What a one-two combination to the head! First comes the internet, and with it piracy and file-sharing, who-cares-about-copyright and music wants to be free nonsense (you should read this), and takes away 50% of the average recording musician’s income (a number Peter Gabriel came up with in a BBC interview) and a few years later, when many musicians concentrate on touring, fuel prices double and triple with no end in sight… Touring by bus or flying will never be the same, certainly flying with gear will become harder than ever. What’s next? Touring the country in horse-drawn wagons, like pioneers? Not touring at all and presenting concerts streamed over the internet?
Well, at least this WILL cut down on the excesses of touring, one hopes. Many of the top bands are in the habit of flying while at the same time running a few busses on the ground, which they use instead of vans or limos to get from the airport to the venue and hotel and to transport their luggage. That is wasteful AND dangerous because the driver does not get any real sleep as he drives through the night and shuttles the band members around during the day – try doing that for 2 months…
And while the touring bus industry was making money hand over fist for many years, I would not want to own a fleet of busses at this point. They cost about 500,000 to over a million a piece. Imagine how their value is eroding.
Time will tell, I suppose. This is a good year to go see a concert. Next year ticket prices will go up to reflect fuel costs, and some acts may not tour at all.
PS: I biked to Downtown Subscription for a green chile croissant and a small cup of coffee. More thoughts on the subject:
Certainly, many jobs and professions need to be rethought in light of global warming, fuel prices and economy. Any type of traveling salesmen must be having a hard time, anything involving shipping… even owning a gas-station seems to be difficult because Exxon is unloading over 2,000 of theirs. I imagine as a gas-station owner one gets squeezed between the gas companies, who constantly raise their prices, and the public, who get mighty angry… The craft and local service professions look very good right about now: shoe-repair, plumbing, solar-installer… In the seventies my father kept trying to steer me towards a craft and only reluctantly allowed me to go to artschool. I can tell you one thing, I am glad I started doing solo-performances two years ago. In a few years you might just find me on a horse or bicycle, with a guitar and laptop strapped to my back, riding from gig to gig. Or, maybe this itinerant mariachi with international connections should use a mule-drawn cart… Now that’s a funny image to end this post with.
PPS: Stevo is creating a Luna Negra boardgame and writes that he has added a new card:
FUEL PRICES TO HIGH TO CONTINUE TOUR
– GAME OVER –
You’d be like a post-modern cowboy riding into the sunset.
If only I could carry a marimba on a bike! A hard sell for us lowly percussionists, for sure.
The return of the minstral! You’ll need a big basket on your bike or saddlebags on your steed to carry the money thrown at you.
I came across this article in the Houston Chronicle this morning about touring and current CD sales. The music industry is changing indeed.