We cover bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, that have successfully gone into self promotion, and the money they make is impressive. Do they still count as indies? I think not… When I think about the true indie artists we’ve covered here in our spotlight, I wonder if they’re going to be economically viable in the future.
I’m in California, so gas here is hovering around $4.50 a gallon right now. Diesel is right around $5.00 a gallon. If you’re driving a van that gets 10 miles per gallon, and gas is $4.50, it costs you $.045 to go 1 mile. Go on a 100 mile tip for a gig – 50 miles each way – and you’re talking $45.00 just to get there and back. Nevermind if you have to rent a PA or pay someone to help you load in and out… Almost half a C-note JUST TO GET THERE?
I haven’t paid for a show for a while… but I’m sure prices are going to go up. Does that even make being an inde, that has to travel for a show, viable anymore? Rodney and I were invited to go to Creationfest at The Gorge up in Washington State later this summer. Due to gas prices, we had to pass. It’d cost us $300 in gas just to get up there and back, and we both drive tiny little cars that get 35MPG! It’s crazy.
So, my indie friends… the road warriors that pack it up, drive all night and do it day after day… is the van still rollin’ as much as it used to? Are you charging more for gigs? Staying closer to home? Driving smaller distances? I’m curious to know… How’s this affecting you. If you’re on a label, does it afford you more opportunities to get out there and be seen?