The Student News Site of University of Texas at Arlington (Department of Communication)

Lone Star Sentinel

The Student News Site of University of Texas at Arlington (Department of Communication)

Lone Star Sentinel

The Student News Site of University of Texas at Arlington (Department of Communication)

Lone Star Sentinel

DFW Metroplex feeling the beat

Streaming accounts for bulk of music revenues, but live performances returning to pre-pandemic normal
Mallika Chahal
Growl, located at 509 E. Abram St. in Arlington, Texas, serves as both a venue for live music and as a shop selling vinyl records. Growl manager David Waits said people are drawn to music because of its therapeutic qualities.

ARLINGTON, Texas—The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is feeling the beat of the local music scene as the efforts of dedicated local artists, bands and creatives are powering the rich cultural hub.

Chad Withers, general manager of live-music venue Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio in Denton, said he believes the city’s creative scene is home to many forms of talent and has a long life ahead of itself.

Experiencing local art in a group setting is memorable because of the opportunity it provides to form and share opinions, he said.

Streaming accounted for 84% of recorded music revenues in the U.S., according to the 2023 Year-End Music Industry Revenue Report by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Data visualization shows the economic impact of the music industry on Texas.

Nathan Walters, Arlington resident and vocalist for the group One-Eyed Monsters—a local mixed-rock band—said the experience of witnessing people physically make music instead of listening to pre-recordings is powerful.

“Music brings people together, allows them to share artistry and builds a sense of community,” Withers said. “They’re [local concerts] unique events that don’t happen very often and so it’s a special experience to be able to share with people.”

The coronavirus pandemic heavily impacted socialization, and the music scene was no exception. Total monthly consumer spending on music decreased by more than 45% compared to pre-pandemic, with live music events and physical sales being the most severely affected.

Everybody wants to be a part of that scene. Everybody wants a piece of that pie.” –David Waits, Growl

Withers said people missed that experience and feel comfortable to partake again and attendance for live events at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio has been increasing every month.

Live Nation, a ticket sales operating company, reported total revenues tripling from over $6.2 million at the end of 2021 to more than $22.7 million at the end of 2023.

By the end of 2021—and for the last two years—business has returned to a pre-pandemic normal, David Waits, manager of seven years at Growl Records in Arlington, said.

Waits said that people’s love for music is primitive, primal and a form of escapism, adding that music is therapeutic and attracts people with its medicinal quality. But the music scenes throughout the country are experiencing a tough time because a lot of younger people don’t go out as much and are finding different avenues for entertainment, he said.

Samuel Stevens, guitarist and vocalist for One-Eyed Monsters, said it seems more people enjoy streaming music online rather than listening to live performances, and he said he wants more people to attend live shows. He said his ultimate goal is for people to walk away from a show feeling inspired, he said.

Sam Lee, bassist for the band, said the group can pull a sizable crowd, but live music competes with other general forms of entertainment, such as simply choosing to stay in and watch Netflix.

Data visualization shows revenues for Live Nation. (Mallika Chahal)

That’s why the group works to ensure that attendees and fans of the band can expect something new to sink their teeth into at every show, Walters said.

“When we go on, I want it to feel intense, inspiring and really energetic,” Walters said. “And to walk away from that feeling ‘Like man, that band did not leave anything on the table.’”

The office of the Texas governor found that the music business and music education in 2020 brought in $4.4 billion in annual earnings and just more than $10.8 billion in annual economic activity.

The governor’s office found these numbers to be $4.6 billion in annual earnings and just in excess of $10.8 billion in annual economic activity in 2022.

“I think the music scene is a big struggle for everyone,” Waits said. “Entertainment, in general, doesn’t matter what form it is, is a tough business. Everybody wants to be a part of that scene. Everybody wants a piece of that pie.”

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    AdiMay 10, 2024 at 11:45 pm

    Really enjoy learning more about the local arts scene, this was well-written. Great job!