In a recent interview with Louisville’s Velocity Weekly paper, Ted Leo held forth on how he sees his future playing out in the face of slumping record sales, and it wasn’t pretty. The website Buzzgrinder.com got a hold of some of Leo’s quotes, and put them out there with the headline “Ted Leo Mulling Retirement in 2011.”
People don’t think record sales matter to musicians. If you’re selling less than 10,000 records, it probably doesn’t matter. And if you’re selling more than 100,000 records, it probably doesn’t matter. But if you’re selling somewhere in the middle, it can make a huge difference.
It’s a losing proposition for us at this point. It’s something we can’t keep doing. It’s a simple, unfortunate fact. In our particular case, it is totally tied to a downturn in record sales.
But then this afternoon, Leo responded at length on his website, with a post titled, in all-caps, REGARDING THE RUMORS OF RETIREMENT, which is a fine, if also completely depressing, read. The gist of it is that he will continue to make music, but that with record sales (and, interestingly, concert attendance) down, he won’t be able to continue at the same pace for much longer without figuring out some other ways to support himself—and no, he’s not willing to go the same route as everyone else. “I don’t sell my songs to commercials,” he says, “And we keep our CD, LP and t-shirt prices at $10.00 a piece.” [The Daily Swarm]