4 Major Live Music Trends Changing The Industry This Year

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rachel Grate and originally appeared on the Eventbrite Blog.]

 

We’re just one month into 2017 (ed. – this was originally published in February of 2017), and it’s already proven to be a year of big changes — and the live music industry is no exception to the rule.

To stay on top of your game in a shifting landscape, you need a firm grip on the music trends that will shift the landscape in 2017. But don’t take it from us — take it from the nineteen industry pros we interviewed, including Newport Folk Festival, Afropunk, National Sawdust, and more.

Here’s how tastemakers predict the live music industry will change in 2017 — and how you can use those trends to protect your business.

1. Activism will revive the live music community

“Music has recently been more about escapism than activism,” says Jay Sweet, festival director and talent buyer for the Newport Festivals Foundation. But with major political changes coming in 2017, fans may be looking to their favorite artists to take a stance. “I’m excited because I think this could be the year where musicians could… try to affect positive change through music,” Sweet says.

Matthew Morgan, the co-founder of Afropunk, believes fans will look to live music as an opportunity to make sense of the world around them. “We’re in line for some really great art over the next four years, [and] what we’re doing is going to be even more important,” Morgan says. “So many people are looking for things that are positive, that give them something meaningful in their lives.”

“We’re in line for some really great art over the next 4 years.” — Matthew Morgan of @afropunk

In this quest for self-expression, fans and artists will use live performances as an opportunity to build community around shared causes. “Festivals are a place for people to congregate safely — a place to share a common, collective experience,” Sweet says. It will be up to independent promoters and producers to create these safe spaces for activism.

2. Immersive theater will influence live music performances

From popular events like The Speakeasy in San Francisco to the topic of breakout HBO show Westworld, immersive theater made a big splash in 2016. These shows make audience members a part of the performance, and this year, we’ll see their influence begin to make live music performances more multidimensional.

“The world of immersive theater is about to explode,” says Nick Panama, the founder of Cantora. “We’ll be seeing a lot more experiential storytelling, and its influence on live music.”

Panama predicts live shows will expand the storytelling from the music itself to other senses. Instead of relying solely on audio cues or a screen behind them to tell a story, performers will begin to activate the entire room or stadium with immersive sensory details. Using a variety of new technologies, fans will become part of an alternate reality for the duration of the show.

3. Venues will band together to establish more sustainable economics

With rising rent prices in cities across the country, venues are facing a serious financial challenge in 2017.

“Venues will either buy the land they sit on, or they’ll move,” says Brendon Anthony, the director of the Texas Music Office. “We’re not going to see our favorite venues in the same place unless they own the land. The venues that are iconic and last [will] need to control their rent.”

“Venues will either buy the land they sit on or they’ll move.”@Brendon_Anthony of @txmusicoffice

But venues may not be able to crack the code to sustainability on their own. Venues will have the most success if they band together to protect their businesses.

“There are real ways venues can work together to make their margins a bit easier to handle,” Anthony says. In Texas and other states, for instance, venues, bars, and restaurants are all taxed in the same way, even though venues have to put more of their money back into infrastructure. There could be a way for venues to reduce their tax rate, “but for that to happen, venues would have to define what being a venue means, and then go to work to lobby as a group for the change.”

Fighting for this recognition won’t be easy, but it’s the best way for rooms to protect their business. Venues in the UK have already seen success with this strategy, led by the Music Venue Trust and their annual Venues Day, aimed at raising awareness and advocating for venue rights. Venues in the states will need to follow suit, banding together to protect the future of live music in their respective cities.

4. Brands will become even more intertwined with artists

Sponsors spend $1.4 billion on the music industry in the United States each year, and that number is only going up. Instead of investing in large activations or stages at festivals, our experts predict that brands will focus more on building relationships with specific artists in the next year.

Mark Monahan, the festival director of Ottawa Bluesfest, has seen this shift firsthand. “In the last few years, most sponsors want to activate around artists,” Monahan says. “Five years ago in the festivals space, that was a nonstarter. Artists are recognizing the role sponsors play in helping to fund festivals, and are more willing to participate in auxiliary activities.”

Currently, most of these artist activations look like meet and greets, or small, private shows with festival headliners. But these activations will need to evolve and become more natural to succeed in 2017. It is likely we’ll see more activations like last year’s Lady Gaga’s Dive Bar Tour, sponsored by Bud Light. The series focused on one of the most important roles a brand can play for an artist: delighting fans by bringing them in more direct contact with their idols.

But this integrated relationship between artists and brands could be in conflict with another trend — that artists are more openly expressing their political beliefs.

“I’m hesitant about what the branded content space is going to look like in the next year,” Gaston says. “If artists get more politically involved, will that impact how brands interact with artists? It’s going to be really tricky if that spending shifts, especially since brand dollars have become more important to the bottom line for both artists and labels.”

Artist Breakdown: TuneCore Live Atlanta 5/4 @ Music Room

Hard to believe we took the whole month of April off from hosting TuneCore Live events in LA, New York, Nashville and Atlanta, right? Well, maybe if you were at one of our five events during SXSW, you’d understand our musical hangover.

But fear not ATLiens! We’re back in style on Wednesday, May 4th at the Music Room in Atlanta (and yes, Star Wars nerds, ‘the 4th will be with us’). As always, we’re excited to bring a bill of TuneCore Artists who will share the stage for a 21+, FREE show.

Living in Atlanta? Wanna know more about TuneCore? Wanna meet, dance and drink with TuneCore? Or maybe you just wanna wig out on some free music to break up your week? Head over to our Facebook event to RSVP and keep it on your radar.

Learn more about the artists hitting the stage below:

M-City J.R.

M City J.R.
Just recently, M-City J.R.’s single “Addicted To My Ex” has blown up – in just three months it’s video has reached over 1 million views on YouTube. But the Detroit born-and-bred MC knows it takes more than just one song to live up to the city’s legends he holds so close to his heart. We’re excited to have this up-and-comer show us how he plans to take on 2016 with this momentum as he joins us for TuneCore Live!

Kodie Shane

Kodie ShaneBorn in Atlanta and raised between there and Chicago, Kodie Shane AKA “ItsTheDonBaby” began writing songs at the young age of 12. After catching the attention of production team Matty P and D. Clax, she began writing for other hip hop artists and find her lane. Much of Kodie’s lyricism stems from the complexities of life as a millennial, and she aims to control the hearts of anyone who hears her melodies!

Hero the Band

Hero The BandWith no lead singer and no dedication to one single genre, Hero The Band is four Atlanta brothers who formed in 2010. Their energy, bond, vocals and instrumental abilities has all evolved organically, stemming from their upbringing and singing in the church. The four brothers – Jerramy, DJ, Justin and Nick – credit their chorus teacher for giving them the inspiration to learn music and pursue a career in it, and they’ve made a pact to take this journey on together.

Mr. 2-17

Mr. 2-17
It’s always impressive when we see an artist who has achieved success in one lane vow to earn his name in another. Atlanta producer, recording artist and filmmaker Mr. 2-17 has production credits with Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Young Jeezy and Bankroll Fresh. His abilities, notoriety and respect as a producer have sent him on a path to dominate the hip hop world as an MC, and we’re looking forward to his upcoming debut solo album.

Willie HyN

Willie HyN
Atlanta-based MC Willie HyN is a worker. After graduating he committed two years to performing at over 200 open mic and other events with the determination of being discovered. What he did do was establish himself as a familiar face in the Atlanta scene, and opened up opportunities to perform at radio showcases, talent shows and other high-profile events. HyN has 10 mix tapes under his belt, has toured internationally and shows no sign of stopping in 2016!

Levi Johnson

Levi Johnson
A trio not, a solo act, Levi Johnson is comprised of three talented young artists Alex, Kobe and Dre Johnson. Described as a “artistic and harmonious collection of rhythm, dance and authentic cool”, this East Atlanta group was developed by renowned choreographer Jamaica Craft. They’re clearing a path for success as their 90’s-influenced pop and R&B sounds evolve.

13 Tips For Getting the Gig From Talent Buyer Christina LaRocca

Hello music makers!

My name is Christina LaRocca, Founder/CEO of L Rock Entertainment.   As a talent buyer with a decade of experience, I get somewhere between 25-100 requests A DAY from bands all over the country, asking to play the Big Apple or looking for assistance with tour booking.  How do I choose which bands are the best fit for my shows?

First impressions are everything.  Remember you are contacting a human being, so it’s best to treat them like one.  No one is going to reply to an email that says: “My band is awesome you need to book us…check it out man www.weareanawesomeband.com”

With that in mind, here are some great tips to help you get the gig: Continue reading “13 Tips For Getting the Gig From Talent Buyer Christina LaRocca”

Event Recap: TuneCore Live NYC @ Pianos 2/29

As our beloved New York City-area artists and TuneCore Live goers know, at the end of February (Leap Day!!), we switched up locations and took our talents to the legendary Pianos in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.

During a time of extremely high rents and unfortunate turnover in the NYC music community, we were saddened to see the original home of TuneCore Live NYC, The Living Room, closed its Williamsburg doors in late 2015. However, after just one event, we know that Pianos will serve as an awesome place to have TuneCore Artists, staff and fans gather for our future events.

Helping us bring our first NYC event together was Swisher Sweets, Mirrored Media, CeleBuzz and World Arts – and for them we are thankful! Local indie acts Surf Rock is DeadPaperwhite, and Andy Suzuki & The Method brought the tunes for what would be a pleasantly diverse collection of music over the course of the night.

SRID

Up first was Brooklyn-based trio Surf Rock is Dead. Don’t be fooled by their name – the reverb soaked garage vibes that these guys brought to the stage served as a reminder that upbeat, surfy rock music has not gone out of style.

Paperwhite 1

Following SRiD, brother-sister duo Ben and Katie Marshall (joined with new keyboardist Lauren) Paperwhite brought the dream pop power! With Ben managing drums and production, Katie was free to dazzle the crowd with her performance abilities and voice – and she didn’t disappoint.

Andy Suzuki & the Method 2

Closing out the night was the well-traveled and undeniably entertaining Andy Suzuki and the Method. Andy and his band crooned through songs that spanned his career as a songwriter, throwing in the occasional cover that kept the crowd engaged. A lot of energy, a lot of jamming, and a lot of interaction with the audience!

Want more visuals from the evening? Check out our gallery below! If you made it out, thanks for rocking with us, and if you’re hoping to catch our next event in your area, follow our TuneCore Live Facebook page so you don’t miss an update.

Event Recap: TuneCore Live LA @ Bardot 1/20

Last month we kicked off the New Year with a bang by bringing TuneCore Artists Freedom Fry, Blackbear and Trevor Wesley to party with us at the Bardot in Hollywood. To us, there’s no better way to get back in the right mood after decompressing from the holidays than a night of awesome independent live music!

Before the doors even opened there was a line around the block. Not bad for a Wednesday, huh? Fans of all artists packed the beautiful space and made sure to support everyone on the bill. Thanks of course to our pals at Swisher Sweets, CeleBuzz and Mirrored Media.

Freedom Fry6

Up first was Freedom Fry, who started things off by setting the vibe with their smooth indie folk-pop tunes.

Trevor Wesley3

Trevor Wesley hit the stage next, and ramped up the energy with his complete band and back up singers!

Blackbear3

Rounding up the night was Blackbear, whose hip hop infused R&B sound brought all the all the ladies and gents to the front row.

DJ William Lifestyle

And let’s not forget about our guy DJ William Lifestyle who was tearing it up between sets all night!

We’ll be announcing our upcoming TuneCore Live dates soon, so make sure to follow us on Facebook and RSVP when we’re setting up in your neck of the woods next! In the meantime, enjoy the photo gallery from our awesome January evening below.

Event Recap: TuneCore Live Brooklyn @ Living Room 11/18

Our TuneCore Live Series had a short stay in Brooklyn compared to LA in 2015, but we are proud to have made a big impact! In our final TuneCore Live: Brooklyn of 2015, we invited ZuliDead Stars, and LODRO to share the stage for the evening at the Living Room in Williamsburg, and they did not disappoint.

In what ended up being our most rock-heavy line up of the year, show goers were treated to three bands who covered the spectrum of the genre: from psychedelic, to fuzzy and nostalgic, to dark and eery. You want variety? TuneCore Live brings it!

With the help of our pals at Swisher Sweets, CeleBuzz and Mirrored Media, we were proud to put our signature on the final event of the year in the Borough of Kings.

Zuli4

Getting the party started was four-piece Long Island-based Zuli, fronted by the charismatic and impressive Ryan Carmenzuli. As the crowd grew, Zuli whirled in and out of melodic choruses and psyche-induced breakdowns. It was awesome to catch a band who can sound so clear on record really bring a raw live show that keeps the audiences’ attention.

Dead Stars6

The tone was set and the crowd was ready for more tunes, and unsurprisingly, Brooklyn-based Dead Stars delivered. Channeling influence from Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana and Teenage Fanclub, the trio roared through a set of songs from their full-length Slumber, and treated the room to some newer cuts. The vibe here was loud, sonic guitar and drums complemented by catchy hooks and relatable lyrics.

Lodro4

Wrapping up the night was the critically acclaimed LODRO, hailing from the other side of the borough. The three-piece were coming off a 24 hour-long movie shoot, but you wouldn’t know it if you just stepped into the venue. With Lesley and Jeremy sharing vocal-duty, LODRO’s echoey, film-influenced ‘neo-noir punk’ sounds kept the crowd hooked in a trance throughout their entire set.

We’d like to thank everyone – the artists, the fans, the venue, the sponsors – for making our TuneCore Live series in Brooklyn such a success. It’s been beyond fulfilling to be able to provide TuneCore Artists with the opportunity to play live, meet each other, and connect with our staff each month. We’re looking forward to an awesome 2016, so make sure you’re following TuneCore Live on Facebook to keep up with our upcoming events!

Enjoy a photo gallery from the night below.