Music Man–The Splinter Groups

[ 4 ] July 27, 2009 |

I spent the week at home in Atlanta re-building a fence in my front yard that was recently crushed by a 150 year-old oak tree. Thankfully, as far as my property is concerned it was just the fence that was ruined. My neighbor, as well as my neighbor’s neighbor on the other hand, had major damage to their houses and have spent a lot of time and money re-building. Anyway, while in my yard re-building said fence, I thought a lot about the state of music and the music industry of which I’m a part, and from which I derive my living. The thought that kept coming back to me is, who are the rock stars of today, and where is music headed, what does it sound like?

The great thing about technology is that new music is much easier to discover and digest then ever before. Word of mouth via blogs, and social media have recently turned otherwise undiscovered artists and bands into of-the-moment rock stars who can sell-out clubs and theaters with ease, at least temporarily. This is a good and a bad thing, and it makes me wonder if the days of stadium or even amphitheater filling bands, are a thing of the past. It seems the ones who are able to effectively sell tickets to shows at these types of venues are nostalgia acts or jam-band based tours that have sold for the past 30 years. Sure, plenty of acts play these venues, but do they actually sell enough tickets to make it worth their effort? The past few arena shows I’ve been to were not even half full.

It was only a short time ago that bands at the top of their game were selling out sixty-five thousand capacity venues, or at least twenty-five thousand seat arenas in the U.S. With the exception of a few (Coldplay, U2) it seems like newer artists are struggling to fill seats.

I personally am not a fan of big arena or stadium shows, I prefer the intimacy of a smaller venue, but that’s not the point. The point is who are today’s rock stars? Who is inspiring the next generation to pick up an instrument? If the days of packed arenas and stadiums are indeed gone, then the inspirers are the club bands, the acts that are a part of the splintered off sub-genres that are so much easier to discover now thanks to the Internet, and maybe that means the next crop of artists, the ones that are holed up in a garage as I write this, will be more innovative with the music they create because they’ve been exposed to a mass variety of styles. Either way, the good news is music is alive and well, if not thriving. And if you happen to be a prophet and know where it’s headed, please let me know, my job depends on it.

See what happens when I build a fence? Ramble ramble ramble…

-jh

 

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