Vai, Petrucci talk about financial issues of touring.

HoneyNut

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I came across this article where Vai mentions that things have gotten rather worse post-covid for the industry, particularly with touring. Petrucci has said something similar in a recent interview somewhere.

It's not new. Trying to earn a decent income in music has always been wishy washy for most. Vai, Petrucci have had their successes in the past, but what they are pointing out is that in this day and age its next to impossible.

Im posting this cause I find myself constantly browsing Sweetwater or Thonmann, comparing prices of guitars I like. The guitars, while adjusted to inflation is apparently the same price as they were maybe 20 years ago, really do appear more expensive.

I am in a band, where the founder is genuinly thinking of turning it into a money making thing. I dont know how we can actually do that, not that I am personallly intending to. But we do put the effort in making time to look for proper studio to record, outside of our day jobs.

It feels like an existential crisis. If I cannot justify the GAS, which is what inspires me, besides the music, it really puts things into perspective for me at a personal level. All that metronome practice, lurking around SSO for years, understanding the guitar market etc, and to have the greats talk about financial difficulties is sad.

Not posting this to look for some consolation. But do share if you have some perspective to this...

Anyways, here's the article.

 

Anectine_Matt

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There's been a lot of musicians talking about this lately, it sounds like a situation that's going to eventually kill the industry of bands being able to tour regularly if things don't change. It's really disheartening to see too, my days of wanting to be a touring musician are behind me for various life reasons but if not it'd definitely be something that'd likely dissuade me from it, and venues taking a cut of merch sales just sounds fucking insane. There's got to be a better way. Here's a few articles I've seen recently with a bunch of musicians talking about the same thing.



 

Flappydoodle

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I wonder whether this is a reason why some bands seem to be doing their own, like Knotfest?

I can see how touring expenses (fuel, food etc) are higher. But what explains venues asking for a big cut of merchandise, or taking most of the ticket price? I think it used to be the case that venues made money from food and drink. The band was there to get people through the door.

So are those venues passing on their own rising costs by asking for a cut of merch? Or are they just screwing musicians because they think it's a way to get more profit? I'm curious.

Either way, it does seem unsustainable. Eventually, (as Devin said), shows will be bad, with cost reductions meaning tiny stages, no lights, no pyro, minimalist rigs etc. After that, they stop touring and those venues have nobody coming at all.
 

mpexus

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Iron Maiden new European tour for 2023 was cut really short this time. I was wondering why and initially thought that maybe the boys are old and they dont want to do an extra 6-8 shows. Then I remember that they managed to Sold Out in hours a couple of Shows and booked some extra dates at same venues and it Hit me...


Ohhh they didnt shortened it, they are doing the same dates as before but having the extra shows at same Venues they are saving Money on Logistics and traveling.
 

OmegaSlayer

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Financial elites are destroying everything, step by step.
In music it began in the 90s, with grunge...but seriously, you should listen to what Steve Lukather says about labels in the interview with Rick Beato, about how they cut bands/singers out of the profit.

Then after music it will be the time for actors, with CGI movies, and athlets with e-sports.

It's a leviathan that is destroying everything, and it sucks to see "artists" rave about AI that will kill them.

End of socialist rant
 

Demiurge

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Touring sucks for bands, and going to shows is a miserable experience, too- it's a shitty collision course. You get fleeced with ticket expenses for the privilege of hoofing it halfway across the state to a filthy venue that's more concerned with your ability to buy the $15 beers than seeing the show you paid to see.
 

HoneyNut

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Financial elites are destroying everything, step by step.
In music it began in the 90s, with grunge...but seriously, you should listen to what Steve Lukather says about labels in the interview with Rick Beato, about how they cut bands/singers out of the profit.

Then after music it will be the time for actors, with CGI movies, and athlets with e-sports.

It's a leviathan that is destroying everything, and it sucks to see "artists" rave about AI that will kill them.

End of socialist rant
Watched the lukather interview briefly. But I'm definitely becoming a fan of Beato after a few of his recent interviews. I'm going to watch it.
 

HoneyNut

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There's been a lot of musicians talking about this lately, it sounds like a situation that's going to eventually kill the industry of bands being able to tour regularly if things don't change. It's really disheartening to see too, my days of wanting to be a touring musician are behind me for various life reasons but if not it'd definitely be something that'd likely dissuade me from it, and venues taking a cut of merch sales just sounds fucking insane. There's got to be a better way. Here's a few articles I've seen recently with a bunch of musicians talking about the same thing.



What Andy C says is almost how I feel about the current metal subculture. It's a has-been, similarly to how I feel towards 'pointy' guitars, and mostly now relying on nostalgia. But this doesn't justify the current state of music industry...

Not to criticize the music itself, but I find modern metal lacks attitude that bands during Pantera -era had. Tbh, some of the Weeknds and Taylor Swift's basslines have more attitude. This is of course subjective. The good stuff obviously falls through the cracks.

A few bands that have great mojo to me are Gojira, Meshuggah, Decapitated.

There's a big demographic of guitar players and metalheads whose only method of interacting with the subculture is through YouTubers, and not through the actual bands.

Angra is releasing a new album. Man, I wish those guys so much more recognition.
 

OmegaSlayer

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Watched the lukather interview briefly. But I'm definitely becoming a fan of Beato after a few of his recent interviews. I'm going to watch it.
Not the latest one though
The interview I mention is at least 2 or 3 years old, and Lukather still had black (dyed) hair
 

Lorcan Ward

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Either way, it does seem unsustainable. Eventually, (as Devin said), shows will be bad, with cost reductions meaning tiny stages, no lights, no pyro, minimalist rigs etc. After that, they stop touring and those venues have nobody coming at all.

This is what gigs are often like in Ireland. Since we are an island the cost of taking the ferry over and back from Wales means most tours skip us. Sometimes we get half a show to keep costs down. Lindsey Stirling didn't bring any of her dancers, Nightwish didn't bring their support, Sabaton didn't bring their stage show etc. It's better than it used to be but there was a time when many bands wouldn't bring their EU tour support acts and just use local bands to save costs.

Gig prices have gone up a lot here and everything is still selling well so as long as concert goers are willing to pay more and more for tickets then tours will keep coming here. Wether it actually does more than break even I don't know. Dublin used to be a big draw for merch sales but the cost of everything here is getting so bad that it can't be worth it anymore.
 
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bostjan

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Guys this is what I've been saying since about a year or so before covid.

And everyone will blame covid, but that no longer has much to do with it, other than the fact that this was well on its way before covid hit and then the situation just became more apparent because everyone stepped away from it for a year and some change and then came back and all of the differences hit all at once instead of gradually.

The music industry is losing steam slowly. Within that, rock music is losing steam much more rapidly than other genres. Within that, heavier music is maybe not losing steam as rapidly, but it's not nearly enough to keep up either. Smaller bands are getting hit by this a little harder than bigger bands.

Now we have guys like Bruce Springsteen out there charging thousands for tickets, and plenty of other bands making it so that you basically have to buy VIP packages to enjoy a show. I've even seen some venues starting to call just anything that's not a lawn seat a VIP package in order to justify prices that are quite shocking.

And I don't think that what's happening is as simple as "the rich are getting richer" although that's a card in play. This is more generally what happens when the population of the world catches up with what technology will support. It happened when life was miserable in the late 1700's and a bunch of societies revolted and then started wars, which killed off lots of people and pushed technologies ahead, then, in the later early 1800's things were much better, until the cycle started again just past the middle of the 19th century, and then they cycle started again with WWI, but something hiccoughed and WWII happened, and then the cycle hit it's apex during the economic prosperity of the 1960's, and we are rapidly approaching a nadir in the cycle again soon.

But all that aside, it's really not at all a great time to expect ROI from being in a band. In fact, if you want to tour as an independent band, you'd better set aside some money and then treat it like a Disney vacation or something. A couple grand and you could tour in your local region of your state. For ten grand, you might be able to pull off a three or four state tour. If you want to tour the entire USA, better save up about $40-50.

I'm sure there will be people on here who chime in to say that I'm full of shit - just sell more merch to make up for lousy guarantees and just don't spend so much money on extravagant luxuries like truck stop showers and 711 taquitos. Maybe you could even save a couple bucks by drinking out of culverts instead of buying bottled water. :lol: Yeah, there are situations where you could save money by borrowing your dad's van to tour in or using your mom's credit card to pay for gas, but most of us aren't in those situations.

The industry is not going to just up and croak all at once, but covid sure did expose the trends and now respected artists are starting to come out and publicly say what most of us were feeling first hand.
 

c7spheres

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I don't know their contracts but if they delgated to the proper people and had a logistics expert they could make it better for everyone and themselves. The problem would probably be liabilities and insurance is my guess why I'd guess they'd be using BS like ticket master. There are ways they just haven't figured them out yet in this new bullshit greedy unethical world where the old unethical is the new ethical.
- Maybe all these rich rockstars can make a venue collective and go in on real estate ventures together. Make little venues all over tthe world at thier vacation spots and do their own circuit. When they come they can stay a few days paly a few shows etc. They'll control everything. Their own racket or sorts. At least where doing things like selling your own tickets is lawful.
They could even customize their own greenrooms and have permanant shared rigs, on site studios etc. It's not that much when collectively they got good cash (potentially billions if enough of them go in on it. Then they could contorl and ban who they want from playing and become them! yeah, that'd suck. IF they can't afford it they can auction thier guitars, which tehy should do anyways.
Everyone into phones an computers anyways. Live music just scares and bores them. All they do is film it anyways. They don't needs todays fans. Only paying fans who will die around the same time they do anyways. Yes, I am in a great mood. : )
 

Crungy

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So are those venues passing on their own rising costs by asking for a cut of merch? Or are they just screwing musicians because they think it's a way to get more profit? I'm curious.
Same here.

@bostjan do you think there will be any change if the Live Nation and Ticketmaster monopolies are brought down, the playing field is leveled and artists have more say on that end of the business?
 
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c7spheres

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They could eliminate tickmaster and just say pay at the door using cash. No pay in advance. Have a tube transport like at the bank straight into an armored car.
Seriously , I have a hard time feeling bad for these guys or even the fans that can afford it. It can be done. Just jack the price like everyone else it doing. It's the new world. Crash and burn.
- If they wrote better songs and played better people would pay more! LoL.
 

bostjan

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Same here.

@bostjan do you think there will be any change if the Live Nation and Ticketmaster monopolies are brought down the playing field is leveled so artists have more say on that end of the business?

I have serious doubts. Ticketmaster probably plays a lot less of a role in this than the media outlets would like you to think. Ticket prices are going up because everything is going up. Venues need more money to cover their skyrocketing expenses. Bands need more money to cover their skyrocketing expenses. Promoters and underwriters have already been starting to shy away from getting involved, since they don't make returns, at least on the mid-level shows. Insurance companies will continue to take the lion's share of the profits for doing the least amount of work.

But Live Nation still did things wrong and at least we'll all feel better knowing that there were consequences to them gobbling up that much responsibility without plans to build the infrastructure to actually have their service be useful. Maybe the competition that comes out of this will result in better service or better pricing, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
 

Matt08642

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Music, like many other walks of life, seems like it was a California Gold Rush of an industry from the 50s to the mid 90s. What I mean is that it was a very limited time opportunity for very few people, coupled with the advancement of technology (electric guitars and basses being invented and rapidly evolved over a short period of time) and a booming post WW2 economy in the States that allowed bands to fill stadiums and make tons of money.

Kind of like technology - If you had a career in tech 40 years ago, you could have retired rich as a programmer making 6 figures in the 90s, but people today might be expected to know a much more diverse and sometimes difficult set of skills, but don't make enough to own a home.
 

CanserDYI

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Speaking of touring, looks like Ozzy finally called it quits due to health concerns* and called off his entire tour saying he's done.


*edited that in there
 
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RevDrucifer

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I wonder whether this is a reason why some bands seem to be doing their own, like Knotfest?

I can see how touring expenses (fuel, food etc) are higher. But what explains venues asking for a big cut of merchandise, or taking most of the ticket price? I think it used to be the case that venues made money from food and drink. The band was there to get people through the door.

So are those venues passing on their own rising costs by asking for a cut of merch? Or are they just screwing musicians because they think it's a way to get more profit? I'm curious.

Either way, it does seem unsustainable. Eventually, (as Devin said), shows will be bad, with cost reductions meaning tiny stages, no lights, no pyro, minimalist rigs etc. After that, they stop touring and those venues have nobody coming at all.

Kinda answered your own question by the end of your post. While venues have been getting greedier and greedier asking for a cut of merch, after covid they were just as fucked as everyone else, no income for nearly 2 years while still having to pay the rent, so they’re trying to recoup what they can.

The smaller national act venue here managed to stay open but BARELY, he was booking whatever he possibly could as soon as he could and had to really run his staff pretty hard having them do the jobs of 2-3 people just to make things work. Thankfully, that club has a history here and some of the staff has been there for as long as I’ve been going to shows there (20+ years) and they care about the place as much as he does, they were willing to put in the work. My buddy runs sound there and whenever I can, I’ll help him load in bands and still pay for a ticket for the show.

I don’t think this venue asks for a cut of merch, it’s the one spot bands like Sevendust come to regularly even though it’s so damn far out of their way being down in South Florida. Most bands stop at Orlando and won’t come further south, so I’m assuming it’s a more lucrative venue for the tried and true bands that will always pull the same size crowd in.
 

RevDrucifer

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Speaking of touring, looks like Ozzy finally called it quits and called off his entire tour saying he's done.

That’s more due to his health than the cost of touring and whatnot. It was sad seeing that because despite how most people believe Sharon is the one propping Ozzy up onstage, I 100% believe Ozzy loves playing live and wanted to do it until he dropped. If he ever does drop, that is.
 

Kyle Jordan

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- Maybe all these rich rockstars can make a venue collective and go in on real estate ventures together. Make little venues all over tthe world at thier vacation spots and do their own circuit. When they come they can stay a few days paly a few shows etc. They'll control everything. Their own racket or sorts. At least where doing things like selling your own tickets is lawful.

Kind of like multiple satellite Branson and Vegas places but smaller. Or like Perma Fest locations. Near enough to major markets to be driven to, but far enough away to avoid some of the deeper tangle of overreaching bureaucracies. Hell, maybe even go the step of becoming a small unincorporated town or village. (Metalliberg and Dethville would make great names. European/near places like Gojirastan or Maiden, England)

Almost like a land based variant of some of the rock and metal cruises that have been happening.

Not a bad idea, but I don't know how long or even if it would be viable. Kind of skeptical about that, but it would be cool to see.
 
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