There have been visible fractures on the surface of the music business for years . Now it seems they are opening and the gooey insides are starting to show . The reactions to this pandemic are both destructive and enlightening .
State and local governments have further restricted bars and venues . Social media is clamping down on the reach of streams . Large scale national and international tours have given up even trying to re-schedule . There are attempts at begging Congress to act with some type of direct relief . If you ’ re real lucky you can catch a tribute band at a drive-in show . The best part is winter is coming and outdoor options will be disappearing .
The main point to be made here is that the establishment is failing . I don ’ t see the labels , the PROs , or the streaming services , making any real effort to help . The clubs , musicians , bar tenders , stage crews , and sound guys are all hanging out to dry . Honestly , I don ’ t feel terribly bad about any of it . The system was broken long before Covid . We all know it .
So what is the next move . Does independent music just disappear ? It doesn ’ t really have anywhere to go . At least it doesn ’ t seem to . Until we stop looking to the traditional outlets .
Music has gotten too complacent .
We all sit around waiting for something to happen . Waiting for a booking call . Waiting be picked up for investment . The waiting is endless , and lazy .
The venues are just as lazy . Booking the same acts . Screwing the same local groups to snag free promotion on ticket sales . The wheel turns and we all just accept it .
No wonder the entire industry collapsed . It ’ s a lousy business model built on a weak foundation .
Again , not feeling too bad about it . When was the last time a promoter or club donated to one of your crowd funding campaigns ?
Now here is where we get into some positive news . All of us can do something about this . You know what else ? We always could . That lazy , waiting around stuff just got in the way .
I recently caught a live feed from a fellow journalist out of western Pennsylvania . She looked really excited in the still frame , so I clicked play . She was whispering like a giddy school girl , super excited to be at an undisclosed location for a rock show . Denim and leather , a little camo , hanging outside behind her , smoking and drinking . She later posted photos from the show . The same excitement in the post , just to be at a show .
I don ’ t even recall the bands , doesn ’ t matter . What I do recall is a specific image . These dudes were throwing down hard and one of them had no pants . That is some hardcore , underground shit . That is the kind of thing that you don ’ t get when you play it safe . we need it .
We are all . cooped up and maybe losing it a little . Maybe some of us just need to drop trou , plug in and turn the hell up !
Maybe we need to stop waiting for permission . Do it safely . We know how to fight this thing . We know how to look out for each other . But please stop waiting for permission .
House parties ? Perhaps .
Invitation only events ? I think so .
Let ’ s get creative and do it old school . Take it underground , until it starts making money again . Then they ’ ll all notice and maybe even start to care for a while .
Jarrett Maier is a columnist for Total Order Magazine and Advisor to 99WNRR . He is also the Bassist for the hard rock band , Autoerotica .