Do Great Live Bands Need an Album to Tour?

So I was catching up on some of the more mainstream industry publications and came across this Billboard article about Pearl Jam’s big Spring and Summer tour plans. The premise is that the band, despite not having a new album in the works, is slated for a bunch of big shows this Spring and Summer, including a recently confirmed headlining slot at Lollapalooza.

While we here at LMB appreciate any mainstream attention to “touring bands,” this ‘no album’ angle really jumped out at me. Why is it such a big deal that Pearl Jam — a long-time ‘road warrior’ live band — is touring without releasing an album? Why has this “norm” completely perpetuated the mainstream music industry? Can’t Pearl Jam just tour because they’re a great live band?

I admit that this is a bit of a small gripe, and it is also an angle even I will often include here at LMB. I’m sure that the Billboard editors (or headline writers) were just looking for another angle with which to cover a Pearl Jam tour. But, in a day where it seems like it is finally becoming more mainstream knowledge that artists can often be more successful by touring, do we really need this constant implication that a band has to release an album and then go on tour in support of that album?

What do you think?

WHITperson -- aka Marc Whitman or simply "Whit" -- is a long-time LMB contributor known for his in-depth posting style and his knack for crafting interesting podcasts. Whit currently resides in Brooklyn, where he's building up his web development chops and hoping to put his technical skills towards something interesting in the music world. Follow his updates over at whitperson.com...