The Business of Political Music

Smaller Bands Get Out the Vote

Another group of bands led by the group Punk Voter released two volumes of compilation CDs called "Rock Against Bush" earlier this year. The albums sold more than 200,000 copies combined, a pretty small number compared to the nearly 8 million sold by Toby Keith. But the "Against Bush" CDs and the accompanying 21-city tour were more about spreading the anti-Bush word and registering voters than making sales, according to the Web site Punkvoter.Com.

Big acts like No Doubt, Green Day and Foo Fighters contributed to the albums, but the concert tour featured mostly lesser-known punk bands. And though the album sales were modest, West said the smaller bands can get more out of political affiliations than just sales.

"If you can find an audience in the political world, you can really expand your audience base," he said.

Musicians are expected to continue their political crusades right up until Election Day. Notables, including Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, reportedly plan to join Kerry at campaign stops over the weekend.

The benefit candidates get from these famous backers is unclear, but it's safe to say the musicians' efforts will not go unrecognized. Intentional or not, their support of political causes taps into a passionate vein for many fans, and anything that stirs passion can lead to extra sales.

"The musicians believe in the cause, but if they can sell copies at the same time, all the better," West said.

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