Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bars, bands, money and promotion

Love to use analogies to try and figure out other things, so still thinking about promotion, and web radio, as well as who pays whom for what, and got to thinking about bars, and bands.

So yeah, you can pay at the door of a bar, with a cover, to see some band. Or you may just walk into the bar, and have a drink while watching them play.

What decides? It can be about the bar and the band. A very popular band with a big fanbase playing at certain bars might have a cover charge, I'd guess.

For me when I hung out in bars, usually didn't pay any cover charge. Assumed the bar made it's money, yup, from people buying drinks.

So why bother with a band then?

See what I mean, as we switch to web radio? The band facilitates people drinking in the bar. So the bar does not need to force people to pay directly for the band. While web radio is like a cover charge if you don't want ads--with those that will let you pay not to have ads--where you pay for the music directly.

That's like a bar where they don't have drinks but you just listen to music, by yourself.

Community from what I've seen as I use web radio is amazingly absent from it. It seems to be for the most part single person focused. That's very unappealing to me.

Ok, back to the bar, where this naive band, by social media standards, may be up on the stage, *gasp*, making no money for their appearance! Are they fools? No. They're performers, who may be building their audience.

Doing things to promote your band may involve doing things where you do not get paid, or so I've heard. Never had a band. Did spend some time once trying to come up with band names though, just for the fun of it, as I like to write.

But bands don't have to demand payment just because they're performing for an audience.

It's their option. Or maybe it isn't. Maybe they either play at that bar for nothing, or maybe drinks, just to be heard, or they go home and make a video for YouTube. Which you know, may be kind of the same thing, in a way, without the drunks. Ok, you still may have the drunks, commenting away!

So this analogy seems to kind of work ok to me. And I think one problem with people in tech is they may not hang out in enough bars. I spent twenty years hanging out in a LOT of bars, which may be why I'm so puzzled by web radio.

Some tech people--clearly not all as I qualify as one myself--seem to come from a different kind of world, where some seem to think people should pay every time somebody plays.

That kind of world would shutdown entertainment completely.

Like, MOST people would NOT pay a cover every single time they might be entertained by like just wandering into a bar that has a band, you know?

Or am I wrong here, would you? Think about it, every time you just walked into a bar you had to pay a fee. And every time you heard a song anywhere you got charged.

That was the world that some thought they could force on us.

And I don't blame artists, as if you have some guy in an expensive suit telling you that someone should pay every time you strum a guitar, who wouldn't want to believe that?

So, in my opinion, web radio should let people just listen, where ads are the established default, so we know it. And not get excited if they do nothing else. It should maybe pay artists who can demonstrate a loyal fanbase willing to pay, and get money from them, while not bugging anyone else. And people should be able to buy directly from the artists the songs they really love.

Whatever the web does, bars will still do their thing, as you know?

They've been doing it for thousands of years.

James Harris
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