Curating your cut of the action
Feeding off the death of many small venues Sofar has installed itself as the benevolent dictator. —JR Music Writer.
As a global enterprise, (I wish i could call it an initiative) Sofar sounds does a great job at bringing the intimacy of a live performance and unusual spaces together..But how unusual is a performance in a share house living room?And so we see the masterstroke.Gen Y and their millennial sidekicks have monetized your living room and all the better for it i say.Marketing this novel idea as the uber to the taxi. Sofar sets itself apart from venues , in not having one.For a $20 ticket, you can turn up to a secret location (secret until the day of the performance) and be entertained by 3-4 acts who are encouraged to talk to the crowd and share the stories behind their music.I’ve been involved in a few Sofar shows over the years and have had lovely experiences up until SofarLA.Now if you think there are a lot of musicians in LA, you’d be right, but like anywhere there is a lot of shit.We have been raised in the most abundant time in history. Before you bludgeon me with a minority report or a gender gap, just think about my statement.Even if its bad for you, its most likely better than it would have been at any other time in history.So there’s more of us being told we can do anything we’d like to do.Theres also more people who like to play “tortured artist”.This is a cross genre problem, as I’ve seen.People aspiring to some kind of idea of the troubadour, the lone ranger, mystical being.
There is only the world celebrity idolatry to aspire to with precious little left for the actual craft.Grass roots venues get squeezed by noise restrictions, putting pressure on musicians.Third party contractors come in to take over booking weakening the relationship between publican and performer.Then they offer pay to play, one show contracts, whereby the performer must sell x amount of tickets before the show to avoid being charged for said show.Before you think this is viable just look at the mount everest a new performer has to climb in a big city just to get a show at a venue that isn’t curating its acts to cross promote or gain new followers, NO..Its making money of the bottom rung of the food chain. Its not pulling income from the top to support the bottom.These said companies are sucking the very fragile blood out of the grass roots effort and its people from this generation eating their own.“So, fuck the venues, now we have Sofar and the like”.You might say that but Sofar have more in common with third party contractors than you think. Sofar sounds have become gatekeepers for touring artists. Feeding off the death of many small venues Sofar has installed itself as the benevolent dictator.