Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Facing Lagging Record Sales, Ted Leo May Have to Quit Music

Posted By on Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 8:27 AM

click to enlarge Ted Leo + Pharmacists - SHAWN BRACKBILL
  • Shawn Brackbill
  • Ted Leo + Pharmacists
Deep into his second decade of playing music for a living, frisky, political-minded East Coast punk rocker Ted Leo says he may have to retire from regular touring and recording next year because of drooping record sales.

The Lookout Records artist told Louisville's Velocity:

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.

(Update, 9:33 a.m.: Leo writes on his blog that "there's no way we can continue forever as we have," but that he's sure he'll "never stop making music." Selling $10 CDs and touring relentlessly don't seem as feasible approaching 40 as they once did, Leo writes.)

So is this Leo waning in popularity, or the effect of an "everything is free on the Internet" mentality? It may be that Leo, like such superfamous artists as the Backstreet Boys, is struggling from not being able to depend on record sales for solid income as they once could. Or it may be that fans just don't care to support Leo. This is a guy who sings stifling lines like "the means of production are now in the hands of the workers" on his latest album, after all. 

Yet somehow I doubt the latter aspect explains it all. Leo's kind of a household name in contemporary punk and indie circles -- he gets press, he's played everywhere in the country (and puts on a fiery show), and he's well respected. Some of his records, especially 2001's The Tyranny of Distance, manage a transcendent blend of punk anger and pop sensibility. This year's The Brutalist Bricks wasn't his best, but it certainly was better than a lot of albums released so far in 2010. (See above video.) So here's hoping Leo figures out the money issues and keeps himself and his band the Pharmacists in the studio and on the road. [Buzz Grinder via DailySwarm]

Follow us @SFAllShookDown


  • Pin It

Tags: , ,

About The Author

Ian S. Port


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"