Monday, December 3, 2012

Are music fans too fussy?

Photograph: Yadid Levy/Alamy
The Gaurdian

Music fans – they don't know they're born these days. At least not according to Live Nation supremo John Probyn, who claims the live industry has struggled this year, not because of the economy or the woeful weather, but because music fans are too "picky".

"Fans now expect spectacular shows, with good quality sound and great entertainment," said Probyn. Which is not entirely unlike a dishwasher salesmen complaining that his customers expect a machine that cleans their crockery. But then maybe Probyn has a point. Time was that no music fan would visit a festival demanding crystal clear sound, delicious global cuisine and a variety of musical genres. No, they'd part with their money safe in the knowledge that they'd be served dog burgers while knee deep in sludge and unable to tell which song their favourite band is actually playing. And, in a weird way, that was half the fun. You were getting something unpredictable, held together by string – and when it did come together it was genuinely magical.

Besides, aren't the best gigs the ones that go a little off piste? The ones where the bassist has a fight onstage with the singer? The increasing demand for a finely honed package of pitch-perfect entertainment seems at odds with what a live show is supposed to be about. Are the people who complain about the facilities really all that bothered about the music or have they just come for a day out?

It's time for Guardian Music readers to have their say. Are the best gigs the ones where something unpredictable happens? Or do you simply crave the "good quality sound and great entertainment" Probyn refers to? If so, are you simply demanding what you've paid for? Or have music fans become spoiled little brats?

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