**Note: This is only one example of why a band would do this being answered but a big reason. Do not take this as the sole reason this happens as it is case by case**
You and your best friends are packed in your car and you all are heading off to a show to see your favorite band. Their music is played in the car on the way and those singing pipes are being warmed up, also making sure you know all the words. The band takes the stage and you are singing your heart out and the song you wanted has yet to be played. The encore? Nope. It’s a different song. Though the night was fun, you and your friends are a bit disappointed they didn’t play your favorite.
This is a situation many of us have been in going to shows and skipping the setlist foreknowledge or seeing the setlist pre-show and not as excited due to a few songs you love not being played. While there are many reasons this happens there is no doubt that the streaming movement is also a big player in this as well now. Services such as Spotify showcase a ton of helpful info for bands of all sizes when considering tour sets, where their music is streamed more (hint: one reason band abc doesn’t play your city), etc. So when building setlists, bands will build it to satisfy the majority of their fans. Take Ryan Kirby, frontman for Fit For A King, who made this very statement in a long post via Facebook addressing this issue. Fans were wondering why the band doesn’t play many songs from Slave To Nothing:
So I want to address why we don’t play very many Slave To Nothing tracks:
When we make our set lists, we heavily take into account what the most popular tracks are on Spotify. Since when you play the most popular songs, you make the highest percentage of fans happy with the set. Unfortunately when you only can choose 8 songs to play, it makes it even more difficult.
Right now, the song “Slave To Nothing” is the #10 most popular song from the past month, which doesn’t even crack the top 8 if we are building a shorter set, but the album needs at least one track representing it live.
The next most popular STN song is “Hooked” at #17. Which is lower than every single Deathgrip track and 6 C|D tracks.
Your reply to all this may be “just play what you want to play, it’s your band!”. My response to that is, we love all the music we have created, and fans pay a lot of money to support us, so we make our set list in a way that will make the highest percentage of people at the show happy.
We get crap for not playing songs like “The Resistance” or “A Greater Sense of Self”, on infrequent occasions, but not NEAR the amount we would get if we took out a super popular song like “Hollow King” for one of them.
Hopes this clears up stuff! Sorry for the long post.- Ryan Kirby, Fit For A King
On recent podcasts such as BadChristian and Lead Singer Syndrome, some members of Underoath have also brought this up by stating that A Boy Brushed Red Living In Black And White is their most streamed song so there is no way they’d not play that song live.
Obviously when the band has a new record to promote you may hear the singles and couple of others played but there will always be those 3 or 4 songs that will ALWAYS get played live. This is even more narrow during the festival season where bands get basically 6 songs and from many of our interviews at Carolina Rebellion, bands just get up there and play their ‘bangers’.
While seeing the same sets can be aggravating and wanting something different is desired, ultimately this is the climate and world we live in right now. So if you want your favorites played, just hit that repeat!