Posted by: coomercove | May 6, 2008

Cutting Back on Tour Dates: Is this the future?

On the Singing News’ SG Wire, I read the press release from the Beene Family that announced that they will be substantially cutting back on their touring schedule.  They plan on cutting back from about 175 dates a year to a maximum of 100 a year.  Of those 100 dates, they plan to use 75% at venues they’ve ministered to before, and the other 25% to “accommodate growth”.

This seems to follow (at least loosely) the Cathedrals’ touring structure during their final years and the model followed by Ernie Haase for Signature Sound.  Not counting Gaither, these two groups were/are the biggest draws in SGM.  They built up demand, and instead of going to the same area four or five times a year (or more), they go once a year and make that one appearance an event, something that attendees will talk about all year until the next one.  It worked/works wonderfully for these two groups.

For some reason, I don’t think the Beene Family has built up that kind of demand in their ten years of ministry.  So, if a group on the scale of the Beene Family is beginning to follow this model, is this an anomaly or the future of southern gospel music?  It does seem to address some of the issues confronting southern gospel artists.

At the moment, fuel prices have to be the biggest concern for group owners.  Limited touring means limited diesel use.  It would also cut back on wear and tear on the buses that most groups use.

Another common issue raised in southern gospel music is all of the local church groups that are heard on the radio and end up harming concert attendance and the industry as a whole.  The groups that I’m referring to are those that for the most part, shouldn’t be heard at their home church, much less outside their church or on the radio.  These groups are what my dad calls “local yokels”.  Limited touring by one group will not eliminate this problem, but it could possibly help separate that group from the pack.  This goes back to making each appearance special, an “event”.  If you go to the same area four or five times a year, you are splitting your audience.  Why would fans be in a rush to attend a concert when they know they can catch the same group again in two or three months?  Each concert being an event would open the possibility for the group to request a flat fee or at least have a larger audience to give a love offering.

Limited touring would also eliminate the need for watered down, budget projects that are quickly made by groups so they’ll have a new CD to sale the next time they return to an area.  I don’t follow CCM except for two groups, but it seems like they go 18 months to two years between projects.  SG artists seem to release two a year.  As a fan, I like having multiple projects released.  For the health of the industry, I think it would be better if artists focused on one awesome project that would be released every 18 months.

I’m sure I’m missing other aspects to this, so please add them in the comments.

I ask again, is this an anomaly or a new trend?

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Responses

  1. This is normal in any other genre. Look at the biggest artists….”Announcing….THE TIM AND FAITH SUMMER TOUR….” Do a large amount of touring in a small amount of time, and take the rest of the time off.

    It’s a simple lesson in supply and demand. If you oversaturate the market with a huge supply of artists and dates, the demand goes way down because there’s an overabundance. Cut back, make it a little more rare, and demand will go back up.

  2. GLAD THIS WAS BROUGHT UP.OUR TRIO TRAVELL’S FOR YR’S. THEN THE CHURCH GROUP WOULD GET UP AND SING SO MANY SONG”S. AND COULDN’T SING. WE TRAVELED SO FAR TO SING ABOUT 6 OR SO SONG’S .THEN THE OFFERING WAS TAKEN UP,AND IT WAS NOT ENOUGH FOR GAS. NOW WE WANTED TO SEE {SOUL’S SAVED} NOT ALL PLACE’S ARE GUILTY OF THIS BUT, MANY ARE, WHY DO THEY BOOK YOU IF THE CHURCH GROUP’S ARE GOING TO OPEN FOR YOU AND NEVER SAT DOWN,THE D.J’S SHOULD HAVE THIS IN CONTROL BEFORE THE GROUP’S ARRIVE ,AND TELL THE LOCAL’S TO SING 1 SONG AND BE SEATED.THANK’S


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