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  #1  
Old 07-19-2014, 07:35 PM
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DrumEatDrum DrumEatDrum is offline
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Default Wall Street Journal: Declining Opportunities for Cover Bands

http://online.wsj.com/articles/these...igs-1405564202
(click for full article)

Quote:
Mr. Brown is among the many cover-band artists these days who are finding it more difficult to earn a living. The problem is a paucity of lucrative bar-band gigs (thanks to DJs, trivia nights, karaoke, and changing tastes) combined with a glut of middle-aged musicians who just can't quit the scene.
Quote:
By Mr. Howard's estimate, Top-40 cover-band gigs have declined 80% in the past 15 years.
Quote:
Nor is pay keeping pace with the times, artists and booking agents say. A band making $400 or so a gig in the 1980s doesn't make much more now. Inflation has eroded pay.
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On a recent Friday night,... he was pushing his sound equipment into Oakland's Elm Street Grill, a sports bar in a nearby strip mall.

"Karaoke tonight?" asked a middle-aged man, smoking outside the bar.
This goes with what some one of us have observed. Many people choose DJs, karaoke, or just staying home and using the internet over going to bars these days.

So much of bars used to be where one goes to try to meet a potential mate. When I was younger, personal ads, and online dating was sort of viewed as what people who couldn't meet people the regular way used. But now, I think it is readily acceptable and common to use online dating services, which eliminates a huge reason of why people used to go to bars.

And for those who do still want to go out, dance, and such, the electronic music scene and DJ's often rule over a full band, as this Saturday Night Live sketch pointed out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCawU6BE8P8

And of course, there is an abundant supply of musicians compared to the demand.

Anyhow, there have various discussion on here about why can't so-and-so supplement their income with playing covers, and this article makes a point that for some, even doing that might not get you that much money anymore.

I thought it was interesting that a mainstream media website would even pick up on this.
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2014, 11:21 PM
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ron s ron s is offline
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Default Re: Wall Street Journal: Declining Opportunities for Cover Bands

I'm up in Rhode Island and there are wayyy more bands- original and cover- willing to play than there are venues willing to pay.

My bassplayer is in an original band that often plays for less than $50 per person, or even for free to get the exposure.

We usually get $100 per guy, but we only play out 2-3 times per month.

It's fun and it keeps me into the drums, but you can't live off it.

I'm happy if the gigs pay for the equipment-Playing drums is fun, and when people are dancing to the beat you are grooving on life is good.
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Old 07-20-2014, 12:07 AM
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BillRayDrums BillRayDrums is offline
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Default Re: Wall Street Journal: Declining Opportunities for Cover Bands

It's because there's an "Everyone can do it" mentality now. All the garage bands are doing the DIY thing, getting the information and hitting up the clubs. The supply is greater than the demand. Hobbyists are putting those who rely upon this for their income out of work.

Thing is, in my neck of the woods (SoCal) there's only so many bars and too many bands. The bands who suck will bring in all their friends/family who are usually successful... say for instance, like there's a HOG (Harley Owner's Group) whose friends learned a couple of sets of cover tunes. They take over a bar, don't ask for anything but bring in a ton of people who spend mad cash on drinks and tips. They get a regular gig there because it's beneficial to the bar owner. Bar owner all of a sudden does not feel the need to pay the bands a fair wage because the service that lifers provide is devalued.

I've been on both ends of that stick- I've been the one put out of work, and I've been the hired gun that comes in and plays drums for them.

Musicians used to bitch about the record industry and the disservice they provided to musicians and the thought was that they are evil... well yeah, that's kinda true in a sense but what they did was to curate what music made its way back into the public.

Now there's no filters and the bar got lowered.

I'm not complaining at all, is what it is. So for cats like me it's "reinvent thyself". And I'm really good at that.
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Wall Street Journal: Declining Opportunities for Cover Bands

Quote:
Originally Posted by ron s View Post
My bassplayer is in an original band that often plays for less than $50 per person, or even for free to get the exposure.

We usually get $100 per guy, but we only play out 2-3 times per month.
Yeah, I recall 20 years ago guys in cover bands were making $100 a night. Only now your expenses are easily twice as much as back then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillRayDrums View Post
It's because there's an "Everyone can do it" mentality now. All the garage bands are doing the DIY thing, getting the information and hitting up the clubs. The supply is greater than the demand. .
I always thought this was interesting by product of the late 70's and early 80's DYI movement. All those punk and new wave bands (among others) that initially got rejected by record labels started making their own recordings and selling them out of the back of their cars or whatever. And then labels would think, oh, if they sold x-number of copies themselves, maybe we should sign them after all.

Then as the 80's progressed, the labels slowly stopped carrying about the music, they just wanted to see how many copies a band could sell of on their own. And the more the labels pushed for proof of sales before signing, the more bands were willing to do anything to get noticed. Which lead to playing for free, and pay-to-play.

Musicians told themselves they weren't playing for free, they were investing in their future career.
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