The No. 1 mistake? Writing off the music industry just because you're no longer so fully engaged

The tickets don't come cheap, but somehow gigs all over the country remain packed

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The Independent Online

All over the country this gloriously sunny weekend, you couldn’t move for music festivals and plain old gigs. From Scotland’s T in the Park, to the Wireless and British Summer Time events in London, not to mention the boutique Lee Festival, Magic Summer in Guildford and, of course the eternally magnificent Rolling Stones in London’s Hyde Park. If none of that grabbed you, there was the Buble of course.

None of it appeared to come cheap. £83 for a Wireless daypass, £95 for the cheaper Stones tickets. But somehow, with the exception of the Friday night at Hyde Park when Elton pulled out with appendicitis, all seemed packed.

This appears to surprise some older people, fuelled by endless reports of the music business being in crisis. Well, it’s a view that’s as out of touch as no longer knowing what’s number one in the charts. Remember how you always used to pride yourself on knowing that? How not to know would signify growing “properly old”?

The monstrously successful Stones are not the exception that proves the rule. The splendid 60- and 70-somethings are by far the biggest act in the world in a business that is notionally, perpetually aimed at youth. The biggest tours of the past decade (and in history) are; U2’s ‘360 degrees’ (by a country mile), the Stones (last time round), ACDC, Madonna and U2 again.

Throw in over the past two years, Roger Waters’ The Wall and Bruce Springsteen and the picture could not be clearer. Only Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift of acts remotely aimed at the young threaten a list currently rounded out by the Eagles, Take That, Coldplay and…Bon Jovi!

So, boomers and their offspring are listening live to the old music we grew up with. How different a picture it represents to 2013’s top-selling singles and albums. You may be surprised to know that last year was Britain’s record year for singles sales, and this year is booming too, led by Daft Punk’s 'Get Lucky' and Robin Thicke’s 'Blurred Lines'. 27 singles have sold over 300,000 copies this year alone.

Albums sales are a little bit down on last year so far. Apart from the inevitable Now 84. Emeli Sande tops the list, followed by the Les Mis soundtrack and the effervescent Bruno Mars. Daft Punk (again!) is followed by Justin Timberlake, the 19-year-old Jake Bugg (he’ll be huge) and Calvin Harris. Michael Buble is in there too – now he really is an exception that proves the rule.

So, don’t fall into the trap of writing off an industry with which you are no longer so fully engaged. The record companies may whinge, but technology allows us to navigate around them and find our own new, new thing. And, as for that number one in the charts it’s Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines'. But you knew that, didn’t you?