Do we have any big bands anymore?

Do we have any big bands anymore?
Authored By John Nicholson
Do we have any big bands anymore? When we were kids it was clear. Bands like Sabbath and Purple and Zeppelin were at the top of the tree. They charted in the top five and the demand for tickets was huge and you had to sleep on the streets to get one.
These days it's different. Tracks by bands get downloaded millions of times, but they have little presence or cut through. Sometimes the downloads are free so the figure does not represent desire or support for the band. It all feels very disposable.
Vinyl sales were the largest since the early 90s but at 5 million was only the total of a Zeppelin release and it just doesn’t feel like bands have the same status as a big band in the 1970s. If you don’t pay for a record, how popular is it? We can’t compare now with the past, if we were to do so, I suspect the big bands of the day would have huge download numbers.
There is another metric considered today. Streaming. Can you imagine how many streams Led Zeppelin would have had in 1971? Especially if they were free. Much news was made of Taylor Swift tickets selling out on her current tour, but tickets always sold out and we slept on the streets for a day to get them. I’m not saying she’s not popular, but just offering a perspective. Yes sold out 6 shows at Empire Pool in the 70s. That’s 75,000 tickets. Zep played to over 76,000 at Pontiac Silverdome in 1977 and 56,000 in Tampa in 1973.These bands were truly massive and could sell out huge tours. It gets forgotten today but it was hard to get a ticket for these bands. You didn’t refresh a website, you slept outside the box office.
So what I’m saying is never forget how big, big really was. When you hear that Taylor or this or that baggy-trousered rap star is big, forgive me if I’m a little cynical.

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