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An interesting read (via teganandsarabanter) with lots of gory details from members of bands who tour nationally. The article focuses on bands at the level of club tours—bands who have national or even international followings, but in most cities outside of their hometown probably can’t fill a venue bigger than a small or midsized club. I guess I’m not surprised to learn that those bands are broke; if nothing else, this is a reminder of how much commitment and drive those musicians need to have.
I’d like to see a look at bands one or two steps up the ladder: bands who can fill large clubs or theaters (like, say, Tegan and Sara). They probably have a major-label record deal. They’re not Taylor Swift, but they sell a lot of records and are much more familiar to the average music fan than are the indie bands named in this article. How much do they make? I’m guessing that, like for these smaller bands but at a higher scale, it’s a combination of career savvy and pure luck.
(This article from MPR tells the same sad story from the clubs’ perspective, though it more explicitly acknowledges the fundamental problem: supply and demand. There are only so many people who will go out to shows, and they only have so much money. Those of us in Minneapolis, the article suggests, may be temporarily benefiting from an oversupply of venues.)