Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summertime, and the touring's abysmal

How tough is it out there this summer on the rock show circuit? Check out this story from the L.A. Times which appeared in our local newspaper over the weekend.  If you don't have the interest or attention span to read one of those old-fashioned newspaper pieces, here's the lead-in that summarizes the story:

With CD sales diving, top artists are seeking to recoup lost revenue with tours, creating a glut at a time of economic contraction. 'It's brutal out there,' says one manager of alternative music acts.

When we heard that Milwaukee's Summerfest recently drew 856,000 fans, a 2.5 percent increase in attendance over 2009, we thought everything must be grand.  (Although festival officials declined to release revenue numbers, a tip-off that all their numbers are not happy ones.) 

We're kind of old-fashioned here at the Sanctuary (must be that newspaper upbringing!)  We still believe in paying for quality goods and services, which includes music in every form.  If we like a CD, we pay our hard-earned money for it.  And because we like to support our favorite artists, many of whom aren't making it on record sales, we don't spend a lot of time burning CDs for our free-loading pals.  And we think that's at the heart of the problem here. Somewhere along the line people decided that music should be free.

Many big acts are trying to recoup their lost revenue on the road, and it's a jungle out there.  Did you ever think there would be too much live music from which to choose?  When you add the greedy hand of the promoter to the equation, you wind up with ticket sales that just don't make sense.  Can we expect fans who aren't fond of plunking down $15 for a CD to fork out $895 to see the Eagles? 

That $15 we paid to watch five good bands at Summerfest is looking like the steal of the summer.