Rafer Guzmán of Newsday.com reports:
When Ozzfest announced it would be free this year — that's right, free — happy headbangers were probably too stoked to wonder how the whole thing will work.
Put simply, corporate sponsors will help defray the costs, allowing fans to pay nothing. But there is a wrinkle: "Free" extends to the bands, too, meaning they won't be paid. That explains why marquee names such as KORN or JUDAS PRIEST haven't exactly rushed to sign on.
So far, the lineup includes lesser-known bands such as LAMB OF GOD, HATEBREED and MONDO GENERATOR, featuring Nick Oliveri of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. (The headliner is OZZY OSBOURNE, of course. He's definitely free.)
Smaller bands are willing to tour under the famous Ozzfest "brand" without receiving a dime because they're still looking to build an audience. Their record labels, who likely share the same goal, may support the bands financially as well. And every artist will be hoping to sell as many T-shirts, posters and CDs as possible.
No matter who ultimately plays at Ozzfest - nicknamed "Freefest" - the experiment will be interesting. Osbourne's wife, Sharon, who helps run the festival, suggested that this might
be the way of the future. Citing a new generation of music fans who seem to expect everything free, she predicted, "This will change everybody's impression
of the way touring in the summer in America should be."
Is she right? The music industry certainly seems to be hurtling toward an all-free future. Between MySpace, blogs and illegal downloading, the reasons for paying for recorded music are
quickly dwindling. Soon we might expect live music
to be free. This could be a forehead-slapping moment: Hey, we're already being bombarded with ads at tours sponsored by Vans, Nintendo and Honda Civic, so why
are we paying for tickets, too?