Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Audiences will eventually be paid to go and see unknown bands

Budweiser are running an ad at the moment featuring an unknown Canadian band The OBGMs playing a club gig. The twist of the ad is that when they go on stage they're amazed to find themselves playing to an enthusiastic full house rather than the usual mix of blood relations and unimpressed locals. The audience have been provided and bussed in by Budweiser.

This is an interesting inversion of the traditional "dreams come true" advert, which recognises the fact that the supply of middling bands is now far greater than the demand for them could ever match and it's therefore the band rather than the audience who need to have their wishes fulfilled.

I was talking to somebody recently who was launching a gigging-focussed social media site. I told him there was more chance of getting the bands to pay for access to the audience than vice versa.

I wrote a column a few years ago speculating that we would soon reach the point where audiences were paid to turn up at non-star gigs. This ad is another step closer.


  1. Wonder whether the same might apply to football?

    The top teams now make far more from TV, sponsorship and other revenues than they do from gate receipts. Yet, as well as wanting a significant crowd to cheer the team on and create atmosphere, they are obliged by UEFA to present a 'full house' for the TV audience. The result is that they already have to reduce ticket prices for the group stage matches against unseeded, obscure teams - and, rumour has it, give away unsold seats to local community groups.

    Could it be that one day, in order to ensure a suitable atmosphere for the lucrative broadcast, they give all of those seats away, or even pay fans to attend?

  2. I just heard a story on the Los Angeles radio show Off-Ramp about a company called Surkus that hires people to show up at nightspots (or is it nitespots?). The call it “crowdcasting.”

    I vaguely remember (from the voiceover DVD commentary) that the club crowd in Terry Zwigoff’s film Louie Bluiewas paid to show up. They were listening to Howard Armstrong and associates. No Budweiser buses and signs brought in though.

  3. CJ and PK, the relationship between a football club and its supporters is like that of a drug dealer and an addict. Clubs have been hiking up their prices for season on season, yet the fans keep paying. Why? Because they have nothing else going on in their lives and football has assumed the status of a quasi religion. The collapse of culture is part of this. Music, TV, books and film are all moribund. Sport is the only form of entertainment left that hasn't reached its sell-by date. When that day comes people will just retreat into virtual reality.