An article by the Independent last year said that the amount of nightclubs in the UK has shrunk by 1,411 venues in ten years from 2005 to 2015.
This article said that currently there are about 1,733 nightclubs throughout the country and even London’s once-popular music and dance scene isn’t strong enough to rescue the amount of venues that are closing down. Shoreditch was also effected with this new culture. The nightlife in Shoredicth ; tech city of millennials slowed down.
It’s a constant source of news that beloved venues, bars, pubs and iconic clubs are falling victim to closure. Although this is enough to become news coverage and outrage the general public, the reality is that far fewer people are going to these types of venues now, which is why they’re closing.
A similar article from Insider magazine in America has highlighted the same problem and it has no issue with blaming millennials for the downturn of the nightclub culture.
With regards to the UK at least, there are financial issues to consider, such as the imposition of student loans and a cap on finances in general for the millennial age group. Similarly, there is still a backlash from the smoking ban over ten years ago and although new nightclubs and bars tend to be built with interesting-looking and thoughtful smoking areas, older venues don’t have much in the way of these features.
Another thing to remember is that much of the original draw of nightclubs just doesn’t cut the mustard any more. Thanks to Spotify and Apple Music, people can listen to just about any music at any time and millennials don’t much care for listening to the same regurgitated tunes in a cramped, sweaty nightclub.
The Independent also points out that when it comes to ‘pulling’, millennials have app-based platforms like Tinder and Grindr that take all of the effort out of meeting someone in a public place.
What a millennial will be looking for when it comes to a night out is an experience, rather than just music and drinks. Most bars are beginning to understand this and are offering something other than overpriced beer to their customers.
According to digital agency TH_NK, millennials are aware that money is one of the scarcest resources that they have and as such, would prefer not to spend it in the same nightclub, having the same experience week on week. This is perhaps different to the previous generation and their attitude to going out for a drink to the local pub or nightclub. Such repetition is not appealing to the millennial, who will always be looking for something new and more interesting on which to spend their hard-earned money.
Due to the millennial interest of logging and sharing all of their experiences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, standard nightclubs are again struggling, as they aren’t exciting enough to post about each week. As a result, the millennial goes in search of something interesting to do that merits a selfie to show their online buddies just how much fun they’re having.
Marketing experts have said that basically, large nightclubs are struggling to create a photogenic experience for their customers and are at risk of losing touch with their consumer base.
The Independent uses the examples of a pop-up restaurant or a secret cinema on a rooftop as a more interesting experience than an ordinary club night. Millennials are more likely to take to a nightclub if the venue books a hugely impressive DJ, or something similar. Again, this makes going to a nightclub more of an event and something to merit taking photos, rather than just taking a trip to a club without a special reason.
Spotify’s booming business in the UK has a significant part to play in the amount that people are going out to (or in this case, not going out to) nightclubs. Once, it may have been the way to discover new music or hear samples from songs that were new to your ears, but you can get much the same experience from Spotify’s premium streaming service. Similarly, SoundCloud, Last.fm and Deezer afford millennials many opportunities to discover a wider range of music and aren’t dependent therefore on the latest offerings from their local nightclub.
This ease of access to such a wide range of music also means that it’s difficult to define exactly what the music taste is for the millennial generation. Whereas there was the age of punk and electro, millennials don’t have a specific genre, which usually means that you’re more likely to find them at quirky gigs in dungeons rather than in nightclubs, because what one loves, another hates.
Author Dave Haslam has recently written a book called Life After Dark: A History of British Nightclubs and Music Venues, which covers exactly what you think it does. In this book he suggests that although the nightclub industry is struggling, there are still enough venues left in the UK underground scene to keep nightclubs alive. However, they are much more likely to be niche nightclubs for specific scenes of people, or pop-up nightclubs that host different theme nights in order to retain the interest of the discerning millennial.