Live Music: As If It Weren't Already Challenging Enough

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Goatlord
TGF Recording Artist
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Sad piece on the state of live music.

"Momma Don't Let Your Baby Grow Up To Be A Musician...."



Makes me wonder if the viability of making $$ from touring/live performance will go the same sordid fate as making
$$ from the sale of one's own music.
 
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The COVID stuff will pass, at least for the younger musicians. I can't imagine people are going to be testing two years from now. It's just not that much of a risk for otherwise healthy people under the age of 50.

Costs are huge too...it seems like ticket prices have doubled on average in the last five years. Double digit inflation seems to snowball, and the audience won't be going to as many shows. On the other side, artists are going to get squeezed trying to deal with the same inflation issues, but shrinking margins and lower demand due to higher ticket and concession prices.

The mental health (and substance abuse) thing is even longer term IMO. Younger generations have a different mindset than previous ones, for good and bad. I'd imagine there's going to be more artists who don't want to tour because they don't want the stress and challenges. Forty years ago, rock bands on tour were essentially huge traveling parties with all kinds of debauchery. Now that's really not acceptable or desired.

Here's a little story of a band that to me really sums up all the challenges of trying to make it as a musician nowadays.

One of my favorite younger bands is Pinegrove. I saw them in 2016 when they were the opening act playing to about 20 of us at a tiny club. The next show they came through town was a little bigger, they headlined and sold out a 250 cap club. They started to get a lot of positive press and hype, and radio airplay on indie and college stations too. The show after that was a sold out 650 cap club.

Then as they were about to release their next album, the singer was accused of some kind of impropriety, and the band went on hiatus. Basically, he was blasted for sleeping with a consenting adult fan. But in 2018, that was some kind of power inequity dynamic rather than something that happened on any given Tuesday in the 80's. Because he's a sensitive soul, he quit social media, canceled all the tours, and went into therapy. The band was largely "canceled"...a lot of the press stopped covering them and many radio stations dropped them.

It turns out that a third party was essentially blackmailing him, but that's besides the point. The damage was done, especially in the indie/art scene where nobody wants to look like they are supporting a bad guy.

Anyways, they try to mount a comeback. They had released an album during their hiatus and did a tour on it. This time around, there wasn't much press or radio airplay. As part of whatever weird agreement or penance, the band had to hire groups to provide "safe spaces" for anyone who felt uncomfortable (???). They also donated whatever miniscule proceeds they were making on album sales to various charities.

Then they get ready for their next album and tour, and the press is warming up to them a tiny bit, but they unfortunately timed it out right at the start of the pandemic. So they go back on the shelf for another year. In 2021, they try and get a tour going, but with Covid a lot of it got canceled and pushed out. That happened a second time in early 2022, and they've basically been limping through their limited tour dates.

So the band which was once super promising and had a ton of hype and lots of fans ended up getting completely stalled out, and last I heard, the band is planning on "slowing down" so they can finish school and get jobs and have families and all those things.
 
It’s not sars-cov2.

It is the destruction of self determinism, the middle class, the destruction of culture here in the USA in order to force people to serve only one master goober.


Look at independent business eg restaurants, bakeries, crabbers re: crab fishing grounds closed again (my neighbors), gig workers, etc. etc. ad naseum ad infinitum.


Season 3 No GIF by NETFLIX
 
From what I've observed, Covid has passed and concert tickets are in line with what they were in the 80's, adjusted for inflation (and not taking into account the recent crazy inflation either.)

I've been to 2 shows in the past couple years. One was Muse, so that's an arena-size show, and tickets next to the floor were $100. If prices double every 7 years, that's actually cheaper than the $8.50 tickets I had for the same area seats, for the same band as far as popularity goes, in the 80's, Duran Duran.

And just this past weekend I saw John Petrucci right up front for the same $100. Those type of shows 35 years ago would've been around ~$5. Seems right in line to me. No one even verified my vaccination status, and no one (that I saw) was wearing a mask. And I did turn around to look at how full the ~500-seat theater was, btw.

This state of music, and many other businesses, is fallout from the lockdowns, which I disagreed with back when they announced them. A natural population reduction (running out of resources while destroying the planet) & buildup of natural immunity, (survival of the fittest anyone?), without throwing a wrench into the worldwide economic environment would've been better in the long run, IMO. I don't know how the average roadie-type person survived.
 
covid killed our best venues. i am trying to open one right now. could be really dumb or brilliant but i think its worth a shot.



last 2 shows i bought tickets for were both death metal bands so they were pretty cheap lol. i am not the type to shell out huge bucks for one night of music. i hate scalpers and ticketmaster having a monopoly but also think artists need to get paid well for touring. its not a glamorous lifestyle by any means and they aren't making the same from album sales anymore so something has gotta give.
 
covid killed our best venues. i am trying to open one right now. could be really dumb or brilliant but i think its worth a shot.



last 2 shows i bought tickets for were both death metal bands so they were pretty cheap lol. i am not the type to shell out huge bucks for one night of music. i hate scalpers and ticketmaster having a monopoly but also think artists need to get paid well for touring. its not a glamorous lifestyle by any means and they aren't making the same from album sales anymore so something has gotta give.

Really? Are you nuts??!! ;)

Seriously, though, best of luck. We need people willing to put their savings on the line
and risk it all for the love of live music. :beer


Care to share more?
 
Damn! :(

I made roughly 70% to 80% of my income from playing live from around 2004-2014.
I couldn't make 10% of what I once did around here. And by all accounts this is not a
local or regional issue.
 
One of my buds has a really good 80's cover band, and another bud is a solo acoustic guitarist, who is a fantastic entertainer. Well this past summer, they both had a gig at the same place. Acoustic guy was inside, in the restaurant, early in the evening, and he let everyone know about the band gig that was set to start up outside at the bar. The place ended up completely packed, and both guys had a full tip jar as well.

So in a group text that I'm part of, he suggests they do it again next summer, but my buddy who leads the 80's band declines, saying he's "raising his prices next year $1000." So basically he doesn't want to play that place any more because the owner won't pay. I was amazed. (He's always had a rather loose grip on reality.)
 
Really? Are you nuts??!! ;)

Seriously, though, best of luck. We need people willing to put their savings on the line
and risk it all for the love of live music. :beer


Care to share more?


Having a rough time finding a location. I want to get a capacity over 100 people and that requires the building has sprinklers which rules out a lot of places or would be very expensive to install.

I dunno, it's always been a dream of mine but it might be out of my reach. There is one location that might work but they want like 5k per month to lease it and that's just the start of the monthly costs, I offered them 3k since it's been vacant for a while and they haven't responded. A liquor license would be like 70k.

Lansing used to have decent venues but covid killed them. We were getting decent bands bc we are in the middle of Detroit and Chicago so it's a good extra stop for bands. It's a college town and the state capital.

If we find a location I planned to start a YouTube and tiktok to document the process. I'll keep you posted if that happens.
 
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Having a rough time finding a location. I want to get a capacity over 100 people and that requires the building has sprinklers which rules out a lot of places or would be very expensive to install.

I dunno, it's always been a dream of mine but it might be out of my reach. There is one location that might work but they want like 5k per month to lease it and that's just the start of the monthly costs, I offered them 3k since it's been vacant for a while and they haven't responded. A liquor license would be like 70k.

Lansing used to have decent venues but covid killed them. We were getting decent bands bc we are in the middle of Detroit and Chicago so it's a good extra stop for bands. It's a college town and the state capital.

If we find a location I planned to start a YouTube and tiktok to document the process. I'll keep you posted if that happens.
Lansing, Michigan?

I have a nightmare gig story from there. :rofl
 
I don't think Rock Concerts will ever be what they were once upon a time



1668781327102.png


Sad but true :mad:
 
covid killed our best venues. i am trying to open one right now. could be really dumb or brilliant but i think its worth a shot.



last 2 shows i bought tickets for were both death metal bands so they were pretty cheap lol. i am not the type to shell out huge bucks for one night of music. i hate scalpers and ticketmaster having a monopoly but also think artists need to get paid well for touring. its not a glamorous lifestyle by any means and they aren't making the same from album sales anymore so something has gotta give.

Awesome and good luck!

Right when things started getting back to ‘normal’ here in South Florida, there was NO time wasted in a few new venues opening up. South Florida lost all it’s live music venues around 2015 and there were only 2 bars you could see a live band at from then until the last year, aside from the smaller bars with solo acoustic acts.

One morning I was on FB and see my buddy promoting a show at a new brew pub, then the next week he’s promoting 2 shows at two different venues and within 4 weeks, there were 4 new venues opened that were booking all original metal bands. It hasn’t been like this since the early-mid 00’s, right before we lost both our modern rock radio stations. As long as I’ve been in Florida, there’s been a near-rabid fanbase of local, live music, especially the metal stuff. All those people were just waiting for a venue to open and they’ve been showing up at all the gigs. At this point, on any given weekend I can go to one of 3 bars and see live music again.

I hope the same works out for you, brother! :headbang
 
I don't think Rock Concerts will ever be what they were once upon a time



View attachment 2557

Sad but true :mad:


Well, November 2021 I went to Welcome To Rockville which had about 90,000 people filtering in and out over the 4 day event. Look up any Metallica show in the last year or so and you’ll see exactly what you see above. Our smaller venue for national acts is booked up every weekend for about a year ahead. I saw Rev Horton Heat and The Toadies there a couple weeks ago (where I caught covid again:rofl) and it was PACKED. I couldn’t believe it. People, at least down here, are starving for live music and are taking any opportunity they can to see it again.

Diesel prices are really killing touring hard right now, Devin Townsend was just talking about this on the RiffHard podcast this week. The costs are just f*cking crazy and it’s costing almost twice as much to rent a bus as it used to, which was around $10K a week previously.
 
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