The new music biz equation in 2008 seems to be touring + inexpensive recording technology + internet distribution – large record label = sustainable success at least according to Live Music Thrives as CDs Fade, an article that all rock and roll bands serious about making it today should have a look at. There are now so many ways to get the music out there that any musician should be familiar with as many as possible but touring still appears to be the best method to put the butter on the bread. The only fly in the ointment of that avenue is the insanely high gas prices that make going on a large-scale, many-miles tour a financial burden.
The effect of high gas prices on touring is hitting smaller bands and artists hard but even big name festivals like Bonnaroo are being affected. This brings up an interesting point that came up in a recent discussion with some musician friends. They argued that it was now becoming much less lucrative to travel hundreds of miles to play in a new town where they may not be able to guarantee a healthy gate, or play on the side stage of a festival (where even there they have to often pay to play) than to play locally where they can actually guarantee themselves fairly steady income. It’s not that they don’t want to tour outside their area code, it’s just becoming too damn expensive to do so.
What does this all mean? Will it become too expensive for bands to tour and even if they do, too expensive for fans to get to their shows and festivals? Perhaps in the short term it will be an issue but rock and roll fans are if anything a resourceful bunch and whether they car pool it or bike to the show, they will need to get their rock and roll fix somehow. And bands are increasingly looking at viable ways to get to the gig by using things like bio-fueled tour buses and transport trucks with the help of organizations like Reverb so the tours will keep rolling. As with everything else in this day and age, the game is changing and you either adapt to what is going on or you fold up your tent and go home.
Luckily, despite the hardships for all involved, the rock will still roll, regardless of the bumps in the road. Thank God for that!
See you at the show.