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Thread: Is the end to live music in bars in our future?

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    Senior Member gush's Avatar
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    Is the end to live music in bars in our future?

    As silly as this sounds, can it or will it happen? I live in the midwest and for the last 8 years or so I have seen crowds diminish. Not just my cover band but others as well. I do live sound when we arent gigging and that is what I see. I went to visit a musician friend that lives in Indiana last summer. We went out friday night to see live music and saturday I watched his band play to an empty house. What gives? Do the current drinking & driving laws or no smoking in bars laws have the power to influence crowds that much? So, ask yourself the question. Are the crowds as big as they were 10 or even 20 years ago.

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    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    No they are not as big as they were, I do a fair amount of traveling and can say it is rough all over the country. Economics play a big factor as well, people just don't have as much money for extras now as they once did.

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    Senior Member veinbuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    No they are not as big as they were, I do a fair amount of traveling and can say it is rough all over the country. Economics play a big factor as well, people just don't have as much money for extras now as they once did.
    I am inclined to agree that the smaller crowds are more a matter of the economy than less interest in live music. No guarantee people will go out more if/when they have more money.

  4. #4
    Live music has been declining for a very long time, going back to the late 60s. Among a number of reasons might be:

    1. People want to talk to each other and mingle more than they want to listen to loud live music; as a result, fewer bars are interested in live music than ever before.

    2. The population is aging.

    3. The best cover bands do high paying gigs like weddings - a good wedding nets a band 5K in some cities, and a bar gig hardly pays for gas.

    4. Few people want to turn out for unknown original music bands, except the band's friends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Live music has been declining for a very long time, going back to the late 60s. Among a number of reasons might be:

    1. People want to talk to each other and mingle more than they want to listen to loud live music; as a result, fewer bars are interested in live music than ever before.

    2. The population is aging.

    3. The best cover bands do high paying gigs like weddings - a good wedding nets a band 5K in some cities, and a bar gig hardly pays for gas.

    4. Few people want to turn out for unknown original music bands, except the band's friends.
    I came of age in the early 80's and this was all true then. Nothing has really changed since then. The one newish thing in the mix is Karaoke - but that's not taking away any band nights, nobody that wants to dance and drink is going anywhere that has Karaoke.
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  6. #6
    In 1983, the drinking age increased to 19 in new york, and i noticed only a slight difference in the clubs. When the age rose to 21 a couple years later, it decimated the bars in college towns. The rise of karaoke and dj's further diminished the market for live bands.

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    Senior Member Harker1440's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by watelessness View Post
    The rise of karaoke and dj's further diminished the market for live bands.
    ^^^^THIS^^^^

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    Junior Member Brian Baker's Avatar
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    408 Sig Club President Twinfan's Avatar
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    It's the same here in the UK too. Economics and the smoking ban are I think the biggest reasons for the last 5 years.

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    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twinfan View Post
    It's the same here in the UK too. Economics and the smoking ban are I think the biggest reasons for the last 5 years.
    Yup... Things aren't great!

    Cheep booze available at the supermarkets has put a lot of pubs out of business.

    Still a few places play live music but it's rare I see them full.
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    NJ Devil DISTORT6's Avatar
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    I think here in the NJ/NY area, the lack of rock radio has a lot to do with it. The stations here are not what they could be.
    People aren't as exposed to rock music as they were 10-15 years ago.
    Not like the other kids...

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    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    It's the hip-hop and r'n'b. And electronic music. Rock music is for dinosaurs. Move on to dubstep.
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    NJ Devil DISTORT6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albrecht Smuten View Post
    It's the hip-hop and r'n'b. And electronic music. Rock music is for dinosaurs. Move on to dubstep.
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    Junior Member Ampguy's Avatar
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    Many of my friends are musicians. Most would starve if they didn't have day jobs. I like to hear live music, at least on the weekends. Unfortunately, our GOV has learned the profitability of roadblocks and the DUI laws. In Atlanta, it is not uncommon for the police to either set up random roadblocks and check every car or hang a block or so outside of the bars, waiting to pounce. Due to this, bars don't have the crowds of 10-15 years ago and can't afford to have a band. Some of the bars that do have bands are set up so that you pay to play, hoping that a cut of the door from your following, will cover your costs. It is pathetic. I am not saying that driving drunk is OK, but expecting to be stopped is a deal killer. Now MADD is trying to lower the blood alcohol limit from .08 to .04 or less. Then, if you have a glass of wine with a dinner eaten out, you will go to jail. We are becoming a police state!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Ampguy View Post
    Many of my friends are musicians. Most would starve if they didn't have day jobs. I like to hear live music, at least on the weekends. Unfortunately, our GOV has learned the profitability of roadblocks and the DUI laws. In Atlanta, it is not uncommon for the police to either set up random roadblocks and check every car or hang a block or so outside of the bars, waiting to pounce. Due to this, bars don't have the crowds of 10-15 years ago and can't afford to have a band. Some of the bars that do have bands are set up so that you pay to play, hoping that a cut of the door from your following, will cover your costs. It is pathetic. I am not saying that driving drunk is OK, but expecting to be stopped is a deal killer. Now MADD is trying to lower the blood alcohol limit from .08 to .04 or less. Then, if you have a glass of wine with a dinner eaten out, you will go to jail. We are becoming a police state!
    When my daughter was in high school, one of her cheer team teammates was killed by a drunk driver. The funeral of a 15 year old girl is not something anyone needs to experience in this life, so I'm all for the idea of taxicabs, designated drivers, etc.

    In my area, Michigan, young people OFTEN have designated drivers, or take cabs, now. My kids (who are in their 20s and early 30s) wouldn't even consider driving after having a drink. And they're not a bunch of goody-two-shoes people.

    A car driven by even a slightly inebriated person can be a dangerous weapon. I have zero problem with strict enforcement of drunk driving laws.

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    Junior Member Ampguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    When my daughter was in high school, one of her cheer team teammates was killed by a drunk driver. The funeral of a 15 year old girl is not something anyone needs to experience in this life, so I'm all for the idea of taxicabs, designated drivers, etc.

    In my area, Michigan, young people OFTEN have designated drivers, or take cabs, now. My kids (who are in their 20s and early 30s) wouldn't even consider driving after having a drink. And they're not a bunch of goody-two-shoes people.


    A car driven by even a slightly inebriated person can be a dangerous weapon. I have zero problem with strict enforcement of drunk driving laws.
    I fully agree with the above. I don't condone drinking and driving. If you must drink, you must use a taxi. It is much cheaper than a DUI anyway. Taxis add to your evening's costs, which again may keep more people home making it hard for bars to justify a band. But, I hope that the laws don't change to prevent a glass of wine with dinner and they may.

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    Senior Member captdg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ampguy View Post
    Many of my friends are musicians. Most would starve if they didn't have day jobs. I like to hear live music, at least on the weekends. Unfortunately, our GOV has learned the profitability of roadblocks and the DUI laws. In Atlanta, it is not uncommon for the police to either set up random roadblocks and check every car or hang a block or so outside of the bars, waiting to pounce. Due to this, bars don't have the crowds of 10-15 years ago and can't afford to have a band. Some of the bars that do have bands are set up so that you pay to play, hoping that a cut of the door from your following, will cover your costs. It is pathetic. I am not saying that driving drunk is OK, but expecting to be stopped is a deal killer. Now MADD is trying to lower the blood alcohol limit from .08 to .04 or less. Then, if you have a glass of wine with a dinner eaten out, you will go to jail. We are becoming a police state!
    Our MADD chapter president (this was 7 yrs ago) was coming from a champagne brunch on the beach and a police officer was going to pull her over for a minor infraction. She tried to ditch him by going through a subdivision at a high rate of speed and as she was coming around a sharp curve near a bluff, skidded and plunged through a roof on a house below. It killed a sixteen year old kid watching a basketball game in his bedroom.. I used to post a link to this, but because of her influence, and it being seven years ago the news posts have been deleted. She got ten years probation but they eviscerated her in civil court.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by captdg View Post
    Our MADD chapter president (this was 7 yrs ago) was coming from a champagne brunch on the beach and a police officer was going to pull her over for a minor infraction. She tried to ditch him by going through a subdivision at a high rate of speed and as she was coming around a sharp curve near a bluff, skidded and plunged through a roof on a house below. It killed a sixteen year old kid watching a basketball game in his bedroom.. I used to post a link to this, but because of her influence, and it being seven years ago the news posts have been deleted. She got ten years probation but they eviscerated her in civil court.....
    I'm debating how to respond to this since it reads like bait...
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    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DISTORT6 View Post
    I think here in the NJ/NY area, the lack of rock radio has a lot to do with it. The stations here are not what they could be.
    People aren't as exposed to rock music as they were 10-15 years ago.
    We have a great rock radio station here, but unless it's a large show promoted by radio with 5+ big bands on the bill...
    It used to be, you'd have 3-4 bands on a bill - 2 of them being fairly big. Now it seems like theres 5-6 bands on a lot of shows just to sell the show.

    Quote Originally Posted by Albrecht Smuten View Post
    It's the hip-hop and r'n'b. And electronic music. Rock music is for dinosaurs. Move on to dubstep.
    I live in a college town and students don't frequent ANY club with live music. They're not interested.

    Smaller clubs(200-400 cap) don't promote like they used to. They'll put up the free ad stuff - hope some facebook friends show, but they don't make any real effort. Used to hear radio spots for clubs that would list off their next 5 live shows. Never anything like that anymore. No drink specials, nothing to make people want to go. I remember places being packed 15 years ago, where it was tough to get in. No more.

  20. #20
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albrecht Smuten View Post
    It's the hip-hop and r'n'b. And electronic music. Rock music is for dinosaurs. Move on to dubstep.
    Since 2008 I have played, or still do play in bands in each of these genres. I live in a fairly large market (Chicago), and as stated earlier travel, and I can tell you that audience turnout is equally as dead for these acts as well. It has gotten bad enough that with the exception of the festival season (May-September) most of the clients I work for can't afford to justify playing anything but local gigs. If there were a genre of music that was exempt from this downturn you can bet I would be trying to work in it.

    I hear they give headset microphones to the employees working the drive-through at Burger King, that might have to be my next venue. It's not all bad I guess, they actually pay for your stage clothes there and they have veggie burgers.

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