For the first time, we get to see a full picture of Bangkok’s music scene, real statistics. Live Music Tonight got information from over 800 band’s Facebook pages, label’s and venue’s Facebook pages, ticketing websites, event websites, media websites and more. Throughout 2016, we always did our best to find every single original music event. Sure, we got better with time and we of course missed some events, but we’re happy to be able to look back over that data and maybe find some trends, common practices and insights that those in the scene can use for their benefit in 2017.
Read on to find out some key questions that we feel a year of data has been able to answer.
I’ve been looking forward to writing this article for some time.
I launched Live Music Tonight at the beginning of February 2016, but even before then, I specifically made an effort to track gigs in January. Why? Because I wanted to see the stats from an entire year of gigs in Bangkok. Let’s be clear though, of course this collection of stats do not represent all the gigs that happened in Bangkok in 2016, but it’s a start, and I think a good survey of sorts.
WHICH GENRES ARE THERE THE MOST OF AND WHICH SUB-SCENES ARE THE MOST ACTIVE?
Ultimately, we’re happy to see the data show that there is a good amount of diversification when it comes to the live music available in Bangkok. Electronic, rock and folk events are more numerous than other genres and are the most active sub-scenes but there’s still a good amount of pop, indie, jazz and classical events every week. We’ve always thought experimental, rap, reggae and post rock gigs are a little bit more difficult to come by though and the numbers prove it.
This past year there’s also been a large number of events that specifically have a mix of genres, often featuring 4 or more bands, which we feel are great for someone wanting to experience something new and get to know a few new bands, and we hope this trend continues into 2017.
Ultimately there’s never really a shortage of live music options each week and almost always something for everyone.
ENGLISH OR THAI?
When it comes to original music in Bangkok, I’ve been surprised how much music is in English. The numbers show it’s pretty even between Thai and English, and I think that there’s never been a better time to be an English-speaking music lover in Bangkok. Notably electronic, folk, rock and jazz events feature a lot of English material, but even some of the smallest indie bands are creating English tunes.
English aside, there are of course some incredible Thai bands and most of our favorite bands from the scene this year having Thai material.
FREE OR PAID?
When it comes to original music gigs, most indie events charge at the door, and I think most event organizers across town strike a good balance. Still, a lot of events are free, but we don’t see this as a bad thing for musicians as some people have noted. Most free events are organized by bars/restaurants as a way to bring customers in and often result in more money for the musicians, with the venue paying them directly and their earnings on the night not being dependent on the turnout.
Ultimately, while there is room for improvement, we feel that the scene is pretty solid when it comes to paying musicians and providing live music experiences at every price point for consumers.
WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK HAS THE MOST LIVE MUSIC OPTIONS?
For consumers, Saturday by far has the most options if you want to get out and listen to live music, with Monday traditional the day musicians take a day off and therefore the day having the least options.
We’ve also noticed a few other trends when it comes to indie gigs. Sunday is very much a chill day, often with jazz events. On Friday, electronic gigs outnumber other genres. There are also a fair amount of events that stretch over the weekend, spread over a combination of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We’ve also noticed that a lot of international acts come into town and perform on Tuesdays.
WHAT TIME DO GIGS USUALLY START?
8 PM is the most common time for a gig to start, but it’s a little bit more complex than that and we’ve see some trends in this area.
Firstly, don’t be deceived by start times, as most venues put start times quite a bit before when the music will actually start and it’s always a good idea to check the event’s Facebook page for a full schedule. Also we’ve noticed that most folk or pop events start around 7 or 8 PM, while electronic events and many rock events start around 9 or 10 PM.
There is a lot of original live music in Bangkok and the independent live music scene here is alive, well and active. Whatever genre you prefer, there’s probably something for you in the upcoming week and a lot of great fans to follow and get excited about, with both Thai and English material.
But even with so much available, there are really a lot of people who have no idea that there is, or worse yet are actively searching for live music events and can’t seem to find any. I think that’s a real shame and I hope that when we look back at the end of 2017, the key trend we will see is a uptick in people attending events an knowing that there is a great scene here.
Bangkok certainly has one of South East Asia’s best live music scenes and it’s growing all the time. What will 2017 bring?
Written by Abner Olivieri