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After You Book The Show, Before You Hit The Stage: The Artist Responsibility

Wednesday, February 22, 2017MsAvaBella

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I wanted to elaborate on a previous article I did, specifically, the talent buyer or the TB for short. Often artists confuse the talent buyer with the booking agent or vice versa. I wanted to share my personal experience with talent buyers and how I've been able to build relationships them that are mutually beneficial. 

So this can be a quick read I want to get right to the point. What they do and what our responsibilities as artists are. For this post, I'll focus mostly on the artist (as usual). What I will share is my experience, but I know it is not everybody's experience. 

Here is what has worked for me...

Establish contact with the talent buyer | If you self-manage, then it is up to you to maintain communication with the talent buyer. In some cases, the TB is referred to as the promoter or the person presenting the gig. If you have management, then your management needs to have their information. In most cases, you may not interact much with the venue or venue management. That is unless the venue owner or manager is also the talent buyer. In either case, be professional and don't be a nuisance. 

Get people to the show | Sell. Tickets. If they are available, take them AND sell them. If you have taken the first step to having communication with the TB, then you will know when the tickets are printed. Make arrangements to meet the TB and pick the tickets up. 

The importance of selling tickets: The first time I had a ticketed show I sold my first 20 tickets at $10 per ticket. Because I had a 50/50 split with the TB, that was $100 for me. After I sold the first 20, I got more. Whatever I did not sell, I gave them back, because that is part of the venue and TB's accounting system. Because I was the only artist who actually sold tickets for this show, I was the only one who got paid. See how that worked out?

Hand out flyers | Since I knew that there were flyers, I asked for some and handed them out. I put them in high traffic areas throughout the city in addition to circulating the digital version online.

When there aren't any flyers (God forbid): Even if they didn't provide them, I would have made my own - in other words, PROMOTE! Are you building your fan base or what? It's up to you to commit and invest in yourself first.

Get to the show early | I always arrive at the venue 45 minutes before the show: to settle up; with money for sold tickets and unsold tickets(not excuses), to do my line check, to make sure the DJ has my music on a flash drive, and that is played.

What do venues actually costs...

The cost of this particular room/venue was competitive for the space and location of the venue. This venue has a great sound system and engineer on site who runs sound and lights during the show. For this particular show, there was also a DJ from a national DJ pool who was running the sets and spinning before and after. For those of you who are just getting started or really haven't had the venue costs broken down, here you go:
  • The cost of the room rental: $300 - $500 depending on the venue size, location, night of the week, etc.
  • DJ: $100+; if the DJ is well known, it can go up and up from there and he may have a guarantee/deposit.
  • Door Man: $8 - $10/hr for 3 - 4 hour event
  • Sound Engineer: Approximately $100 for the night, perhaps $75 per hour or more
  • Bartenders: 2 - 3 staff on site median wage $8.54 /hr in the US
  • Flyers: IF, and I say IF the TB had one created/printed; $300 for design+print if the TB got a DEAL

If I take the low end on the overhead, the TB is responsible for roughly $1000+ for the overall costs associated with the venue/event. The best way for an event to work in everyone's favor is if the costs/profits are shared. In this case, if everybody body had sold their tickets, the artists would have gotten their $100 to perform, and the house would have gotten about 50% of the cost of being open for those few hours, not mention, lights, water, gas, etc. for the building. 

Again, for this particular show, I was the only artist to sell tickets. The other acts had guests lists, a ton of astronomical requests, and bad attitudes. I have not been on shows with these artists since. Word gets around. Bottom line, be professional and sell the gosh darn tickets!

I wanted to revisit this topic because I feel it's worth sharing again for artists just starting out. Not to say that this is the only way, but this was my experience. If you have a different experience, positive or negative; please share in the comments below. As always feel free to email me questions or comments directly;

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