Another concert tour is now shaving dates, part of a spreading contagion in live music.
The latest showing symptoms is the American Idol roadshow, a post-series string of dates. Live Nation indicated that ten gigs were being slashed from the schedule, which started July 1st. Instead of a mid-September finale, the tour will terminate August 31st.
The pare-down is probably the result of several factors. A large number of big-name performances and festivals (everyone from the Eagles to Limp Bizkit to Lilith Fair) have been shortening or cancelling tours, thanks to a soggy economy and resistance to higher-priced shows. Whether a larger consumer shift away from live gigs is underway is debatable, though the possibility is certainly not off the table.
But American Idol has its own demons. Ratings at the show have been slipping, and the recent season dipped to 2002 levels. Year-over-year, ratings dropped 9 percent, and fewer finalists have been upstreamed into high-profile label contracts.