The New Music Renaissance on the Florida Suncoast

The music industry, as we know it, is about to change. It was one of the first industries to get hit, and get hit hard. The global pandemic has FLATTENED the playing field. Everybody from the Rolling Stones to the local musician playing alone in the corner of your favorite restaurant, have been grounded.

What a lot of people don’t know is that the music business was a $21 billion dollar industry in January of 2020. A big part of the industry was festivals and tours. In March of 2020, that part of the industry went into an involuntary coma.

Music industry is used to change

The “biz” is no stranger to disruptive change, from the metamorphosis of vinyl to tape, vinyl and tape to CD, from THAT to digital downloads, and now streaming. The music industry always rose from the ashes. Never before though has it been such a sudden…..STOP.

What does all this mean for us? We, who are the rabid fans of music, we who are the concert goers, where does that leave us? It could very well put us on the verge of a gigantic musical revolution that might very well, LEVEL that playing field I mentioned before.

Alternatives to concert going

Musicians are creative by nature, and now we are starting to see some very innovative alternatives (more like 2nd best to being there) to live concerts and tours. From very simple, facebook live sessions recorded on an i-phone to repurposing deserted “Drive In” movie theaters as concert venues.

These out of the box ideas are providing people with ways to forget about what’s going on in the world and letting the music take them to another place, just like it’s supposed to. None of it is designed to take the place of a real live ACTUAL concert experience, however I believe these solutions will stay and become a standing part of the music landscape.

Virtual concerts

Imagine if you will, the Rolling Stones coming to your town, tickets for the event not only sold out, but…the prices for those tickets would have prevented you from participating without a sizable sacrifice or not at all. Now imagine a $50 option to receive that concert, in your home, in high definition, both video and audio, beamed to your house to be played on your 75” high def screen, with sound pumping through your 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system. Would you do that? Would you invite friends over for a party? (A more intimate communal get together than a concert with people that are part of your tribe.)

“That’s not new,” you say… You’ve described a pay per view event. Well, yes and no. I have described a pay per view event. However, in the past, perhaps you had to wait for a PLANNED out, one shot, event from a pre specified location, NOT the ACTUAL concert, that was happening in YOUR town, in REAL TIME.

A new way to enjoy concerts

NOW, think about the local guy/gal playing at that restaurant, who’s artistic style you fell in love with, on a magical night of great company with that special someone, great live music that enhanced everything, and a great meal at a great restaurant….. now, he/she has invested in technology that allows THEM to do the SAME EXACT THING that the STONES did. All you have to do is follow that artist’s calendar, see when they are playing again at THAT or any other venue you wish to tune into, pay a nominal $5 or $10 fee to get the feed (you would have tipped them THAT anyway) and BOOM! You and that special someone could have a beautiful, homemade, candlelight dinner in your OWN ambiance, with your favorite local artist playing. Would you do it?

The technology to do this on the consumer side (that means you) has come down in price radically. Today, for well under $1000.00 you could have a very impressive, very large screen TV and decent sound system that would recreate those experiences larger than life. Hell….if you don’t need a 70” TV, you could probably get away with a 50” version of that system for under $500.00 That is…if you don’t already own one (many do). On the musician side, that technology has been available for a while, but underused until Covid-19 came along. It’s still the Wild West out there, but I can see this change coming as clear as day. What do you think?

Robert Garcia

Robert Garcia is a NYC born, Sarasota based local musician who sings and plays guitar. Performing his original material as well as cover music in venues ranging from small intimate restaurants and tiki bars on the Gulf Coast of Florida to theaters ranging from 400 to 3000 seats regionally and on tours around the United States. For more information please visit his website at rgsoloact.com. You can subscribe to his youtube channel by clicking here and to listen to his original music visit here. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and linkdin.

Photo from Robert Garcia.

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2020-05-12