Is It Worth It?

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July 8, 2010 by DJ Elroy

Afrojack @ Beta (Photo by djElroy)

Over the holiday weekend the woman and I were looking forward to a trip to the movies. “The Last Airbender” had just come out — we’d been seeing the trailers for the past few months — and we agreed it looked to be worth seeing. After all, I’ve been a fan of the animated series since day one and have followed it almost religiously until the end. But directed by M. Night Shyamalan? Meh. Not impressed. If anyone can ruin it, he can. But still…

And then came the reviews.

Embarrassingly harsh. I was hard-pressed to find a review that gave it even 1 full star. “Stay Away!” they warned. And normally I’m one to take critics and reviews with a pound of salt, but this time it seemed like almost everyone was in agreement. Not just the professional reviewers writing from their towers, but average movie-goers and even fans of the series.

Not that this means I wouldn’t like it, but am I ready to invest in it? Why not just wait for Netflix?

So I passed on it.

And this got me thinking — what makes entertainment worth it? What do I expect to get in exchange for my time and money?

And how does this same trade-off apply to catching electronic music acts?

It seems the big shows here are jumping up to $50- or $100-per head (or more)!

What would make someone pay this much money to listen to people play other peoples’ music?

A good line-up of DJs and artists? A good venue? Peer pressure? Or just the promise of a good/fun/unique experience?

Would you be willing to try a completely unheard of DJ for a $20 cover? Maybe. $50? Probably not. It’s not like the old days when you could get a well-rounded roster of artists for one low price. Now it seems that most shows want to play it safe — which I can understand, in part; of course everyone needs to come out ahead financially. Don’t be fooled, nobody does it “for the music” anymore. And if you make a habit of running in the red or even breaking even, you won’t be doing shows for long.

But what would a festival-style show have to offer besides music to get you to pay $100? What would make it worth it? How many different artists would need to be there? For how long? Multiple stages? Normally a given at most big events nowadays. Rides (a la EDC)? How about accecss to schwag — free mix CDs, tees, or maybe download codes for mixes or singles online?

How about a nightclub? It’s usually just one headlining act. No rides, no free stuff, and maybe 2 rooms of music. Normally clubs are more about the music and the (overpriced) drinks and not so much the unique experience. But more people seem to be willing to invest in a nightclub on a weekly basis than on a bigger one-off party.

So what’s the most you’ve paid to get into a show? Was it worth it?

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