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CMU Beef Of The Week #270: Tinder v Music

By | Published on Friday 21 August 2015


So, as you almost certainly noticed, there was a lot of chitter chatter, and also some binter banter, which I’ve just decided is now a thing, earlier this month about the declining number of nightclubs in the UK, mainly after a BBC report on the trend. Was it because of draconian new licensing rules, or that young people had less money to spend in these times of austerity, or just because the kids don’t like clubbing? I like to thing they’re all at home crocheting. While high on smack.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a promoter in Melbourne also pondered on Facebook this week as to why 2015 is proving to be a challenging year for grass roots clubs and music venues, throwing another theory into the mix as to why that might be the case.

Writing on his venue’s Facebook page, James Young documented a conversation he had had with another local promoter who had “posed a theory I had never heard before: ‘Tinder has destroyed the live music and pub scene. Look at Grindr and the gay scene. Grindr came two years before Tinder. Commercial Road Prahran used to be a thriving late night gay hot spot. Now, it’s as dead as a doornail. It’s over. Now we are seeing the same thing with Tinder'”.

Elaborating on this other guy’s theory, the Facebook post goes on: “This is how young people ‘pick up’ these days. I see them in the office. They’re on it all the time. They’re not going out to clubs and pubs to pick up anymore. They’re just picking up their phones. Tinder is killing off clubs and pubs all over Melbourne and Australia”.

So, to conclude, when smug live music people used to brag to a struggling record industry that “ha, you can’t replicate the clubbing or gig experience online, so we’re safe”, they were ignoring that fact that, for at least some punters, the clubbing and gig experience was mainly about finding someone to fuck, and that, ladies and gentleman, can definitely be replicated online. And through Grindr and Tinder it has been.

And even if we accept that Tinder is about dating rather than just fucking, it still has a negative impact on music venues – this theory goes on – because people who meet through a dating app can work out what, if anything, they have with common with their possible date beforehand. Which means they are more confident meeting said date for dinner, rather than deliberately picking a club venue where, if it turns out the date is the most boring dullard in the world, you don’t have to talk to them anyway because, well, you know, loud music.

Young’s mate’s theorising goes on that, when the kids hook up through Tinder and go on a first date “they try to impress them with some chic dining experience, rather than a rowdy live music experience. I’m telling you, Tinder has a lot to answer for. It’s bleak out their for club owners. These are dark and challenging times. We need to get young people off their phones and back into our bars to actually socialise or we’re all going to go out of business”.

In a later Facebook post, Young also notes that perhaps Netflix is part of the problem here. People hook up on Tinder, and then have a cheap night in bingeing on ‘Breaking Bad’ or suchlike, where the drink is much cheaper, and the potential to fuck much closer to hand. Good times. They’re clever little bastards these young’uns.

But surely the entire customer base for live music and the clubbing economy wasn’t just using these venues as a platform for hooking up?

No, Young concedes in the Sydney Morning Herald. But, “bars are fragile businesses and anything that affects even three or five percent of business on already thin margins can be hard to recover from. And what we are talking about is 10 per cent loss of business and, for some businesses, that’s their profit margin”.

So there you go. Of course, all of this is just anecdotal, and ultimately the theory of one unnamed Melbourne booker. What does he know? But it’s definitely got people chatting. If rock n roll is to survive, and those aforementioned draconian licensing laws are cracking down on the drugs, then perhaps the music industry has to reclaim the sex. Sex, drugs and rock n roll, see. That’s what I was attempting there. And if you don’t like it, well, just swipe left.