For indie artists without trust funds or celebrity parents, there is little hope that accepted indicators of success will lead to substantial changes in material conditions on tour. “There’s this kind of idea going on, like you pay your dues and you get them out of the way,” Smith said. “Wednesday is a successful band. They’re still dealing with this reality. So the idea that it’s a temporary situation, I think, is wrong.”
Meanwhile, the pandemic has not only forced musicians to shoulder the responsibility of keeping themselves and their fans healthy – begging the audience to wear masks – but has also put the burden of new costs and stress on them down the road. after release Planet (i) Just before the Delta version took off, Williams toured extensively throughout 2021 and early 2022, without anyone testing positive at a touring party. But it has required vigilance – she frequently tests and monitors COVID numbers in each city – and has come at a financial cost.
“Buying rapid COVID tests really sucks,” Williams says. “They’re like $10 a test. And if you’re testing twice a week for five people, it really adds up. I think it’s kind of crazy that it’s such an expense.” Which has to cover different people.”
A band can reduce this cost by finding free trial sites, but coordinating test hours and locations when traveling cross-country isn’t easy, Williams notes. And that’s not to mention the damage done to the countless acts when someone is at a touring party. does Test Positive And the show should be postponed or canceled at the last minute. (Members of the party traveling Wednesday stopped getting COVID during their recent show.)
Still, for Williams, the hardest part of touring during the pandemic has been the need to advocate for himself and his band even more than usual. Masks are a great example.
“There are so many places we walk into and no one is masked,” Williams says. “It is stressful and it is also necessary for me to request that people put on their masks. I am there because I want to play music for people. It’s an embarrassment to make this call because the government won’t do it. ,
When lead singer Stephen Burdick stone eyeA grunge-adjacent rock band from Philadelphia, seeing the earnings of Wednesday’s tour, responded with a helpful suggestion.
“You’ll do some DoorDash/Instacart on your vacation days,” Burdick, aka @TheStoneEye, tweeted, “we paid [sic] For our 3 nights, $70 a night stay in Raleigh like that.”
Some fellow musicians were surprised. The idea of musicians juggling already grueling itineraries in the low-wage gig economy seemed like a bleak satire of late capitalism.
But when reached for interviews, Burdick, who has a small audio engineering company, confirms he wasn’t kidding. He was seriously dead.
In his spare time at home, he and his bandmates have been picking up the shift to delivery apps like DoorDash and Instacart for two or three years to make some extra cash. During the band’s recent tour of the South, they decided to try using apps on the road to pay for hotel stays.
“This run was the first time we tried it,” Burdick says. “We put out 14 days, but only eight shows, so we have time to kill. Instead of spending $200 on a hotel and doing nothing, we’re like, ‘Crap, can I even get some money back,'” You know?’ And it worked. We ended up paying for our hotel.”
The experiment was successful in Burdick’s mind. But this was only possible because the band had substantial downtime between shows – and because the musicians already have experience with delivery apps.
Between gigs, “we have no urge to go to the next city or whatever,” Burdick says. “We’re like, ‘Okay. Let’s split the innings.’ Two people go out for a few hours. Two people go out for another few hours. Spend like six, seven hours total doing it. Then come back and you’re like, ‘Okay, the hotel is covered,’ And dinner tonight!'”
“It supplements the income,” Burdick says. “Especially when it’s a tough market right now. It’s what you have to do, I guess.”
Isn’t this all a little disappointing? “Not really,” Burdick says happily. “I guess it’s about knowing your worth. We’re stone-eye. Who knows Stone-eye, know what I mean? We’re playing a club for 30 people. We don’t really demand guarantees.” can do.” The band tours in a minivan, and admits that they are not big enough to make a living from music.
Other musicians were upset with Stone Eye’s proposed solution to the touring crisis.
“I’ve never heard of anyone doing that. Never considered doing that,” says Ella Williams, noting that she just finished a tour of the West Coast, during which a day off meant the original Must be driving for 13 hours. “So you know,” she laughs, “there really wasn’t time for any additional DoorDash shifts.”
Zachary Cole Smith is familiar with other money-saving tour hacks, such as what he calls the “free Chipotle trick.” (In short, call Chipotle, say you’re representing such a band, and ask to speak to a manager. Introduce yourself like you have some sort of authority, and give your band a free Chipotle Might get… maybe?)
But he never encountered a delivery-app solution. And he hopes he never will. “It’s like, man, would you ask someone else to work in any field? Like, ‘Hey, you didn’t make money at your job, get another job!'” says Smith.
He found it particularly discouraging that DoorDash’s suggestion came from a fellow musician.
“If someone in your area is demanding better living conditions, they’re not doing it for themselves. They’re doing it for you too!” says Smith. “The industry pits us against each other, but we’re all in the same fucking crab pot or whatever. We can lift each other.”
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