Corey Smith is a musician that you've probably never heard of. He sells out about 1/2 the shows that he plays and he plays north of 200 shows per year. Oh, and the tickets to his shows, if you buy them in advance, are $12-$20 with no fees; they're only around $30 if you buy them the day of the event -- he does his best to not play Ticketmaster buildings if they can be avoided simply to save his fans from paying the fees.
You can buy all of his CDs (there are 4) for $36, meaning that you're paying $9 a CD, or you can get a CD and a t-shirt for $30. He's also worked with Amazon to make downloads available for $8.99 and $7.99 on iTunes; his newest release is available on Amazon for the holidays for $6.99.
Smith lets you try before you buy -- you can download a number of tracks as MP3s directly from his site; pretty good sample across the albums.
It's refreshing to see a musician that's focused on just playing his music and makin sure that his fans can enjoy it. I love seeing an artist that is organically growing his listener base, just like bands in the sixties and seventies used to -- this isn't the "new music business," this is the business getting back to its roots, one artist at a time. Perhaps instead of suing their customers, the record companies should spend some of that lawsuit money on finding and supporting artists like Corey.
Oh, and he sounds really good -- sort of a mix between Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, and James Taylor.
Check him out -- pretty low cost of entry even if you don't like him.
P.S. -- Corey if you have people looking for stuff like this and you happen to read it, I'll go out on the road with you in a heartbeat because I believe that you'll be great.