I don't care what Ben Bernanke says: America is in a recession. Anyone who works a real job bringing home an average wage can tell you that. Is the economy in trouble? Yes. Are times terrible? No, but they could get worse. Clearly the first things that go during an economic downturn are luxury items like new cars, vacations...and music. I don't just mean the physical purchase of recorded music either. I am talking about fans going to concerts and buying merchandise. When you have to choose between some groceries or a new Motley Crue shirt, I'm pretty sure you're going to go with milk and eggs. That being said - ticket prices continue to skyrocket to record levels. Yes, I'll be the first to lay down big bucks for an artist I've never seen before, but the show better be damn good. I refuse to pay top dollar for bands I can see every few years. When a diehard fan like me says "enough!" the music industry better realize it needs to brace for bad weather ahead.
The thing is, the recording industry has been in crisis for over a decade now. After the Metallica/Napster debacle, the major labels missed a real chance to investigate ways to make money off electronic music. People inherently know how to steal. MP3 players and iTunes helped curb some illegal downloading, but I know that as the recession gets worse music theft will rise. All that will do is hurt people like you and me who pay for music.
What else happens when people steal music? Musicians obviously lose money and then rely more on touring to survive. Ticket prices go up for all sorts of reasons: the artists need more money. The venues need more money to pay for events and staffing. Merch prices go up too. It's all a vicious circle.
I wonder if the music instrument industry is suffering? I don't consider instruments a luxury item - more of an educational necessity. Sure, instruments of all kinds are expensive, but learning music is an important part of a child's development. Studying music is just as important for adults.
Many of you know I am taking bass lessons. I like to think things are progressing nicely. Am I good? Not yet. Will I be? Perhaps with time. I know one thing: taking lessons and unlocking some of the mystery surrounding how to actually play a bass is fascinating. I love going to Guitar Center now and looking at the expensive guitars. There are so many different shapes and styles to choose from - with varying price ranges.
Guitar Center just introduced the Slash Les Paul. From what I gather there are four options, ranging from a signed, custom aged model to an Epiphone signature. The signed one costs 10 thousand bucks - the Epiphone is a thousand. Being of average income, I can't imagine ever dropping 10 thousand on a guitar - but this one does come with a certificate of authenticity signed by Slash himself. I can only imagine what such a quality instrument would sound like...
Back here on planet reality, there are a lot of guitar manufacturers spreading their wings and adding innovative style to traditional instruments. I am a big fan of Daisy Rock. Better known as the guitar company for girls, Daisy Rock makes quality instruments at the right weight and proportions for a woman's body. It doesn't hurt that most are also pink with sparkles. While browsing online I also found a Traben Bootsy in the shape of a star! Two grand is out of my league plus I think it would be hard to play an odd shaped instrument. Still, if you've got the chops I bet you'd look pretty cool on stage.
I always like when Glam musicians play odd shaped instruments. Blackie Lawless and Bobby Dall both play big basses with harsh edges. In fact, Bobby's pointy green bass is his trademark. He's been playing that bass for twenty years now -so I guess instruments in odd shapes isn't a new thing, maybe just more common. Definitely more expensive.
Recently, I've come across quite a few message board posts about ticket prices "back in the day." These musical soothsayers speak of the days gone by when you could catch a concert - featuring a band like Van Halen - for under ten bucks. Tell me: what's the cheapest you ever paid to see an arena band?