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Is it the end of the road for Icons?


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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Ed Sheeran? 

He is an exception as said previously as in he is a prolific songwriter. He also cut his teeth  the hard way doing many gigs until he was finally signed having mastered live performances, which is the thrust of this thread.

Edit: I guess it depends if you see Ed Sheehan as a pop star or an old school singer /songwriter /performer that has managed to relate to a younger audience?

Edited by tegs07
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10 minutes ago, tegs07 said:

He is an exception as said previously as in he is a prolific songwriter. He also cut his teeth  the hard way doing many gigs until he was finally signed having mastered live performances, which is the thrust of this thread.

Edit: I guess it depends if you see Ed Sheehan as a pop star or an old school singer /songwriter /performer that has managed to relate to a younger audience?

How would you classify Chuck Berry and Elvis?

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16 minutes ago, tegs07 said:

This is very true and very sad. Trying to get an audience to watch music they don’t already know is increasingly difficult. Hence the proliferation of tribute bands and venues closing all over the place. I don’t know the remedy for this sadly.

That and what @Woodinblack said about "music being valueless".

It also seems that genres are more rigidly defined, bands have to "fit into a category", rather than just doing their own thing. Thanks to Myspace & Facebook for distilling what already seemed to be happening in music.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

How would you classify Chuck Berry and Elvis?

Much more routed in blues, gospel and rock and roll. There is obviously a cross over to pop (in that it’s popular music) but would put those guys in a bracket that transcends demographics and age in the same way as Amy Winehouse. They played the bars and small venues and slogged about on the freeways long before they were household names. 

Edited by tegs07
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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Skybone said:

That and what @Woodinblack said about "music being valueless".

It also seems that genres are more rigidly defined, bands have to "fit into a category", rather than just doing their own thing. Thanks to Myspace & Facebook for distilling what already seemed to be happening in music.

We need another punk and early hip hop epiphany where people start a more DIY approach to entertainment where the audience is as important to the scene as the artists.

Was Manchester and grunge the final throw of the dice?

Edited by tegs07
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5 hours ago, tegs07 said:

They are all pop stars though, aside from the possible exception of Ed Sheerhan.
I think the pop audience has different expectations and the artists have a shorter life span. Good looks, good session musicians, hired song writers, big shows etc 

The audience tends to be younger and have come to hear their favourite songs reproduced live. 
Edit: They also have the financial backing to get the PR and prime time shows and media exposure. Clothes designers, make up artists, life coaches etc they are selling a lifestyle not just music IMO

If you need a stage full of semi naked dancers to sell tickets then good luck, but little to do with music.

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1 hour ago, tegs07 said:

We need another punk and early hip hop epiphany where people start a more DIY approach to entertainment where the audience is as important to the scene as the artists.

Was Manchester and grunge the final throw of the dice?

Just for new DIY UK genres in the last 20 years there's been Grime, Dubstep, UK Drill, as well as various of offshoots of Drum N Bass and Techno, a fair bit going on with UK Dub too.....admittedly none of that really includes full 'bands' so perhaps the days of bands with Bass players are a bit numbered- until trends change? But as far as independent DIY music scenes I think there's just as much, if not more, going on nowadays and a lot of the artists are getting pretty big. 

Perhaps Stormzy isn't your thing, and there is no band involved but he's headlined Glastonbury and hasn't been given handouts to get where he is - the grime/UK hip hop scene is all DIY, pirate stations, small clubs, small DIY labels etc. It's musical talent and hard work, just presented in a different way and with a different set of skills to 1980's rock bands.

Edited by SumOne
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I think the means of consumption, measures of success, and routes to get there have shifted massively. 

In the 90s, you had BBC radio stations, and a limited number of commercial stations. You had the early days of satellite/cable with a handful of music channels. You had NME, the chart on a Sunday, Top Of The Pops. The majority of the public consumed music through a very small number of sources, and they tuned in to them regularly. When an artist broke big enough to hit these platforms, they were in front of everyone. 

Our eyes and ears are no longer pointed en masse at such a small number of sources. Everything is way more fragmented, the big music publications have nowhere near the power and influence they held, there are a million more distractions, and music audiences are fragmented. You can be huge within a niche genre, have a rabid fanbase, and fill large venues in a way that would have put you in all the big spots a few decades ago and pushed you to wider prominence, but doesn't register in the same way now - you can still do well, but it'll be in a bubble. 

There are still arena-filling, Radio 1 playlisted rock bands from the last couple of decades that have made a big impact through bold fashioned hard graft. A fair few have been mentioned already. Really though, there's not that many that have made it to that level and sustained it long term, even looking back to the days of RHCP. 

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11 hours ago, tegs07 said:

After watching “What drives us” documentary something Flea said chimes with the thread on here about Download festival and the dinosaur mega bands.

Flea commented on how all the big rock bands such as RHCP, Metallica, Foo Fighters, U2 are still going and are the only bands that can fill big arenas. As if a wall was erected in the late 90’s and no one can get over it.

The documentary focussed on reaching an audience the old school way. On the road in a van, forging bonds with your band mates and just getting good through constantly playing and direct audience feedback.

Is the rock icon dead? Or do bands need to go back to basics to break down that wall?

Edit: have put constantly in bold as it’s what these guys did. Not a couple of 10 date tours a year. Constantly playing, improving and learning to get along with each other.

Well in my old band (2014 to present) we built our fan base by going back to basics, gigging all over the country first to build a fan base then extending it to Europe. Funded all our recordings, merchandise and travel from gig fees and merch sales. 

Ok we weren’t a “big” band but the principle still worked and for three middle aged blokes making shouty music we achieved a fair bit. For bands both prepared to put in some hard graft and not take any money from the pit but invest it back in the band a lot can be done.

I wouldn’t say the old ways were gone, though post COVID is a different matter, grass roots will take a while to build up again.

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Posted (edited)

Some good points @mike257

Personally I think the major stumbling blocks for bands now is financial. Lack of venues willing to book new music, “pay to play”, revenue streams lost like selling tapes and CD’s at gigs and little in the way of squats and affordable accommodation being some factors.

Even when bands are signed and getting some recognition revenue from streaming and physical sales is fairly paltry compared with the cost of living. Surviving long enough to break through must be very tricky for a band compared to a solo artist.

 

Edited by tegs07
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I get all the points and concerns here...... except one.

Who cares if there is not a new wave of bands who can fills stadiums and headline mega-festivals?

I'd much rather have a healthy range of smaller, diverse artists who have enough income to self-sustain.

Anyway stadium gigs are not great, and festival-wise I lean more towards the so-called boutique festivals (not keen on the name boutique mind you!)

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12 hours ago, Jus Lukin said:

I'd happily give up the millionaire rock-gods if it meant that people started to percieve musicians as providing a skilled service worth respectable pay

 

 

The problem is, they don’t and they won’t. It’s all changed. Almost every casual punter I talk to these days just does not get that that’s how it should be. They think music should be free, or as near as. 

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13 minutes ago, Nail Soup said:

I get all the points and concerns here...... except one.

Who cares if there is not a new wave of bands who can fills stadiums and headline mega-festivals?

I'd much rather have a healthy range of smaller, diverse artists who have enough income to self-sustain.

Anyway stadium gigs are not great, and festival-wise I lean more towards the so-called boutique festivals (not keen on the name boutique mind you!)

This. 100%.

I'm sure I've said it here before but what a world we live in in which you can potentially reach every single member of your potential audience throughout the world - without having to tour, sort out distribution deals or play some horrible corporate game.

And let's not forget that the price of having a select group of acts elevated to arena level was countless bands being screwed over in punitive deals or silly tax-loss arrangements. 

Not to mention that the ability to attract 16,000 people to a gig in a given area almost certainly involves being able to attract a lot of people who arguably have very little interest in music whatsoever. And why would they - a quarter of a mile away from the band, listening (or not) to the music bouncing back at them from the concrete sides of a sports venue?

 

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You know that bit in Lord of the rings where the Elves, Bilbo and a few others load themselves onto some sort of Viking barge and sail off to somewhere, citing that now, is the time of men and it's  all over for magical beings?

Well that's how it feels to me. I started out, in the unreliable group van, playing to 6 people in the back room of a grubby London pub, and then having a row to get your £15 for the gig because the idiot landlord was too tight to put a 30 bob ad in Melody Maker. No-one has to do that nowadays and all the work, the effort and the s h i t gigs back then only strengthened our resolve to carry on and make it, whether you made it or not. 

At nearly 70, I'm tired and worn out, with no real interest in playing but,  will no doubt finish my days playing 4 village fete charity gigs a year with three other old lags who did the same things I did 50 years ago.  Not so much the music, but the way things are done has changed beyond recognition.

We (bands) are now merely passengers, on a sinking ship.

Edited by leschirons
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Nail Soup said:

I get all the points and concerns here...... except one.

Who cares if there is not a new wave of bands who can fills stadiums and headline mega-festivals?

I'd much rather have a healthy range of smaller, diverse artists who have enough income to self-sustain.

Anyway stadium gigs are not great, and festival-wise I lean more towards the so-called boutique festivals (not keen on the name boutique mind you!)

It’s not so much about filling stadiums but being able to survive long enough to get really good. If the chilli peppers are used as an example the first couple of albums were great in terms of energy and they were good musicians. They didn’t really come into their own as song writers until Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic. The same could be said of U2 with the Joshua Tree being as breakthrough album.

Surviving to album 3 or 4 historically has been really hard. I’m not really sure it’s even possible anymore even for signed bands, which is a huge loss to music.

Edited by tegs07
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It's not all bad. Bands nowadays don't necessarily need major labels to promote and distribute their music globally, they don't need to play a venue in every town to reach that audience and build their fanbase, they don't need to spend £££ on fancy studios and producers to get a decent sound, can easily collaborate online, can easily set up webstores to sell merchandising directly to people around the world.

Perhaps musicians on average earn less nowadays to 40 years ago, I wouldn't be so sure though - they might get paid less for playing live and make less from selling music, but the overheads are much lower and there are lower barriers to getting into it. 

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, SumOne said:

It's not all bad. Bands nowadays don't necessarily need major labels to promote and distribute their music globally, they don't need to play a venue in every town to reach that audience and build their fanbase, they don't need to spend £££ on fancy studios and producers to get a decent sound, can easily collaborate online, can easily set up webstores to sell merchandising directly to people around the world.

Perhaps musicians on average earn less nowadays to 40 years ago, I wouldn't be so sure though - they might get paid less for playing live and make less from selling music, but the overheads are much lower and there are lower barriers to getting into it. 

This is all true but I do think bands need to tour a lot, be on the road and go through all the life experiences of touring as a band to become a decent live act. Simply reproducing a well put together recording live is not going to satisfy most mature audiences (they want a little more) doing so may even be a struggle if a band can’t afford the addition musicians on a live tour.

Edited by tegs07
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1 minute ago, sbrag said:

What about Muse as a 2000s rock band that sell out stadiums and Royal Blood as one for the next generation coming from small gigs to 3 no. 1 albums headline arena and festival tours?

Indeed there are some. Kasabian are getting long in the tooth now but managed it. Royal Blood are 2 blokes though so maybe the books balance better?

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5 hours ago, tegs07 said:

Surviving to album 3 or 4 historically has been really hard. I’m not really sure it’s even possible anymore even for signed bands, which is a huge loss to music.

I think about this a lot.

I think the concept of "growing" bands over the course of a multi-album deal was dying a death by the early 90s - I can name a decent number of personal favourites from that time who only managed an LP or two and may well have gone onto even greater things if they'd have been given more time.

I heard Guy Garvey talk about the recording of (I think) The Seldom Seen Kid a while back: hit the studio in the morning, food and family time at teatime and then back to the studio again in the evening - was very jealous of the idea of having the financial backing to create music as your full time job and the creativity that it might allow. But then I thought about Joy Division, the Fall, Manic Street Preachers and countless others who held down day jobs while creating great music and building audiences - and we have it so much easier now: home recording technology is remarkable (I "needed" a mellotron last week - downloaded a VST one for free within a couple of seconds - it sounded just like I wanted it to!) and we're spoilt for choice in terms of channels of communication and sales.

Let's be honest, if the music industry was still geared up to nurturing a realtively small number of huge bands, most of us would find reason to feel we were being sidelined due to genre, age, location, politics or whatever. Now you can put your money where your mouth is: cheap home recording set-up, Bandcamp/Facebook/Youtube output, gigs at the small venues that have sprung up across most cities - do we really need a large advance and access to professional studios to develop our craft? That's only a half-rhetorical question - I'd be interested to hear the other side of this.

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43 minutes ago, Dankology said:

- do we really need a large advance and access to professional studios to develop our craft?

I think the answer to that is no and is undoubtedly a huge benefit to music these days. Really great sounding albums can be produced at minimum cost and get exposure on many digital platforms. The issue is getting some one to pay for them to keep you going.

Playing city venues is also great but cities tend to be expensive with very little cheap accommodation. I doubt there are many squats to crash in Notting Hill theses days. It also doesn’t allow people to tour that easily due to costs. I know of very few musicians making a living purely from original music these days. This is partly because I am older and more dull than 25 years ago, but the ones that are still doing it ditched the bands a while back (one still teaches to top up earnings another has a function band side line).

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