What do you get when you combine a less-than stellar music market and a floundering monolith called Ticketmaster? Why, the “worst summer touring market since the early 1990s” of course! In a story taken from Yahoo, it is being reported that a number of factors – from the teetering economy to the aftermath of the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger – are making the summer 2010 touring season one of the worst in recent years.
Ticket prices and traffic appear to be the main culprits. With Ticketmaster headquarters on the West Coast, the article states that venues and amphitheaters elsewhere are charging West Coast concert prices that don’t make sense across the rest of the country, and L.A. prices don’t make sense in Wichita. Big name acts like the Jonas Brothers, Rhianna, and Christina Aguilera have been scaling back and in some cases canceled shows. And while most readers of Metal Insider won’t care about Disney Channel fodder and how they’re screaming tween audience are not as rabid as they used to be (with maybe one exception), the impact extends to metal bands as well.
One of the most obvious acts affected by the touring market is Limp Bizkit, who claim the reason they postponed their North American tour was to scale down their show and play at smaller venues than the amphitheaters the original tour was booked into. Taking Fred Durst’s word for anything may be questionable (which Ms. Aguilera could certainly attest to), but Limp Bizkit aside, the metal world is in some ways making the situation more precarious based on the fact that there are- in my own scientific terms- way too many freaking package tours! We are now up to to around nine package tours, many of which go to the same cities in relatively the same time frame. And outside of the package tours, there are plenty of festivals that often draw the same bands from said package tours.
So what does all this mean for metal bands just trying to make an honest buck? While many different options are always a plus, audiences can’t afford to go to all of these tours and are not interested when line-ups are less than appealing (Ozzfest I’m looking at you). And with so many bands on a bill, combined with less income from live-performances, musicians are having a tougher time than ever making a living. While I don’t like writing about doom and gloom as much as I have, trends like this can’t be ignored, especially when the touring market seemed like one of the more stable branches of the music industry just last year. And while I don’t have many suggestions when it comes to fixing the problems inherent in the touring market, I will say this- the Big Four should play in the states, Asking Alexandria can go back to Britain.