David Gray draws a new line
The logistics behind David Gray’s forthcoming Irish tour reveal that artists can change the live music model if they want to
On Monday morning, David Gray announced that he was planning an Irish tour for December. Nothing new or novel in this: the musician has been a regular visitor to these shores over the course of the last 20 years and his career-defining “White Ladder” album was a hit here before anywhere else.
But it’s the fact that Gray is asking his fans to decide where he should play which makes this worthy of attention. The singer is coming to Ireland to perform at a TV show and has decided to tour as well, but the routing for the dates will be done based on where fans want to see him.
If, for example, enough fans want to see him in Carrick-On-Shannon and are prepared to pledge 34 euro a piece to see him in a “smaller” venue, Gray and co will head to a venue in Co Leitrim.
It stands to reason that all tours should be planned on the back of where your fans are, but too many tours and live events are planned on gut instinct rather than raw data. While Gray has the good fortune to have already amassed a support base, it’s still interesting that he’s letting fans dictate the tour rather than a conventional agent or promoter. It’s smart too, because he’s giving that fanbase what fans want, which is access and participation in the decision-making process.
Such changes in how the live music industry operate are to be welcomed. While anyone who survived last week’s Web Summit will shudder at mention of the D word, genuine and groundbreaking disruption sometimes does begin with small moves like this. It will be fascinating to see how this works out for Gray – and who will be next to copy him.