A member of the Pho mailing list has an interesting question: how many bands there are in the
US? signed, unsigned, garage bands, whatever?
What do you think? Make your estimates in the comments section and give your rationale. I think 1% of the country is in a band, divided by four for the average number of people in a band, and you get somewhere around 600,000 bands in the U.S. But I could be totally full of shit.
Dave Parks says:
Years ago, for reasons I no longer recall, I did some homework along these
lines for my home market of Sacramento.
At that time, I calculated that roughly 150 ‘local’ bands were performing at
least sporadically around the area. It seemed reasonable to me, in my
experienced if not drug addled mind, that perhaps ten
bullshit/nonserious/highschool/garage bands existed for every (quasi)
professional band on the club circuit. Based on that, I determined there
were approximately 1500 so-called ‘bands’ in the greater Sacramento
metropolitan area (inclusive of the aforementioned and guaranteed horrific
As Sacramento’s balanced socio-economic mix is often used as a test market
for every would-be national consumer product (we get all half wit grocery
shelf fodder pitched here first), the market might offer a somewhat typical
per capita band-to-resident ratio.
As the greater metro area boasts some 1.5 million people, we can extrapolate
a mean of one band per thousand citizens. Based on a national population
approaching 300 Million, one arrives at a highly approximated figure of
300,000 bands in the US alone.
…and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is a lot of bad music.
- Here’s one data point:
Last time I checked, the cumulative circ of all the major U.S. music
instrument mags (Guitar World, Guitar Player, Guitar One, Keyboard, EM, Mix,
EQ, Modern Drummer, Drum!, etc.) was about 1,000,000. Count on pass-along
readership between 1.5 and 3 times higher than that and cross-readership
between 10% and 40%.
Each of these readers isn’t in a band, but then again there are plenty of
musicians *in* bands who never touch the music instrument mags, so maybe it
kind of evens out!