I have been aware that gentrification is a prime cause for club closures. Central London was hit pretty hard due to the redevelopment of Tottenham Court Road tube station, for instance. In addition, the authorities cracked down on clubs in Soho, leading to the closure of clubs that have been around for decades, such as Madame Jojo's. Their Tuesday night was one of my favorite nights out in London. When I was living in Berlin, I witnessed first-hand the effects of gentrification, forcing many clubs to either permanently close or move. The pattern was always more or less the same: renovations, redevelopments, new renters or owners of apartments close to clubs. Those uptight high-strung people moved to Berlin to experience some of its "cool". Yet, the moment they figure out that this means loud crowds in the neighborhood, they've had it, and file complaints with the authorities.
There are two more trends that don't quite gel with a vibrant nightlife: people struggling to get by, and social media addiction. Youth unemployment or underemployment is quite an issue in many Western countries. It is nowadays not at all uncommon that people move back in with their parents after finishing their degrees. If you live somewhere in the 'burbs, with no place on your own, and not enough funds, you'll probably not often be in the mood to party anyway. Furthermore, there is the phenomenon that many young women love going to night clubs because of all the attention they are getting. However, these days they don't need to even leave the house for that anymore. Instead, they only need to take a couple selfies, put them on Instagram or Facebook, and watch the 'likes' come in. This gets them the same attention-induced high they would be getting in a club, and if they want to get laid but Frat-Chad can't find a spot in his schedule, then there is always Tinder.
I am obviously painting in rather broad strokes, but the evidence seems pretty clear. As a consequence, nightlife is becoming more homogenized because if you address the lowest common denominator, you'll probably always find enough customers. Now, going back to the opening sentence of this post: I have been looking around, and dug up that in the UK, in the last ten years, around 45% of clubs have closed:
In 2005, there were 3,144 clubs across the UK compared to the 1,733 that stand today, according to the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), an organisation which represents venues.
That's quite a bit. I would be interested in looking at more detailed data. You could probably develop a causal model that ties together club closures and social media consumption, following a chain of effects from women spending more time online and using other sources of attention to men going out less because of dwindling numbers of females, and finally clubs closing. Maybe you could even tease out a nice decay function. Of course, all of this is speculation. That clubs are dying is real, though.
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