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Why Being Independent Is So Important In Live Music

1We hear from managers, promoters, and others about the value of relationships and community in the independent music sector, and why exactly being indie matters so much in live music.

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Guest post by Chris Zaldua of Eventbrite

RELATIONSHIPS ARE THE CONNECTIVE TISSUE OF THE INDEPENDENT MUSIC COMMUNITY.

It takes a village of venues, festivals, promoters, and agents to keep the music playing and the tickets selling. Here’s what some Eventbrite Music clients had to say about the importance of relationships, community, and culture in the independent music business.

ON MAINTAINING AN INDEPENDENT IDENTITY

“One of the big challenges that the music industry faces is conglomerates taking over, and independent players losing our identity, and our culture, and our ability to really meet not only fans where they’re at, but artists, too. At the end of the day, it comes down to artists. They’re the ones that are creating the work we all know and love. And so the challenge is finding a way to make sure that that creative side is still able to shine through in the midst of big money and homogeneity within the music industry.”

Jordan Olels, Former Marketing & Ticketing Manager
NeumosBarbozaCapitol Hill Block Party, Seattle, Wash.

INTRODUCING A NEW GENERATION OF ARTISTS

1“I don’t know exactly where Birdland fits in to the jazz scene except to say that we keep the tradition alive, we want to put artists on stage in a style of music that sounds like jazz to people, because frankly a lot of people come to Birdland and buy tickets, and then: ‘By the way … who’s playing?’ So they want to come at the time and date that they’re in New York City, and that’s fine with me. I want them to have a good experience, but I also take seriously the responsibility that probably introducing them to artists they haven’t heard before.”

Ryan Paternite, Director of Programming and Media
Birdland, New York, N.Y.

A CULTURE OF INDEPENDENCE CREATES COMMUNITY

“The independent music venues in Salt Lake City are very important. We’ve definitely seen the same trend of bigger companies like AG and LiveNation trying to come in, and we’re really lucky that we’ve been able to maintain a presence in the city and we do about 1000 events a year, small to large. We just celebrated the 20 year anniversary of Kilby Court with a block party. Lots of hugs and tears, and we had a list of all the 15,000 bands that have played there. And it was just really fun to see people walking up to it and write, like, ‘That was my first show’ or ‘I met my wife here’ or things like that. That was pretty great.”

Will Sartain, Owner, Promoter
Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, UT

BUILDING COMMUNITY

“We’re in the same business as bands are, so we’re all tightly knit together in a community. And everybody’s just trying to take care of one another and put away a little money so that we don’t have to work forever and make really incredible art. At the end of the day, I think that’s huge, and doing it in a way that we think is ethical and really takes care of people in a way that’s sustainable — that’s really our big picture.”

Hunter Motto, Talent Buyer
The Crocodile, Seattle, WA

The independent music community is more valuable and important than ever before, and there’s power in numbers. Stay strong, stay independent, and we’ll continue to bring the community together with insider knowledge and industry insights.

Chris Zaldua is a San Francisco-based writer, event producer, record label co-founder, and DJ. His bylines have appeared in SF Weekly, KQED, Resident Advisor, FACT Magazine, Red Bull Music Academy, and more.

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