Home > Uncategorized > The future of (live) music

The future of (live) music

What’s gonna happen to live music?

How long can folks hold on?

Winter is coming. Venues are still shut down. Some permanently. No concerts. No festivals. Bars at half capacity, or less, are struggling to pay the mortgage and their people….so they can’t afford the bands anymore. The virus hasn’t abated at all. It’s still killing people. Most Americans take it seriously, but the ones who don’t can still overwhelm the majority. That’s the way these things work. All it takes is one person pissing in the pool. All or nothing. In 7 months we’ve gotten exactly nowhere. Our new national strategy seems to be to pretend that it doesn’t exist, but living in that sort of dreamscape is not gonna trigger a Springsteen tour in 2021. The entire live music industry is close to collapse. And since the streaming services came along and devoured all the royalty income (Peter Frampton testified in Washington to being paid $1700 for 55 MILLION streams of “Baby I Love Your Way”), roadwork became the only way for professional musicians to pay the rent. Warhorses like David Crosby have been painfully honest about all this. He’s in fear of losing his house. And it’s not just the musicians. All the support personnel that make the thing go round. The roadies. The drivers. The promoters. The venue employees. There’s no relief on the horizon. The CDC is calling for a long, dark, cold winter. And, per usual, our Government offers nothing.

The crushing irony in all this, of course, is that we all need music more than ever.

It’s kept me going the last 7 months. Making it (new record here). Listening to it. Everything. For absolutely no reason whatsoever I was cranking AC/DC’s “Rock or Bust” (perhaps the most uncomplicated song ever written) last night while watching a baseball game. I spent the day at work cruising through the Van Halen catalog, and even managed to get through Van Halen III, out of respect to King Edward. On my nightly walk I took The Tragically Hip and a few George Jones songs along. As I type this I’ve got The Smithereen’s “Top of the Pops” blasting in my earbuds. Sometimes music is the only thing you can count on. We take it for granted, but it never holds that against us.

The impromptu live streams on social media gave me some hope back at the start of all this. For a brief moment, I thought I saw the future. You could just sit there on your couch, flip your phone around, hit the “live” button, and beam yourself around the world. Solicit donations……watch real-time comments come in. It wasn’t the same as having somebody knock their beer over onto your guitar in a bar, but it would do in a pinch. The little guys started this……the indie folks. It was a nice way to stay engaged, and make a few bucks…..until behemoths like Garth Brooks jumped on the bandwagon and started doing it and that pretty much killed the novelty stone dead (Well that and the buffering). The folks still doing it now look like hostages being forced to read from a prepared statement (donations have slowed to a trickle)…..and if I see one more person who doesn’t know how to stream themselves live without looking left-handed I’m gonna lose my marbles.

But still, here we are. Where do we go from here?

“Someday girl / I don’t know when / we’re gonna get to that place / where we really want to go..”

That place is gonna be filled with music. And people packed shoulder to shoulder, hugging and singing and smiling and laughing and lifting their glass and buying rounds and there’s gonna be no lies and no fear and we’re gonna walk (and dance) in the sun, because tramps like us were not born to watch live music on our fucking Iphones.

Ok, I’m not really sure where that came from but whatever. You get my point.

Do what you can. Support your favorite artists. BUY their music instead of streaming it. Bandcamp is a great alternative.

Pat Dinizio was the lead singer and songwriter of the Smithereens, one of the most underrated bands of my lifetime. One of my songwriting heroes. He passed away 3 years ago. On Monday, what would have been his 65th birthday, his 10 room farmhouse in Scotch Plains, New Jersey was torn down to make way for some hipster bullshit (petitions to save the house were blown off), and that sorta started me on this rant today, because it summed up the way we treat those who fill our ears with soul.

We all need to do better.

In a bit..


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 14, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you, Tom for your energy, passion, perspective.

    • October 15, 2020 at 10:27 am

      thank you for giving me a read Bryan….I appreciate it

  2. webtunescom
    October 17, 2020 at 9:32 am

    I imagine once this ends every concert will be packed by fans to make up for missed love of live shows.

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