My, my, so many wrong-headed arguments and assumptions here on the part of the major label supporters...
To the "musicians can't make money touring / don't want to tour" crowd: There arre literally hundreds of ways to make money from music. The way that's been most popular over the last few decades is the "make a recording, burn it to CD/tape/vinyl and sell copies of that" route. Whatever the reason, the bottom's falling out fo that market. That leaves all the other routes - licencing to TV/Movies/games/remixesetc., touring live, digital downloads (which many, many people still pay for), merchandising, etc., etc. Just because *you* haven't figured out how to leverage your music to make money doesn't means it's not possible.
@PaulC - Bands have been doing this for a long time. If a venue is doing this for a proven, popular act, they're idiots. But, if you generate a fan base so that the venue knows that booking you will fill the house and make them money, they'll be more lenient.
The wikipedia link you posted says "The practice began in Los Angeles, CA, during the 1980's. It has become common in many U.S cities at low-turnout all-ages shows where performers are required to guarantee a minimum attendance through pre-show ticket sales.". What's wrong with that? Is a club/bar meant to just accept a loss when your unpopular band attracts 5 people just so you can showcase your 'art'? Even popular bands with major label contracts often don't make a lot of money from CDs and have to make their fortunes with tours - why should your no-name act be any different?
@AC: ""Want to keep your market? Do a better job of selling your product."
TRANSLATION: But don't try selling it to me, I'm a tightwad."
Nope, and thanks for demonstrating a common bad assumption.I don't buy major label content because they don't want to sell me DRM-free music in my region for a reasonable price. However, I do spend at least £30/month on an eMusic subscription, I have bought the Radiohead/NIN albums even though I could have them (legally) for free. I also buy music from AmieStreet, Beatport and the occasional live DVD or buy CDs if there's good extra material.
But, almost all that money goes either directly to the artists or to independent labels. We're not hearing those labels moaning, what we're hearing is always from the major RIAA labels or artists who can't cope with the new business ideas involved in the digital age. Tough. The day I can buy a DRM-free digital download for a lower price than the CD (necessary because I can do less with an MP3 - e.g resellm read liner notes, etc - than I can with a CD), you'll get my money. otherwise, stop bitching about losing sales since you're refusing to sell the consumer what they want to buy.
@JimC: "[Runs Help about on Notepad] (c) Microsoft corporation 1981-2001. So that's some twenty year old code still earning revenue... Frankly just another stupid argument..."
Yes, it makes money for Microsoft. The original coders probably sold their rights to the code to Microsoft as part of their original contract, as many programmers do (code produced on company time is the company's code).
So, yeah. The original coders still need to write code to make a living and don't make money for themselves unless they're still working for Microsoft and have a contract that allows them to. So, why should we not expect musicians to do the same?