Live Music Venues Will Go Extinct If the Government Takes No Serious Action

Comments

1

Extinct?

Horse shit.

2

If you want to stretch things out a little, you could also that that if the Government doesn't take action, we all will be exint including you The Stranger.

If we can't buy products that you advertise, you cannot get advertisers to pay you to run their advertising.

If you need to call unemployment and want a callback right now, you can get one by May 27th for a basic callback. Here's hoping to be able to hold out until June almost for a callback.

Shits getting serious, and as companies lay off employee's, they buy back more stock to make themselves even richer.

3

Hyperbolicly claiming that music venues will go "extinct" is exactly why no one take Charles seriously.

Yes, it would be tragic for current club owners if they go under during the course of the pandemic - but once we're past this, someone will fill the cultural void and live music venues will bounce back.

4

Hyperbole will get us nowhere in times likes this. Let's be REAL.

How about we focus on making sure people LIVE (have health care, housing, and are fed),

THEN focus on making sure they are able to be employed - and after that we focus on saving specific businesses.

I worked in the music industry for decades and I have to say right now saving music venues is at the bottom of the list of what is important right now. And my sister has worked in the restaurant industry her entire life and I feel the same way about restaurants.

How about we save the country first before we save every industry that believes they will go extinct?! How about we make sure that hundreds of millions of people are not homeless and jobless and destitute and desperate or, you know, DEAD, first.

There is the internet (musicians are putting up shows every hour of the day, on YouTube and on Instagram and specific sites like NPR) and there is the future after this shit show is over, when hopefully there is a world left to rebuild.

Things are NOT going to be the same for a long time. Our society has to save the people first with a big reorganization on how we make sure that people are housed, fed, cared for (health care both for body and mind) and employed.

There will always be musicians and music venues (just like restaurants) will come back AFTER we make sure that the people are living, housed, fed, employed, cared for with health care, etc.

Everyone has their own personal priorities. As a society, as a country we need to have universal priorities met first.

5

This isn't zero-sum. Society is interdependent on multiple variables, as is public health.

6

"Hyperbolicly claiming that music venues will go "extinct" is exactly why no one take Charles seriously."

Is that why? An un-felicitous figure of speech? And it has nothing to do with the topics, themes and arguments? Pull the other one.

11

Yep, the government has never added anything to your life. Except, Velcro, GPS, internet, discovering (by White people) the continent you now live on. But apart from that yeah, the government doesn't innovate.

13

@11 Drive a Trabant do you?

14

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7hjOBob4RU

Rock n roll Funeral

16

It must be much better since it’s so much bigger, right? Well it is easy to make money putting plastic in baby formula and processing ferel cats into McNuggets.

17

But wait. Aren't music venue owners capitalists who are trying to make money? I mean, it's really the musicians who should own the means of production. The rentiers who own the clubs are just exploiting them. I would have thought our resident anti-capitalist would welcome this one tiny step towards getting rid of the ruling class.

18

@16 - the part about cats into McNuggets is kinda racist. I'm with you as long as you stick to the lead paint on kids' toys, melamine in the formula, and fascist "social credit" scoring.

19

I'm not sure there are a lot of people looking to sign a long term lease on a live music space right now so it seems like the club owners and building owners will work something out. Or perhaps the City of Seattle will buy the properties for public housing.

21

@16 Never been to China have you? First time I went in 1985 to Beijing everyone had two bicycles and zero cars. Opposite now. So yes, Chinese live longer, happier more materially satisfying lives now than before. Many enjoy the same level of material comfort as we do. In 1985 the country was still one of the poorest in the world. Why is the Wuhan virus spreading so fast? Because in 1985 Wuhanese could barely afford a holiday to Beijing. Now they can travel to Northern Italy, Paris, Madrid. Just like us.

Today, China moving to a middle income country like fellow capitalist neighbors South Korea and Japan.

When this pandemic is over I’ll probably be back to China for the 30th+ time. Maybe you should go and learn about the place rather than listening to Mike Daisy’s lies.

22

Correction:

Today, China is moving towards a middle income country like fellow capitalist neighbors South Korea and Japan did before them.

23

@11 - you forgot sanitation, the roads, the Aqueduct . . . .

25

@12: "Live music in exchange for money might die, but live music lives on."

True THAT. Bears repeating.

26

Ok...so don't have the government RUN the music venues-nobody was advocating that, even Charles, but you knew that-but provide seed money for the employees of those clubs to run them as worker co-ops. Much lower overhead since there's no single owner hoarding most of the concert proceeds for himself-while making sure the bands themselves get next to none of the proceeds and literally get none if possible, as most bands can tell you-and much more likely to be responsive to the needs of their customers and much more respectful of the bands.

27

There are a lot bigger fish to fry than the closing of a few music venues. Let 'em close.

28

@26 AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell: for the WIN! AGreed and seconded.
@27: What if music was your bread and butter as well as your deepest passion, Swifty?
I'll put it another way: What if YOUR workplace and only source of income was about to close and you suddenly couldn't pay your rent or mortgage?

29

It's tragic people may no longer be sardine packed into small buildings and have drunk people yelling over the music and holding their phones up recording for hours.

30

We're all in this together. Everyone stay healthy, safe and sane.

31

@28 What if the sun explodes? What then?

The music venues will spring forth again like new shoots from a burnt forest floor. Like I said, bigger fish to fry.

33

@28. Your first mistake was taking Swifty as anything other than a sociopath.

34

@33 Garb Garbler: Damn my social conscience.

35

What about monster truck venues? Can we save them too? And rodeos?

36

@33 Oh, yes, that must be it. I'm a sociopath, which is why I donate very month to Northwest Harvest and St. Jude's Hospital.

Or maybe, just maybe, I think Neumos, the Showbox, and the like are not nearly important enough to merit public money when the entire rest of the economy is melting down.

If you think they deserve your support, send them your paycheck and stimulus money. I prefer to let their well-heeled owners file for bankruptcy. Like the Stranger will.

37

@35 Think of the poor MMA fighters, who don't have anyone to beat up anymore except their poor defenseless wives.

38

@36. That's fair. But I still think you are somewhat lacking in collective empathy based on your comment history. But I will dial you down a notch from sociopath to Sith.

39

@38 Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

40

@37: Fuck off you misogynist pig.
@39: I wouldn't gloat if I were you.

We're all in this together.

41

@40 I see sarcasm is lost on you, you old viral-ridden bat.

42

@31 The whole problem with Seattle, & global finance writ large, is the wealthy will buy out the weak and struggling. Goodbye forest floor, hello luxury highrise.

Y'all really think there will be more property available for purchase, after this shitstorm's over?

43

Shorter SLOG Trolls: "Fuck live music venues and all the people who depend on them for their livelihoods - I'll just keep downloading pirated music for free like God and Adam Smith intended..."

44

@43 There are existing aid programs available to every business and worker right now. Why should Neumos, Showbox and the like get any more than that? Grow up.

45

I mean maybe it would be OK if Seattle's music oligarchy got shook, and the age 55+ Gen X altrepreneurs who've held a hammerlock on the local scene for 30+ years now got wiped out, and a little room opened up for the kind of club-owners who quite correctly regard The Pixies as an oldies act?

46

@45,
You have a point. I believe Charles is mistaken. No, the live music scene in Seattle will not go extinct if there is no serious government assistance. I do think the post title a bit of stretch. Someone on this SLOG post mentioned that other entrepreneurs will fill the void if any go under. I don't wish any of the "55+ Gen X altrepreneurs" ill and certainly don't want any clubs to close. But I believe a change of hands would be healthy. With people like Dave Meinert involved in scandal, I also wouldn't mind if a few more women were involved in booking and club ownership.

But first things first, we must tame COVID-19. The economy, entertainment etc. is secondary. They'll recover. However, Seattle's music scene will change.

BTW, I chuckled when you wrote "the Pixies as an oldies act". Gosh, I just hope they play the Emerald Queen Casino:)

47

@41: Humanity is obviously lost on you, Swifty. What a shame.

48

I have a friend who is losing about $80K a month as a landlord and partner in a restaurant. He can go a few months, but not much longer. Charles makes a good point about the music business being more like a supertanker that takes miles, not feet to stop, turn or set sail again. However beyond printing even more trillions of dollars or literally seizing assets there is only so much government and taxpayers can do. Smaller constructive ideas are needed. We are a country of incredible waste due to regulation, lack of tort controls, uneconomical health care system that costs double what better performing systems in countries like Japan and Germany, and a myriad of programs promoted by special interests. Let's help in ways that make sense, but please don't add to this giant hairball.

49

@46
@48
Exactly, other entrepreneurs will fill the void in new, destination venues way outside city limits. Tech, finance, & our greedy locals will continue to transform this town into a soulless high-rent gem.

@44, @45 In this property market, if a venue owner cannot change insurance coverage for fire & accident on an unoccupied structure (even rent a fence, or guard) and weather the storm it's because some rentier is licking their lips, looking to cash their ticket in with a wealthy developer. There won't be any room around here for new owners.

50

This will affect the local hobby musicians and touring musicians the most. I have been a full time musician for 25 years, paying for all of my life expenses through teaching and performing. I've live in three different places and have sustained myself with a career in music. When I moved to Seattle, it didn't take me long to figure out that the real money was in teaching. Unless you are a long time resident, it's almost impossible to gain any traction. There is a limited audience and not much beyond the "friends and family" model. That's no way for a business to be successful so I turned my attention to teaching and have built a lovely business without worrying whether I can pay my bills by performing. The first two years I lived here, I hit it hard and kept a journal. When I went back to go over it , I realized that I broke even or made 1-10 percent profit about half of the time and lost money the other half. No thank you. I've heard countless of other stories like mine but people seem to want to be endlessly optimistic. I think it's a POSITIVE thing to be informed and make decisions accordingly, rather than beating a head against the wall. Sure, I had to learn ZOOM to continue teaching and I've lost some students (some have lost their jobs ) but at least I don't have to rely on others that are drowning in their own debt. That being said, I hope things come back stronger and I for one would love to see a resurgence of an enthusiastic and PRESENT audience (not a bunch of wannabees who need the world to see that they went to a show).

51

This will affect the local hobby musicians and touring musicians the most. I have been a full time musician for 25 years, paying for all of my life expenses through teaching and performing. I've live in three different places and have sustained myself with a career in music. When I moved to Seattle, it didn't take me long to figure out that the real money was in teaching. Unless you are a long time resident, it's almost impossible to gain any traction. There is a limited audience and not much beyond the "friends and family" model. That's no way for a business to be successful so I turned my attention to teaching and have built a lovely business without worrying whether I can pay my bills by performing. The first two years I lived here, I hit the clubs hard and kept a journal. When I went back to go over it , I realized that I broke even or made 1-10 percent profit about half of the time and lost money the other half. No thank you. I've heard countless of other stories like mine but people seem to want to be endlessly optimistic. I think it's a POSITIVE thing to be informed and make decisions accordingly, rather than beating a head against the wall. Sure, I had to learn ZOOM to continue teaching and I've lost some students (some have lost their jobs ) but at least I don't have to rely on others that are drowning in their own debt. That being said, I hope things come back stronger and I for one would love to see a resurgence of an enthusiastic and PRESENT audience (not a bunch of wannabees who need the world to see that they went to a show).

53

@52: I quote the late great gentleman, Gene Wilder:
"We are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of the dreams."

And we music makers have to be able to eat, drink, and survive, too.
We're all in this together.

54

@44: If your hero had his way, there'd have been no relief at all to anyone but billionaires.

It's bad enough that his friends in the Senate did all they could to delay passage of the relief bills and limited the stimulus checks, even for the most desperate, to a pathetic $1200.

It's even more sickening that he insisted that his signature be on those checks even though he did virtually nothing to deserve credit for their existence and did all he could to stop the poor from getting the checks at all.

If your hero really had his way-btw, minor digression, why do you keep ranting about "Communism" when it is basically an extinct ideology in North America, the UK, and Europe? It's silly to equate any form of socialism or social democracy with the intent to recreate the freaking Warsaw Pact or something. It's not only insulting to us, it causes you to insult yourselves, because it makes your side sound absurdly paranoid; please stop embarrassing yourselves on this one-there would be mass evictions due to the pandemic his neglect caused, and he'd probably have Don Jr., Ivanka and Jared buying up every property that had to be forfeited so he could convert them all into luxury suites, while stiffing the contractors who did the actual renovation work like he always does on the properties he already owns.

Most of the current situation is your hero's fault-he was the one who disregarded the warnings he'd been given two years earlier that a pandemic was on the way; he's the one who repeatedly made large cuts in the budget for the Centers for Disease Control; he's the one who fired the Pandemic Response Team; he's the one who refused to immediately order a massive testing program(if he'd EVEN done that for the West Coast states it would have made a massive difference) ; he's the one who keeps contradicting the doctors in the daily briefings by implying that hydroxychloroquine is a miracle cure when the evidence on that is at best anecdotal, and he has harmed lupus patients-the people who actually NEED hydroxychloroquine, by causing panic hoarding of the product in the delusional belief that it's a cure.

In a pandemic situation, whoever is president has an obligation to NOT make the situation about their re-election prospects or their ego, has an obligation to make sure that nothing but accurate, verified scientific information is released to the public, has an obligation to never contradict the actual medical experts or to sow any sort of confusion.

It should be about saving lives, not "winning the pandemic".

Nobody's re-election chances should be more important than stopping the outbreak.

55

@45 AMEN. I came here to say exactly that but you beat me to it. I'm a lifelong Seattle resident and professional musician that's been fucked over by the mafia-like stranglehold the current music venue lords have on the local music scene more times than I can count. A small sample:

"Oh hey, I know we booked you first, but we're going to cancel you because a touring act wants that date now. You understand."

"Hey, can you do me a favor and play a last minute slot this Tuesday because another band cancelled? I promise I'll give you a good weekend slot later in return."
"Sure no problem."
"Hey we helped you out on that Tuesday bill, even had an okay crowd for no notice, so what's up with that weekend slot you promised?"

"What weekend slot..?"

"You can play here, but you put the entire bill together and do all of the promotion yourselves."
"Sure we can do that."

"Sorry there's no money for you after the sound guy, booker, and promoter all took their cuts, ."

"Hey we sold out Halloween night at XXX venue last month, would love to move it to your venue next year"
"We don't book more than 4 months out, get back to me then,"
"Okay sounds good."
6 months out : "Hey just checking in on Halloween?"

"It's booked already."

"Hey could someone please let us into our dressing room? It's locked."
"Dressing rooms are for TOURING BANDS ONLY."
"Uh.. we're a KISS tribute band.. our signed contract states that we require a dressing room to do our makeup and costumes."

"Okay we'll partition part of this hallway off with a curtain for you."

"Hey last time our band XXXX played your venue with our friends' band XXXX we had a super great sold out show! Would love to get back there again some time..."

"You guys didn't sell it out, the other band did."

"Here are you drink tickets, they're only good for PBR."
"Ah, can we pay cash with a ticket to get something better?"
"No."
"Okay, thanks anyway then, but we don't want them."
"Okay."
"Hey what's this $28 charge on our settlement here?"

"That's for the drink tickets."

"Okay looking at the settlement I see the sound / room cost / promotion / etc... everything we agreed to, but what's this extra ten percent you're taking here? Is that just gravy for you?"

"Yup."

"Hey could we use your bathroom?"
"We're not open yet."
"We're playing here tonight, we've been on the road all day and she really has to use the bathroom, could she just use it real quick?"

"No! Go across the street."

Oh man the craziest one:

Random lady I didn't see all night appears at the end of the show:
"Hey! What're you doing here?!"
"Huh? Oh hey, I'm just loading out my gear, I'll be done in like ten minutes."
"You can't be here! We're closed!"
"What? Oh, no, I played here tonight. I'm just loading out my stuff and then I'll be gone."
"You have to leave now or I'M CALLING THE POLICE!"
"The police? What? Why? I just want to get me get my gear and go home."
Bartender appears: "Hey you can come back tomorrow and get your stuff."

"I can? I mean, I'm here now... but okay, if this lady is about to call the police on me, I guess I'll see you tomorrow, thanks."

Ah I could do this all day...

56

I put dividers in my long ass comment to make it more digestible but they didn't show.. sorry!

57

I too, do not want the venues to go away and I've called Senator Cantwell and left a message with her staff, but then I got to thinking about it...maybe they should. Here are some reasons.

Bookers: The bookers in this town are terrible. You are correct, they don't have the common courtesy to respond to emails. Not responding to one email I can see due to volume. Not responding to follow-up emails is rude. Their job is to communicate and coordinate and a lot of them feel put out by having to do that. They want big, big numbers for their venue but do absolutely zilch to promote. They don't provide posters, they don't put up posters and they act like creating a Facebook event and posting the show on the venue website is something that is really going above and beyond. They absolutely play favorites and if a show lineup goes sideways (even if it's not your fault) they hold grudges. Most are extremely unprofessional. I've booked a show for my band, over a month in advance, and the booker didn't bother to email the details of the show until the day of the show. I've had a show booked, on the venue's website, for weeks, and days before the show they go "Oops, we're cancelling this show." So even though you made posters, put up posters, told as many people that you can, they can pull the plug and offer no/vague reasons. Now, did these venues ever do right by the band by giving them another date? Offer to reimburse them for the posters? Anything at all? NO. At the most I've had bookers offer another show and then they ghosted me. I've been hassled by bookers for not "posting about the show enough on social media." So they have the time and energy to spy on you and complain but not enough gumption to do anything to help out their own venue? Please.

Pay: All of us playing these clubs obviously aren't earning a living from it. The money we do get helps for: paying for rehearsal space, gas, drum sticks, strings, merch, etc. Over the last few years the amount of money they are doling out has gone way down. Bands used to be able to count on $100 bucks and free beer. Now bands can look forward to splitting 30 bucks and each band member gets 2 drink tickets-which are only good for certain beverages. If you don't drink you don't get a bump in pay. A certain club in West Seattle even got rid of drink tickets and turned it into each band member gets 15% off their tab. Needless to say I know of more than a few bands that refuse to play there again.

If these venues are so great then why are they depending on bands to bring in foot traffic? If no one comes they make the band(s) the scapegoat. If their bar doesn't generate foot traffic, which means they can't sell booze, which sells itself, then something is wrong with their bar. That is their problem and not the band's issue. There is a certain venue near downtown that even sent out an email prior to a show where they strongly urged bands to sell tickets to the show because....wait for it...THE VENUE DOESN'T HAVE FOOT TRAFFIC.

Shows: Bookers really should be called "curators" but they aren't, it shows, and that's why we call them bookers. If a venue isn't bringing in people this should be their first stop into finding out why. Look at who you hired. For example: you could ask yourself, "Why is there a Weezer cover band, a folk duo and a loud punk band (in that order) playing the same show? What the hell kind of show is that?" Check the moron that booked it. They are also prone to third-grade level of organization when you look at a line-up and notice every band has an animal in their name. Or they all have "black" in the name. I'm serious. They go, "Oh, animal band bill. There you go. Welp, back to my hangover." Do any of them know how to use Excel? For the longest time they would book shows based on Facebook "likes." I've known bands that have played coveted slots because they had a ton of FB likes (which they purchased) when in reality they had only played 1-2 shows. There is no vetting process. There is no curation of the night to ensure that the people who paid to get in will have an enjoyable evening. In today's Seattle if you invited friends to a show it is VERY RARE that you can say, "It's going to be a great night of music." More often than not you are saying, "Well the first band is terrible and the last band plays Sublime songs. Want to pay $10 bucks to see us play from 10:00-10:45?" That's not the way to get repeat business and that is not the band's fault.

Let's all say it: 4+ band bills are garbage. They are not fun for anyone. It's a lot of shuffling gear around and bands are often too busy moving to actually support the other bands they are playing with, if they are worth watching at all because some mouth breather put together a mess of a line up. Maybe if your club was better you wouldn't have to book 4,5,6 bands in order to drum up booze sales. Again, they are putting the onus of success on the band instead of themselves. It's not passing the buck, it's passing the bands chump change while they keep the buck and blame them if the night isn't successful.

Sound: Many venues around here have the worst sound people. They operate on a Ron Popeil "Set-It-And-Forget-It" style of work ethic. Many will show up late, hastily arrange the mics, do a quick check, ask you to start playing and then walk to the far end of the bar to dick off on their phone. So if a band member wants a more of a certain instrument in their monitor they can't make a simple gesture to the sound guy. They have to deal with it until the song is over. Then announce it over the PA and wait for the sound guy to reluctantly walk back inside from smoking a cigarette/playing with his phone to come rectify the matter, killing the momentum of your performance. Not a good business practice. I'll say it another way: Having crappy sound at your bar doesn't bode well for your customers. It will make them not want to come back. By the way, once one adjustment is made does the sound person stay behind the board? No. Oh, and they're getting $200 for their "work," while the bands get $20 to split 4 ways.

Nepotism: None is more guilty of this than our local independent radio station. The same station that was gifted $10 million yet still continues to ask listeners for money. Can't blame 'em. One of their deejays gets paid 6 figures to play music in the morning and also owns a bar on Capitol Hill and that can't be cheap. I know former employees of said station who say the nepotism there is rampant. But don't just take my word, give a listen and hear for yourself. I'm sure if you ever tuned in you might have asked yourself, "How did this crap make it to air?" It's not by accident. Many musicians I know have all commented that if a band fits a certain criteria they will move to the top of the heap, such as being LGBTQ. Most musicians I know don't give a rats ass of what your sexual persuasion is, but it matters to this radio station. It doesn't matter if the LGBTQ band plays like 7th graders stoned on huffing Sharpies, they will get airtime, they will be interviewed, they will be asked to play live on-air, and the station broadcasts its virtue signal to all its listeners that this band is GREAT, this station is GREAT and responsible people will support BOTH. Does your band play SJW benefit shows and have lyrics that feature SJW ideas? Does your band speak exclusively about "inclusiveness" and "diversity" and love to virtue signal? You will be hoisted to the top and welcomed with praise. Meritocracy does not exist there. Bands I have played in have joked that we should identify as trans and maybe that will garner some attention. This isn't as prevalent in the venues but it exists, usually so the venue can virtue signal and get free advertising via shout outs on air. It's pathetic.

Thanks for starting the conversation. I hope Seattle music survives. Maybe it goes underground. It sucks though. The world used to look to Seattle for great, original music. Now it is a city awash in cover bands because that is what pleases the carpetbaggers that all moved here. There are few places in this country, hell, in the world that are music cities. If Seattle goes what is left? Where to go? Boise? Spokane? Nothing happens in those places. You could go to Portland but it's just behind Seattle in terms of rent. I have a couple friends that moved there in the past year and they say the scene is nothing to write home about. In fact, the Portland bands I have played with here in Seattle all comment how much more of a "scene" Seattle has, which is sad and dumbfounding. San Francisco and the Bay Area is finished, musically speaking. Same with L.A. What's left? Denver? Ha. Austin, Texas is dealing with astronomical rents. NYC? People I know who moved to NYC for music ended up having to work 3 jobs to survive and had no time for music or they were trust fund kids. There is Nashville where there is a super-saturation of bands, a lot of industry, but I can't recall any great band from Nashville in the last 20 years.

I also get that venues have high rents of their own and some of them are brutally high. You would think it would be in their best interest to give a damn about booking great shows, having great sound, treating bands well, which would spread by word of mouth, which would ensure repeat business and a future. I guess we'll have to wait and see. But if certain venues went away I wouldn't be sad at all, and I wouldn't be the only one, which says everything about the current state of Seattle music.

58

WOW. What a world when people are BITCHING at concert venues. It's not the Seattle I knew back in 1990s. People appreciated live venues and it WAS the thing to do in the this city. I'm reading these jackass comments about how expensive, oh the bands only get PBRs and no door money.... DO YOU KNOW HOW EXPENSIVE IT IS TO RUN ONE? Security, expensive liquor, bartenders, utilities, rent, licensing the joint and on and on. That's why so many go under. I believe in music and I will always support it. So yes, things will eventually go back to normal and I hope people that are leaving these negative comments on venues don't crush the very thing that put Seattle on the map. I can tell the some of the comments are not from actual venue goers and if they are musicians SHAME ON YOU. Spotify is not the future of the music scene. Its crushing it AND ripping off musicians. So please support venues... or the business will crumble. Count on that .