Thursday, July 17, 2014
SECOND LIFE LIVE MUSIC VENUES
Last week I decided to bring the Live Music Venue Directory up to date, there have been quite a few new admissions lately, and I knew that it needed some updating. I tp'd to each and every venue in the directory. It was actually pretty sad. I had to remove quite a few because they were no longer there, and in trying to reach the owners, I was told that many had closed. That was the sad part. The uplifting part is that as some close others open. Each with their own uniqueness. Some of the new ones have truly impressed me. Music in the Mist...that one I just can not say enough about.
With all this said, though it makes me reflect on what owning a venue truly means. I believe that many close because of the cost of running a venue. This is something that every person thinking of opening a venue needs to truly consider. I know I have given my formula a ways back and just maybe with new readers I should repeat it. I choose to be a paying venue. No one plays for tips only at my venue. Nor do my hostess work for tips only....she also is paid hourly. This is the way that I choose to do business...it does not mean it is the right way for everyone. I do know it has worked successfully for me for 5 years. As far as being able to afford the venue. I have a formula that I use in finding the performers that appear. I look for 4 things. First being talent, Second being following. The third and many of you have heard me preach this...is promotion of the venue. Fourth and last are the rates. If all 4 come together well, then hopefully we can work together to find times that are good for both of us. No it is not foolproof, and I have made my share of mistakes. But once I hire a performer, I try to keep them for at least 4 weeks....During that time. I keep on a spreadsheet...how much I spend to hire them, how much in venue tips comes in and an average. It takes at least 4 weeks as everyone has good and bad weeks. I expect my performers to be at 40% of ROI (Return on Investment). I once had someone that heard that say I am foolish that I expect a profit....that came from a performer that I had to let go. It was a silly statement on his part because 40% is a long way from profit. I also do not like to hire performers that also do tips only venues. I am trying to figure out why they think they should charge others to perform. My best recommendation for any new performers is to not allow yourself to start at tips only...it is one of the hardest ruts to pull yourself out of. Though I would also say that should not attempt to get going at 4k-5k a show. No matter what your rl background may be or how talented....this is sl and until you can draw a following and make yourself valuable to venues here, you are not worth the 4k-5k. Start out low and build. As you build so will your rates.
I am going to elaborate a bit more on promotion of venue. This does not mean showing up for your showing up for performance and reminding people to tip the venue. It shows to your audience and to the venue that it is an afterthought. It does mean taking the time to know the venue owner and the venue. LOL it takes all of a few minutes to visit a new venue and explore it a bit. Know what they have to offer, build a rapport with the venue owner. Besides finding new things and building a friendship, you are also able to talk about the venue and the owner while you are performing. There is a sincerity in your voice in then when you discuss it the venue during your performance and why your audience should support it. Though it may sound silly, the venue owners will love you for taking a personal approach.I stopped giving out notecards talking a bit about the venue the day I heard a performer read it verbatim. There is no personalization in that. Oh and on a another note....always wear your venue tag.
I have asked my performers to also have their streams running before they take the stage. It keeps the dead time down and keeps the audience involved. It may be just music but it still avoids the dead time.
I do have a few pet peeves. I guess some of this can be chalked up to individual likes and dislikes....but once your show is done, unless you are doing a back to back, hang around for a bit and give the performer that has taken the stage your support as well. I, myself, have let at least one performer go because even after I asked him to hang around he left as soon as his show was done each and every time. Remember those same performers come early and support you, the least you can do is hang around and do the same for them.
OK I am getting off my soap box.
I have to admit RL has been rough the past few days.....but I am getting better...if anyone wonders why I have been so quiet, or worse yet, messed up the venue calendar. I apologize now for any inconveniences that has given anyone. I thank the friends I do have that have given me support and held me up when I was ready to crumble. You know who you are. You have cried with me...made me laugh, and even more so given me hope, checking on me daily....I love each of you.