THE BLOGRONAUT: ARE CORPORATE-SPONSORED METAL SHOWS KILLING THE LIVE CONCERT MARKET?
Have you guys heard about this sweet ass fest happening in LA next month? Goatsnake, Animosity-lineup Corrosion Of Conformity, From Ashes Rise, Repulsion, Trap Them, Coliseum, and like 20 more rad bands for FREE, thanks to corporate sponsor Converse. Unfortunately, I will be on tour at the time, but if I was around I’d totally be at this. Goatsnake are the creators of at least six or seven of my favorite heavy riffs ever, Repulsion are like the AC/DC of grind, and even I would most likely be on board with pretending to care about the COC/Animosity thing (Eye For An Eye was way better, in my opinion). I’d probably even get drunk enough to blindly accept that a band like From Ashes Rise are playing a corporate-sponsored “event” like this. If something like this went down in their heyday, I can’t even imagine what the repercussions would be from their ultra-punk fans. I mean sure, I guess Converse All Stars are part of the punk rock non-conformity uniform, but it’s still (unless there’s something I don’t know) a corporation taking advantage of overseas cheap labor so they can make a larger profit off of “subcultures” they’re marketing to (see: this fest’s attendees).
Times must be tough for aging punk bands, where they can only make real money when sponsored by shoe or car companies. Sarcasm aside, I know that times are tough for all bands, and that is why these free, corporate-sponsored shows are starting to pop up more and more. At first, it was cute that Scion would fly bands out to LA every couple months and pay them a few grand to play a show. Lots of us are unemployed, so it’s nice to get a show for free once in a while. Now, the Scion Fest is an annual thing, their shows in L.A. happen every other month, and I’d be willing to bet that this won’t be the last we hear of Converse sponsoring “A free event that honors fans and musicians of ‘heavy music’ of all ages.”
Don’t get me wrong, I would take a fat check from freakin’ Nike if it meant making ends meet for once. Well, maybe not quite Nike, but really what’s the difference? The fact is, we’ve accepted the fact that half the people out there see no reason to pay for music anymore, and now we’re going to set the going street price of a rock show to “free, cause Toyota’s picking up the tab”? It may be too late to save the recording industry, but let’s hold off on killing live music for now. On that same point, I’m not saying inflated ticket prices are justified in any way. Any show costing over $30 is probably the reason these free shows exist in the first place.
As much as I’d like to say that making music is purely about the music itself, there is business involved (obvi). Especially at a DIY level, it costs money to record music, to buy instruments, to change strings on said instruments, to buy gas to get to the shows, beer to make the shitty shows less shitty, etc. How are up and coming bands going to get anything going if they can’t even charge enough money to fill their tanks on tour? If you had the choice of seeing, let’s say, Enshitted (a band you’ve never heard of, but seeing them live is like cumming hundred dollar bills) for ten bucks, or Mastodon and Slayer for free, who would it be? I already know the answer to that. Even if they’re not on the same night. The value in seeing live music will be completely eliminated by these corporate events, and no one will care to check out new bands unless they’re lucky enough to play British Petroleum Death Fest VII. And I know some of you out there are thinking, “welp, there’s still merch!” Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), few genres of music outside of trendy metal revolve around t shirts. Music, despite what any metal writer who thinks they know what they’re talking about tells you, needs to be supported by it’s consumers. With money.
I say all this one week before Intronaut heads out on tour with Cynic and Dysrhythmia (*COUGH* come out! *COUGH*), where we’ll be playing shows that require a paid ticket. If people don’t come to the shows, then I can guarantee you won’t be seeing any of these bands play again for a long, long time. If you truly care about seeing live music, or if you’re an aspiring musician yourself, pay for a ticket, go to the show, buy a record or shirt, and tell your friends about it. The only way to keep the live music industry sustainable is for it to retain its value to people. For this to happen, we’re going to need bands to not charge more than a reasonable ticket price, music fans to show some financial support to the music they care about, and for corporations to not completely take over underground metal. Sound good?