Ever Increasing Gig Prices
Dwindling audiences, lack of diverse venue sizes, international financial instability and copyright breaches have been identified as key factors in the recent gig price increases in Brisbane.
Talented, local artists are struggling to fill the smallest venues, and avid music fans are being forced to forfeit tickets in favour of paying the rent.
Local singer, songwriter and psychologist, Cameron Elliott suggests local acts aren’t aptly supported.
“People just don’t get out and support local music like they used to, venues are empty. We play to empty rooms and end up paying for the privilege. It is very disheartening.
“We’ve been forced to increase entry prices, just to cover the cost of transport to the show, which seems counterintuitive when the whole idea is luring people through the door.”
Another trend impacting ticket prices in Brisbane is a notable discrepancy in venue sizes.
Currently there is no venue sized between the quaint, converted theatre, the Tivoli and the overzealous megaplex, Toombul Entertainment Centre.
Touring artists are forced to limit their ticket sales to just 2000 to adhere to the capacity limit of the Tivoli, or face paying for a half empty and very expensive stadium.
Local musician, editor of ‘The Journey,’ and music journalist, Mardi Lumsden, of ‘Mardi Lumsden and the Rising Seas,’ suggests that this is exactly where the problem lies;
“Artists are forced to overcharge for shows to compensate for the limited number of tickets they can sell in smaller venues like the Tivoli, and similarly to afford the extra costs involved with hiring out massive venues like Toombul. It is a self-perpetuating cycle.
“Since the destruction of the only ‘in between’ venue in Brisbane, Festival Hall, it has become increasingly difficult for touring artists to play in Brisbane at all, an issue that is definitely reflected by the increasing cost of shows.”
Contributing to this is the more publicized issue of illegal downloading.
As more and more music is illegally attained, record sales continue to plummet and artists have to rely solely on the revenue stream generated through live performance.
Allison Manvell, copyright lawyer specialising in media, has witnessed this multi-faceted problem first hand.
“I was a musician myself, that is exactly why I became a lawyer, to protect artists. I can’t stand to see creative people suffering like they are now.
“I must admit though, while illegal downloading is absolutely rife, the music industry is really leading the way in this regard, iTunes was quite revolutionary. It was the first medium that allowed artists to be paid while maintaining the accessibility of online downloading for consumers. The film industry still has no equivalent and is suffering more intensely.”
Allison also suggested that music labels are reticent to charge individuals who abuse internet downloading, because it appears that they are attacking ‘the fans’.
“Our work is more geared towards the companies that facilitate illegal downloading, end users are difficult to target and forcing music lovers to pay often doesn’t achieve the desired outcome for artists.”
Can you imagine working six days a week for free? What is the solution?
Image: Mardi Lumsden