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Concerts at the Drive-In Theater. New ticketing paradigm or temporary mode?

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Metallica came to town last night. Usually when I write an opening line like this, I’m about to see a performance live again in an arena or stadium. Can you imagine the crowds flocking, the excitement in the air, the noise and the pictures as fans in groups, on dates and with their families walk in waiting for the lights to go out and the sound to go up? . His Metallica. The sound goes up WAY.

But, now with a Covid-19 pandemic, live events are all on hiatus, likely until summer 2021 or later. There is no stadium on the planet large enough to socially separate and hold 75,000 people. Live Metallica as a mass event isn’t happening anytime soon.

Last night we saw Plan B. Metallica was playing in drive-ins. They are not the first to try this. Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Garth Brooks have done it before. Dave Matthews does. Is going to a drive-in concert viable in the long run or is it just a placeholder?

Here is how it works. Metallica filmed himself in concert at the Gundlach Bundschu winery in Sonoma, California. Then, August 29e, for one night only at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., the film was played in drive-ins across the country. Like a concert, you either went or missed it. Tickets were $ 115 per car, which included four digital downloads of the Metallicas S & M2 album. The show is on screen. The sound goes through your radio. This is not ideal, especially for people in the back seats.

However, bands like Metallica have expenses. There are bills to pay even when they can’t turn. You have to find a way to monetize the demand of people who want to see you play. And the math of drive-in models is appealing. Two shows per night. $ 115 per car. 300 theaters. If each theater has 10 cars per show, that brings in $ 690,000 in gross revenue. 100 cars per show on average across all theaters is $ 1,380,000. 200 per issue is $ 2,760,000. Meanwhile, spending remains stable. There are the cinema fees, the cost of a projectionist, the snack bar workers, a few kids to sell memorabilia, whoever registers the cars at the door, as well as staff to maintain order and enforce the rules. social distancing. Each additional ticket sold goes pretty much straight to the profit column. And each additional ticket sold counts as four S & M2 album sales for Billboard charting purposes.

Is it fun? This is the question tested. I understand why people want to leave their homes. I understand why they want to feel like they’re at a concert. I’m just not convinced that being in your car watching a movie of a concert through the front window or from the bed of a truck is the same thing. You can’t really feel the music coming out of your radio like you can when Metallica is playing live and the bass is rocking your heart. Interaction with other fans present is extremely limited. Concerts are a sensory experience where you hear and feel the music, watch the musicians, and be part of the living and evolving crowd. Watching a performance filmed from inside your vehicle reduces the event to looking at a really big screen while you listen to the radio.

Metallica played 16 songs in 90 minutes. The setlist was:

1. Wired

2. For whom the bell rings

3. Fuel

4. Search and destroy

5. Creeping Death

6. One

7. Now who were dead

8. Sad but true

9. Butterfly in flame

10. The unforgiven

11. Anywhere I can go

12. Fade to black

13. Puppet master

14. Battery

15. Nothing else matters

16. Enter Sandman

I think the math is smart in how this show was rated. $ 115 is very affordable when the movies cost over $ 15 per person. If you had four of them in your car, you basically paid the price of a movie ticket plus the cost of the digital download CD you received as part of the package. You have a place to go and something to look forward to. You had a full performance of Metallica with the opening act Three Days Grace. You have to honk or flash your lights on the screen to show that you are having fun. And, unlike a regular gig, you can bring your dog, then there’s that.

Everyone loves to hear Enter Sandman. How many will come back to hear it again in a movie theater is still unknown. It is fascinating to see how much the normal continues to change as this pandemic continues.

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