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Banding together: Why longevity doesn't always equal quality in music business

The Red Hot Chili Peppers recently surprised "The Tonight Show" with an impromptu performance alongside Will Ferrell and in front of Jimmy Fallon. Months earlier, they jammed alongside Bruno Mars at halftime of the Super Bowl.
The RHCP have been playing together for 30 years, and you could argue that the band is just as popular today as ever given that the spotlight hasn't yet dimmed on them. Putting in three decades of work in the music business and staying relevant is something special, especially given how fickle and fleeting fame and iconic status in the music business can be.
Bands like the RHCP deserve heaping helpings of congrats and pats on the back for being able to do what they've done for so many years. But often longevity is misinterpreted as relevancy when it comes to the music being made.
Musical acts continually touring and releasing records isn't necessarily the same as doing those things and actually having the general music public or fans alike care, or if the albums garner little if any fanfare, even from diehard followers and lovers of the band.
Performers like the RHCP, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters aren't remotely done churning out music or touring across the world, and they're remarkably doing so with little drop off in terms of quality of work. Those aforementioned bands and songwriters always will have their loyal fans to download and buy everything they do, but what should really matter, and seemingly does to those groups, is that they're not simply resting on their laurels or name value and spewing out music that is missing the original angst and energy that made them millionaires.

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The music business is filled with plenty of performers, bands and "artists" that have been around for years upon years, and have enjoyed their fair share of success and notoriety for what they do. These are the acts that continually tour, sans new music of course, and continually play the same handful of hits they've been doing for 20 or 30 years.
No one is going to fault those bands for making a profit on songs they wrote decades ago or touring every so many years with nothing new to serve up to their legions of fans. If people continue to buy tickets, then any band would be foolish not to capitalize on the fame they had, rather than adding to their legacy, cultivating a new niche in the music marketplace or challenging themselves to take what they did and reinvent who they are today.
Doing all of those things would suggest that a band or artist will never be content on the status quo or simply staring at a wall of platinum or gold records, taking a deep breath filled with relief and just going about the business of making music haphazardly or without any regard for thoughtfulness or writing provocative and empowering lyrics that actually seem to matter.
The bands that opt to move forward at full steam deserve our adulation, respect and attention, while the others certainly will garner the attention aspect of those attributes but little else.

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