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Is live music on the way out?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by tonylevinkix, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. tonylevinkix


    Sep 24, 2010
    Look at who is playing at your local casino or arena, is it Duran Duran? Heart? Hall and Oats? The Wh?? what do all these bands have in common? they've all been around for at least 30 or 40 years. It seems like most of the new performers don't use real musicians playing real music and who wants to pay $50 a seat to see someone kareoke? I've been playing about 30 years and I find I have a lot harder time finding bands to play with or create with. So, I'm wondering, is this just a phenomena here in dusty Ok or is this the case where you live? By the way the fact that I'm a wanna be jazz player (I've played country and I'd rather hang it up before I play it again!) doesn't make things any easier. I've been wondering about online music creation I have a small computer studio set up using a Focus Pro 40, are any of you into that? Can you give me pointers?
  2. I think the problem is that you're looking for jazz gigs/musos to hit up. The sad fact of the matter is that scene is no longer as relevant as it was back in the day. Kids (and some adults) these days want to start up their own rock/metal/indie bands, which are in high supply around my parts and across the globe. Its just the scene now. That's ot to say that you won't find a decent jazz band/gig to play with...its just become a bit more of a niche market.

    Live cover music is just about dead in bars and clubs. People don't care about the energy of a live band playing covers so long as they're playing the songs they like to listen to on the radio. And venue owners are finding it more difficult to justify paying bands when they can hire a DJ to mix some songs for a fraction of the price.

    However, I can't say the same for originals. Every weekend, and some weekdays, quite a number of bars host some excellent local talent in my city (not to mention the occasional international touring band) with great turnouts. I guess it depends on the scene, though. A lot of kids here are into the underground scene and will gladly hit up an unknown band to show their support. Hell, this weekend I'm planning on hitting three different bars each hosting their own shows...about 15-18 bands in total. Not bad, I reckon.
  3. powderfinger


    Feb 24, 2009
    My cousin...
  4. tonylevinkix


    Sep 24, 2010
    Actually, the music scene here is completely dead and this is a college town. There's a little bit country, some southeren rock (background music for a pitbull fight?) and bandmix has not helped.
  5. powderfinger


    Feb 24, 2009
    @Tonylevinkix, on a serious note..

    Whether it be clubs, or auditoriums... it always seems like a classic artist who is coming to town. It always seem to be Allman Bros., Lynyrd Skynyrd, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springstein, U2, et al.
  6. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    I think live music is far from dead. Even with the wedding scene, people prefer live music if they feel like they KNOW your band.....if they have some sort of personal connection with you.

    It's like calling that business on the phone. Everyone knows you prefer getting a real person instead of all that pre-recorded crap.
  7. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I live in Seattle and live music is king here, especially originals. On any given night you can find pretty much any style of music you want, from country to jazz to metal to avant guard to DJs or mambo to classical.

    In short, it's all about location.
  8. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    Live cover music may be just about dead in Australia but in Dallas Tx it is thriving.
    Good music played well always has a following. And in 2012 there are so many classic rock bands and artists that are either long gone due to band break up or the artists deaths that it's impossible to hear much of the music of the 60's and 70's live without it happening locally. Many rock fans consider those decades to be the years that defined the rock genre with innovations in musical equipment, recording technology, and near genius song writing. Local bands are keeping the music alive and it's a win-win situation for the better bands and the fans. For the fans it doesn't involve exorbitant ticket prices and parking fees. Yes, there is the occasional iconic concert that comes to town and there will be those who pay out the big bucks to see the shows, and yes those shows do cost a lot of money to execute. But once you remove the classic rock acts that are still out there on the road from the list, there are quite a lot that will never see a concert stage again. Those are the ones that keep the cover bands busy and keep the music alive for everyone who comes out to enjoy it. In many ways it's not unlike hearing a symphony play music that was written 300 years ago. Artists pass on but the music lives on through the hands of the musicians that continue to play it.
  9. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I agree with this. Coincidentally, I'm in the same part of the U.S. as klokker so maybe it's regional, but here at least regarding the bar scene, the good bands still draw. The biggest difference is that there are more crap bands out there than ever willing to play for almost nothing and so it's not like people can just go out to any bar on any given weekend and be guaranteed a good band like it used to be. They have become more discriminating.

    Same deal with wedding/corporate jobs. Yeah DJs have made inroads into those markets but my band is actually playing more weddings and corporate jobs now (as a percentage of our calendar) than ever. In fact I had one guy tell me at his friend's wedding where we played "seeing you guys makes me wish we hadn't hired a DJ for our wedding". And there have been multiple times we've leveraged one wedding gig into another (i.e., we play a wedding gig and somebody in the wedding party or family sees us and hires us for theirs, or refers us to somebody else).

    So bottom line, yeah I think live music has taken a hit in almost every market to some degree, but it's still pretty "healthy" in certain areas and especially if your band can deliver the goods.
  10. I'm on Long Island in NY which is a suburb of NYC.
    There is plenty of live music all over the place here
    on the Island. NYC is a live music mecca so even if
    the scene ever got bad here it is a short trip there.
  11. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    Yeah I'm in Nashville-still a few hundred bands touring out of here every weekend-everything from cover bands, d-level country artist on club/bar/casino tours, huge country stars, big bands, wedding bands, indie rock, christian acts on all levels etc.

    Also about 20/30 bands a night 7 days a week. I guess maybe "Music City USA" isn't a good example.

    One of the guys I used to play for was from Tulsa, and we played OK all the time-he was 27. Not booking $50 seats at casinos, but pulled a good crowd everywhere he went.
  12. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    I think live music is making a huge comeback.. Its like getting good customer service, its just better.

    Look how many rappers and singers are getting band-backed again, like its the mid90s
  13. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    You also really have to know your market and decide if you're willing to give them what they want or go your own way. I was talking to my ex brother in law (also a musician) last night and his thing is blues-influenced originals and he says our market sucks. Well, yeah, for that genre, this market DOES suck. OTOH I happen to play in a covers/originals band that's heavy on country (classic and new) with a smattering of 80s, Top 40 and oldies and I can most confidently assure you the market for that mix is going strong.

    Other markets, maybe country's not the hot thing and it's metal or 80s hair band stuff or Top-40 or whatever. All depends on how comfortable you are going where the money is even if the money isn't in your genre(s) of choice.
  14. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Depends on the location. Some areas are better than others.

    Depends on age too, I'd say most of the under 25 crowd has no understanding or use for live bands.

    My band occasionally comes up in conversation with an under 25 person. Seems like they love to say " I love live music"

    Then I say ;" really, what was the last concert you went to or last live band you went to see?"

    The response is always a blank stare and no answer.

  15. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    The live band scene is dying around here for sure. People would rather sit at home and watch TV or use their computers or go to restaurants here for entertainment than see a band. If there is live band, the crowds are small, they leave early, and many don't even pay attention to the bands and they would rather talk. How many times lately have you heard that you are too loud and people can't hear themselves talking. If they want to talk, why do they go where there is a band and sit right up front?

    I just booked all the bands for a large area festival. Two stages with a wide variety of music and I hired some of the best and most well known bands around with something for everybody including rock, polkas, blues, a 19 piece jazz big band, Celtic, oldies, and more. The festival was 100% FREE attendance and FREE parking. There are over 250,000 people who live within a 45 minute drive of the place. The festival gets a huge crowd. You would think that the stages would have been full all day and night. Most of the bands had small crowds and people would rather stand around talking and not pay attention to the bands. However, we had a massive crowd to watch fireworks for 20 minutes and then most of them left right afterward even though we had two really good bands for FREE after the fireworks.
  16. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    I don't know these broad statements about what people want seem very region-specific. A large majority of the non-wedding gigs I play are college-aged bars, which are often packed so tight you can't walk through (I may or may not regularly piss in the alley because there isn't time to get to the bathroom and back on my 1-song break during the night). A lot of those kids I suspect are even younger than 21 sometimes...
  17. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Unfortunately, I think there's something to this. Last year my band was hired to play at an all-state athletic party (i.e., a couple hundred too-cool-for-school high-school jocks) and it was the most unenjoyable gig ever. Kids completely disengaged, sitting there texting on their phones, hanging out at the snack bar, etc. Then we did some twitter searching a few days later and found out a few of them were actually tweeting about the "lame old band" WHILE we were playing. Unbelievable.

    This year, my BL got a line on a high-school graduation party job (at the school) paying $4,000 and he turned it down... said no way in h*ll we're putting ourselves through that again, even at that price.
  18. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Tony, I think it's on it's way out. I have been a weekend warrior for 25 plus years
    and have seen gigs & venues dry up.
    There is very little work left. The good paying gigs , weddings & corporate
    are almost all gone.
    My friend disbanded his very successful group after 30 years for lack of work.
    The 2007 recession really killed what was left.
  19. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I agree with all the others that it's regional. Not sure if someone already said this, but I also think it's economically-driven. If an area has lots of disposable income, that sure helps -- as long as you know who you're playing for and you've geared your material to satisfy that market segment. Sometimes even just one state can be all over the place wrt live music because some counties may thrive with high-income residents with plenty of cash to go out and have fun, while others choke with unemployment.
  20. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Plenty of live music in my area. As for the major music scene....why are the old bands still touring? Because there is still a huge demand for good pop music. The young folks (bands) today just want to either water the music down or over complicate it! Whatever happened to just good ol' pop songwriting? Lots of wierd stuff out there as well as loud angry stuff. Most folks want to just sing and dance along. Not only that, newer bands just don't have enough good solid material to play a solid 1-1/2 to 2 hour show. This is just my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt.

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