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Bad Omens, Devin Townsend & Stray From The Path Members Lament The Current State Of Touring And The Music Industry: “The Ability To Make Money On Tour Is Almost Completely Gone Now…”


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Rising alternative metal outfit Bad Omens recently vented on the many financial downsides touring artists currently face. The band were prompted to speak out after a venue they played decided to give Bad Omens-related names to some of the cocktails they were serving amid the band’s show.

Speaking over the weekend on that, the group offered:

Late last month, Craig Reynolds, drummer for rap metalcore outfit Stray From The Path lamented on the state of touring and the music industry as a whole via a lengthy series of tweets, here’s what he had to say:

“streaming services pay nothing and everyone is cool with it. managers make their bands do dangerous snow drives and everyone is cool with it. ticketmaster has a monopoly on live music and everyone is cool with it. bands swap royalties for playlisting and everyone is cool with it.

venues take a giant merch cut and everyone is cool with it. record labels are more interested in viral videos everyone is cool with it. bands have 90% of their show on a laptop and everyone is cool with it. members of bands do unspeakable things and everyone is cool with it.

most record deals include merchandise now and everyone is cool with it. your favourite bands hire the same producer from LA to write all their songs and everyone is cool with it. i can think of 6 bands with an entire instrument on backing track and everyone is cool with it.

labels and booking companies are ticking bare minimum diversity boxes instead of making systemic change and everyone is cool with it. prominent and influential multi-platinum selling artists are being openly antisemitic and everyone is cool with it.

…and that concludes the list of why i am so very annoyed, almost all of the time.

i sound like a boomer. ignore this. i’m just entering my jaded musical unabomber arc

nsane the amount of people who read THE FIRST LINE and made their mind up about this tweet. this tweet is a very pointless and specific list of the reasons i’m usually annoyed, some relate to each other, most don’t.

because you like to take me very literally I should reiterate that it’s okay if you use streaming apps. and to use a laptop for your live show: just don’t cheat.

i do think a bassist on a backing track is lame and putting someone out of a job but i understand that sometimes it’s a money thing or like counterparts the guy they get is gonna quit anyway”

Unsurprisingly, both Bad Omens and Reynolds also wound up interacting with each other over their shared views on Twitter yesterday, December 04th:

They’re not the only artists to recently bemoan the current state of touring and the music industry. In an interview with Metallerium, Canadian progressive rocker Devin Townsend himself had the following to say (transcription via Blabbermouth.net):

“It’s gotten way worse. I don’t think it’s better at all, actually. Because the costs of touring now, with inflation and the cost of gasoline and diesel… Plus, over the course of the pandemic, we’ve lost a ton of really good venues. I’d say probably 50 percent of the workforce in touring has now left. ‘Cause what’s a guitar tech gonna do for two years? You have to get a job, right? And so the ones that are remaining, not only are they already spoken for with other bands, but they’re almost twice as expensive.

I saw this thing about Live Nation the other day, they’re taking 30 percent of merch sales from some of these venues. The costs of airlines have gone up. So artists, the ability to make money on tour is almost completely gone now — at least an artist on my level.

So, yes, it’s opened up again, but it’s 10 times as expensive. It’s, like, what do you do? Even little things like, okay, the hotels are more expensive; the food at the hotels [is] more expensive. So at the end of it, you’re touring for what? You’re touring ultimately so you can present your work to the people who care about your work, and that’s worth it to me.

But I think for anybody to think that it’s now easy again, you should investigate that, because I’m trying to set up tours for next year, and there’s no way to keep them within cost — there’s no way. And so you go out there and, like, well, we can’t have this vehicle; we can’t have this backline; we can’t have this production; we can’t have these lights.

And then if you show up at a place and the audience comes, they’re, like, ‘The show’s not good. There’s no lights. There’s no production.’ So what should you do? And I think a lot of musicians, their decision is, like, ‘Well, I’ll just stay home then and I’ll just create from home.’

I try to go out with acoustic now, because that way I can afford it. If I just show up with an acoustic guitar and sing for people, it’s better than nothing. But it’s still, like, man, it’s a complicated time, brother.”

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