In a quest to point the finger at the direct culprit behind why millennials are abandoning nightclubs, we decided to take a deeper look at this generational divide as it struck a major chord with our readers. Who is to blame for this revelation and potential blow to the targeted economy fueling social encounters and entertainment? Is it the luxurious, but over-charging business model within the nightclub industry or is it the behavioral trend and attitude of the millennials?
Nightclubs are being designed to be more opulent and grander than ever as they establish an inevitable and clear social hierarchy (not a great strategy for the new age mentality), yet it seems just as fast as they are erected, clubs transition into a ticking time bomb until their doors shut. What is the use of building up these “happening hot spots” for spenders if millennial patrons not only can’t afford to return the investment, but also have no interest in going to these loud and extravagant discotheques where they do not feel comfortable.
There also appears to be a split between how our society and culture determines who the “millennial” is and what age group or bracket defines the category—just like horoscopes, it is possible to fall right on the cusp. This one label has contributed to much disconnect. It makes it extremely difficult to pinpoint the real shortcomings of the nightclub industry, since people often argue where the line is drawn and when the exact moment of impact really hit, subsidizing the beginning of the end of nightlife’s demise.
When an anonymous survey tried to identify the reasoning of the young mindset, these were the most common complaints.
- Expensive cover charges
- High-priced well drinks
- Long lines
- Slow bar service
- Being pushed around in crowded atmospheres
- Poor male-to-female ratio
- Better ways to discover new music
- Dating and social networking has removed the need to organically meet in these hubs
- Inability to have a conversation
- Overall waste of time and spending
Trust me, as someone who speaks from personal experience—and past her prime—these are all legitimate arguments. The first time I read that the original piece had gone viral, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Hmmm, are millennials abandoning the party scene which ‘we’ waited 21 years to finally attend, or am I just the old one at the party now who has to leave early because of the big day planned at Bed Bath & Beyond?” So I pondered, “Did nightlife die? Are we just too old? Or even worse, are that many of us broke?” I think, all of the above.
In my early 20s, I would be lying if I didn’t put my best foot forward to rage hard and go “H-A-M.” I would frivolously spend my hard-earned internship stipend for a night of debauchery that I can barely remember and is now essentially meaningless. Do I know I had a good time? Yes. But if life has taught me anything, just like the rough patches, do the good times last? No. In my late 20s I have been forced to smarten up. I have to pay my bills every month as prices rise and salaries plateau, all while setting myself up for the future. Despite what anyone says, our economy is not thriving and millennials need to pay attention to the little things and how they choose to spend their money. And did you realize you would have to buy things like paper towels as often as you do? Welcome to adulthood. At my age, I simply can no longer afford to pay astronomical prices for a mediocre good time just to keep someone elses’ business and dreams alive. I’ve come to terms with my less-than A-list status while over-the-top bottle service for a couple of Red Bull and vodkas seems like a solid excuse for an exit tactic. Much like when budgets get cut for school programs, what is the first to go? Music and sports. The good stuff.
It’s a different world. We are only products of the ’80s Boomers and Gen Xers, we have to live in a world that was set up for us by our parents and other Boomers. With all of the fluctuations throughout the course of even the last decade, something had to suffer. Sorry, nightclubs, a revolution needed to happen. How does one bait the change? By stopping the source at the root of the problem to benefit themselves in the long haul. The same logic has filtered into the music scene. That is why so many millennials participate in festivals where their dollars stretch to see multiple acts over the course of a few days rather than splurging their savings on a major headliner from up in the nose-bleed seats. Millennials are simply prioritizing.
Truth be told, millennials are on to something. Instead of creating tension between Gen Y, Gen X, and the Boomers, we need to understand the more responsible logic and technological evolution. Of course, there is a part of me who believes in the nostalgia of nightclubs and what it meant for prior generations to experience, but after a certain point everything gets old, including us. Even Studio 54 eventually had to turn on the light—the party was over (and I only know that because of the 1998 Ryan Phillippe movie, but still). Millennials do not wish to take that nostalgia away but ask that you embrace that they subscribe to a new lifestyle.
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