Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 9:29 am
And yet one more thought on the effects of this situation:
Although to some it seems to make sense for a cappella groups to "hit the road" more often, it appears the opposite is happening.
The Duwendes, the Firedrills, the Transits and so many more - this new generation of a cappella groups is not leaving their day jobs with the same abandon as we did back in the 90's. Why?
My guess is that the upside is clearly diminished.
Radio play for a cappella went from not uncommon to non existant, so the allure of the "big signing" is no longer a reasonable carrot for most. And the further tightening of the music industry as a result of diminished sales has reduced the amount of money sloshing around.
Plus, frankly, live music has decreased. People have wide screen home theaters and 200+ channels. In SF the number of live houses has diminished, with many clubs having moved to a DJ format (much cheaper).
Yes, there are still the InPulses, the Mosaics, the Chapter Sixes and the many other groups who have taken the leap to full time. And yes there are still plenty of places to gig in this wide country (and world!).
Both a bad and a good thing.
A bad thing in that there are fewer a cappella gigs by pro groups happening around the country than there were a decade ago, if my calculations are right. Not a great deal fewer (as there are more groups), but the total number seems down a bit.
And as I've mentioned I think we should all expect fewer albums in the coming years, at least fewer per group (if the number of groups increases, perhaps that'll keep the numbers steady).
However, the upside is a good one: fewer groups going full time, hitting a wall, and imploding. A group that's structured as a part-time ensemble has a better chance of holding at that level for a long time, which is what we're seeing. And a consistent lineup is a great thing for group tightness and artistry.
Many great groups from the 90s are no longer around, as their members decided to throw in the towel when it was time to settle down and they didn't have their Grammy or a significant income stream with which to support a family.
And yet, many of those groups still refuse to completely die: Blenders. Five O Clock Shadow. Boyz Nite Out. People want to hear them, and they oblige with concerts each year.
So, if the end result is that there are fewer national touring groups but more groups that build a loyal local following and stay together for a long time, that's OK.