Big changes in the Melbourne music scene. The Prince of Wales has been sold. The current lessees have a lease until 2021.
The HiFi group is in administration, but are continuing to trade as usual. The drop in the value of the Australian dollar is probably going to dampen the touring market for overseas bands, which gives more room to Australian bands to play more shows and showcase their talent.
The business is changing, with electronica taking over and some artists having huge success (Chet Faker doing 5 Palais Theatres). The last time after an explosion of talent (early 80's) there was not enough followup talent and the demise of Countdown and the successful artists became too big for the pubs and combined with overseas touring led to pubs making changes, going to food and then to pokies.
Now inner city pubs are being targetted for apartments, and the larger venues make attractive targets as they have a large footprint. So they need to make good money to earn their keep.
Music is just one part of earning an income for a venue. Food, comedy, trivia, pokies are others.
Many venues are run by music lovers, but the lure of a big payday can sway most of us. So all of us can support our local businesses or see them crumble. Venues must respond to the change in circumstance and create reasons for people to go out.
Musicians need to create events that give people a reason to go out. This can be by playing in venues or creating their own events. Everybody needs to work together to help one and other. Passing experience down, listening to others and how they created great music, or a great organisation. We can spend years learning via personal experience or the shortcut of education from others.
In almost 40 years of going to gigs then organising them, much has changed and much has remained the same. Publicity is still publicity. Word of mouth is the best way of building an audience. A stunt only works for a career if the talent is behind the attention.
What has changed is that you need to be constantly engaged. Two years between albums is now a lifetime. Music is easily available, so if you haven't been heard from for a while you have to re-engage. That can be difficult especially if the musical landscape has changed. The switch from rock to electronica. The switch from big festivals to curated smaller events.
May you live in interesting times.