Todd Rundgren still gets it after 5 decades of music

Some musicians complain about streaming music and that damn newfangled technology. Todd Rundgren, who has made hugely innovative and amazing music, doesn’t think that way at all. Instead, he says, learn from new generations, change with the times as needed, and don’t be a fossil. I’ve always like his attitude. He always been at the forefront of new music technology, synths, recording techniques, and electronica.

But not all technology is kind to artists, right? We hear so many complaints about services like Spotify, with musicians claiming they’re being ripped off. Somebody’s always going to wind up believing that they’re getting screwed out of something. But in the end, the performers don’t have much to complain about. They become popular on Spotify, they sell more concert tickets. It’s that simple.

How does the aging audience affect the economics of what you do? They don’t go out as much. They aren’t the avid music consumers that they used to be, so it becomes harder to base your livelihood on them. For someone like me who has been in this business for 50 years, you can’t survive without refreshing the audience and getting younger ears to listen to what you’re doing, because by the time you get to my age, your audience is dying. Literally. I study what the younger audience is listening to and try to exploit it if possible. And I have to keep touring. I don’t have the advantage of a long string of hit records. Those artists only have to go out every couple of years. I have to tour constantly.

Runddans collaboration 2015. Todd Rundgren, Hans-Peter Lindstrom and Emil Nikolaisen.

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