A number of artists have shared their thoughts on the current state of touring and the music industry as a whole. Among them are Bad Omens, Craig Reynolds (Stray From The Path), and Devin Townsend, who held nothing back with regards to the harsh realities artists are facing.
Bad Omens said the following on Twitter after a venue decided to sell band-branded cocktails:
“That’s dope, artists still don’t get a cut from bar sales tho even if the venue gives cocktails cute little names after your songs, but still take 15-20% of touring artists’ gross merch sales every night. Nowhere To Go punch does sound delicious though, tip your bartenders. 🐸 🍹”
They also added:
“Just to be clear – we don’t want a cut of your bar sales. We just don’t want to give you 20% of the merchandise we design, pay for, manage, set up, carry, and sell ourselves because you gave us 24sq ft of floor space in your venue we sold out.”
Reynolds also commented in a series of tweets:
“streaming services pay nothing and everyone is cool with it. managers make their bands do dangerous snow drives and everyone is cool with it. ticketmaster has a monopoly on live music and everyone is cool with it. bands swap royalties for playlisting and everyone is cool with it.
venues take a giant merch cut and everyone is cool with it. record labels are more interested in viral videos everyone is cool with it. bands have 90% of their show on a laptop and everyone is cool with it. members of bands do unspeakable things and everyone is cool with it.
most record deals include merchandise now and everyone is cool with it. your favourite bands hire the same producer from LA to write all their songs and everyone is cool with it. i can think of 6 bands with an entire instrument on backing track and everyone is cool with it.
labels and booking companies are ticking bare minimum diversity boxes instead of making systemic change and everyone is cool with it. prominent and influential multi-platinum selling artists are being openly antisemitic and everyone is cool with it.
…and that concludes the list of why i am so very annoyed, almost all of the time.
i sound like a boomer. ignore this. i’m just entering my jaded musical unabomber arc
nsane the amount of people who read THE FIRST LINE and made their mind up about this tweet. this tweet is a very pointless and specific list of the reasons i’m usually annoyed, some relate to each other, most don’t.
because you like to take me very literally I should reiterate that it’s okay if you use streaming apps. and to use a laptop for your live show: just don’t cheat.
i do think a bassist on a backing track is lame and putting someone out of a job but i understand that sometimes it’s a money thing or like counterparts the guy they get is gonna quit anyway”
Bad Omens and Reynolds also had the following exchange:
“It’s gotten way worse. I don’t think it’s better at all, actually. Because the costs of touring now, with inflation and the cost of gasoline and diesel… Plus, over the course of the pandemic, we’ve lost a ton of really good venues. I’d say probably 50 percent of the workforce in touring has now left. ‘Cause what’s a guitar tech gonna do for two years? You have to get a job, right? And so the ones that are remaining, not only are they already spoken for with other bands, but they’re almost twice as expensive.
I saw this thing about Live Nation the other day, they’re taking 30 percent of merch sales from some of these venues. The costs of airlines have gone up. So artists, the ability to make money on tour is almost completely gone now — at least an artist on my level.
So, yes, it’s opened up again, but it’s 10 times as expensive. It’s, like, what do you do? Even little things like, okay, the hotels are more expensive; the food at the hotels [is] more expensive. So at the end of it, you’re touring for what? You’re touring ultimately so you can present your work to the people who care about your work, and that’s worth it to me.
But I think for anybody to think that it’s now easy again, you should investigate that, because I’m trying to set up tours for next year, and there’s no way to keep them within cost — there’s no way. And so you go out there and, like, well, we can’t have this vehicle; we can’t have this backline; we can’t have this production; we can’t have these lights.
And then if you show up at a place and the audience comes, they’re, like, ‘The show’s not good. There’s no lights. There’s no production.’ So what should you do? And I think a lot of musicians, their decision is, like, ‘Well, I’ll just stay home then and I’ll just create from home.’
I try to go out with acoustic now, because that way I can afford it. If I just show up with an acoustic guitar and sing for people, it’s better than nothing. But it’s still, like, man, it’s a complicated time, brother.”
[via The PRP]