The music industry changed. Many of the top pop artist are basically lip syncing for concert performances. It’s in other genres, but not as much. It use to be concerts were to support record sales. Now, records are to support concerts. Most artist don’t make significant money off their record sales since streaming services pay next to nothing. There is money if one gets a song that is popular in movies, tv shows, and sport events.

The article is an interesting perspective, but needing more refinement. It borders on being another statement on how “rock is dead” yet it still around despite Dolly Parton getting into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.


I read the story. My take is that the author isn’t wrong, but misses the broader economic context. When bands were most common (1940s Big Band era through the 1990s), the industry relied on radio and costly recorded music production and distribution. During that period, politics revolved around personal profits following from Capitalism/free enterprise versus the Communist critique of those “controlling the means of production.” Basically all remembered pop music was “allowed” because it faciliated corporate profits, despite many pop musicians with different ideals. The economic debate evaporated in the 1990s with home studios, CD ripping, and effectively free web distribution.

During the “Major Label” era, companies made money hand-over-fist versus any music era before or since. People had limited media and hobby options, and listening either cost time (radio commercials) or big money (buying records/CDs/cassettes).

Music was researched, calculated, branded, metered, and dominated by a handful of major label companies. They’d put one good song on an album and pack the rest with garbage – better to spend $15 on the trash album than $3 on the good single. They kept Elton John in the closet and forced him to marry a woman because of profit. They kept a 100 others in the closet because of profit. The forced John Mellencamp to change his name to Johnny Cougar because profit. The rejected Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell as too odd for the mainstream, but eventually it became one of the most successful albums of all time. Etc. etc. etc.

Market research and narrow “bean counter” accountant calculations ruled.

Bands fell into the same commercial pot. The offered quick and easy branding, provided excitement for stage performances, and were often fully disposable from a commercial standpoint. They often couldn’t play music, just look good on stage. They’d be gone in a year or two. Milli Vanilli was the most visible factory fake of the era.

Still, some bands have unique chemistry and those with something different stood above and remain over time. They were never the majority and will never be the majority. This often included just the lead vocalist and guitarist, but it took more than one. Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Aerosmith, Smiths, etc. In the last decade, I’d put Fleet Foxes and Wolf Alice in the “can only exist as a band” category.

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After reading the posts here I can see how he presents the entire musical landscape as a single thing called “music”, when of course it’s large and diverse.

It did make me think a bit so for that I found it interesting.

360 deals make it highly unlikely that a group will want to split those streaming bucks (thousandths of a penny). Solo artist seem to make more.

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Agreed, and also with @generic below. I guess my feelings about these sorts of commentaries overall is that they aren’t wrong, but nonetheless amplify or play to a certain regressive perception that things were better in the good old days, when Pappy saddled up the pony and we all say around the campfire playing banjos. Technology is RADICALLY different today than 50 years ago, and we can only imagine what impact it would have had on artists back then.

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