Thursday, 21 November 2013

Getting the Gigs

Summer is coming and that means its the busiest time of year to be in the music business.

Or is it?

I still get the odd person mention that there aren't enough local performers in the lineup of summer events.
As someone who deals with most of the local concert and event organisers and many from out of town as well, I campaign local performers wherever I can. However, there is still a big gap between what Wairarapa performers offer and what event organisers are being offered from out of town performers.

This has nothing to do with musical ability and talent or even if you are local or not.

Its professional business cards, its promo packs, its media packs, its professional quality DVD demo videos.
Its references from clients and glossy brochures.
Its photos of large audiences having a great time dancing to them.
Its promotional offers, discounts for payment in advance.
Its bands operating as GST registered companies.
Its professional riders, professional equipment and a professional attitude.

Its making it easy for an event organiser to book your band.

If you don't do the things above, it makes it just that little bit harder for you to get booked.
Event organisers want a safe bet.
They want to book a band they know have a lot to lose if they screw up the gig or don't turn up.
They want to book a band that has a vested interest in making the event a success, because their event is their next reference for getting the next big gig.

Reputation counts for a lot and event organisers are an extremely conservative bunch who avoid risk at all costs.

They want to know that the band are going to bring along a big crowd with them and they will have heard of you or even better know your music.

Put yourself in the shoes of an event organiser running an event with a $200,000 budget...
You are running the event as a GST registered business and you get offered two bands.

Band A is a local band, they have done a few gigs and have a good local following. They quote you on the phone 'about' $800 cash to do the gig but will knock $100 off if you shout them beer during the gig. They can get down to your gig after the drummer finishes work about 2 hours before the show.

Band B is from Wellington, they courier you a pack containing a DVD presentation and a glossy brochure.
Inside are references from major outdoor concerts and corporate clients.
They provide you a written quote of $2500 + GST with a 5% prompt payment discount if you pay in advance. They have a written performance agreement that details what they will do and provide, when they will turn up and what rights you have in various scenarios (perhaps if the bass player get sick and can't play).

Who do you book?
You don't even hesitate booking band B.
Band A doesn't have a shit show in hell of getting booked for this event.

Its not about cost or talent.
Its all about risk.

Band A are a bit risky while Band B presents very little risk indeed and if you are running a $200k event, you don't want any risk when it comes to entertainment. You would far sooner pony up a bit more cash and sleep easy at night knowing that side of it is under control.

Next week, I'll detail the guts of a professional performance agreement so you can see the sort of thing that needs to be agreed in advance of a gig.

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