How many times has happened that you decided to go to a live concert of a band you like but you gave up in the end for one or more reasons? The over-priced ticket, the location too far away, the distrust about the organization of the event…
How many times have you complained on social networks about your favorite band because they don’t plan any live show but you would like to hear them playing live?
Yet again, how many times have you been to a concert and the quality of the event was not up to your expectations, not because of the musicians, but for other factors? (Too many people, unaffordable merchandise, poor sound quality and so on).
These three situations are all connected. The musical world is currently in crisis for several reasons, and this crisis affects the small and medium-sized band as well as the bigger ones. Every subject who is involved in the process of making live music is affected by some problems: problems for the band, problems for the venue owners, problems for the audience and for the booking agency.
Let us start from the problems for the band: if we talk about small bands offering original music, the main difficulty is to find a venue able to pay for the show and to offer technical guarantees that can allow a good quality performance. It’s very common that the venue owners bring some little bands and let them play “only for visibility” without paying them or with a modest refund of the expenses. If at this point the musicians are hoping to cash in by selling a bit of merchandise, they will be disappointed because in most of the cases the ones which are at the show prefer to “invest” their money in beer rather than in merch. If the band is popular, the difficulties are related to the high production costs of the show, whose preparation and whose success depend on the work of dozens or hundreds of technicians and other professionals. This ends up in poor earnings from the sale of the tickets. Even for those bands, then, the main economic resource becomes the sale of merchandise.
From the venue’s holder point of view, the main problem concerning the organization of live events of a small band is the almost mathematical certainty of the “failure” of the shows, since the audience will be small and consequently there will be lower revenues. On the other hand, even the organization of bigger concerts is not easy or cheap at all, since there are many technical issues that can be well managed only with the expensive help of many professionals.
For the audience, it may not always be easy to support their own favorite bands when they play live. If we are talking about smaller bands, the shows often take place in the middle of nowhere and at a weird time. Moreover, the attention paid by the organizers to the success of the show in terms of audio and lightning quality is usually poor. When talking about very popular bands, the problems are others: the disproportionate cost of the tickets and merchandise, having to face the crowd waves in front of the gates hours before the show, or even the concerts of the supporting acts…
In addition, there is the problem of the booking agencies, dealing with procuring shows and tours for artists. Here too, the critical points are significant, since often, when it comes to small bands, these agencies promise to be able to find excellent opportunities for the artists, but then actually they have very little to offer, as the market is in crisis. This reduces the offer to supporting slots for bigger bands. This is a very expensive solution for the small band, which is forced to pay in order to have the honor of sharing the stage with most successful colleagues. Moreover, playing as a support act, the band will be probably ignored by the main act fans.
Although the situation is certainly very problematic, after observing of critical issues there must be an attempt to look for solutions… but we will see them the next time.