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Tours de Farce: The Dates Of Our Lives

12:00 AM Wednesday 9/24/03 | |

How do we pick the tour dates to be included on our Web site?

Good question. After all, not every tour date is good enough to win the Pollstar.com seal of approval. Heck, hardly a day goes by when someone doesn't try sneaking some bogus dates past our inspectors, some of which aren't even worth the fonts they're printed with. But how do we separate the chaff from the wheat? What standards do we employ to divide the curdle from the cream and separate the baby from the bath water, so that dates such as the latest for Martina McBride or Belle & Sebastian appear to flow effortlessly across your monitor?

You old-timers might remember the tour-ola scandals that rocked the 1950s when several concert webmasters were convicted of accepting money in exchange for posting tour dates. Of course, our high ethical standards, coupled with a willingness to risk perjury while at the same time provide anonymous testimony against our competition, kept this company on track to become the concert behemoth that brings you dates for acts ranging from Anthrax to ZZ Top on a daily basis.

Some of you might also remember that the 1950s were followed by the 1960s, which brought us underground routings where free-form webmasters actually picked the tour dates that they deemed hip enough to appear on our Web site. Dates like the routings for Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones flowed effortlessly from our servers to concert fans' desktops. It was a time of revolution, of free love, of free itineraries and we thought it would last forever.

But the formats and consultants of the 1970s almost ruined the dissemination of tour data. Gone were the wild days of listing Joan Baez dates by request or one-offs for Westlife. Instead, we relied on so-called tour-date experts cramming hundreds of concert fans into auditoriums and testing them on the schedules for David Bowie, April Wine and Simon & Garfunkel in terms of familiarity and desirability. "All the hits all the time" was the mantra and dates for smaller "niche" acts were posted only on obscure college Web sites where webmasters like MC Chuck Manson and DJ Jimmy Jones attracted cult followings among concert audiences.

What's that you say? You're asking, "Hey, Pollstar.com, thanks for the history lesson, but how do dates, such as the latest routings for Six Feet Under and Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, appear on the Web today? Do you rely on demographics or psychopathics? Is it all hit and miss? Throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks?"

Reset assured, we no longer subscribe to those sterile research methods of days gone by. Nor do we grant total control to mind-altered webmasters to pick and choose whether or not Symphony X and Godhead make the cut. Instead, we rely on old-fashioned common sense when we choose which tours to post on our Web site. In short, we post only the dates you want to see.

And the other dates? Well, if we don't have 'em, you don't need 'em.

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