If it all pans out the way Tourbait hopes, the traditional concert with a standardized, band-written set list could be a thing of the past.
The new website basically works as a mediator between the band and fans. Say a mid-sized band like Dawes is coming to town and you really want to hear "When You Call My Name," but they're too busy to playing things off of 2011's Nothing is Wrong.
Now you can bribe them - literally - to play your song.
The money is not collected if the band does not play your requested song. The band is like your own personal jukebox (which is what they always wanted, right? Right?).
This video explains it a bit better.
"Baiting" works as an enticement for smaller bands to play songs, but I'm not sure it would work on a larger scale. I highly doubt Radiohead would care if you want to hear "Creep" during this March in Glendale. They just won't pay it. Since they have more money than God (despite that anti-corporate stance, we know they are living comfortably) money really isn't an incentive to play the songs they hate. You're going to go to the show and enjoy it anyway, "Creep" or no "Creep."
It undoubtedly would work on a local band like Mergence. If enough fans pledged to hear "Me and My Family Vs. The Robots" instead of new tracks like "Harvest," I'm pretty sure Mergence would be all about the money. After all, they're stuck somewhere between still working day jobs and being locally famous. Of course, their catalog isn't big enough to withhold their more widely known songs. Those songs also happen to be the catchiest, and will likely win them new fans.
I can only see this working on mid-sized bands. But wouldn't this mean that the most popular songs are always going to be played? Not everyone is going to want to hear the deep cuts, even if the band wants to play them. This puts the band in an awkward position where they choose between money and artistic integrity. So goes the life of a musician, I suppose.
The coolest Tourbait feature by far is actually its namesake. If a band isn't scheduled to play a show in your area, local fans can show them how badly we'd like them around with money. If they come to Phoenix and play a show including the songs we "baited" them with, they get the pot o' gold.
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We could go on and on about protecting the integrity of a traditional concert - where the band plays exactly what they want and fans hopelessly scream out songs that will never be played, but it is nice to have an option to visually show a band how much we'd like them around.
Personally, I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing yet. It seems to add unnecessary chaos to the tour process for most bands. On the plus side, 10 cents of every collected dollar is donated to providing instruments and music lessons to children in need.
I really hope this idea goes somewhere. I look forward to seeing what Tourbait does for the future of live music, if anything at all.