Closer though Farther by Throughthesewalls Moody
So I had the opportunity to catch a live band recently after a baseball game. It was a tribute band and they were really good. I am sure they got paid well, given that it was a sporting event, and they played after it in the clubhouse of the arena. A lot of people were there too, who did their best interpretation of dancing. The generational styles were interesting to see side by side, as both young and old were there. Being old and sober, I sat in my seat, and watched as the mostly drunk attendees partied.
The band got there before the gates opened for the game. They set up by a window in the clubhouse, as I watched from the outside. My whole reason for going to the game was to see the band afterward. My son was with me (he’s 18). His whole purpose for going was to see the game. It was a good game. And a theme night . . . Jimmy Buffett. I was pleased to see some fans in Hawaiian shirts—meant they were going to see the band too.
The clubhouse sold out for the game, as usual, but at the end of the 7th inning, it was opened up to everyone. Of course my son and I got a table right in front of the stage. After the game ended, more fans made their way to the clubhouse, filing in six deep. The bar opened. It was standing room only (I was glad I had a seat).
The band did their tuning and started to perform. They wore Hawaiian shirts and their stage was all decked out in beach style. They were older; my guess in their 50’s and 60’s. They’ve probably played together a long time – they were quite good. Their sound system however left much to be desired. Entirely too much treble on the lead vocals; too much gain all around. But it was tolerable because they were so good.
The fans drank more and soon it turned into a huge party. People were spilling drinks and passing out. I got to thinking about the live music scene years ago. It was different. People drank and partied and spilled drinks and passed out. But people paid attention to the band. The band got tips. The band got requests.
That didn’t happen here. I kept thinking I should pass around a glass for tips for the band. I should encourage people to make requests. The band should have a set list on the tables. There should be a mailing list going around. They should have merchandise for sale. But none of that happened. It was no different really than being in a bar listening to a radio station. Even Djs get requests and tips don’t they?
So I came home and check the web for a website. They have one. They didn’t promote it during their concert. The site is plain for the most part which is good so it can be viewed on any mobile device. I went to their show dates and it’s not a calendar it’s just little paragraphs. The dates aren’t bold so they aren’t easily noticeable. For the show I went to it says what it is and where and then says more info to come . . . I would think they would have put that info in before I got home from the show. They’ve been together since 2004 and their website has just over 72,000 views. The set list is in no particular order (alphabetical would be good since it’s all or mostly all Buffett stuff). And they have a link to their Myspace page. No Reverbnation, no Facebook, no Twitter.
When you perform in real life and you want to expand and grow your fan base there are so many things you need to do. First I would make sure there is a mailing (email) list going around and promote it, tell the audience it’s going around and encourage them to sign up. Put out an obvious tip jar with some singles already in it. Set out copies of your set list and ask for requests. Make sure you have a website and promote it so people can find you.
I think virtual performing offers more opportunity for promotion and more opportunity for intimacy with fans. Maybe real life performances in smaller settings offer the same opportunity but I am not convinced of that since many of the shows I have seen lack self promotion.
What does performing live, whether virtual or real life, get you? You won’t get a record deal (and if you do there’s a good chance you will end up owing money rather than making it). You won’t get licensing opportunities. So what do you get? Tough question. Music is an art and art is to be shared so if you go into a music career with the expectation of sharing your art you won’t be let down. It is when the expectations become money, fame, recognition that the career choice becomes frustrating and many musicians give up. From my experience and what I research there is no longer the opportunity to become rich and famous with music. There are always people willing and wanting to listen to new music. But most of those people don’t recognize a financial value to that music.
Music sales are way down because it’s become too easy to get it off the internet for free. My son recently showed me a free program that enables you to download any song from Youtube and change it to a MP3 format which you can burn on a CD or flash driver or download to your portable player. So now I am on the search for how to make money with music. For years I have lost money consistently with music. I am sure there is a way to make money with it and I intend to find it.
Stay tuned for what I research and how it looks!
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