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Mixing Live Sound On The High Seas

Inside The Cruise-Ship Industry
Published March 2018
By Dan Daley

Making Waves

The cruise-ship industry is booming, and with it a number of career opportunities — for those who can meet the unique challenges of mixing live sound at sea.

Taking a pleasure cruise may be a lot of fun, but it’s also become a very substantial part of the economics of live sound. Over 13 million Americans were expected to have taken cruises in 2017, virtually all of whom will have attended a number of concerts, musicals and other live-music performances aboard those ships. They were not part of the 32 million concert tickets Pollstar says North American consumers shelled out $3.34 billion for, but if each of those cruise-goers saw three shows while on board, they would have more than doubled concert attendance in the largest music market in the world. If it seemed like a new club or venue was opening somewhere every week in recent years, by comparison the cruise business will have added 48 new vessels between 2017 and 2019, with added capacity of over 80,000 more customers. Many boarding those ships might be coming for one of the 65 music-themed cruises listed by aggregator Theme Cruise Finder that satisfy aficionados’ desires to be immersed in rock (19), jazz (15), country (6) and other genre-specific cruise tours each year. To host them, those vessels — each usually bigger than the last and often using their onboard entertainment options as competitive differentiators — will have multiple clubs, lounges and theatre venues aboard, all requiring professionals to mix and manage their live sound.

Like their terrestrial cousins, live music productions on cruise ships have become so complex that they require the same production technologies...

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Published March 2018