Music News

How to Survive an Economic Crisis Without Sacrificing Your Love of Music

These are tough economic times, what with a recession driven by the housing crash and skyrocketing unemployment. It's damn near impossible in such a climate to splurge on our hobbies and passions. Who can afford New Kids on the Block tickets or iPods jam-packed with soundtrack-baiting Killers tracks when some people can't even pay their rent? Well, because we here at New Times care about your need to rock, we've come up with a few suggestions on how you can survive the current crisis without sacrificing your love of music.

Become a busker. Don't knock street performing. A lot of the folks who now enjoy membership in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame started their careers singing or playing for change on some intersection corner. You may not think you can make rent by busking, but we know of a few who have wound up buying homes with their earnings.

Download your music illegally. A lot of people spend their hard-earned money on iTunes, buying the latest hits or rediscovering a bad '80s pop song that once made you happy ("You're the Best" by Joe Esposito — pure awesomeness). We say: idiots.

Become a roadie. a) It's a job. b) You get fed. c) The music's good (hopefully). d) Your chances of getting laid increase (though the quality of your conquest decreases correspondingly). e) It's a job, dude. Seriously. Give up Rock Band, leave your parents' basement, and get back to doing something with your life.

Sell your used CDs. eBay versus Amazon. Make a few extra bucks by unloading your unwanted CDs onto other music fans. Just don't go to the local used-CD emporium, where hipsters in thrift-store wear will undoubtedly offer you a pittance for your goods. Try either eBay or Amazon.

Why eBay? While you generally pay between 10 and 35 cents for listing each item, and then lose another 8.75 percent of whatever the winning bid is, bidding wars can score you higher-than-expected sales.

Why Amazon? They let you list items for free. However, if someone buys your busted-up copy of . . . Baby One More Time, the site then charges you a 6 percent to 15 percent commission, a variable closing fee (whatever the hell that means), and a 99-cent per-transaction fee.

Which seller site is better? When trying to unload large numbers of low-cost CDs, go with eBay (where you can pad sales by increasing your shipping charges by a buck or two). Have a hot new CD everyone wants, or the latest from that trendy new indie band? Go with Amazon; you can dictate your own selling price, and will often get it.

Sell out. Call us cynical, but everyone does it eventually. Even your favorite musicians. Just ask Liz Phair (Liz Phair), Gwen Stefani (everything post-No Doubt), Metallica (everything since "The Black Album"; and they sued their fans), or Paul McCartney (for recording that piece of shit, "Wonderful Christmastime," which we had to suffer though every time we stepped into a mall or turned on the radio or, well, did anything this holiday season).

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Cole Haddon