GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal recently told RockAAA that he believes there has never been a better time to be a musician and that the secret to success without the backing of a traditional record label lies in offering fans something different.
"I've been preaching that gospel since the '90s — labels can't survive without bands, but bands can survive without labels, so why would you want to sell your soul to the entity that needs you more than you need it?" he said. "Especially now when anyone can have worldwide distribution. You can do it all as simple as with a CDBaby.com account and a Facebook page. The Internet has levelled the playing field, we've all been given the same-size gun. The only that separates us now is how well you shoot.
"The album used to be the nucleus, now the parts have shifted — the music is still important but the personal connection is more central.
"CD sales have declined due to technology mostly, there's more convenient ways to get your music and faster bandwidth is allowing for better quality. Although nothing beats having something real in your hands, something with printed art, something that opens, something like LED ZEPPELIN 'III' with the spinning wheel, 'Sticky Fingers' with the zipper, 'Magical Mystery Tour' with the booklet. Now those things come separate from the music, as merch, for those who want them. We have more options today, that's why CD sales have declined."
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