7/26: THE CONCERT BIZ TODAY

Concerts out there are hurting. Sure no artist is ever going to tell you this, but it is the truth. I get the calls everyday from promoters and agents looking for help selling shows big, medium and small. It’s a real issue out there right now. You may even go to a show and think it’s full, but in reality it’s not. That’s called “papering the house”, meaning giving tickets away in mass amounts just to have people in the room to make it look good, sell a T shirt or a beer. Now many have said sales are rough because “rock is dead”. However I do not believe that to be the case. In my view two words sums up the live music industry right now; OVER SATURATION. Simply put, bands are over touring to make up for the fact that almost nobody is making money on album sales. Used to be you toured to sell the album, which is where the money was made. Now it’s reverse. The album is almost the giveaway to promote a tour. But WAY too many bands are out there WAY too long, some hitting major markets three times in a year. I get they need to make money and don’t fault them, but it makes it less special when you can see a favorite band twice a year VS once every two. People simply can’t afford to pay to see all these shows and see a band so many times. As a result everyone is being more selective, and you are seeing more and more bands downsize venues, but still staying on the road. I also think peoples attention is in way too many places to make all these shows a priority. You can see in a second set lists online, audio, video, the mystique is gone. Of course the mega bands will always do okay, but don’t be fooled, the business is not what you think it is or what they project even for them. The days of a 50 city non stop US tour are rare. Bands find special events or festivals or co-headline because they can’t draw enough as a headline in arenas on their own, and those that can are charging way too much. Not sure where the solution lies but it’s something I see and hear about often. I truly do not think rock is dead, but I do think the touring world and peoples attention are so overwhelmed right now with too many options its hard to know what’s going on? Hope it works itself out because the live stage is where this music is best served, but it is an issue I hear about all the time behind the scenes. Look forward to reading your thoughts.

Comments

  1. Saw Brother Cane in Dayton OH last Saturday at a small club. Small, maybe 150 people, but enthusiastic crowd. Damon Johnson thanked everyone numerous times, and mentioned how much they appreciated the kind words on social media. He played like he was in front of 10,000 people. Great show! I realize BC is not too active, but they are one of the few bands I will spend my money to see, Rush being another, and of course Winery Dogs if they come close. Living in Dayton, we have to go to Columbus or Cincinnati to see a big show. BTW, I am your age Ed.

  2. Dave Shamblin says:

    Agree with you 100%…some of my thoughts:

    * You are correct, the powerhouses (AC/DC, Aerosmith, Stones) with the original lineups mostly intact will always be fine. They can pull off an 18 month tour and make mega-millions because fans will shell out the money and they have world wide popularity. US, Europe, South America, Asia, it doesn’t matter. They will draw no matter what.

    * I’m not sure it’s so much over-saturation as it is the actual COST of going to a show, even for the non-powerhouse but still popular bands. There is only so much discretionary income for most people, and shelling out $80-$100 bucks for a ticket, $20 bucks for parking, $12 beers, etc. is not easy.

    * Changing demographic…let’s face it. It’s called “classic” for a reason. Those of us who love hard rock and heavy metal are now in the same demographic as my parents when I was a kid. My mom and dad grew up on ’50′s rock and roll and blues. Those artists weren’t exactly filling up stadiums either during the ’70′s when I was going to Bill Graham’s Day on the Green shows in the bay area to see AC/DC, Skynard, and many others. It’s just a changing world.

    I will continue to see live events from my favorite bands whenever I can, but I’m not surprised at all that the concert business for the music we love is not doing well.

    • Totally agree. The cost of going to a concert has become way to expensive for the average middle class person to afford more than say once or twice in a year. Ticket prices for most bands have risen to well over a hundred bucks in most venues for even mid level seating. Add beers a couple tshirts a pre or post concert dinner and transportation to the venue and your talking an easy 3 to 4 hundred dollar evening for my wife and I. That doesn’t even include a room which we almost always need because we live at least an hour away from a good venue up here in Maine. Sporting events are no different. My family and I are big NASCAR fans and the cost of going to our annual Sprint cup race in nh is something we save all year for. Your right Eddie the big bands will still draw and sell out the larger venues. Ive already started saving for when my beloved acdc tours again. I want my 9 year olds first concert to be acdc cause it’s his fav band too but it requires a lt of saving over a period of time to make it on this cops budget. I totally get what it cost to put on the production of say an acdc show but maybe a happy medium could be reached somewhere that might put more people in the seats. There are many good classic bands I’d love to see but just can’t afford more than one or 2 events a year. Maybe kid rock is onto something with his latest lowering of ticket prices?

  3. Anthony Antinoro says:

    I love and play music just as much as anyone, but the truth is that I can’t afford going to concerts. Given the price of gas, food, and everything else that keeps going up and salaries staying the same, most of us simply can’t afford concerts (parking, tickets, food, etc.). I compromise and just buy new albums that I really want (Winery Dogs for ex.) and listen to them over and over. Concerts just can’t fit into my budget.

  4. Melissa A Nee says:

    For mysrlf and so many,we simply can’t afford to go to all the shows.I don’t buy merch so I can save for other shows and cd’s.
    It’s a busines and I get that but I just can’t swing them all.

  5. Thestormmaster says:

    Yes there are a ton of bands I would love to go see all the time. The problems is all the other things that go along with going to a concert that makes it a killer. 20 bucks for parking 3 bucks for a water or 8-12 for a beer depending on location throw in the 35 dollars headliner band T-Shirt your at 150 bucks just for one person much less bringing a date or family member with you.

  6. Too many shows combined with festivals and fre shows add up to too much competition for the music fan. The fans will sort out what will survive or evolve in the concert industry .

  7. It puzzles me too when I see bands announcing additional dates and going back to the same cities they played 6-8 months prior with the same show, same inflated VIP packages. Bon Jovi comes to mind. You think with Sambora not in the line up that that might dissuade people from buying tickets to these show. I have checked some cities and the dates are not selling. Overall ticket prices are a problem too with most tickets to larger acts averaging 90-175 bucks. One good thing is that maybe bands will stretch their itinerary to include secondary markets they usually skip over.

  8. Mark Wheeler says:

    To me it is simply cost, saw Van Halen last year, cost me about 170 a ticket and though it was a good show, that is just crazy money for a two hour concert. Of course they can get that for a ticket so they charge it. Most can’t and some try and as you said play to half empty halls. Another thing is bands like Rush who I saw a couple months ago, charge about 100 buck a ticket and play their new album which a lot of fans hadn’t even heard, which leaves me having to think about weather or not to see them next time they come to town. Bands have to remember to give the fans what they want!

  9. Scott Gelder says:

    Eddie, I have 2 college age children and they go to a couple shows a month, but they will only go to smaller venues so they can be close to the bands. I think they are the exception though. Most of the people their age don’t go to live music shows. They go to dance clubs and listen to hip hop and those artists don’t tour much. That being said I think the primary reason younger people don’t go to shows is that they don’t buy whole albums and they only like 1 or 2 songs by a band. When you only do playlists and not albums a live show would have to have 13 bands to satisfy them. For us we knew everything about our favorite bands and couldn’t wait to go see them in concert. Also with almost no live local radio anymore it is difficult for new bands to get on people’s radar. Just think, in today’s world there wouldn’t be a Rush because you wouldn’t have a DJ playing a cut by an unknown band that everyone in the area heard and wanted to hear more. It is really hard for the musician to make the kind of living they did between 1965-2000.

  10. I am an old school metal head, I try to make most Long Island shows but the crowds are getting smaller & smaller. Some clubs are booking good shows but by the time headline acts got on stage it’s late (after midnight). We’re not kid, we have kid, jobs & can’t stay out like we use to. So bands are skipping the area, or just not touring because there just is not much money to be made from club shows. The do festivals and the fans from far away who can’t get there miss out. The hole thing is mess! and it stinks. I had NO shows this summer. This is a first in a long, long time. Bring back the metal … PLEASE!!!

  11. Matt Danforth says:

    First concert I attended was Testament, Megadeth and headlining was Judas Priest in 1991 Arco Arena in Sacramento, cost of the ticket was $26.50 and parking was $4.00. By comparison Music as a Weapon tour a couple years ago at Arco was $75.00 and parking was $15.00 These increases are much more than most people can affford on a regular basis. (not including hotel room, food, booze and other party favors) The saturation that you spoke of is exactly the reason. I have to choose which show I’m going to see this year. Decided to skip Mayhem Festival and focus entirely on The Iron Maiden gig in San Bernardino, which is a huge event IMO. That lineup will never happen again and needs to be seen. With that said the seated area of the shed sold out rather quickly , so the demand is still there as that ampitheater is the largest in the nation. The other reason is that Iron Maiden are in complete control of the price of the tix and they keep the price very reasonable and produce a product that is worth the expense…simple economics. Granted not many bands have that kind of influence, but they should all take notes on how to stay successful when times get tough.

  12. Michael Jones says:

    I generally attend 1-2 shows a month. I can’t justify paying $140-$160 for a floor/lower-level ticket to see Aerosmith/Bon Jovi/Van Halen/etc… at an arena and I have no desire to buy an upper-level ticket just to watch a video board and say I was there. Been there, seen that. I can use the money I didn’t spend on 1 arena show for 2-3 club/theater shows. Of course, there are exceptions. Rush and Iron Maiden are both coming to KC within the next 6 weeks, but prices for each of their shows are reasonable. We get some saturation in the Kansas City area, but I imagine it is more prevalent on the coasts and larger Midwestern cities like Chicago. It usually happens when a band plays a festival and then comes back within a few months on their own or as part of a smaller package tour.

  13. I’d like to see more artists go the way of “living room” shows. I would think the opportunities are out there, the cost is less, and the funds go (essentially) directly to artists.

    • Shows to direct purchase online or some sort of mass pay per view per show is the answer. Most bands like DEVO record every show and sell it as a Audio CD after the show. Record/Live stream every show with the best video you can afford Sell it directly after on a website and there is revenue. Bands have to adapt to new thinking or they will disappear. Live recorded concerts do not compare to live shows but it is still a viable revenue source if it can be done at a cost effective price on both ends. Also changing up the song list and variations of how the songs are played helps some too.

  14. mark sloot says:

    i saw judas priest at the capitol theatre in passaic, n.j. in 1979 with 2 other bands for a whopping 7.50. halford had long hair and wore make up. one of the best shows i ever saw. halfords voice was unbelieveable.

  15. I agree with the oversaturation. Seems like there are bands in NY playing every 3 months. The main problem is money. The ticket prices are outrageous. It’s one thing to charge $100 for floor seats but to charge 80, 90, 100 for nosebleeds is a joke. 10 years ago I saw Bon Jovi at Giants Stadium. 20 rows from stage, floor seats, face value – $90. It’s 4x that now. Then you have Dream Theater who charge $110 a ticket. DT is great but they aren’t The Who or The Stones. Half their seats are empty each year.

    Then you factor in Ticketmaster charging a fee of 10-14$ each ticket. Absurd. I used to go to 10 concerts a year and now I can’t even remember the last one I’ve been to.

  16. I agree with you Eddie on your assessment. I am a year younger than you and at my age its just hard to get excited about seeing bands in concert when I have already seen them 10 times each over the years and the tix prices are higher than ever. Not to mention all the side costs. I can enjoy a great tribute or cover band at a club for $10 and at the end of the night feel the same sense of satisfaction of being entertained as if it was the real band in a big venue. At the end of the night, if I had a fun time, its all that matters.

  17. I can live with $50-80 ticket prices but most concerts I go to sell their merch for way too much. $40 for a t-shirt or a program is ridiculous. $35 for a cd off the mixer not to mention outrageous parking and food/beer prices. No way in hell is any of that worth it.

  18. Rock music may not be dead, but it’s very obscure among the younger age groups who used to go to the small shows and have their parents take them to the arena concerts. It used to be that a lot of bands (like KISS in the 70s) could draw fans from junior high all the way up to adults with jobs. You just don’t see that anymore. Lots of kids don’t even discover rock music nowadays until they’re in college.

    I was listening to Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Metallica and Motley Crue when I was in 8th grade. I don’t think my nephew who’s going into HS this year even knows or listens to one rock band. It’s all about hip-hop and the crap that comes out of the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. Or whatever they hear on shows like American Idol. Of course stuff like this was around in my day too, but not to the detriment of rock music. After all, Aerosmith embraced Run DMC!

    Exposure to rock music just doesn’t come at early ages these days. MTV is no longer about music and there aren’t record stores at the mall anymore. The Guitar Hero and Rock Band video games helped somewhat, but it’s nowhere near the same.

  19. $75-$100 for a concert ticket?!?! Not happening. I saw A LOT of bands in the 80′s for $15-$20 a ticket. I get “inflation” but concert ticket prices have gotten out of control. Which is better – a full venue with $35-$50 tickets or an empty venue with tickets over $75?

    • Motor City G says:

      Yep – see Kid Rock’s answer this summer with $20 tickets, $20 T shirts and discounted beer prices. hopefully he can help facilitate permanent changes in the concert business!

  20. Just saw Black Sabbath in Houston the other night. The show was great the place was packed but I found it odd for 2 weeks they were giving away tickets on the local sports radio station. Beer was 11.00 and shirts were 40.00

  21. I believe changing up the setlists makes a big difference for fans deciding if they want to pay to see the same band again iniside a 6 – 12 months from the last time. More bands should poll fans on what top 5 songs they want to hear on an upcoming tour. They may be suprised with the results. Rush and Iron Maiden of late do a nice job of going from a tour of familiar classics and then following with a tour with almost the whole new album performed.

    • Maiden & Rush have very unique fan bases that are not hit driven. I love the non hits but MOST people want only the hits. Tough to balance..

  22. It’s really difficult when you have bands like The Stones charging upwards of $200.00 a ticket just because they can then you have Joe Satriani charging WAY less because he remembers his roots & wants his fans to be able to attend. Personally I don’t understand then mentally of bands charging high prices just because of who they are & because they can get it. I can no longer afford to see The Stones in concert, I’m very much looking forward to seeing Joe Satriani next month!

  23. Price is the only reason I dont get to as many shows as I used to. I treat myself to about one a year and pass on many others that I would like to go to. Going to see Sabbath in a few weeks. Two tickets cost me over 300$. Thats not cheap for me. Just passed on Alice Cooper and Godsmack beacuse I had already spent the Sabbath money.

  24. Saw Tom Keifer for $15 bucks in New Orleans. 2 beers and a glass of wine $11. Those are the shows I that are for the fans.

  25. I’ve passed on the last few Iron Maiden and Judas Priest shows because of insane ticket prices. Rockers like Sammy Hagar and U.F.O try to keep the prices reasonable for fans. But who wants to see them more than once every few years?….just isn’t reasonable. No way I would pay to see Sabbath….especially after viewing the Into the Void clip here on Eddie’s site….As Eddie says, and hits it right on, there used to be a mystique about seeing a band back in the day….the only way to see KISS , back when I went their first show in 1976, was to go to the SHOW !…now with all the videos and youtube, it’s taken the rareness out of the event.

  26. Price of tickets is the main issue with me too. I used to go to any show I wanted, but now I am much more selective. I still make about the same amount of money, but just can’t afford every show I want to see anymore. Recently passed up Robert Plant, Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd and even Black Sabbath to name a few. I did get to see Rush.

  27. Spencer says:

    Bigger markets are probably over-saturated, I will agree. Smaller markets, though, aren’t so bad. This is why big, headliner acts, such as Styx, will play the Jefferson County Fair in Jefferson, Wisconsin (last year). You see this with country acts all the time – they sell out arenas, and will still go out to the sticks, where the attendance is even better. They don’t make as much per show, obviously, but they do more of them, and it’s a more stable source of income. Rock bands could learn a thing from their country counterparts.

  28. I am going to see Alice Cooper at Count Basie because I love Alice and it’s affordable. Would also like to see the Queen extravaganza show but that is actually a little more expensive than Alice and it’s still a tribute show. Granted the singer is amazing but like most other people I have to pick and choose. Thankfully I have seen the Stones at least 10 times since 1978.

  29. Fans need to stop seeing bands – no matter who they are, if they charge ridiculously high ticket prices. You buy a $200 seat and all you are doing is encouraging them. I don’t completely buy into the bit about concert ticket prices being high solely because album sales are nil. For the cost of an Aerosmith ticket these days, you could have bought every album they ever did twice.

  30. A couple thoughts:

    - I think the concept of “oversaturation” not only includes the scenario of “why see Faster Pussycat this Saturday when I just saw them 4 months ago and can see them again in 4 months?” but also “why see Bullet Boys this Saturday when I just saw Faster Pussycat 2 weeks ago?”.

    - I don’t think taping and selling every concert gets you anywhere in this day of cameraphones and YouTube.

    But, anyone can diagnose the problem, so what are the solutions? Inevitably, bands are going to have to continue touring extensively and hitting major US markets multiple times per year to keep things financially status quo. However, here are some suggestions that I’ve seen work (for the non-Aerosmiths, Motley Crues, Ozzys):

    1. Mix up the set list from city to city. Play deeper cuts, play an acoustic mini-set. Play an entire album start to finish.
    2. Having ALL members of the band at the merchandise table taking pics and shaking hands.
    3. Don’t appear lazy and/or condescending on stage. Don’t complain about the size of the bar you are playing in. Assume it’s going on Blabbermouth 12 hours from now if you do, and people will stay away when the tour reaches their area. Trust me, we’d rather you be playing Madison Square Garden versus a dive bar 50 miles out of the way, but…
    4. Don’t go on at midnight or later. The “classic” audience now have kids, nagging spouses, and jobs and don’t want to get home at 3 in the morning.
    5. Put out new material at least once every 2-3 years. I know there is a cost vs. benefit debate. But, mixing in 2-3 new songs every year keeps things fresh and keeps the same audience members coming back multiple times per year.

  31. It ain’t coming back. I hate to be a downer, but the writing is on the wall. This form of music will never be what it was in the 1970s through the early 2000s. Not even close. It’ll be as big as hard-bop is now – a small but devout audience. Music isn’t as important to today’s youth – aka the future market of rock ‘n roll, as it was in our era. Kids don’t care. The no longer define themselves by who they listen to. And in the old days, everyone listened to the same handful of stations. Nowadays audiences are fragmented. People don’t even listen to the radio. And classic rock stations play the same old stuff.

    The creative era of rock ‘n roll is gone. Done. Every band I hear now in the hard rock/metal genre sounds like a bland pastiche of what came before. Rehashing 20 to 40 year old music doesn’t cut it anymore. Sorry but I’ve heard the original stuff and it’s better. Guys like Jimmy Page listened to more than just rock ‘n roll – Indian music, tradional acoustic stuff, other world music. And it showed in the stuff they wrote. But overall the same thing that is now happening in rock ‘n roll already happened in jazz and bluegrass. This isn’t a diss on rock ‘n roll, it’s just the truth about the lifespan of a musical genre.

    Today’s musicians are barely true musicians – they are technicians. More adept as ever at playing their instruments, but they can’t compose or arrange. They haven’t grasped the concept of collaborating with others. You get a virtuoso with a bunch of back ups. Rock bands haven’t come close to approaching what Led Zeppelin, the Beatles or Queen did. We have a bunch of self-appointed guitar gods who haven’t accomplished anything other than get their sixteenth notes up to 216 bpm. I blame Mike Varney and his Shrapnel Label for that, but that’s another essay for another day. But it’s done. Keep it up Eddie, but guys like you and Bob Lefsetz are simply the Captain’s of a sinking ship. I’ll keep listening to the show anyways.

    • You nailed it brother!

    • William larkin says:

      I really think that you hit the nail on the head. Bands like Maiden, UFO, Deep Purple the Scorpions created music that made you want to get up and move. The hard rock and metal today does not do that

  32. I remember one year going to a concert once every 3 weeks, so it seemed. Hardly any of my favorite bands tour anymore, or take forever to make there way through So Cal. Or maybe just a fraction of the band is playing. Or my favs are making shitty music. I saw Iron Maiden Aug of 2012, They are coming back in Sept 2013, though it’s the same show as last time. Been there already. Plus bands need to go deeper into their catalog. I’m tired of the same tunes.

  33. Don Schark says:

    Just saw Skynyrd and Bad Company co-headline a show with Blackstone Cherry at Pine Knob near Detroit. The place was packed. The very next night at Pine Knob, I saw Whitesnake single headline a show with Geoff Tate as a late addition. The Whitesnake show was half full. It seems to me the co- headlining and package tours are the way to go. Bands and fans can split their costs, etc. Also, a sold out show is alot more fun than a half empty one.

    The people I know that are “fringe” fans of classic rock, love to go to the package shows but don’t neccesarily feel like making the drive to go see a single band.

  34. Ryan B. says:

    In the same boat, Steve, with Maiden. Would love to see them again like I did last summer, but frankly even their reasonable ticket price coupled with all the incidentals that go along with traveling to a show just doesn’t make sense to me when I will be going to see what I’m sure is the exact same set list I saw last year. It is why while I love metal and always will, I also am glad at some point I gravitated to what I guess can be considered the complete opposite of metal and that is the jam scene, stuff like Govn’t Mule, Widespread Panic, the Allman Bros, Grateful Dead, Phish, etc, etc, where the whole point of the show is the unexpected and that is what keeps people coming back show after show, and hell, following the bands show to show. And as others have said, ticket prices just suck today. Concerts are not for the financially strapped, That is for sure.

    • I did the same thing. Once I started seeing the Grateful Dead it made me wonder why other bands couldn’t mix up their sets more. I give Aerosmith some credit – they do mix it up. With the light and stage shows of most hard rock bands, there’s very little room left for improv and mixing up the set.

      • Ryan B. says:

        John G…..I honestly believe there is a whole segment of music fans out there that don’t understand it CAN be done that way or frankly, they would be ANGRY if it was done that way. I tend to forget, and not at all trying to sound music snobbish or something about the topic, but there are a ton of fans that want to go into the show, hear the hits or the same 15 songs they saw one, two, three, four tours ago, and go home. Once you tap into stuff like the Dead and that philosophy of what a live show can be like when it comes to setlists, which you obviously did, it really does become a mind bottler of why hard rock/metal bands can’t do it unless it is simply the type of fan just doesn’t want it and the band knows it. Hopefully, the hybrid fan like us is growing that can accept the fact the next AC/DC tour is going to have them replacing about 5 songs that are worn into the ground and replaced with some deeper cuts. Hell, I’ll give Maiden credit. Much to my chagrin, they removed Hallowed Be Thy Name from the setlist last summer because they were worn out on it. I would have preferred to see Run to the Hills bite the dust.

        • Ryan B. says:

          And I hear ya on the stage set up and lights playing a problem in it, although I don’t completely agree with it. Brian Johnson has expressed that exact same sentiment in the past about why the setlists don’t change up for a tour and I get it with actual stage props, but not the lights unless a band is working with a minimal light show or not a very talented lighting tech.

        • Improvisation is a lost art with a lot of bands. Rush was one of the first bands I can think of that played every song note for note like the record. The Eagles were another. Same set night after night. In the old days, bands were so wasted – Aerosmith again comes to mind, that doing the same set probably was a matter of survival. Tyler couldn’t remember the lyrics to his biggest tunes! The jam band scene is still going good. Futhur is playing bigger places. Metal and hard rock are fighting for survival.

  35. It all comes down to price. The more affordable the show, the more shows fans can see. Once seeing shows regularly becomes a habit again, sales will support more tours. Entertainment options are at historic highs, yet people are creatures of habit.

    The big acts of today can easily ignore this approach but most of them won’t be around much longer. They’ll either fade away from waning interest (from short attention span casual music fans) or retire when they’re too old to tour. Once that happens, everyone else will have to adjust accordingly. Get them in the club or theater, remind them how badass live music is and we just might save rock and roll after all.

  36. GalacticCowboy says:

    >>>Music isn’t as important to today’s youth – aka the future market of rock ‘n roll, as it was in our era. Kids don’t care. The no longer define themselves by who they listen to<<<

    Its not that the kids don't care about music. They love it. They just don't understand the part about "paying" for it. They download everything and watch concerts uploaded to youtube.

  37. It’s beginning to seem that the economics of the music business is continuing to compress the spectrum of opportunities to earn for musicians. While oh so many bands that have limited reach have forever been happy to earn some supplemental income, if any, now we’re seeing the “professionals” have to lower their expectations too.

    Recording and selling albums generally isn’t making a lot of money. Touring isn’t paying off like it had been up until recently, and touring more to make up for it runs into the oversaturation Eddie mentions. So what happens next? Do we devolve from music as big business to something that’s smaller scale and more distributed – sort of like what happened to newspapers with the advent of the web?

    Perhaps there’s a silver lining here. If the record companies lose clout due to the economics and the extremely easy and cheap access to music, and if long-term, far-ranging tours are more infrequent, maybe that means that the playing field levels a bit, and all the “smaller” bands out there achieve greater visibility due to the equalizers of Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and low-cost, local shows.

    I firmly believe we’ll never have a lack of supply of music. It’s human nature to create music of all kinds, and there will always be plenty of perfectly good bands out there. I’m sure we all personally know some musicians like my buddy, who has his day job, works his butt off in his band, and could have not been more thrilled when they got a gig at a local bar and packed the place with 100 people. And made $75 each. However, Eddie and all the posters here have done a great job at pointing out that the demand structure for music continues to evolve. Things could get pretty interesting.

  38. I agree with you 100% Eddie, and I almost never go to shows anymore for the exact reasons you mentioned. It used to be so different, fun, like a real occasion. Bands doing package tours and moving to smaller venues are sure signs of what you mentioned. Bands often don’t admit it, but it’s very unnerving when you roll into a town and honestly don’t know if anyone is going to show up for the show at even the smaller clubs, it’s scary. When you kick off the show and no ones there, having to finish the night (acting like everything is fine) can sometimes be torture. Having said that, when live music is good, it’s like the best thing on earth. Very inspiring.

  39. The Reason attendance is down at concerts is simple. THE INTERNET!!! Thats it folks don’t over think this. My kids never had rock stars to idolize because they steal all the music off the inet. All young people these days can listen to anything online with out ever having that exitement of waiting for your favorite band’s release date,then running out to buy the record or cd. Band’s today have to tour and jack up prices to make up for this. You can still go out and see the heavy weights{Bonjovi,VanHalen,Kiss,Aerosmith,Rush, and many others) who still draw and get it done, But this is the way it will stay for good. Yesteryear is gone so keep a good job,fork up the doe, and have a good time and stop crying about it.

  40. Led Zeppelin, Knebworth Park 1979 – Tickets: £7.50 Official Programme: 90p

    If they were to do it today, tickets would be £300 and programmes £25, simply because of who it is. Sadly, people would probably pay it.

  41. A lot of this is the chickens coming home to roost. As fans get older they don’t like the delays, the bad sound, unruly audiences and most of all being hammered in the pocketbook. It’s one thing when you were 15 years old and drunk and wasted and spent $10 to $20 for a ticket. The shows now are greatest hits events. Despite what die-hard fans say and think, in most instances classic bands best material is wayyy behind them. I did enjoy some of the latest Aerosmith, but again – I ain’t paying $100 or more to see them.

  42. I remember the thrill of going and standing in line, calling ticketmaster and having an opportunity to get good seats to my favorite shows. Now they are overpriced and you have to pick and choose. The industry has to make it about the fans or it will continue in a downward spiral. Nosebleed seats are even outrageous. I give all the credit in the world to Kid Rock. We need more like him to give back to the fans that have always given to the artists.

  43. I am fortunate to have seen my favorite bands (Kiss, Ozzy, Metallica, Crue, etc) growing up and see them whenever they come around. I live 200 miles from Chicago, but took my wife to see Priest and BLS last year. Unbelievable show. I think another factor is parents from the 80′s need to share their music with their kids. There is so much God-awful music out there for kids to listen too, and the only way they are going to hear the “good stuff” is from their parents. I have a 5 year old daughter that can name the founding members of Kiss, and who replaced them thru the years. Since about 2 1/2 she has asked questions while we were watching a live concert DVD, or videos on Metal Mania, and she has really taken too it. She even knows Ozzy’s guitar players thru the years, and because Randy is my favorite, its her’s too!!

  44. Steve Beppel says:

    Shows are getting wat too expensive for me. It has to be something special like the recent Flower Kins, Neal Morse TransAtlantic show for me to go. I am looking forward to seeing Kamelot in Philly on Sept. 5th. I try to see bands that don’t tour here much. And Kamelot is 24 Bux!

  45. Its too bad Ed what’s going on these days. Im the same age as you i started out the same way listening to Kiss and aerosmith when I was 11. I saw kiss In 77 when I was 12. Born aug 4 “65″ tickets were somewhere around $7. MY first concert was Aerosmith with Styx opening, night before halloween oct 30 ,1977.Providence Civic Center, when Aerosmith came on people were chanting STYX, STYX, STYX. because Aerosmith were so messed up.Those where the days , Ive been to literally thousands of shows since then, so I would say i’m qualified to know how much the music industry and live concerts have went down the tubes. Social media has killed us. My friends say’I’m not paying $200 to see Aerosmith I’ll just watch them tomorrow on you tube. It’s never going to change back, I’m just glad I lived it. we used to get so excited waiting 3 months for Kiss to come to town, now i want my dose of Kiss i just go to You Tube and watch every concert and every interview from 74 to now. The hard rock bands from the 80′s(which I love) that have to tour constantly, are out on the road because that’s all they have.let’s just live with what we have. It’s pretty cool that i get to see some of my favorite acts in a 200 capacity room. It’s not going to be the way it used to be because of the internet. Never Never Never. Just support your favorite bands. Go to shows that you can afford, buy thier CD’s and enjoy what we have. pretty soon you’ll be able to pick whomever you want to see in concert in your living room just pick a band and they will Pop Up in a hologram form and perform right in front of you. and they’ll probably charge you $100. Hard Rock and metal lives still

    • very well said I too experienced the same excitement growing up( born’64)…it’ll never be the same.LONG LIVE ROCK and ROLL!!!

  46. Johnny Polli says:

    i actually get to more shows now than I have in years. i get to see Overkill almost once a year, and i’ll go no matter what or how many times they pass thru. many shows in my area are casino shows, and are free, w/ meet n greets afterwards, and I in turn give back by getting merch, having brews and bringing lotsa friends. I think like (Eddie always says) there’s not enough awareness. It’s so easy to find shows, but you do have to dig a bit. In many tiny venues I’ve seen the likes of Y&T, Faster Pussycat, Slaughter, Nelson, Lita , Firehouse, Warrant, Skids, etc it goes on and on, and again most are free! Plenty of affordable gigs out there gang, just gotta search better. My take on it is this: Arena wise-TOO many surcharges, parking fees are absurd, too much $$ 4 beer etc., & filthy, crowded toilets and not enuff of ‘em. Also, many places no longer offer a box office, so you must use the middle men…bad news. Also strict staffing, being over-policed is a big turn off, we’re not all losers and jerks. Club wise-Great, but many can be hidden, try searching via band’s names, or zip codes. I hate bootlegs & phone crap, and homemade Youtube rubbish, so that doesn’t affect me.

  47. Lets face it there just isn’t a big enough demand for most of these bands at this time. As for the ticket costs I understand why most people cant afford them but you must remember the high costs for the touring bands such as traveling expenses and hotels etc. If a band plays a small club at 25 per ticket and only attracts 200 or so patrons they cant make enough money for it to be worth it.

    There used to be quite a few good shows at Irving Plaza here in NYC but even that has started to dry up in recent years. Bands like Motley will always have a huge following but even a band like Ratt who was huge in the 80s struggles to attract big enough crowds to make touring extensively worth it.

  48. iron maiden will only play a 2 hour show,period.not 1 minute longer??they have a huge catalog of songs.old ones too.they have 6 band members.rush has three band members,no opener,n they take a 20 minute break in between sets.show is about 2 hours 40 minutes.still don’t know why 3 guys play longer then 6????any guess???/rush will give you your moneys worth.mr.dickenson,n rod smallwood,how about no opening at,n maybe play 40 minutes or heck 30 minutes more.you have the songs,you charge the money,uh,now play them,cause I love them,children of the damned,journeyman,prowler,transylvania,wrathchild,stranger in a strange land,flight of Icarus,the clansmansign of the cross????2 hours is not a show,2 hours and 40 minutes,is,ask neil peart,geddy,n alex,they will show you how do do it.

  49. ET, you bring up an important point: Over-saturation. Too many bands, too many shows, and it all costs too much money. The big-name bands/tours suck up a lot of disposable income; they charge way too much for a ticket, and even more for t-shirts and other swag. Certainly, some of this goes to subsidize the enormous cost of touring, and the promoters have to make a buck too, but it’s all way over the top. Furthermore, just traveling to a venue (gas, parking) is ridiculous, and if a fan wants to have a couple beers or a bite to eat, and snag a t-shirt, a nite at a arena or theater show put on by a big promoter like LiveNation or AEG is going to run $100-200 minimum! The average fan can’t really afford this. So, they stay home and wail on the X-Box or Playstation – or watch cable/ satellite TV, which itself is sky-high, cost-wise. Factor in the fact that an average person’s income, in the current economy, is declining over time, and we have ourselves a hell of quandary. I know that even I go out a hell of a lot less often, and that’s even with getting comped by acts and promoters when I am out doing interviews for Reality Check TV. Just having a few beers at the bar, and travel costs clean me out. It’s insane!

    Solutions are hard to determine, given the “catch-22″ nature of this scenario. Without revenue on the recorded music side, and no label support on the road, that makes it tough for artists. Ultimately the fans are getting squeezed. Seems like a classic “no-win” scenario. Wish there was a way to reconstitute the record industry – only without the harsh contracts that labels used to make bands sign. I am interested to hear any good ideas to create a practical business model where everyone benefits, including the fans.

    • Some artists just over tour, some actually play less. As a result money goes up since the gigs are more special. Less work for them, same or more money. Twisted Sister an example of this strategy working

      • Good point, but the counter on Twisted is they don’t do “tours”. they play select dates at Festivals, and the occasional special event at a smaller venue. Furthermore, they mainly do European dates. They play around 15 or 20 shows per year, so there’s not a burnout factor – for them, as well as the fans. The downside there is no new material, which is too bad. I’d like to hear new Twisted music.

  50. Kevin R says:

    tiFrom the mid 80′s to the late 90′s I attended hundreds of shows from Ratt to Soundgarden and the main reason I don’t attend that many shows now is point blank because of the ticket prices. For an arena show and some smaller venues, two tickets can easily run over $200 and it’s just too expensive to see a lot of shows now

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