1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

So, the Live Music scene died in the 90s... causes?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by MattZilla, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    Did ASCAP/BMI only just then begin enforcing on venues & bars?

    Pregnancies & STDs put too many fans on the bench?

    Nirvana & Britney Spears?

    I'm sure it wasn't just one thing, but a collection of factors that would take down an industry which had been vibrant throughout the country for decades.

    I'm just curious.

    [edit] lots of good posts, but quite a few from people who demand a definition of "functional local music scene". A lively local Music Scene can support at the absolute least twenty bands and with each band member and >40 regular first call subs being able to feed, house, insure, and transport a family of four while also contributing a sensible amount to a retirement savings account while employed exclusively as a musician.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
    diegom and fhm555 like this.
  2. I believe a little thing called the interweb, or something, started around then. It's both an awesome place & a cesspool, all at the same time.

    Many things have started dying out because we can get our entertainment anytime, practically anywhere. Kids don't engage with physical things & go outside nearly as much, people don't go out as much, for crying out loud I heard a new study quoted saying that far less people are having, um, "special relationships" with each other, &, less frequently!!

    Live music venues aren't the only brick & mortar establishments in trouble these days. It's unfortunate, sad, & a little scary. Used responsibly, the web is a wonderful tool. Use it too much, or unresponsibly, or worse, as a babysitter...I shudder to think...

    My .02
  3. Oddly

    Oddly Unofficial TalkBass Cartographer! Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    I was gonna blame the internet, but I guess the rot had already set in by the time itunes (2001), youtube (2005) and facebook (2004) got going.
    So I'm blaming MTV.
    And Weird Al Yankovic.
    dralionux likes this.
  4. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    I don't think it was the internet. Seems to me it started declining hard in the earlier part of the decade, at least that is when I started noticing clubs were booking multiple acts into showcase nights for little or no pay. I hadn't seen this kind of show prior to this.

    It's also around that same time that my old band stopped gigging regularly because they couldn't keep their schedule full enough, and the friend I used to play music with in that band got a day job for the first time in over two decades. I left that band in 1989 and it didn't last much beyond that, even though they made a serious effort to keep going.
    PiecesOfQuiet, DrayMiles and filmtex like this.
  5. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    Lots of live music happening from where i’m sitting :)
  6. gustobassman

    gustobassman I'm only here for the after party.. Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2011
    Sandy Eggo
    Two turntables and a laptop killed the live music scene.
    Jens_C, Jazz Ad, BAG and 39 others like this.
  7. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    There were other entertainment options like cable TV with HBO or renting movies on VHS.

    And of course cargo shorts became popular.
  8. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    "World Changing Event: Solitaire was originally included in early computer programs to help users strengthen their clicking and dragging skills."

    Pretty sure these aren't necessary for a live performance.
  9. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hey, I resemble that statement!:)
    Gravedigger Dav and Element Zero like this.
  10. I can play 6-7 nights in my area, if I hustle. Metal, funk, classic rock, 90s power pop an Nu Metal, weddings, you name it. Anythin I want. Any night, virtually. But, after 25 or so years workin here, there are changes in attendance. Partly? Law enforcement. Crackdown on noise ordinance and reduced blood alcohol levels have kept folk from traveling the area to see bands. Folk prefer to stay close to home. So, audiences don't follow a band anymore, they go to a venue. Downtown used to be a bustling scene of diverse acts. Now, gotta stop playin earlier in many venues. And, pay scale for musicians hasn't really changed in 25+ years. Fewer great acts play regular because of this, and more kids who aren't worried about cash and aren't as fluent on their instrument are performing. Keeping rates down and making less than stellar music, giving bands a bad name as a whole. But, there are a LOT of gigs here. A lot of venues. Not all venues are band friendly, aren't designed as music venues. But all in all, my scene is quite active. I'll do two shows a day pretty often. In the on season (March thru October) and can still pay my bills in the off season, tho it might go down to three gigs a week. Of course, lots of factors affect our scene, too. DJ music, karaoke, has absolutely affected gigs and pay. Trivia nights, sports clubs, too. But I think my scene still pretty active. With a great diversity of acts I don't see everywhere. A lotta talent here, too. Folk know this. And come from all over. Thus flooding the area wit musicians. That also affects gig availability. But as a bass guitarist for hire, that is good for me.
  11. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Smoking bans and DWI crackdowns
    spade2you, Wasnex, dragon68 and 25 others like this.
  12. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    The internet didn’t really impact culture on a large, all-encompassing scale until the mid/late 90’s. But then, starting in the 80’s, was the con of elevating DJ’s to an equal(if not greater)status that began to erode the position of live musicians. Another development, which I just haven’t decided how impactful it was, would be that in the wake of Nirvana, so many bands that were not that substantial jumped on to that bandwagon, or were close enough to what was perceived as grunge, and got signed up in the feeding frenzy, creating a glut of that sound. I didn’t mind Nirvana on their own merits, I was somewhat mystified by the phenomenon; that sound had been around, on an underground level, for a few years. But then everything just had to sound like them. Sure, it killed Hair Metal and all that, butit was a scene that was pretty worn out by the end of the 80’s. There was a great variety of other styles going on at that time, maybe not making huge waves, but after September, ‘91, nobody wanted to know. None of those bands had a chance to keep developing or sustain what they had going on, yet every two-bit band that glommed on to the post-Nevermind trend, whether they got signed(and then dropped after one or two albums), or whether they were still aspiring club nobodies, created this tidal wave of sameness. Who wouldn’t get bored going out to the bars? Video games were exploding as well. Lots of disincentive. It could be that the party hardy crowd of the 80’s, fueled by the excesses of that time period, grew up/old. The flannel-clad ennui was a whole new mindset coming in.
    mikewalker, MattZilla and smogg like this.
  13. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Whiney nicotine addicts, if clubs couldn’t physically provide a smoking area, could still go outside.
  14. I don’t know. Where I’m at there is more and more live music happening all the time. S many venues having various types of live music. Whenever I see one of these threads, I have to admit my first inclination is to suspect the OP is still mad that 80’s hair metal died. What you see a lot more of now is solo artists (fools on stools) , duets, folk, bluegrass, etc. The full on bands that are getting gigs are generally multi genre capable. There are exceptions - but in general this seems to be the model
    PiecesOfQuiet, MonetBass and John6 like this.
  15. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Says the guy who lives in California to the guy who lives in Buffalo.

    I’m just reporting my observations.
    P. Aaron, Scoops, Wisebass and 20 others like this.
  16. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Supporting Member

    MADD. Vigorous enforcement of DUI laws. People don't go "out for a night of drinking and dancing" like they used to because they don't want to be wearing handcuffs later that night. Maybe the pervasiveness Uber and Lyft can help turn this around.
  17. Hand slap

    Hand slap

    Feb 14, 2016
    I my area the bar business slowed way down, when this happened, thus bars had to tighten their purse strings
    Wesley R likes this.
  18. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I once heard an older musician say it petered out 'cause-
    • www
    • DUI
    • AIDS
    ...couple were already mentioned.

    Around here, it was not only gigs that became scarcer...Pay was also affected. Club owners realized they had hand?
  19. bassbones2

    bassbones2 Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    Nicholasville Kentucky
    Just my opinions......I think it’s just that an establishment owner can never know for sure if you are really going to “bring in the drinkers” when he does know that “DJ whoever” will and do it cheaply and his ridiculously high lease payment is due.

    mikewalker and packhowitzer like this.
  20. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
    I found once the generation learned and had the internet always available it declined.
    Don’t have to leave the house to see a band or hear any music they want.
    Plus their attention span shrunk big time.
    Can still play original music and see shows but it’s not what it once was on a local level.
    It is a shame, but depending where you are in the world, your experience will differ.
    Vooter and TonyP- like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.