NOW SERVING Psychedelic Culture

The Alternative Currents Tour Network

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For those seeking to earn
a living wage as a musicians today there are many areas of struggle
ahead. Three dilemmas come to mind. First, we are living through an
increased time of financial and energy crisis'. Which means that
people are spending less money than previously on music. Second, The
music Industry's old model is restructuring itself at a snail's pace.
It's like watching an oil tanker trying to turn on a dime, it's
awkward and painfully funny to watch. This means that major labels
are not seeking to develop any new artists. Artists must build their
career's on their own, get enough buzz by themselves, and then the
labels may or mat not jump in. Lastly, there are more aspiring
musicians than ever before. As Houston Rap legend Scarface laments,
“It feels like there are 20 million rappers these days, and only 1
million consumers.”

So if an artist really
seeks to make a living wage at his or her craft, with or without
waiting for any label support, and wants to be heard by more people,
then they must tour. Touring is a great opportunity for every
performer, if for the very least they get to see new places while
doing what they love. Plus, there is opportunity to get paid on the

The downside is that the
road is hard on many levels. One aspect of the wear and tear is in
the general diet of most artists on the road. Usually, the band is
rushing to get from one spot on the routing to the next. The long
drives tend to be punctuated by stops at gas stations, where they may
fill up on empty calories, or chain restaurants and fast food spots.
This puts increasing stress on the body. Lastly, what may rarely ever
considered by these performers is that they are unwittingly
contributing to a certain corporate glut which Douglas Rushkoff
details in his 2010 book, “Life. Inc.” Simply put, many
communities in America have been experiencing a “corporatization”
process, where civic life and local mom and pop shops are being
replaced by corporate monoliths. The result is that money taken in by
corporate structures are less likely to be recirculated in the host
community than the mom and pop shops.

The interstate is ruled
by the strip-mall, it runs along every stretch of blacktop in
America; there is no escaping it. In today's world, I personally
think one of the new roles offering itself to an artist is to be more
plugged into helping turn around the current situation, not just
writing the soundtrack to it.

One way of doing so is
what I call the “Alternative Currents Tour Network,” or the ACT
Network. All of us musicians can act in sustainable ways that will
bring more awareness and change to a system that appears to be
crumbling. The ACT Network approach is twofold. First, an online
network will be established that seeks to link Performers, Promoters,
Venues, Local Businesses, Sponsors, and everyone else who wishes to
get involved, which will allow them to build relationships and
develop tour routes that will manifest sustainability. The second
step will be to develop local, alternative currencies in local
markets. This local, alternative currency will then be used as a
partial payment from promoter to participating bands on tour, which
can then be redeemed at local food spots which serve healthy,
nutritious meals. This is one goal. Another area where this can also
work is local hotel services, or bed and breakfast places.

Another element that can
be integrated into ACT Network, could be an ACT card. A membership
program would be instituted, perhaps having all participants in the
ACT Network pay a nominal fee, thus building the necessary start up
money to get the network up and running. Then those who hold this ACT
card can use it at all spots in the network along the tour

One overall goal of the
ACT Network will be to assist artists in working in a sustainable way
while on tour. It will further push the use of local currencies.
Which will strengthen local communities, and fend off corporate
chains. Artists can also feel good about helping communities through
doing what they love.

  If you would like to work with me to manifest this vision, please contact me at [email protected]


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