I have thought and thought about how to approach this topic, it is something that has concerned me for quite a long time. So many times in speaking with other venue owners, I have found that many agree with me. Though, at all times, please remember this is my opinion and I am in no way speaking for other venues.
Live music in Second Life, this is a community that I love with all of my heart. I have been involved as a venue owner for over three years and always had a paying a venue. Something I have noticed which I always chuckle at, the performers that do so many tips only shows but then apprach me wanting me to pay them. Hmmm, at times that can make one feel as though sucker is across my forehead or at least they think so. But that is not what this blog is about.
Everyday brings new and wonderfully talented performers into Second Life. There are also so many performers that have been performing for us a long time that are also wonderfully talented. Now here is where this is going to get controversial. I love our long standing performers as much as I love finding the new talent. The difference comes in with rates. Performers that have been here quite some time and ask the 3, 4, 5, 6, 7k a performance have earned that. They have truly walked the walk so to speak, earned the respect of their followings. My issue comes in with new performers demanding the same rates. The talent may be there...they may be some the most talented to ever hit the grid, but until they have made a name for themselves and truly have a loyal following of more than a few months, they have shown the staying power, then they have earned the ability to charge as much as the more established performers. I see so many that start in sl, with illusions of grandeur...someone told them they could charge 4 or 5k per show. Their talent may warrant it, but they are still basically unknown. When they realize that they can not get it all the time, they hurt them selves by ending back at tips only etc. Technically, they should have started there or with minimal fees. I tend to feel that if you limit yourself to a tips only status, it can be a hard thing to break out of....
There will be many that will disagree with me (usually the newer performers and their management). I have been approached by many that want to perform at my venue, I would imagine, the same as every other venue owner out there. Something to consider, when approaching us if you are newer to performing (by newer I do not mean a week but 6 months to a year...building a following) is flexibility. Ask yourself, is it better to go with a much lower rate so that you are able to position yourself to gain exposure and grow, or be turned down completely because your rates are out of the ballpark. There are some venues that will only pay one set price, if you are charging too much, you may be missing out on a great deal and truly building an awesome following.
Here are some of the things I look for when booking a performer....First and foremost is talent. Second is the following. I am a venue owner that promotes everywhere. But promotion is nothing if there is no one that recognizes you. Third would be promotion of the venue. This is why I do not book based on audition alone. A performer that connects with the audience and truly appreciates what the venues do for Second Life Music is invaluable.....and the sincerity comes across in their voice. Others, well you can tell them promote the venue and it comes across as a second thought. The best way to do this is take the time and talk with the venue owners directly, form a relationship....it truly makes a difference. In my case, I can honestly say that every performer I book, is also my friend beyond just being on a friends list. Fourth of course are the rates. If all four of those come together, then we have something to work together on.
But please remember that coming into Second Life with talent does not make you an automatic 4-5k performer. Giggles even the amazing Skye Galaxy, when he first started, was at 3k. The fact that he could fill a sim, completely fill a sim within a matter of a few weeks performing, did make it so his rates could climb faster and higher than most. Another talented performer and woman that I adore...I remember her starting at 2k and then giving some back to the venue. I have had the opportunity of watching her grow, I believe she now gets 4-6k a show. She earned every single one of those lindens.
This is an wonderful community, I love finding new talent and will continue to do so. I apologize if I offended you by this, but with the last conversation I had with a venue owner, I realized that somewhere, sometime...someone had to say it. Might as well be me since I love this community too much to see hard feelings in it.