Houston's Recent Onslaught of Sold-Out Shows: What's Up With That?
Regular concertgoers in Houston have probably noticed more sold-out shows in the area over the past year. Just a few years ago, sellouts were generally reserved for the biggest marquee acts at Toyota Center, Bayou Music Center, and Reliant Stadium's RodeoHouston shows.
Photo by Julian Bajsel The xx at House of Blues in February is but one of the dozens of sold-out shows Houston has already seen this year.
These days, though, it seems every giant hip-hop or indie show is selling out within a few days of the on-sale date. Nearly every big traveling Fitzgerald's indie show has sold out recently, most notably Tame Impala, Local Natives, Toro Y Moi and Alt-J the past few weeks. The April 26 Atlas Genius show has been sold out for weeks.
Other smaller acts have stirred up sellouts too. Those mentioned above are now what you would call festival bands at this point in their development. Even former club acts such as Muse, who played Toyota Center last week, are now arena bands.
Just a year ago, a band like fun. could play Warehouse Live to a decent crowd in the studio room. Earlier this week, fun. announced an October 6 Woodlands date after the band's successful Valentine's Day Bayou Music Center show, and will more than likely play both weekends of the Austin City Limits Music Festival this fall.
Photo by Craig Hlavaty
BuzzFest at the Woodlands is always a sellout one way or another, naturally. Other Buzz bands that do brisk business include Cage the Elephant and AWOLnation.
Warehouse Live and House of Blues both hosted sold-out Kendrick Lamar appearances late last year.
Mike Meegz with the Scoremore group has brought Lamar and a host of other hip-hop and electronic shows to Houston and Austin. He thinks that the tides are changing in terms of paying for the privilege of seeing live music.
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"Outlets such as iTunes and Spotify have made it 'cool' again to pay for music, or a subscription to a music service," he says.
Meegz adds that another important part of this boom is that some EDM artists will release music for free, and in exchange ask for fans to attend their shows and purchase merch while they're there.
"I feel this has set a standard for shows to be the revenue stream for artists instead of the record companies," he adds.
EDM shows always do big business in Houston, as you have no doubt noticed by our coverage here. Acts like Skrillex, Girl Talk, Major Lazer, Dillon Francis and Porter Robinson have all been hot tickets.