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TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Doug Krizner: The music recording industry got a victory yesterday in the first trial of an illegal downloader. A federal jury found a woman guilty of copyright infringement, and ordered her to pay $220,000 for illegally downloading and sharing music on the Internet.
It’s estimated music piracy costs the recording industry $4.5 billion a year in lost sales worldwide. That’s a big hit to recording artists.
For some older bands, a portion of that short-fall is being made up on the road. This week, we learned the Rolling Stones made more than a half-billion dollars on their Bigger Bang tour. And the Stones are not alone.
Let’s bring in Stuart Levine from Variety. Stu, why are older bands doing so well on the road?
Stuart Levine: The big reason is that the older people, the people that listen to music from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, have more discretional income than younger people. The younger people might buy more albums these days, but as far as the concerts, it’s the Rolling Stones, it’s The Police that are on tour, Genesis, Springsteen. These kind of people that, you know, people want to go see in concert.
Krizner: In the old days, though, tours were about supporting new releases. Not so any longer.
Levine: Not so anymore. I mean, Genesis, Police, I mean these people just . . . you know, the audience saw them in the 70’s and the 80’s, and they want to kind of reconnect with these bands again, they have no connection. I mean, I’m 43 years old, I’ll look at a Billboard Top 100, I won’t know three-quarters of the music. But if I know Genesis is coming back, or Springsteen or The Police even The Stones, you know you’re gonna have a good time. It’s a guaranteed having a fun time at the concert. You know, it’s expensive — The Eagles are playing here next week, $250 for a ticket. That’s insane, but there are people who have enough money — especially in this town — that are willing to do it.
Krizner: Now, I know that you’re a big fan of Springsteen. You were telling me, before we went to air, that you’ve seen, what, a hundred of his concerts?
Levine: I’m about to top the hundred mark.
Krizner: You’ve got to believe, though, with the tour that he’s putting together, that he’s trying to get a little bit of interest about the new release that he’s got, right?
Levine: Yeah. He just came out with “Magic.” And he’s not above, you know, getting out there. He played The Today Show the other morning to get some promotion for the album, he’s gotta sell records like everybody else. But the Springsteen, you know, the selling point has always been the concerts. And you know, he’s playing two here at the Sports Arena here in L.A., he’s playing back East, he’s playing Europe.
Krizner: Gotta be difficult on these performers, though, because the Stones were out for, what, two years?
Levine: Yeah, they were out for a long time. And these guys are not getting any younger. I mean, Springsteen used to play, you know, he played seven nights here at the Sports Arena in ’84. He used to have these marathon shows, y’know with three and a half, almost pushing four hours sometimes. Physically, he can’t do that anymore. He just turned 58. These guys, obviously they see the money and that’s important to them. But physically, they can’t do what they have to do. But even if you get two hours out of him, you know he’s gonna have a good time.
Krizner: So I’m sure you’ve already got your tickets to see Springsteen here, right?
Levine: Oh, got the tickets here, I got the tickets in Oakland, I might be working my way back East a couple times. You know, I pay bills and have family responsibilities, but you gotta have some fun.
Krizner: Stuart Levine is a managing editor at Variety here in L.A. We’re gonna go out with some music from the Boss right now.
Levine: Perfect. Thanks, Doug.
Krizner: And in Los Angeles, I’m Doug Krizner. Thanks for listening, enjoy the weekend.
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