Chapter 9. CAREER MAINTENANCE

David Bowie is a rock musician whose longevity is due partly to his chameleon-like ability to reinvent himself every few years. He is also the namesake of the "Bowie Theory," coined by Princeton University economist, Alan Krueger. Bowie, he said, had told the New York Times in 2002 that "music itself is going to become like running water or electricity," which was a far-sighted reference to its current ubiquity and accessibility via the Internet. Professor Krueger's theory points out how the increase in concert ticket prices can be directly attributed to the new methods by which consumers can access their favorite tunes. Rather than purchase LPs or CDs from a store as in previous decades, most people are now likely to download, often for free or for a very small fee, just a selected song or two from numerous artists.

With the revenue stream from record sales now substantially diminished, many musicians are recognizing the apparent reversal. Instead of cheap concerts fueling a demand for record sales, the tunes now must fuel a demand for the live show, for a live show experience cannot be reproduced digitally and that is where the big money is now to be found. In other words, the human contact experience has become a matchless commodity. As Bowie said to his fellow performers, "You'd better be prepared for doing a lot of touring, because that's really the only unique situation that's going to be left."[35]

For those of us who are not rock stars, a similar ...

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