Nick Checota: Entire Live Music Industry Could Crumble In A Matter Of Weeks

by William Skink

I’ve gotten in the habit of taking walks around downtown Missoula and it’s a ghost town. That’s why last month saw the launch of a campaign to revive Missoula’s bars and restaurants.

In the reporting of that particular effort by local businesses to survive restrictions that don’t seem to be having the desired effect on the Covid plague, the owner of Clyde Coffee went on the record as being AGAINST the relaxing of restrictions.

More recently, Missoula’s Sultan of Sound, Nick Checota (a music promoter, venue owner and restauranteur) declared the total collapse of his business model and a hundred million dollar financial apocalypse as being imminent without immediate Congressional assistance. From the first link:

Undoubtedly you missed going to a concert, or two, with friends this year. But Missoula’s leading promoter worries without a financial lifeline, the country’s entire live music industry will crumble in a matter of weeks.

And Nick Checota said it’s more than just local promoters and venues that could vanish, but the entire supporting structure.

“The industry as a whole is in almost catastrophic state right now and without some support, coming within the next 6-to-8 weeks. You’re going to see venues collapse all over the United States,” said Checota

I’m not contesting the situation is a dire one for promoters like Nick Checota, but the pain is strategic, especially for an industry like live music.

The first clue about what’s in store for humans who want to do human things together, like enjoying a musical performance together, is what Ticketmaster announced last month it was preparing to rollout:

Monday’s news that pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s early results on a new COVID-19 vaccine showed a 90% efficacy rate on an initial clinical trial have given concert professionals hope that the business can start mounting a return in 2021. As part of that preparation, Ticketmaster has been working on a framework for post-pandemic fan safety that uses smart phones to verify fans’ vaccination status or whether they’ve tested negative for the coronavirus within a 24 to 72 hour window.

Many details of the plan, which is still in development phase, will rely on three separate components — the Ticketmaster digital ticket app, third party health information companies like CLEAR Health Pass or IBM’s Digital Health Pass and testing and vaccine distribution providers like Labcorp and the CVS Minute Clinic.

I have already accepted concerts as one of the many things I probably won’t be allowed to do without consenting to a Pfizer poke, and I’m certainly not inclined to dine in one of these contraptions:

Being able to go to concerts is really important to lots of people, and will be an effective way to coerce their consent to taking a vaccine and all the enhanced tracking and surveillance that comes with it, so GREAT idea GREAT resetters!

When I was buying a CD last week at Earcandy, the hope expressed by the store owner that the vaccine would get things back to normal was discouraging. But like so many, he’s just desperate to not be snuffed out in this grand experiment our betters have chosen for us.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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7 Responses to Nick Checota: Entire Live Music Industry Could Crumble In A Matter Of Weeks

  1. Dennis says:

    I wonder if the Missoula Sultan of Sound is looking to the City of Missoula for a lifeline of some sorts as they were so willing to jump on board with his $100 million hotel and events center. It is so interesting to see the the son of a Wisconsin multi millionaire basically begging for a government bail out. Did Mr. Checota maybe get in over his head a bit by buying up every music venue in the state. One has to wonder if his finances were a bit on the shaky side when the city offered up 16 million to him in tax monies to do the Riverfront Triangle. Well maybe the gentrification crowd on the Missoula City Council can come to his aid.

  2. sadfsdafsadf says:

    Local musicians can get along just fine with instruments, a PA, and a hat to pass around. It seems the only think that might go away is Nick’s ability to profit. Maybe he should learn to code?

  3. Greg Strandberg says:

    We had this conversation 4 months ago. Nothing has changed:
    Nick Checota used to be a Sombody.
    Now he’s a Nobody.

    • 4 months ago Ticketmaster wasn’t floating the idea of using the carrot of concerts to coerce consent for a vaccine. if you don’t want to discuss the live music industry, how about you go and NOT write about it at your blog?

  4. Tim A says:

    When my partner and I started getting into real estate, I came from a background of not wanting to take on debt, especially after paying $135,000 to get our student loans off our backs. It has of course been our white liberal guy friends in real estate advising us to leverage ourselves as much as possible to buy more properties as long as the bank will give you the loan. These are the same people telling us to raise the rents as high as possible and only to rent to rich people.
    All debt involves risk, which is what I’ve been screaming about when I lived in Bozeman and watched the Board of Regents approve $300+ million to build dorms with ski tuning rooms and when I got on Mike Hopkin’s ass about sponsoring the bill to borrow $80 million for pork projects around the state.
    A 20 year note means you have confidence you can reliably pay the amount back with interest, which implies stability. Considering we’ve spent most of the time since 2008 needing the Federal Reserve to prop up the economy and infuse cash and are constantly about to shut down the government because we can’t just live within our means, who would be betting on stability right now, except for the politicians who can take credit for the decisions and who will be long gone when the consequences inevitably appear?
    If you can’t make smart enough financial decisions about your business to keep it operating in good times and bad, why the fuck do you need other people’s money to put a band-aid on your poor decisions? Maybe someone should ask Mr. Checota if he’ll be using any of the stimulus money to refund those of us who bought tickets this year and agreed not to ask for refunds because he said he needed the money to keep his business afloat? I’m still holding onto that one.

    • excellent comment, and a great insight into the mentality that blew up in 2008, then got papered over by the Fed. 2020 is the year they decided to pull the plug on the financial charade and even those who appear to hover above us on a cloud of wealth may be exposed.

  5. Greg Strandberg says:

    Is that really much of a carrot? As it stands now, I can go to a movie theatre without proof of vaccination, but a concert is a no-no. Theatres are actually open; concert halls are not. And what kind of run-ins will these companies have when it comes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPPA, which is supposed to make my medical records private? I guess they get over that stumbling block by making me show proof, not getting it themselves behind my back. How long will that last? I suspect Big Pharma and their paid-puppets in Congress will quietly get rid of that law on a slow news day Friday.

    How many are going to show proof of vaccination? The amphitheatre in Bonner held 4,000 people. Even when the virus is gone, do you think it’ll even get half of that? We could open bars and restaurants 100% tomorrow and let them stay open as late as they want. Does that mean people will come rushing back? I don’t think so. Same with movie theatres – why go? People have lost that habit; they’ve gained the habit of watching movies at home. And is paying $20 at the theatre any better than paying $20 at home. Most people have huge flat screen TVs these days.

    Ticketmaster might require vaccinations, but I don’t think that’ll last too long as they see their bottom line suffer. Their corporate; Checota is not. I don’t think he’ll require any vaccine, so desperate is he for business. The below commenter makes a good point about his debts. How much does he have, and how long can he weather the creditors. He’s desperate for money. The increase in Missoula Current articles about his desired legislation makes that plain. Interesting that the native Montana downtown business owners don’t have legislation like that, but I guess they haven’t been kissing ass like Nick has been for the past few years. Lot of good getting on the governor’s coronavirus task force did him.

    The people that used to be powerful aren’t. This trend is going to continue.

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