A Brief Introduction to Demographics and Economics of Scale
Alright, Brutes, here is some of the business side of being a musician. Learn something about the local participation of the music supporters. The status of the Red Deer scene is it has a large number of very talented and invested, highly educated stage ready musicians. However, it has a less than 3 percent of population density who regularly participate in local concerts. The vast majority of these concert goers see well established, out of town acts, at large venues. This trims down the number of people who might catch an up and coming local artist. 97 percent of the population of Red Deer for one reason or another has no access to, or has no interest in live music.
Venues need customers, and the number of customers consuming (paying for) live music is shrinking. In the 1990’s a grocery store clerk could easily afford to see 5 or 6 big name concerts a year. Nowadays they don’t even listen to music unless it's free (most of the population doesn’t even stream it). Free stages like the one on Ross patio are deceiving, if the show wasn’t free there would be very little interest in the stage at all. Most people in Red Deer are working class; however, most paying customers usually are extremely affluent, or are already involved in music as a hobby. Most of the music being made today is niche oriented, which appeals to even smaller subsets of people. This further reduces the number of your customers.
Economics alone will force your music to be as generic as possible. If you’re a death metal band in Red Deer you should think about moving to a place that has a large death metal scene. The brain and talent drain on local artists in this town is noticeable to anyone who participates. The best teachers and the best performers routinely leave for greener pastures. The bigger the population, the bigger your paycheck gets. The artists who stay have reasons other than the local scene keeping them here such as family, or day job, or a good network of friends.
Venues are shutting down all over the place including large centers. The demographic that traditionally supported them (young adults with jobs) can no longer afford beer and ticket prices. Most heavy drinkers don’t do it in bars anymore. Further shrinking the audience. The affluent people who can afford live music are older and have usually started families and quickly lose interest in being in the scene. Even a $15 dollar ticket at the Vat is a $120 night (for two people) most people have found less expensive entertainment.
Unless an artist can get the 97 percent of Red Deer that’s not participating in music to hear them, they got their work cut out for them.