Musicians already have it tough making ends meet thanks to horrible streaming royalty rates. But for most people who don't know sales of music tend to provide the capital for bands to launch tours which are often considered a success if you manage to break even. Strip away the major draws, and 95% of bands out there are putting on a labor of love. So the worst thing that can happen is when they're out there going broke for their fans, only to have their gear stolen at the end of the night. It's hard to have sympathy. Small bands can't afford security; they're already wearing too many hats.
Looking at this way, the economics of touring come fraught with major pitfalls. Especially if you play in certain cities like St Louis. Whenever bands come to play there, there's a greater than average chance their gear will get stolen. Some claim St. Louis is the Stolen Music Gear Capital Of The World, although Houston may dispute that. I've also heard from a musician friend that Montreal is another bad one. The Canadian musicians replaced the Q.C in Quebec, changing it to Montreal H.C., as in Heist Central. New York is also a tough one which shouldn't be a surprise. But the reality is it happens all over the world. The guy who cuts my hair in Venice who is also in a few bands had this happen to him over the summer. He was lucky to get everything back in one piece. At least he's local. Imagine being stranded hundreds of miles away from home with no way to the next gig?
Thankfully there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Or at least a GPS tracker. St. louis native Jesse Caron is a metal fabricator by day and musician at night. He's come up with a simple, practical solution to the problem. He calls it the Smart Roadie. It's a GPS-enabled guitar tuning pedal, so you can stay in tune and track your gear if it gets lost or stolen. So it's like a Find My iPhone for your instruments, gear and van.
This should be of interest to not only musicians but their labels, too. In fact there's a whole economy that could be supported by reducing or eliminating theft. Consider the fact some bands are staying away from St Louis because of its rep. This means local clubs, music stores restaurants even motels suffer as a result. Not to mention fans of the bands who end up spending their money elsewhere.
Smrt Roadie might save gear but also small businesses who support musicians, too. Who knows? Maybe the synth heavy dance bands will finally pick up an axe and Make Rock and Roll Great Again.
The important thing you should know is while Smrt Roadie isn't quite out yet it is ready to be manufactured. Carons' got an indiegogo all set up. So musicians, and record labels, make an investment. Consider it useful insurance.