Over the weekend, Grizzly Bear kicked off a tour in New Zealand and Australia, and the band’s frontman Ed Droste took to his Instagram story to lament the state of the live performance economy. In the series of posts, which were captured by BrooklynVegan but have now been deleted, Droste says that the “music industry is fucked” and that he “just found out despite huge crowds down under we are basically losing money.” He continued:
People always ask: Why aren’t you coming to “Perth,” “Singapore,” “Quito” ….and I’m trying to explain there is no value put on live music anymore. We feel it’s important to bring with us the fullest show we can with all live instruments and a good light show. But now, when you cut out record sales and we haven’t had a car commercial in ages, we literally lose money.
So yeah the evolution of the music industry is in my opinion destroying bands that play music that are mid tier or lower. Nobody cherishes or puts any value into the craft that goes into songwriting, or studying music! Yes pop stars write hits. Yay! They also get branding deals, and corp gigs… but when you are dealing with a dying industry and you actually care about a real live show and you aren’t a stare, there’s not much you can do.
I could go on forever but I won’t. Enjoy it while it lasts. I think we are about to enter a live music drought … TBD.
Prior to Droste’s Instagrams, the official Grizzly Bear Twitter account also expressed some frustration with their New Zealand and Australia shows:
HUUUUUGE tbd on when we’ll be back to NZ or OZ , but we are coming in just a few days! Nab ur tickets! Can’t wait to come back! https://t.co/QAfHQpu7Mk
— Grizzly Bear (@grizzlybear) February 22, 2018
New Zealand! We are all at the airport coming to you for @nzfestival in Wellington! Not sure we’ll ever be back so come out ! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
— Grizzly Bear (@grizzlybear) March 1, 2018
Grizzly Bear just announced a co-headlining tour with Spoon.
UPDATE: Droste has expanded on his previous comments with further posts on his Instagram story:
Just want to quickly follow up my comments abbout the profitability of touring by saying this is not a reflection on any concertgoer or fan. The ticket prices are already absurd if you ask me … this is IMO about the middlemen, of which there are more than ever that cut into the pie. I am so grateful to be able to perform for people for the amount of years I have, even at a loss (which we’ve done many times before)…
So yeah this isn’t a pity party and no audience member should feel bad! I just want everyone to have the best time possible. Just wanted to shed a light on the logistics of touring places that once we could justify bc there were alternate sources of income like record sales or commercials. You can see it reflected in festival line ups already in terms of genres. It’s just the way things seem to be rolling along and I’m not sure what changes will come or how the cards will fall.
Thanks for listening and coming to shows! Excited to be playing Adelaide for the first time ever tonight and tomorrow.