Will Live Music Survive? We need to Keep Music Live!

December 15, 2020

I have now lived in Seattle for over 10 years, being raised 60 miles North near Bellingham, Wa. I have more Highschool memories in Seattle venues then I do in the classroom as my close circle of friends would spend most of days in nights traveling into Seattle for shows. Our teenage group had a mixture of musicians yet we would all play together and begin bands, we would also go to shows together. Countless hours gettting in a van or a couple cars and drive that hour to get to Seattle, just to see live music. It never mattered if it was Metal, Hardcore, Punk Rock, Psychobilly, Rockabilly, Hip-Hop or a cocktail of choas, if one of us were going you could always count on 3 or 5 buddies to come with you.Logo2020.jpg (439 KB) 

After highschool, I moved from Burlington, Wa to Seattle. I began playing the Venues I become to idolize from El Corazon to The Charleston in Bremerton to the Anchor pub in Everett to The Wild Buffalo in Bellingham. The History of these venues! and I got to share these stages with alot of amazing Bands and Artists! I feel I watched the Art and Music leave Seattle in 2010, the tech boom was starting. Raising the rent to live and the rent for practice spaces, Bands and Artists we either moving to other cheaper cities or breaking up all together. I have always had the passion and love of the History of Seattle Music, from the Jackson Street Jazz Scene where Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa would play their tunes to the Seattle destination of Ray Charles and Quincy Jones to begin their music careers. Even in the late 90s early 2000s the music scene was amazing, so much unbelivable noise coming from the underground. It were these venues that helped pave the way. After a few years of playing music, I decided I wanted to find a new way for myself to help promote and support amazing bands. Thats where Racketeer Radio Comes in!

In the Summer of 2019 I began to prepare and on Midnight December 31st that year I launched Racketeer Radio with the plan to help bring back the Music and Art of Seattle. Then March came and Covid-19 entered Seattle, shutting venues down, canceling over 2,000 events immediatly with no sight of reschudling. It has been eight months now and still the music industry has no idea when or if it will be open for live events! 

That is why it is so important to support Keep Music Live Wa. Here is a little bit about them and how you can help, from their website KeepMusicLiveWa.com    

KMLW.png (42 KB)Live music in Washington is in crisis, and our independent music venues need your help.

Closed since March 2020 due to COVID-19, it is not clear when music venues will be able to safely open. Without financial support, many will not make it to 2021. 

Music lovers around the state have come together to create Keep Music Live, a COVID-19 relief fund for small, independently-owned venues across Washington state.

Keep Music Live is a fundraising campaign to save hometown, community-based music venues, with the capacity of less than 1,000 guests. Together, we aspire to raise more than $10 million to provide venues with critical financial support.

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  • Washington State’s beloved music venues and all other performing arts were among the first businesses to close due to COVID-19, and they will be the last businesses to re-open.
  • For musicians, touring and live performances on stage are the primary source of income.
  • For up-and-coming artists, small stages are where they get their start.
  • Arts and entertainment industries are a critical component of Washington’s economy.
  • Independent venues bring people together to celebrate life through music.
  • The permanent closing of these independent music venues will have a devastating effect on the greater local culture.


  • In 2019, Washington’s small to medium-sized venues sold more than 3.2 million tickets, generating $65.5 million in ticket revenues.
  • Live performances draw people to our communities and revenue to the tourism and service sectors. Each event patron will spend an average of $32 in the local economy, on top of admission price.
  • Washington’s music industry contributed $2.42 billion to Washington State’s economy in 2019, and employed 38,005 people. 
  • A survey of 51 King County music venues revealed that in the first few months of closure 2,100 events were canceled, 650 staff were laid off, and 17,000 musicians’ paid gigs were canceled.
  • Tours are canceled or postponed until 2021 at the earliest.


  • Independent venues are sitting empty, but the rent is still due. Venues’ insurance, maintenance, licenses, and staff costs continue while we wait for the music to start playing again.
  • Losing these community gathering spaces and stages for artists would have a devastating effect on the greater music ecosystem: from the loss of artist, touring crew, and venue staff livelihoods to the economic multiplier effect on area businesses.
  • If these venues close, they will be repurposed and gone forever. Their buildings will be replaced with condominiums, other businesses, or mixed land use projects.
  • Starting a music venue from scratch is incredibly expensive. If we lose these venues, it will take decades to build back our music culture.
  • If one-third of last year’s 1.3 million ticket holders donated $100, we’ll help keep the lights on across the state.

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