Supporting the Stage by Sparkie Cyberstar
About four years ago, when playing Yoville (a FaceBook game), a friend told me about Second Life®. Once here, I never returned to Yoville, due to the amazing reality of SL. Yoville was very basic in comparison.
First, I found the club scene, became a vampire and joined a clan. For some months, I just explored and made friends. Then, I rented a condo where there was a music venue. Though it is gone now, I was hooked. I became a concert junkie in SL as I already was in RL! And because I love live music, I wanted to help share it. So, I got jobs at a few venues and learned how to run one. Then I opened The Breeze, which lasted about a year, where I hired musicians. It went well, but I got bored and so moved on to managing.
Going from hiring musicians to managing them was a logical step. To represent an artist, I have to be a fan beforehand. TerryLynn Melody has been with me for about three years, Steely deCosta for almost two, Guitar Zane a year now, and recently, was hired by Puddy Quan. There have been short rides with some musicians—but I never plan to add or detract. People come and go—real life can get demanding and pull them out of SL. Although I am asked often, I only take a new client if I have time for their needs and if I love their music. I have the perfect amount and quality of artists I work for.
Every musician has different reasons to play in SL. I get to know each best I can so I can meet those needs. My goals are to do a great job for a select group of musicians that I really believe in. I work very hard at booking and building relationships with the venues.
I promote my artists both in SL and out. Social media works well to promote—Facebook, blogs, Google+. I also push my photos through same channels. I promote in every direction that I can. I even create my own posters. And, I push the musicians’ sites. I spend 30+ hours week, maybe more as I blog my photographs now too.
Is there money to be made in this job? Some, but I spend 1/2 to 2/3 on tips! Whether I’m working or not, I tip all venues. I support them first—they are the key to live music.
Anyone wishing to manage talent in SL or real life better get ready for a lot of work, but well worth it to me. Good Managers are always needed.
For new musicians to build careers in SL, I advise them to just show their abilities and desires.
SL is very different from my real life—and it has now become my full time job. I have never thought about managing musicians or being a photographer outside of the virtual world. I do use my skills from years as a real life business manager, which I needed to leave for health reasons. Although I could not live off of what I make in SL, at least I do not use any real life money anymore. SL has given me the opportunity to have a new career. Sparkie is high maintenance—always in the best clothes, shoes, hair, and I love buying stuff for my SL home that I redo often. With a home tier and venue tier too, SL bills exist.
Pursuing photography is new for me. I love to travel around SL. I hope to attract some clients, though I have no gallery as yet. I need a creative outlet too.
Business in SL is not that different from real life. You have tasks to do, deadlines, and even politics. Just like in an office, It is easy to apply real life experience—the promotional rules are basically the same. You have to get the name out there so it is known and wanted.
My greatest rewards are to help artists achieve their goals, and have the career in SL they hope to.
The SL music industry is growing, and I’m excited to be involved. We need to instill the value of tipping to support the venues. Door fees would help venues pay for artists. But this is not going to happen. Not enough people will join to get it done. I do think the audience would pay if it is fair. But it should have been set up this way from the start.
Maybe we need a campaign to educate people on the importance of tipping. People spend money on hair, clothes, and homes, etc. Many tip the singer and not the venue. Even though venue owners do this out of love for the music, I believe they deserve audiences who support them too, not just the artists.
I am grateful to my artists for trusting my abilities, the venues who support them, and the fans for their love of music. I love SL music, don’t you?
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© 2014 by Eleanor Medier, Sim Street Journal. Articles cannot be reprinted without permission.