Live & Touring

Animal Collective latest artist to cancel an ‘unsustainable’ tour

Animal Collective has joined the growing list of artists canceling tours because they say that being on the road is now economically and emotionally “unsustainable.”

Animal Collective canceled their European tour due to start next month, which included Pitchfork’s UK festival.

“We were looking at an economic reality that simply does not work and is not sustainable,” the band said in a statement to fans. “From inflation to currency devaluation, to bloated shipping and transportation costs, and much much more, we simply could not make a budget for this tour that did not lose money even if everything went as well as it could.” (See Animal Collective’s full statement below.)

Recently, Santigold cited both rising costs and her mental well-being when canceling her US tour, saying, “I will not continue to sacrifice myself for an industry that has become unsustainable for, and uninterested in, the welfare of the artists it is built upon.”

Two weeks ago, Mercury Prize-winning indie artist Arlo Parks canceled a series of concerts, citing a need to protect her mental health and telling fans, “I am broken.”

Artists ranging from Little Simz, Wet, and Disclosure, who as developing artists normally survive from touring income to superstars like Justin Beiber, have all cited mental health as the reason behind their changed touring plans.

Wednesday does the math

The indie-rock band Wednesday tweeted the costs associated with their SXSW stint. The band played seven shows, but only got paid for one. At the end of the SXSW tour, the band spent $2,182.39 and earned $2,084, leaving them with a loss.

The band’s lead singer, Karly Hartzmann, went on the comment: “We are technically a band that is ‘doing very well’ at the moment!! It’s even harder for bands who are more in the DIY side of things who went to SX. I ain’t complaining about doing my dream job, but do wanna show why being paid fairly from streaming would make a difference.”

No easy answers

Venues, promoters, and festivals should be willing partners in finding new ways to make touring more sustainable. But artists’ calls are coming at a time when they are struggling too.

Hit by inflation, supply chain issues, the lingering effects of the COVID shutdown, and consumer hesitancy, more venues and festivals are cutting back or shutting down entirely.

Full Animal Collective Statement

MORE: Why small music venues are closing down

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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