I got something wrong about that band I wrote about earlier in the week. They did not draw 34 people to their gig. My count must have been off. Or maybe the people at the door got it wrong. Officially, they brought 28 people out to their show. That means they had $80 to split between five people, not $140. After the show, however, the world famous Troubadour offered the band the "opportunity" to play the legendary venue. Dig some of the history at the Troubadour. Dylan played there. Names such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Buffalo Springfield and Billy Joel made either worldwide, U.S. or Los Angeles debuts there. Don Henley and Glenn Frey met at the bar. In 1974, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band played an epic 90-minute set that started at two in the morning. Pearl Jam, formerly Mookie Blaylock, plays for the first time as Pearl Jam in 1991. Joe Strummer performed his final LA shows at the Troubadour in October 2001. The list goes on.
And, yes, I classify all of this as injustice, particularly when considered in conjunction with the aforementioned, impractical and pointless whining over royalties. The music industry apparatus and Los Angeles bars and clubs have lots in common. The industry wants to live high on the hog for as long as it possibly can. They would rather not adequately address the future and the on-the-ground issues I discuss.
The bars and clubs like things the way they are as well. They put most of the onus on desperate independent artists, taking on little, if any, risk in the process. They put up a sign, get you on the LA Weekly's concert calendar and, for all intents and purposes, that's it. Why are bars or clubs not doing much of anything to establish themselves or or maintain their stature as one of the places to go to see live music in Hollywood?
It would not surprise me in the least to see Pandora ultimately unveil a new product that serves as a promotional vehicle for touring musicians. Don't be surprised if it includes big names -- I'm talking major stars -- to kick it off, sustain it and provide what ultimately should be an unneeded stamp of legitimacy. Consider these recent articles -- Does Pandora Do Enough to Promote Local Music? and I Can't Find Pandora's Name Anywhere in Hollywood -- foreshadowing of what's to come in this regard.
Tim Westergren, who co-founded Pandora, understands what it means to struggle as an independent artist. He had the same dream as all the others -- to get signed (and then, most likely, unceremoniously dropped) by a major label. He established Pandora, in large part, to provide a vehicle for unsigned, local musicians to promote and generate exposure for their work. The music labels know this. At the same time as they bite back against reality vis-a-vis royalties, they insist they have no problem with Pandora. And they continue to work with the company. Most recently, Pandora signed a deal to stream entire album releases one week prior to their official release.