Music Expert Reveals Secret To Getting Your Band MORE MONEY!
I’m going out on a short plank today and ruffle some feathers. I hope in the end we can remain friends and improve our craft of live music and move on. You may not like some of the things you’re about to read, so keep an open mind.
I operate a successful Entertainment Company with one other person. We’ve been doing this for 25-years. We’re not the biggest game in town, but what we offer our clients is a sense of confidence when they call us and hire one of our Entertainers; TRUST.
The past few years have been definitely trying for many live performers. Everyone is cutting back their Celebration budgets and some are cutting Entertainment completely out. That sucks for everyone. What this economic downturn has done in some ways has created apathy in the entertainment industry. With fewer dollars available, fewer bands are putting in the effort in their shows or go the extra mile to get those bookings. Fewer gigs means less money in the bank which means more time working elsewhere and less time rehearsing.
Clients are also seeing a change. While their objective is still reletively the same, only their budgets have changed dramatically. But there are still great paying events out there for those entertainers willing to change a little and get them. Clients still want their guests to HAVE FUN! Your band may be already playing the right music, but your on-stage showmanship might be a bit outdated or even non-existent. Small changes can be all that stands between you and a substantial fee increase.
I want to state now that there will be some Musicians that read this that are adamant that they stick to “their way” and create their “own path”. I am not asking “you”, I am asking those bands that want to get into the lucrative corporate/social event entertainment market. Those bands that are already playing great Party and Dance music people love to party and dance to. YOU are my target. If you’re a specialty band happy playing 4 gigs a year, maybe some of this article will inspire you and your band to try and change just one small part of what you’re doing today and become more busy, charge more or even just play better events.
I think the toughest realization most bands have is that they suck. Maybe if more Bands and DJs came to that conclusion they’d try harder to change and improve- but, sadly that’s not happening enough. There will be an article just for DJs and iPod Weddings to follow, but this article is for my Live musician friends struggling from gig to gig.
The first thing any entertainer needs to understand is WHY they are being hired. As a matter of fact, you have to get even deeper than that to truly appreciate the event you’re about to rock: Your client has a NEED. The purpose of having entertainment at this event is ________? EXACTLY! There are many reasons anyone could call you up and require your band, but in almost all instances it is for Entertainment. We’ve had clients ask for bands just for background music- they DIDN’T want dancing because they wanted their guests to NETWORK.
Clearly, knowing why you’re being hired is important; the job you’re being asked to perform needs to be clear. This is where a lot of bands can’t say “no”. They see an opportunity to get “their” music out in front of warm bodies. They could care less that the band plays Ska and the gig is a Seniors’ Center grand opening. You have to realize not every gig is for you.
But you’re a party band. How can you make more money per event and maybe even book MORE EVENTS?
Listen to an event planning EXPERT. Me.
Some bands suck. A lot of DJs suck, too. But the most successful party events are those where the entertainment is a little bit of Guests love the high-energy a great live band brings to the dance floor. But if you’re playing versions of popular dance songs that leave guests scratching their heads you risk losing your captive audience (and possible future gigs). Changing a song a “little” is fine, but re-orchestrating isn’t needed and should be avoided!
Here are some point-form pieces of advise that will be expanded on later:
If you’re the drummer and the lead vocalist in the band, there’s bound to be one talent there that’s not being showcased enough and the other is a bit weak. Put the sticks down and lead the group from up front. Great singers are hard to come by and there’s always great drummers looking for a great party band. Sticking to your best talents means guests get the best out of everyone in the band.
If you’re still thinking Muskrat Love is a great song, maybe that is the problem to your success. Great party songs are timeless pieces that never fail to jack up the energy level in the entire room and drive people off their seats and onto the dance floor. The great thing about these songs is EVERYONE knows them and that should make the guys and gals in the band learn them really easy, too! Having trouble finding out what good party songs are? Ask A DJ.
NOTHING kills the momentum of a party like hitting the brakes on the music. Sure we all need breaks, maybe we need to figure out what to play next or how about re-tune our guitars. GREAT party/show bands have learned that by limiting, or even completely eliminating, dead air between songs GREATLY maintains the energy and momentum on the dance floor. Singer needs a break? Practice having other band members sing certain songs in a set. Guitar need tuning? Have the drummer, bass player and singer warm up dancers with some 4-on-the-floor banter with the audience. Create your own versions of mega-mixes/medleys and play for 20-40minutes non-stop. Then break it down with a slow number to allow guests to hit the bar and make some huge sales for the venue.
You may have a 4-octave voice. You might even be able to play a 9-string bass. But all of that will bore the pants off your guests if you just stand there doing the bare minimum. You are there to “LEAD THE FUN”, be “The ENTERTAINMENT” and create Engage your audience with uninhibited energy and action on stage. If it LOOKS like you’re having fun, your audience will also have fun. If you go crazy- so, too, will your audience. Maybe bring guests on stage to be “part of the band”. It matters not that they can’t play a note. EVERYONE can play the Kazoo or triangle!
Always be gracious performers. Thank the guests for dancing and getting wild, the hosts for booking you and for the venue hosting everyone. It shows you care about everyone. Thank the doormen, bouncers, bartenders, selection committee and the sound and lighting guys. Without everyone in that room you’d be at home eating stale Cheesies while watching Springer reruns.
Not everyone has time to attend every gig and critique your every move. But, a devoted agent should be able to offer constructive criticism and direction. Without their help you could be spinning your collective wheels and never improving your brand or style. Keep an open mind: if your goal is more gigs and agent can help you develop into a niche that has little or no competition.
I will provide more insight into what I believe will help your band get more gigs and make more money in the following weeks. Some topics to be covered:
*Know Your Price
*Getting Your Price
*Developing an effective referral campaign
*Where are all the gigs? And, where can I get some?
*Developing a great Band website