I wrote on Monday about the emerging Musical Middle Class - a world populated by more artists selling 20-100,00 copies and making a living through direct sales, touring, merch and other streams; and because there are fewer outsiders taking a cut. They are empowered by the viral marketing and direct sales that the net enables. In my work as an agent, its a new paradigm that I see clearly even though its just starting to take shape.
Fair points, but the bands I see forming the emerging musical middle class are not the indie buzz bands that go it on their own and fail to sell the units that label bands do. Those were acts of trying to play the old game with new rules. The bands I'm speaking of (examples in the original article) are flying below the industry's radar and by selling via gigs and their web site,the majority of units never reach Soundscan.
The skepticism may also come in how we view the term middle class. I see it defined as having "a comfortable standard of living, significant economic security, considerable work autonomy and rely on their expertise to sustain themselves." We may not know exactly what the Musical Middle Class looks like or how they will get there. We do know it's not about limos and private jets. But that still beats having to make music only on weekends.