I just came across this blog entry and the author, singer/songwriter Shaun Groves, describes very well the new realities for musicians today.
Artists aren’t accustomed to being so accessible, accountable and out of control. Artists are accustomed to being in front of audiences that care about what they do, audiences they know are fans and they keep in the seats for a couple hours by charging a ticket price. But on-line, where spending time with an artist is free, anybody can wander into the crowd, boo, change the subject, or walk out. And they will. "If the Music Business Dies,"Shlog, 5/21/09.He talks about the old system, where artists had handlers who did everything and shielded them from any unpleasantness.
... artists are used to hiring people to handle their relationships for them. That’s at least 90% of what a manager does. Labels congratulate and critique through a manager, for instance, who adds his own diplomatic spin to every word so the artist’s feelings aren’t hurt and the relationship is preserved. Not so on-line. Someone can be hired to hit the “publish” button on a blog post that gets e-mailed over, invite people to a Facebook event and even write to people for an artist and signed their name (it happens), but no one can convincingly be the artist every day in post after post or interact with commenters regularly. Artists can’t hire anyone to be them 24/7 and the internet demands those kind of hours.Most of the musicians I talk to do not want to put in the time to relate to their fans. They feel it is sufficient to write, record, and perform good songs. They think that is their job and all they should have to do. But as Groves notes, "If the music industry dies it won’t be because everything changed. It will be because artists didn’t."
Billboard.biz just posted a good article on the use of Twitter by musicians. There have been other articles on the topic, but this one actually mentions CD sales pre and post Twitter fame. "How Twitter Is Changing Music," Billboard.biz, 5/30/09.