This dissertation addresses the political economy of live rock performance and touring, both as they stand currently and their evolution via legislation, deregulation, and corporate conglomeration. Additionally, I examine the intertwined relationship between institutional arrangements and constructions of authenticity within rock culture, resulting in shifts as to how artists and audiences can perform "authenticity." Live performance is now at the center of value judgments of economic and cultural capital, overtaking the role of recordings. This shift, along with reduced options and limited promotional control over touring, produces consequences for artists, fans, and media scholars. These structural and fiscal changes dramatically alter how rock artists tour, maintain authenticity among fans, and - in the case of protest artists - speak on political issues with conviction, through a new relationship between the live, the political and the authentic, where "economic authenticity" and "keeping it real" fiscally is both more important for genre standards and more difficult for artists to achieve.