It's been a rough decade for music.
Unless you're in a tribute band.
Go to almost any park this Labor Day weekend and you might run into a band covering some of the most famous songs in rock 'n' roll. Tribute bands have multiplied, as original bands have stopped touring, or started charging too much for tickets. "The time is right for tribute bands right now," say Swan Montgomery, lead singer of Led Zepagain, a veteran cover band for Led Zeppelin songs. Montgomery, a native of Ireland, came to the U.S. in the '80s on a record deal with Capitol Records. "Didn't work out," the singer says. "Was asked to join a tribute band, thought it was funny at the time."
He's laughing all right. All the way to the bank.
Led Zepagain was discovered a few years ago by Michael Vail Blum, a veteran record producer who stumbled into a club one night and was shocked to see it packed for a tribute band. "I thought to myself, there's a whole market here."
When Blum found out the band didn't have its own CDs—figuring fans would only want to buy the original band's material—he said, "Why are you doing that? Why don't you hand them (your own) CD and take their money?" Blum started recording some of the bands through his Titan Music, and the songs ended up on iTunes .
That's when things took off.