The No. 1 reason people aren’t attending live shows, according to talking tech heads, is people don’t know about live shows. This is utter nonsense! Since when do software developers and techies know infinitely more about the business of music than everyone else?
With every communication device known to man, anyone from Brooklyn to Santa Monica who wants to know, is aware where live music is being played in their neighborhood.
The reason people aren’t attending live shows in droves is audiences aren’t given a compelling reason to show up. How many times a day do you see a listing somewhere that says something like this?
XYZ band is opening for ABC band Thurs. night at The VIP Club 123 Main Street 9 p.m. $5 cover.
The assumptions drawn from the listing are as follows:
1) The reader should instantly recognize the XYZ and ABC Bands by name and immediately know what kind of music is being offered.
2) A live show on a Thursday night at 9 p.m. presumes potential audiences don’t have an agenda on Friday morning, or for the coming weekend when going out fits their schedule a little easier.
3) The listing assumes the reader wants to go to the VIP Club at 9 p.m. for no other reason than the club has live music, regardless of the style or quality of the music.
4) A $5 cover assumes potential patrons will be lured by a low ticket price.
Since the listing assumes a given set of circumstances, the reader makes assumptions just as easily.
1) The reader assumes XYZ and ABC Bands not only have no description or category for their music; they also can’t get dates on weekend nights when the majority of people are available to go out and stay out late.
2) A show at 9 p.m. means the club owner doesn’t really care about the music, but is putting live music on their stage to keep patrons engaged at their venue on a Thursday night.
3) The VIP Club is just as nameless as XYZ and ABC Bands. What is intriguing enough about The VIP Club that compels me to go to their establishment to hear music no one bothered to describe?
4) The cover is minimal and audiences perceive little value in exchange for leaving the comfort of their living room to attend a 9 p.m. show.
This is a pretty harsh list of assumptions on both sides of the situation. Yet, the show listing gives no compelling reason to assume anything else.
The bands and the club are taking a financial risk engaging in live performance relatively late on a week night. From this we can determine the band does not care enough about their reputation to wait for a prime slot to perform at The VIP Club. Presumably The VIP Club doesn’t care enough about potential customers to set performance times at a more reasonable hour.
It is reasonable to discern The VIP Club has a reputation for booking live music, but do they have a reputation for anything else? If they stick nameless bands on stage late on a Thursday night, as a potential patron I can easily imagine my experience will include well drinks, bad food, loud music, and lousy company.
The No. 1 reason people aren’t attending live shows is there isn’t a single person in the equation giving audiences a convincing reason to go. At the very least, letting me know what kind of music I’m being invited to hear would help. Does The VIP Club have an excellent bar menu or provide validated parking? Give us a reason to leave the comfort of our homes at 9 p.m. on a Thursday night for a memorable experience, and I guarantee (barring bad weather and acts of God) more people will attend.