Does a live band make you more (or less) likely to attend a concert?

A sizable and apparently growing number of Southern Gospel fans express a distinct preference for attending concerts with live music. This is a fairly well-known segment of Southern Gospel fans. To my surprise, a recent commenter expressed a preference for a soundtrack-driven concert. How significant is this preference? Let’s find out!

[polldaddy poll=6756035]


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52 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Doesn’t matter to me. I decide whether to go to a concert or not based mainly on how much I like the group’s music, balanced with the distance and time of the event.

    If you only go to concerts where all the music is live, you’ll probably not be going to too many concerts. πŸ™‚

    • Well, I actually voted for the second option. I’m more likely to attend concerts with live bands, and I’ll go farther to see such a concert. But I will pay to see soundtrack-only groups on occasion, if the evening is open and the distance is right. πŸ™‚

  2. In geneeral, I will not waste time with groups using tracks. There are some exceptions in cases of groups with extraordinary talent, like Greater Vision and the Booth Brothers, but even they would be infinitely better without the recorded nonsense.
    I wish some of the groups using tracks would explain to me the difference between their concerts and a karaoke party!
    Some groups like the Statesmen and the Cathedrals did pretty well with nothing more than a piano, and even today I would prefer that to listening to a recording of a “band.”
    And the gentleman arguing it is too hard to get the sound right when using live instruments needs to sit through a few more concerts where the tracks are also too loud and drown out the vocals. In my experience generally the live bands have the best sound mix.
    What is more disconcerting than watching a group member fiddle with the audio controls in the middle of a song?

    • Now here, I’m going to have to stick up for that gentleman. Ben Harris has been around in our industry for decades – he even passed up a job offer from the Statesmen years ago, when they were huge – and he’s also a respected audio engineer who knows what he’s talking about. If he says it’s hard to get the live mix right for a band, then I’m sure it is.

      That said, even if a track is mixed correctly, you are entirely correct that it overpowers the vocals way too often!

      • Thanks Daniel for the “gotcherback”. The gentleman above has a right to his own views. In the gospel genre in which we reside, we have limitations both in dollars available and venues in sufficient size to handle live bands (ie drums). When I was with Milsap as chief engineer, on rare occassions I would go out on the road and mix house sound, especially if it were a longer sit down gig like in Vegas for a few weeks at a time. I would arrive at the venue at about 7 am to help, and oversee sound setup. This consisted of many large format tri-amped cabinets for the house, and a bevy of monitors for Ronnie’s band and backup singers. Sometimes we had orchestra to also contend with. The band would come in around noon or so and I would begin getting sound for the house, typically on a huge format console of 50-60 inputs, along with racks of outboard gear such as reverbs, limiters, delays, etc. In addition, there was a monitor console located just off stage for the soul purpose of mixing the on stage monitors, along with a monitor engineer who never received the acclaim he deserved, and who would have much rather being doing my job than his. At about 4 pm Ronnie would come in for a walk through and sound check. In my 14 years with him, not once did I ever know of him checking the house sound nearly as much as he did the monitors. He would be on stage for the check for well over an hour. Typically the 1st show started about 7pm and the 2nd show about 10pm. If I were lucky I would get to bed by about 2-3am. Now remember, my work day began at 7 am! The one thing that had to be right, or I would lose my job, was the sound. Promoters and the artist had to be pleased, and it had to sound like a mixed record. I don’t know of a single gospel group who is capable of pulling something to this grand of scale off. People attending these concerts are coming expecting it to be so loud that conversation with their neighbor is impossible. As Gospel artists we have a totally different set of circumstance. IN equipment, ticket prices, expected audience and venues. Live bands in large venues are not nearly the problem as live bands in venues of 500 or less seating. Someone in this thread, suggested that if we attend a gospel concert just because it is a live band, that we have missed the point of gospel music in the 1st place. So true! Back in the hey day of our genre the piano player was the band, and it worked. Then in the mid 60’s groups such as the Goodmans, Rambos, Hinsons, etc arrived on the scene, and the music direction for our genre changed. The piano was now not the sole instrument as groups were adding bass, steel, and lead guitar along with the piano, which ushered in a far more country flavored sound. IN the interim, much of the polished arrangements and great vocal oriented music began to give way to highly instrumented music. The harmonies, whether you chosse to believe or not, became far less important. Some groups that saw the changes taking place began looking for music to compete with this very different way of presenting the gospel in song. Our beloved Cathedrals began singing huge ballads such as “Champion Of Love” and other similar ballads. They were lush with orchestrations that complemented those great polished vocal arrangements. Now the question became, “How to showcase those orchestrated big ballads” and do them justice. The answer was let the piano man play along with the studio tracks, orchestration, drums, brass, harps and so it was. That ushered in tracks as we know it today. Now whether a group uses piano only, tracks only, piano with tracks, or totally live band, our interest should not be whether it is any of those, but rather, are we sufficiently setting the bar ever higher to insure continued growth of our gospel music genre. And notice I did not use the term Southern Gospel! Now as to drums…….yes they are loud. Typically on the order of 100-120 dbspl. We have promoters requirring groups to maintain a level no greater than 85 dbspl. In the smaller venues you simply cannot get there with live drums. There is this wall called physics that God himself implemented, and by golly, no matter who you are or how much you hate tracks, that is one wall you will not cross. I love the live bands, if they are good, can play tight and tasteful. But if it is like most, it is several individual efforts, each trying to impress the audience with his/her talent and amplitude, rather than accompanying the vocalist in a tasteful, subdued manner. On the other side of that coin is tracks used incorrectly, ie way too loud. We sang at the SGMA Hall Of Fame Inductance ceremony a few years back, and at sound check one of the groups on the program was playing their sound track………their bass singer could have stayed in the green room, for he certainly had no real need for being on stage, except for the image. That is simply wrong. I know of groups who have all their vocals on Pro Tools and only sing the solo lines live….the rest is pre-records. But I also know of pop and country acts doing the exact same thing. Whether you like tracks, hate tracks, love bands, hate bands or want piano only….the real issue is the declining level of talent and ability to really understand music. Who would hire a doctor who never learned his profession, but just decided one day that was what he was going to be?

      • Ben, you’ve more than paid the dues to earn a “gotcherback” from any of us!

        I don’t know of a single engineer in Southern Gospel who would be able to work a 7am – 3am day on a steady basis, let alone want to!

      • Yes , I too agree with the gentleman that is , yes it is very hard to get the audio right
        for a live band , I am musician my self and a studio musician that why you had
        a lot of major acts that lost points and a lot of points when they performed live
        \trying to reproduce their sound live some group sound affects really and over all
        sound were terrible and when you have some one paying 300.00 for a nose bleed
        seat I wanna hear it correct , know excuses that why a lot of groups use tracks
        you got have roadies and engineers like Kiss has the only group I seen still putting in down
        live Gene Simmons ,their excellent musician and they work hard at what they do.

  3. Quite honestly, it does not make a difference to me is a group has a band or not. However, if anything, I would probably prefer going to performances with soundtracks, mostly because it is what I’m used to hearing growing up, but live bands do not bother me.

  4. Well you get what you pay for ! It does take more time to get the sound right with a live band but its worth it in my opinion ! Other kinds of music do it all the time !

    • Comment

      • Sorry, I sent before I posted……..
        McCray, I always enjoy your group and “band”, and even with changes it remains a sound I like !

  5. I find it intriguing that 33 votes in, only two of the five options have been selected (bands=more likely and no difference!)

  6. I really have a 4 voices and a piano kind of preference, but I am thrilled to get to go see whomever
    comes close to my area when it’s convenient for me to go see them. Thoroughly enjoy my NQC times, too!!
    Bobbie

  7. Doesn’t make any difference to me. If I like that group I attend either way.

  8. Really? I hope this doesn’t come across as critical because I’m not intending it to be, but do people really decide to go or not go to a concert strictly on whether or not the music is live? I realize it’s everyone’s personal preference, and to each his or her own, but that seems sort of narrow-minded to me, when there are so many other reasons to attend a concert. Great songs, outstanding singers, the spiritually uplifting experience, the need for encouragement through music, the love of the genre, etc. That said, because it is the topic of the day, I chose the option that it makes no difference to me. This poll question depends totally on quality as far as I’m concerned. I’m not any more or less likely to attend a concert because a group has a live band. My decision to attend depends on the quality of the group’s performance, which includes a lot of things–music, song selection, vocal ability, stage personality, etc. But since the topic is band vs tracks, I have heard groups with live bands that are really dismal. If musicians don’t know how to tastefully accompany the singers or the sound is not mixed well, live bands can be a nightmare, just like soundtracks and stacked vocals can be if they’re not properly used as well. In my opinion, a group manager’s job from a musical standpoint is to put together a group of the highest quality and professionalism that he or she possibly can. I applaud those groups who have quality bands, the funds to afford them, and put forth the extra time and practice that has to go into it to make sure the sound and quality are spot on. And I applaud those groups who know their limitations and financial restraints in this area and choose to put the best option out there for them in the form of soundtracks. I love the freedom, energy and spontaneity that a good live band can add to the stage but not at the expense of the quality of the sound of the performance if the players and the sound mix are not both top notch.

    • Please don’t call people narrow-minded for believing that live music matters. As you can see from the poll results so far, this group of people might not be quite half of the Southern Gospel fan base, but it’s probably 35%-45%.

      • I absolutely did not call anyone narrow-minded, Daniel. If you will please re-read my post, I said “that” seems sort of narrow minded to me, not “they” or any person. I stated I was not being critical and to each his or her own. I respectfully ask that you do not put words in my mouth, or in this case via my fingers on the keyboard. πŸ™‚ And I did not say that live music does not matter. I asked whether or not people decide to attend or not attend STRICTLY on basis of live music or not. I happen to believe it matters, just not to the extent that I would attend or not based soley on that one factor.

      • Calling someone’s position narrow-minded isn’t terribly far from implying that the person is narrow-minded for holding a narrow-minded position. Nevertheless, I apologize for the misunderstanding, and thanks for the clarification.

  9. I have a preference for soundtrack, but then I’m 80 years old. lol

  10. You go, Sue! More power to you!

  11. Daniel, I actually do think that it’s a pretty big leap to conclude that a person is completely narrow-minded based on their belief about one specific topic—much like I think it is a huge leap to write a person off as a failure just because they make one mistake. But I accept your apology and hope we can both agree that this thing called gospel music is something that a whole lot of people are passionate about, and if it’s done in the right way with a balance of talent, skill, professionalism, enthusiasm, and blessed by the Lord, it can be a very thrilling and fullfilling experience for us all, regardless if the band is live or on an electronic device.

    • Thanks for accepting the apology, and I do indeed see much more clearly where you’re coming from now.

  12. Travel and time considerations really dwarf all the other factors on this list for me! But if I like the group anyway I don’t care whether they’re using soundtracks, although it’s cool if they have some live instruments.

  13. I had never thought about this before–have been going to SG concerts for about 3 years now. I have been to six concerts that were tracks only (Boothe Brothers, GV (although Gerald does play piano on some), one of the Gold City concerts, Brian Free and Assurance, Kingsmen, The Nelons). Interestingly, none was a ticketed event.

    Those with piano/keyboard or more: Jeff & Sherri Easter, Hoppers, Bowlings, Greenes, Perrys (when I saw them they still had full time pianist)

    The ticketed concerts (in the $25 and up ticket range)and the artists that I have seen multiple times have live bands: Jason Crabb, EHSS, Crabb Family, GVB. Coincidence or no?

    • Well, it’s not entirely a coincidence; the more salaries a group must pay, the less likely they will be able to take love offering dates. I will add that just about all the artists you named do some ticketed and some love offering dates, though!

  14. Comment

  15. I don’t think it matters anymore if you have a live band or just tracks in the Southern Gospel industry anymore ! There really isn’t a separation between full time artist and part time. There use to be a saying , “that’s what separates the men from the boys ! ” that saying is not true anymore in Southern Gospel in my opinion! It does matter in certain venues that will only book artist that are live ! Believe it or not there are those who quit coming to SG concerts because of the tracks and stacks but we have allowed it for so long that folks don’t really care now . I’m just wondering what about 10 or 20 years from now what the fan base numbers will look like !

    • Count me among those that have largely quit going to SG concerts because of tracks. I even gave up my NQC tickets for that reason.

      The saddest thing is no other genre of music performs to tracks, but SG, which is supposed to honor Christ above all, waters down their quality and expects the fans to accept it.

      I believe in 10 -20 years the fan base will be even smaller. Anyone who doesn’t already love the music will never be attracted to a bunch of karoake singers with their substandard presentations. Keep your band, McCray, and thanks for doing it.

      • No other genre of music expects its artists to work for love offerings or a $15-20 ticket. If you can get enough people to pay $75-100 for tickets to go see Triumphant, Booth Brothers, or Collingsworth Family (no disrespect to any of these groups, they just happen to be the three favorites as voted by SN magazine this year–I personally love all three) and pack the concert halls, then yes, they will be glad to carry a full band and will be able to pay the musicians a reasonable wage for their work. But yes, the fan base will be even smaller and smaller if more people follow your lead and jump ship because, as you’ve said, you’ve quit supporting it. Turning one’s back on the industry isn’t really helping. And with respect to your comment about groups using tracks as “watering down the quality,” I personally know groups who use live musicians today on stage who would have better quality if they’d let the musicians go and start using tracks. Live does not necessarily mean quality. And there are a lot of A-list studio musicians who play on tracks and projects that quite possibly would take offense to your suggestion that the music they make is “watered down quality.”

      • Keep your shirt on Jim, I think that’s definitely an exaggerated statement. Look at the Booth Brothers, I wouldn’t call their stuff watered down. If you want to talk about other genres, sometimes it’s so bad that the pop singers are completely lip syncing!

  16. Progress, technology, modernization, whatever you want to call it, has both good and bad aspects to it. Yes, the soundtrack aspect has allowed groups to keep a smaller budget, be able to pay their bills, and go into smaller areas that other groups with larger payrolls may not be able to financially afford to go. The down side is fewer musicians are able to make their living in gospel music, lack of live band sometimes presents an issue with spontanetiy or the ability to go with the flow, and sometimes the energy level is less with tracks than it would be with a live band, depending on song, arranement, style, instruments, etc—sometimes, not necessarily all the time. Great emcee work and strong songs with great performances and arrangemnents can often challenge that. But if I may, I would have to say that the issues that McCray addresses go deeper than just live band versus tracks. I think it has a lot to do with too many groups trying to make it, record labels that record anyone who wants to make a CD, the easy access of marketing through internet and social media, the ease of which one can purchase a spot on a radio compilation to send out a single to radio, radio stations playing anything they’re sent regardless of quality. I mean, it doesn’t take long to set up shop and proclaim to be a legitimate group these days. Make a recording, do a photo shoot, get a website, send out a single and start booking dates and you’re a group. I know there’s a litle more to it than that, but obviously not much from what I see on the internet and Facebook. It’s more than just a band versus track issue. I honestly don’t see how groups survive in this economic climate, seeing as how there are so many of them these days trying to make it.

  17. Those who say no other genre uses tracks are wrong.

    And for me, being in the part of the country that I live, I can’t get picky about whether or not a group is fully live or not. Those of you in the south who have 5-10 groups performing within 200 miles weekly, I can understand. But up here, we are lucky to get one group within 200 miles every month.

    • What Josh said. πŸ˜€

  18. Truthfully, if I made a list of my favorite ten groups in this industry, there would be maybe 1-2 that use three or more instruments. Many times it’s been a song on the radio that gets me interested in a particuar group, and I have no idea from the radio if they have a live band or not.

  19. Where is the acapella option?

    • Try naming an exclusively acapella SG group currently topping the radio charts and consistently appearing as a headliner at the genre’s biggest events… πŸ™‚

      • I’m just saying that having primarily acapella songs would make me more likely to attend a concert.

      • OK!

  20. I discovered SGM when groups had bands (Oaks, Stamps, etc) or at least piano and bass (Cathedrals, Statesmen) so I much prefer that which is why I support the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion which limits track use. With tracks, I sometimes wonder how much of the vocals I’m hearing come from the artists singing live as compared with previously recorded singing on the track. Do some singers in some groups simply lip synch on stage at times to what was recorded earlier?

    • Virtually never exclusively; however, many groups have their pre-recorded vocals in addition to their live vocals.

      • Why have vocals on the tracks unless you don’t plan to sing on stage at some points? I find tracks bad enough but to have to also listen to pre-recorded vocals with someone lip synching makes it not even a concert for me. I might as well be home listening to a recording.

  21. I definitely prefer live bands to sound tracks. I too have thought it’s nothing more than glorified karaoke. But I will occasionaly go hear a group that sings to tracks, if they are a big name group.

    The best concert I have ever been to was the Crabb Family’s first concert back together, in 2010, in Lake Charles, LA. They had a three piece band, plus Jason on the guitar and Aaron on the harmonica. That concert was so lively and powerful, as well as versatile. The last 20 minutes was a 3 or 4 encore version of “Never Been This Homesick Before”, with a lengthy “jam session” after the concert had closed out. It was so much fun to just watch those musicians playing and having fun.

    My introduction into SG music was in the ’80s, with Gold City’s Band of Gold, The Kingsmen, etc. To me this was the best era of SG music, and most used live bands.

    Here’s a side topic: whatever happened to the steel guitar in SG music? I miss that sound!

  22. I went with it made no difference but,i do have some preferences on both sides.I don’t mind tracks but, if there are tracks and stacks i can’t bear that,i hate stacks ,i wish there never were such a thing.On occasion i run into a band that overpowers the vocals ,don’t like that either.The most pleasant experience i have had with drums was when Jeff & Sheri Easter had a full band,they had some of the most considerate drummers i can remember hearing.

  23. Growing up, playing and singing in a local group, all we had was a band behind us. I started playing bass with a group called the Cedar Valley Boys when I was a 8, and worked my way up to piano, then tenor. I was there for 10 years. I left when I was 18. We mostly sang original songs, but paying for custom tracks wasn’t a financial option for us back then. It would have been an absolute train wreck if our band tried to lay down tracks, and then the singers try to use them live. None of us were on a first name basis with Mr. Timing and Mrs. Groove! Shoot, I’m still scarred with timing inabilities because of it. haha. But I must say its such a difficult subject and all sides have a point. I will say this….My few years with the Kingsmen included having the band behind us. There is just a magic and energy a band brings that tracks will never provide. No matter how you mix the tracks, or what instrumentation you add to them, it will never take the place of a live band. We did use backing tracks with the Kingsmen band on certain songs, but there is just something special about being able to turn around and yell out, “turn’er around, Beaver!” (Hamill’s trademark yell for an encore).

    I can’t weigh in on all the reasons of having or not having a band, as it has all been hashed over many times.
    The Old Paths Quartet tried to use a full time band several years ago, but it just didn’t work out. I do believe there are those who would rather hear the vocals without a band, because they feel the message is most important and think a band would drown them out, no matter how its mixed. (I have personally witness people walk in, see a set of drums, and walk right back out and leave!) Then there are those who love the energy and excitement of a group that has a band, and they just enjoy the whole experience. Do both types of people put the same amount in the offering plate, or pay the same ticket price to see either or? Probably. Thats always part of the economic decisions of hiring a band, or not.
    Our group is blessed to have a sound engineer who is an amazing drummer, and a bass singer who can play a mean tenor sax. I go and tap along on the keyboard, out of the groove of course, and we play several “band only” numbers with some backing tracks that have the bass guitar, and extras added to it. We will include the audience in a request segment, and the band will play along while we all sing. Its always funny though, how often someone will come up to us at the table and complain that the drums drowned out all the vocals during the sing-a-long!

    There are some groups who have put together a band and have been very successful. Of course you all have named several groups that have full-time bands, and its awesome that they have made it work out to carry one.

    Times and economics change from time to time, and all ministries and business have to make decisions that will be in the group’s best interest. But I would almost put $100 down that every group out there would love to have a band behind them every night….just don’t ask to hire my old local group band; your fans will beg you to bring the tracks back!

    • You know, your comments lead to an interesting related point I made yesterday. I was trading emails with the manager of a group that’s doing well enough right now that they could stage a band if it was their goal in life, but used tracks by choice. I commented that fans brought into Southern Gospel music by the Booth Brothers, Signature Sound, and the Gaithers were raised on tracks and probably don’t care all that much whether there’s a live band in the mix, too. But on the other hand, fans brought into the genre by the Kingsmen … they’re the ones voting for options 1 and 2!

  24. I agree with McCray. People are so used to it now, they don’t really think about it anymore. It’s like radio. When I started in radio in 1985, it was live 24/7. Now it’s automated garbage that isn’t even worth turning the on switch for.
    As far as the comment about SG being the only genre to use tracks, that’s not true. I few years ago, I went to a ZoeGirl concert with my daughters and they used tracks.

    • Go back another generation or two on radio, and it was truly live. One could argue that disc jockeys spinning discs was a great step backwards from what radio used to be in the days when Reagan was an announcer!

  25. To be honest it really don’t matter ! Jake Hess told me there were different reasons why he left the Statesmen. One of them was because the guys didn’t care about practicing anymore ! Working on hard arrangements and there reason was , the people don’t care ! Why should we work so hard on these arrangements when other artist can do simple arrangements , tell a sad story and the people give standing ovations ! We sing a hard arrangement they just sit there ! So if folks don’t care if it’s live or not why should the artist care ! I do because I love the music and the feeling the band brings and the venues we can work because of the band !

  26. I wish I was an amazing drummer (thanks Jeremy) but as a musician, I obviously love to play. I was raised listening to groups that carried a live band and that is what sparked me wanting to get to do what I do. I strive to keep in mind that a musician is there to compliment the vocals. The music may be great, but what is even greater about our music is the lyrics. If the listener cannot hear what is being sung, we are wasting our time.

  27. There is one major component that many people simply do not think about when it comes to mixing and volume control, whether it be live bands or trax….MONITORS.

    If a group uses floor monitors (or wedges), they now have to worry about not only the sound that is pointed towards the audience, but also the sound pointed at them. The house mix may be just right, but if the wedges are turned up too high, then you have the problem of sound bouncing off the BACK of the room and back out towards the house, which just creates a muddy sound overall. Add the fact that monitors are almost always mixed differently than the house (so the singers can hear what they need to hear), and you can wind up with a clean house sound ruined by stage volume.

    If you are using a live band in addition to wedges, then you now run into several problems….first of all, the live drums will determine the volume of the wedges (the singers/players gotta be able to hear themselves over the drums). Secondly, you have to have AT LEAST two (preferably three or even four) different monitor mixes for the vocalists and the musicians. If you are in a smaller room, you run the potential of overpowering an audience before you ever turn on the house sound.

    Now, granted, you can use in-ear monitors, which a lot of groups (even without bands) use, but those are very hit-or-miss in terms of effectiveness. Some singers love them because you can get your own isolated mix without ruining what the audience hears, but that same isolation can ruin the natural blend of voices when all you hear is yourself. For musicians, they’re great because you don’t have the problem of trying to blend as much, but if a drummer is using in-ears, odds are they can’t correctly adjust their playing volume to the size of the room.

    (I mention that last part from experience….I used in-ears while playing acoustic drums during a church service once, and I had no clue how loud I was playing until after the service when several people complained about the volume. I now use one ear monitor and keep the other ear open.)

    Now, as for convenience, yes, trax are MUCH easier on a traveling group. You can get by with an 8-channel mixing board (some even have build-in FX), some wireless mic’s, in-ear monitors, a laptop (or an Instant Replay if you have the extra $$), two powered speakers, and a powered sub. The board, wireless mic and IEM receivers, crossovers, FX processors, etc., can be mounted in a rack on wheels, and any mic/speaker stands can be put into gig bags. Your total luggage would essentially consist of four boxes, two cases (one for mic’s and one for cables), and a couple gig bags. With 4 men and a dolly, your load in shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Then you just place your speakers and sub, and since everything in the rack is already hooked up, the only wires you need to run are for power and to connect your speakers/sub to the rack. In less than an hour, you can have all of your equipment unloaded, set, and ready for a sound check. Run through a couple of songs to dial in the sound in the house, and you are ready to go within 60-90 minutes of your arrival.

    With a live four-piece band (that includes acoustic drums), you not only have all of that equipment, but you have all of the instruments that needs to be loaded in, put together, mic’d, and plugged in. Add another 30 minutes (MINIMUM) to your set-up time right there. If you are mic-ing your drums, you’ll need 12-16 channels to accomodate everyone on stage (thus doubling the size of your sound board, which no longer fits in the rack). Then, your sound check will consist of testing each mic and/or line to make sure they’re working properly, then running through several songs to make sure everything is mixed properly (ideally, an hour). Your set-up time has gone from 60-90 minutes to over two hours, provided there are no technical issues. To many artists, that’s simply too much hassle.

    There’s an old saying among professional musicians….”We’ll sing/play for free. You pay us to travel, carry in and/or set up our equipment, and for our time away from our families.” Perhaps some artists simply feel that they are not being paid enough to do all that extra work….

  28. Kyle has eloquently described why most groups might choose to go with tracks. Personally, I would choose to hear a quartet with just a piano over a quartet with tracks. I would choose to hear a quartet with an acoustic band over one with a full band including percussion. To me, the Inspirations deliver just fine without any drums, and their simple band adds lots of energy and life. In fact I went to one of their concerts right after Myron’s baby was born, with only Luke in the band, and it still was awesome. I live by KISS, keep it simple silly. I would love to hear another group or two try a piano and small acoustic band over tracks. Personally, I don’t care for a live drum set. I don’t mind the subdued drum sound in my music, but in my experience the energy brought by live drums is artificial and physical through heavy beat that permeates the body. Its just not for me. πŸ™‚

  29. An interesting point to add to whether or not live music is important.

    For arguably the most popular quartet on the road, and maybe the best piano player on the road, their most popular song is track-only.