Surfing the internet recently I came across a blog post that claims to know how long your band should play a show based on some factors that the author made up.
You can view the post called “A handy guide to how long your band should play,” from the Phoenix News Times here: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/music/a-handy-guide-to-how-long-a-set-your-band-should-play-6600479
The author, Jason Keil, claims to have come up with a “set of rules and expectations” that musicians should follow when deciding how long to play.
Keil says a band should not play for over 20 minutes if they have nothing released. I have seen countless Minneapolis bands that have released nothing and still manage to play well over 20 minutes while holding my attention.
He then goes on to say “Only when you get thoroughly established locally or are selling 300 tickets per concert in multiple states should you even dream of playing longer than 60 minutes.” If anybody is to play 60+ minutes, then a minimum of 300 tickets should have been sold? Kiel’s recommended set times seemed a bit arbitrary and lead me to question his logic on this matter.
This got me thinking about the author’s experience on the matter of how long a show should be. I reached out to him through his personal site and wrote him the following message.
Name: vince michel Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Phoenix times guide to how long your band should play
Message: Hi there, liked your article on how long bands should play. Where did you come up with this information, have you played in a band before? -vince
I then received this reply below.
Hi Vince, Thanks for reading the blog post and visiting the website. I honestly appreciate it.To answer your question, I have not played in a band before. I’ve been to a lot of shows though.
The piece began after a concert I reviewed was mysteriously cut short. The audience had paid a lot of money to see the band play for less than an hour. They were clearly upset about it and the article was written in response to that. We started to ask, “How long should be bands be playing anyway?” As someone who loves live music but hates the rising cost of tickets, I wanted to explore some things a performer should do to give an audience their money’s worth.
I hope this answers your questions. Once again, thank you for reading.
For him to say that “I have not played in a band before,” shows that he knows little of what goes on in an artist’s mind when deciding how long to play. The audience, venue needs, pay, and materiel length all factor into this decision.
Having been to a lot of shows has made Keil an authority on how long a band should play? I do not agree. It was an interesting read and was well written, yet I feel that his parameters of how long your band should play were quite misplaced.
Thanks to Jason Kiel for his correspondence and help with the creation of this blog post.
photo credit: http://www.johnlund.com/Images/10001300049.jpg