That’s what’s going through our minds this morning as we celebrate our 74th anniversary of serving up tour data for the masses. Yes, we’ve come a long way since that fateful day in 1931 when our founder, Festus Pollstar, opened up the first Pollstar.com office amid the squalor and dust that was Fresno, California, in the Great Depression.
Back then Ol’ Festus set forth a few guidelines for tour date distribution. First of all, he felt that concert schedules should be free. Secondly, he established that such an operation should be funded by outside sources, such as advertising, government subsidies and marked cards in backroom poker games. And, we’re proud to say, to this day we’ve been able to present Festus’ dream free of charge, so that you, the Pollstar.com user, can click on schedules such as Coldplay, Michael Penn and Ben Folds, without spending one red cent.
Of course, technology wasn’t nearly as technical back then. Once data processors scribbled down dates for Bing Crosby and Al Jolson onto sheets of paper, they would call out for copy boys who would whisk the itineraries away to the telegraph operators for coding and transmission. Yes, those dots and dashes making up the dates, cities and venues of yore brought happiness and enlightenment to the concert fans throughout the world, and helped them forget about the soup kitchens and breadlines dotting the economic landscape of the 1930s. That is, until the next time they were hungry.
Fast forward to today and the Pollstar.com Internet empire stretches around the globe, bringing vital concert data to music lovers near and far. What’s more, in keeping with Festus’ dream of giving out free information, we have yet to charge a single dime for delivering schedules for acts such as Drums & Tuba and Philip Glass. Yes, each day concert fans click on the schedules for Horrorpops, New Monsoon and Eden Row without a passing thought as to how we afford to pay for the upkeep of our 500 acre compound, how we afford our 19,481 computer servers, nor how we pay our 8,471 employees.
But times have changed. Web advertising isn’t what it was back in 1931, and government subsidies have pretty much gone the way of any hopes that Axl will release Chinese Democracy during this century. That’s why we’re now asking for your support, and that you give generously the next time you see a Pollstar.com representative. They’re easy to spot.
Just look for the guy in the tattered raincoat standing on the street corner. The one holding the sign which reads, “Will research tour dates for food.” May God bless, and, as always, thank you for your support.