So in these times of recession, the whole music industry still seems to be thriving, despite all the bands such as U2 complaining about people downloading their songs on the internet for free, they still seem to have a few quid in the bank. Then you only have to take a look at the outdoor pop festivals this year which appear to all be selling out to see that people are certainly more than happy to pay money for their favorite groups, just perhaps not in the traditional way from years gone by. It used to be that if you liked a band they would release 2 or 3 singles, then an album with a whole bunch of new tracks on it, if they were smart they would make the b sides different from the album tracks, so all the diehard fans would buy both singles and albums, then you might buy a t-shirt off the market with their name on and dream about the day when you might get a chance to see them live.
It seems that these days it’s all the other way around, the band brings out a single, some people buy it, some download it, but it still makes it into the charts, then the album (or LP if you are as old as me) follows and again a lot of people download it, but some are still paying. However the bands, at least, appear to play more frequent and longer tours these days, incorporating many countries which would have been overlooked in the past. In addition these gigs are likely to have impressive sound systems, lighting rigs and stage sets incorporating risers and pyrotechnics, this draws the crowds and the groups (or their management) can charge much more for the tickets and push the merchandise too.
This approach to a gig is a far cry from the gigs of the 60’s when the screaming from the girls in the crowd would drown out the under-powered PA, whilst the band stood under a couple of PAR cans, which may have flickered very slightly if they were really going for it.
In my belief, yes bands may have to work harder these days, but the fans get a lot more for the money they pay, and the big bands still make plenty of money from their gigs.
Party bands have to work even harder, those smaller bands who make a living out of playing mostly covers, to be in a party band you still need to practice and play the gigs, but also move your own kit and set up the PA and Lights and then take it all down again at the end of the concert.
Support your local party band, they really do work hard and can be as enjoyable to watch as the big bands at a fraction of the cost.