The Defiled are the latest band to throw in the towel, announcing that like many of their peers, the financial cost of remaining a band is too much to bare. This follows high-profile cases like CJ from Thy Art is Murder, who left the band while claiming that trying to live life as a member of a touring band in 2016, is hard fucking work.
Which when it comes down to it, is our fault. The fault of fans unwilling to pay for music or attend shows. Last week I went to see Heck in Glasgow and they played in front of a barely half full Cathouse. When I last saw The Defiled play Edinburgh, they were in an even smaller venue and yet it also was nowhere near capacity. Yet if you were to go out onto the internet and look up these bands you’d think they have fans coming out of their ears.
A similar point has recently been made on the brilliant That’s Not Metal podcast, where they discussed Machine Head’s bump in the road following the release of Unto The Locust. That album maybe didn’t live up to The Blackening but if you go back and listen to it, it is still pretty damn good and the world seemed to be clamouring for them to step up to headline Download. And yet when it came time for their arena tour they didn’t sell it out. The fans stayed at home and that particular dream died.
These are just a few notable examples in a musical landscape where it is becoming the norm. Where fans seem reluctant to put their hands in their pockets for bands they claim to love. It has already apparently become accepted that music should be free because bands make all their money from touring, but if no one is going to see their tours, then they are making nothing. Bands that deserve a chance will disappear and only those that can fight through the hard times will survive.
And there are ways of surviving. Ginger Wildheart continues to break the mould most recently by setting up Round Records through Pledge Music while bands like Ne Obliviscaris have taken to Patreon in order to try and make a monthly wage. However, the fact of the matter is that without fans coming out to put their hands in their pockets then more and more bands will just continue to die before their time. I don’t know about you, but that is not a world I want to be in.