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A Less Corporate Approach to Live Entertainment - Rolling Stone

what happens in House is happening in Las Vegas. As an entertainment entrepreneur, I learned from my work in the Las Vegas entertainment industry that an increasingly corporate approach to live entertainment seems to reduce risk by putting out only “proven products.” I’ve seen it first hand. My beloved Las Vegas is one of the biggest victims of corporatization that severely impacts the quality, quantity and variety of entertainment offered to tourists.

In fact, this homogenization has affected entire cities, including the restaurants and stores common in many other cities, and residents who tour other markets for a fraction of the price. It’s not unique in general and has certainly been seen before in live entertainment. The industry is increasingly dominated by a handful of gatekeepers who tend to dictate what content is available.

I watched season 4 of stranger things It reminds me of Metallica’s journey from having a handful of rebellious fans in my high school to becoming a stadium selling act known throughout my son’s school 35 years later. The journey to is very different, allowing you to self-produce music and get noticed on social media without leaving your garage.

Through TikTok, Netflix, YouTube and Spotify, we are encouraged and even tempted every day to find new entertainment based on our interests, friends, behavior and habits. The choices we see are controlled by an all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present “algorithm.” But searching and finding content based on personal preferences is very different from being served content that the people in power say are valuable. It’s the difference between being a puppeteer and being a puppet. To quote Morpheus, “Do you think that’s the air you’re breathing right now?”

Sure, we’re all influenced by advertising, but the latest version of the algorithm ‘The Matrix’ is limiting the choices we make about what we see online and, in many cases, what we see in the real world. When you focus on profit and minimizing risk, your options become limited.

Finding content at home is a personal discovery process, but once you get to your destination your options are limited to what the corporate operator decides to show. But I think it’s become painfully mainstream. Do you know who the biggest artist on the planet is right now? According to Bloomberg, Bad Bunny has more songs than Harry Styles, Olivia Rodrigo, Drake and Kendrick Lamar combined. , has topped Spotify more than 100 times in the past few months. ”

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At its core, entertainment is experimental. Innovation comes from pushing boundaries. The road to entertainment success has always been paved with failures. There are exponentially more songs, movies, and books that fail than successful songs, movies, and books. But most corporate models don’t allow for these necessary failures. They focus instead on pleasing shareholders and venture capital firms.

Entertainment is not a widget that gets redesigned and stripped down to the cheapest version. It is literally an art that needs to be nurtured in order to grow and develop in new directions. Then you will make a profit.

The biggest problem with corporateizing live entertainment is that companies view entertainment as a portfolio asset. Then you don’t have to entertain anymore. Must produce a certain return or be removed from the portfolio. That’s why entertainment companies shy away from risk-taking entertainment in edgy niches in favor of mass appeal.

When entertainment becomes homogenized, it becomes less special and less worth traveling for. Need more fans. Today’s industry is filled with underserved audiences and underrepresented music genres. Not all live shows have to be blockbuster mainstream hits. Still, shows that cater to underserved audiences and underrepresented genres can thrive.In a world dominated by Coke and Pepsi, the market for Burke’s root beer remains strong.

Fans benefit from more affordable, niche shows alongside superstar-driven, strato-priced experiences. , does not match the “bigger is better” style. But even if it does get bigger and more mainstream, it should still be an impactful and destination-worthy event. We approached live performance from an immersive perspective to create an experiential venue experience for residencies.

I believe that a more nurturing, less corporate approach to live entertainment would have a positive and lasting impact on the industry. The future of live entertainment may not require a proscenium stage, blurring the line between audience and performer. Innovators like Meow Wolf are already putting the audience inside the ‘show’. The entertainment experience starts with marketing and extends to how you enter attractions.

We have to find new ways to be different. Catering to these niche markets without abandoning the high-priced stars that generate the necessary return on capital could give the industry an opportunity to reinvent itself again, to become something special again. there is.