Grim gig situation

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,982
Tucson
I'm glad that political talk is banned on this website but I know there are political reasons behind what is going on. Look to Davos, Switzerland for the root of this. It's more than political tho. I can't say more as political talk is not allowed here fortunately.
Ok, you say that you are glad political talk is banned, and then you make a political comment. As a moderator, I’m a bit puzzled by this.

No politics.
 

nickurso

Gretschified
Dec 24, 2012
11,984
New Orleans la.
A few days ago we had a deep and serious discussion between the band members.

We asked ourself whether there is any reason -besides socialising- to keep on rehearsing and whether to give up on this band.

The reason is the desolate gig situation over here in Germany after the desease.

For three years the cultural-scene came to a full stop.
In fact it collapsed completely to an extent that most of the better known and nationally active "middle class" musicians got a daytime job and left the business completely.
Nobody was able to survive three years without income except the already established stars of the scene who had the bigger savings-account or different scources of income than playing live, only.
It is a tragedy and an enormous cultural loss.

There are only a very few locations left that are offering live-music. And these are paying next to nothing. So they are booking mostly amateurs who are not dependent on money coming from playing live.
But who could blame them?
The audience has more than halved today.
Even on annual city-fairs that used to draw big crowds and pay good money for the bands.
Well-known bands who used to pack 400-person-clubs are drawing 100 people today while Genesis, Pink or Rammstein are selling out stadiums in less than an hour time one year ahead of the gig.
So a cool little live-music-location is not a business-model anymore these days.

Another effect was that most of the club`s contact-persons have been swapped out because of new owners or other circumstances. So most of the connections that you depended on in the past are gone.

I don`t want to lament but I am really clueless at this point.

I am aware that there are different scenes in different countries offering gigs and income for musicians like the big praise-and-worship community in the U.S. The many summer-vacation club-bands in Spain, Bulgaria etc.. And don`t forget the age-old buskering scene which died years ago over here. The only musicians that are playing here in the streets are beggars from other countries playing sad folksongs from their homecountries on their accordions...

Is social-media the new gig format?

Any fresh ideas?
Music shut down in New Orleans for two years there was nothing no clubs no street performers nothing. A lot of clubs didn’t survive.
During that time my band started to play on the street. With no music anywhere in the city we cleaned up on the street and when things started opening up with we’re ready and started playing all over town. In my experience the people that found a way to perform when there were no gigs are doing well now. Wether that was going live regularly on line or busking etc. so I wouldn’t give up I would try and find a way of creating my own gigs
 

GretschPlayer101

Gretschie
Oct 7, 2011
240
Los Angeles
Ok, you say that you are glad political talk is banned, and then you make a political comment. As a moderator, I’m a bit puzzled by this.

No politics.
I don't think I made any political statements but all roads lead to Rome. I wasn't making any republican vs democrats statements but I'll delete my post if it seemed bad. Plus you need to know what I'm talking about to think of it as politics. I was just bringing attention to everyone is affected by what is happening.

I deleted my text of the message. My apologies.
 

swivel

Country Gent
Silver Member
May 13, 2018
2,348
PNW
For some reason there seems a resurgence in live music here since the "the unmentionable". Venues seem to be paying better albeit minimally. A tip jar has been killer also, people showing their appreciation for having live music again.. It may be temporary because people didn't get to go out, I guess we'll see....
 

charlie chitlins

Synchromatic
Aug 4, 2008
666
The Berkshires
Sorry, brother.
It's a new world.
Covid AND a move left me without a band.
No gigs for 2 1/2 years.
We were doing well.
Good clubs and festivals...signed to a small, cool label (that also shut down)...
Just getting started again, but it will clearly be a hobby.
Cover the cost of strings, maintenance and travel; MAYBE a few bucks left over.
Everything is different now.
PEOPLE are different.
Shell-shocked...PTSD.
Play music and try to heal them.
Just don't expect to make a living
 

stiv

Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
2,732
Firenze, Italy
Another thing: Today’s bands box of treasures is merch.
One of the bands I produce match the money of the fees with the money made with merch every gig, so that doubles the income and allow you to gamble a little on the fee if the gig is right (like when you’re not the main act, for example).
That’s future, folks. Keep your fees low, make the people buy your music. That’s the way you create a fan base.
 

charlie chitlins

Synchromatic
Aug 4, 2008
666
The Berkshires
I knew a guy who would rent out farmers land or barns, and put the word out BYOB. His band collected a door fee donation it was known these parties wouldn’t continue if everyone didn’t pitch in. They made decent money on the weekend. Usually have a few dozen people show up and pitch in 20$ a piece. Some of the farmers liked the party and they turned into tailgate like parties everyone bringing some food. Friends band provided music farmer and family got to eat for free a couple days and everyone had fun and was happy. Friends band collected around $1000 dollars each night. No middle man no bar owner getting in the way. I thought it was a clever idea. And that was the small gatherings. If the farmer was willing and it was summer evening they had as many as 250 people show up sometimes more but they would cycle in and out on their own there a few hours and off to a different party but they all ouches in. His best evening I remember was almost 5000$.
Yes... Make your own gigs.
This is my next focus.
House parties, barn parties, church basements...
I just realized there are 2 local parks here with picnic pavilions with electricity.
I think I'm gonna throw a couple parties when the weather warms up!
 

Back in Black

Country Gent
Double Platinum Member
Jun 22, 2020
1,910
Ontario Canada
A few days ago we had a deep and serious discussion between the band members.

We asked ourself whether there is any reason -besides socialising- to keep on rehearsing and whether to give up on this band.

The reason is the desolate gig situation over here in Germany after the desease.

For three years the cultural-scene came to a full stop.
In fact it collapsed completely to an extent that most of the better known and nationally active "middle class" musicians got a daytime job and left the business completely.
Nobody was able to survive three years without income except the already established stars of the scene who had the bigger savings-account or different scources of income than playing live, only.
It is a tragedy and an enormous cultural loss.

There are only a very few locations left that are offering live-music. And these are paying next to nothing. So they are booking mostly amateurs who are not dependent on money coming from playing live.
But who could blame them?
The audience has more than halved today.
Even on annual city-fairs that used to draw big crowds and pay good money for the bands.
Well-known bands who used to pack 400-person-clubs are drawing 100 people today while Genesis, Pink or Rammstein are selling out stadiums in less than an hour time one year ahead of the gig.
So a cool little live-music-location is not a business-model anymore these days.

Another effect was that most of the club`s contact-persons have been swapped out because of new owners or other circumstances. So most of the connections that you depended on in the past are gone.

I don`t want to lament but I am really clueless at this point.

I am aware that there are different scenes in different countries offering gigs and income for musicians like the big praise-and-worship community in the U.S. The many summer-vacation club-bands in Spain, Bulgaria etc.. And don`t forget the age-old buskering scene which died years ago over here. The only musicians that are playing here in the streets are beggars from other countries playing sad folksongs from their homecountries on their accordions...

Is social-media the new gig format?

Any fresh ideas?
L&L

I have a simple philosophy about music, as well as other things, building hot rods/motorcycles, scuba diving, running any small business because you're in love with the product.

There is a love, and there is a life...and neither the twain shall meet.

Hobbies should remain hobbies, never...ever to be considered career choices.

I grew up in the Niagara Peninsula area of Ontario Canada.

In the 1960's this area had a huge rock-n-roll music scene.

On Fridays, our high school was half empty do to all the ''weekend gig'' musicians.

There were hundreds of bands, thousands of local musicians, most were still in school.

Some of the bands, The British Modbeats, A Stitch in Time, Graham and the Wafers, The Kidds, The Evil, were excellent, even by todays standards.

Of all the local musicians, only one, Neal Peart, flew over the cuckoo's nest.

When Neal was picked up by Rush, more by accident than good planning, he had already given up music, and was working in an auto parts store.

With all the ''Rush fame'', he had a terrible life, spouse lost to cancer, daughter lost due to MVA, finally succumbing to brain cancer...trade places with Neal Peart, I don't think so.

I finished high school, two years of college and had a fine 41 year international career.

I've been retired for 14 years, and have no needs or wants.

Trade that for greasy guitars in smoky dives, working for spare change...

Sorry, Hard Pass.

BIB.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,982
Tucson
The overall trend, for decades, has been for live music to be less and less common. I remember talking to a member of a Cowboy Band at the Trail Dust Steakhouse in Colorado, back in the nineties, and he was lamenting that they were little more than background music and readers of birthday and anniversary greetings.

Years ago, I was called in to play a gig with some older guys who worked together at a day job, and had a band on the side. They told me that music was the best part time job in the world, and the worst full time job. In retrospect, there was a lot to what they had to say.

A few years ago, I played a gig with a friend at a fairly large bar, in a very small, and isolated, town. Basically, there was little else available to the residents of this town, if they wanted a night out. The bar was almost empty, and as I found out, this was not unusual. There just wasn‘t enough business to make it worthwhile to have a band. This was 7 or 8 years ago, BTW, long before the lockdowns.

Business, all business, operates on the law of supply and demand. At one time, aluminum was difficult to produce, was very scarce, and more valuable than gold. These days, it common, easy to come by, and inexpensive. If you go back to the 19th century, to have music, you had to have live musicians. You needed as many members as possible, because the only way to increase volume was to add more instruments.

Well into the 20th century, live music, with large ensembles, was pretty much all there was. Early recording technologies were of poor fidelity, and amplification was not as easy to come by, as it is these days. (Keep in mind that one of Leo Fender’s early postwar business ventures was providing sound reinforcement for public events using his home-built portable PA system.)

After WW II, the Signal Corps discharged a lot of people with knowledge and experience in electronics. Technologies advanced and the nascent amplification of the prewar years advanced dramatically, which allowed small “combos” to replace big bands. As a counterpart, the quality of recorded music increased and the ability to have large discothèques became feasible.

The forces that are working against live music are not monolithic, and it helps to think of it from the standpoint of the owners of the clubs; they are facing significant challenges, too.

For one thing, the laws affecting legal blood alcohol levels are a lot more restrictive than they were in the past. I’m not saying that they are too restrictive; I wouldn’t claim to know, but the fact is, that the days of getting boozed up and slinking home are long gone, and that has changed the landscape for bars and nightclubs. (I played a summer gig at a Moose lodge, back in the ‘70s, and I would pack up and leave as quickly as possible after each gig, because I didn’t want to be on the road when the patrons wobbled and weaved their way home.) Anyhow, unless there is a designated driver, patrons had better go very, very easy on the liquor, and liquor sales is what pays the band.

Recorded music has become a very viable alternative to live music, and given the other challenges the clubs face, they would much rather pay on DJ than a band. This is not to my liking. I disdain the DJ thing, and have no interest in listening to what I consider to be disco‘s evil spawn. I don’t see it as anywhere nearly as entertaining as a band, but it seems to sell.

Beyond that, entertainment and socialization are affected by the Internet. Instead of hanging out at the neighborhood watering hole, people may socialize on Facebook, etc. The good that the Internet has brought, has brought some negative side effects, too.

The world has changed … dramatically. I always wanted to be a Jazz guitarist, but that market has shrunk to such an extent that only the most optimistic would dare to even dream of such a career. Sadly, I don’t see this reversing, in the foreseeable future. Perhaps, at some point, people will tire of auto-tuned, basically artificial music, but the trend hasn’t reversed, yet, and the trend towards artifice in popular music seems to only be on the increase.

It‘s never been easy to make a living as a musician, but it’s not getting any easier. I’m fortunate to have a job that is highly compatible with my interest in music. I’m not beating up my hands, and music it the perfect emotional counterpoint to the network management work I do. It’s a counter-stress that recharges my emotional batteries. I could see myself doing some Jazz in my retirement years, but I don’t know if there’s any market.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,982
Tucson
L&L

I have a simple philosophy about music, as well as other things, building hot rods/motorcycles, scuba diving, running any small business because you're in love with the product.

There is a love, and there is a life...and neither the twain shall meet.

Hobbies should remain hobbies, never...ever to be considered career choices.
I agree, completely.

For several years, I made most of my living from playing and teaching. Eventually, I got to the point that I could barely stand to listen to music. It was a job, and like every job, you had to take the bad with the good. One thing that bothered me was something I observed when teaching in music stores; there seemed to be a lot of people caught in a nether-existence of not being all that busy as a musician, but too involved in music to have an outside career.

It was after that point, that I decided to separate music from my income stream. I probably performed in public less than 5 times, in the next 20 years. I did the occasional Jazz gig, for no pay, and I was reluctant, only playing when a friend needed help. i ended up in IT, and play a few gigs these days, almost all of which are for charity. I don’t take my music any less seriously, but I’m glad to be out of it, as a business.
 

freddyfingers

Gretschified
Platinum Member
I feel the pain. But on the other hand i never Made a living off of playing, although at times when we eqanted to gig a lot, money was there. Where i live now, a lake area, it’s becoming more populated with people that can now affords the properties near the lake. Due to this a number of wineries and bewies oPenned, creating places to play, but that created more musicians from further away (DC) coming down to get the gigs. Good part for me is there is less need to hear free bird, but the musicians coming down are of a higher caliber, and take some gigs from locals that have been here for years. I understand if you can’t keep up, move aside. My wife and i focus mainly on originals and are lucky there are a few places that let us in when we are jonesing to play or try new material out. We enjoy the new music aspect, and working on getting her songs to publishers and for sale, which is a head ache in itself. But the local single guitar cover acts are out of work.

One business that i have noticed is booming is the folks that are willing to tell you how to get ahead in the music business, just pay them a monthly fee or attend their expensive weekend retreats, and they will reveal the secrets.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,982
Tucson
One business that i have noticed is booming is the folks that are willing to tell you how to get ahead in the music business, just pay them a monthly fee or attend their expensive weekend retreats, and they will reveal the secrets.
That reminds me of ads teaching you how to make huge money investing in stocks or commodities. If they are so good at profiting from investments, why would they be advertising their secrets? If I knew some trading secret, I’d be trading and keeping my mouth shut.
 

GretschPlayer101

Gretschie
Oct 7, 2011
240
Los Angeles
That reminds me of ads teaching you how to make huge money investing in stocks or commodities. If they are so good at profiting from investments, why would they be advertising their secrets? If I knew some trading secret, I’d be trading and keeping my mouth shut.
I agree. I invest in stocks and I always think about these get rich quick investment courses that if they are so good why are they selling you education on how to make in the market?
 

MGllm

Synchromatic
Jun 6, 2008
916
McKinney, Texas
Regarding Praise Bands: most of the ones I’m aware of are voluntary and unpaid. Much like traditional volunteer church choirs. Occasionally there may be paid section leaders but the bulk are volunteers.
The worship leader or music director is paid.
I’m a trained traditional church organist. I substitute at churches from time to time and make much more for a 1-2 hour service than for a 4 hour rock gig with the band.
 


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