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OT: Nice conversation w/Bar Owner


J. Dan

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We're pretty much booked up for the year - we have a few open dates. The owner of one of the bars we played this weekend comes up to us while we're setting up and says "We don't have you here enough, it's not even once a month - I want you as much as I can get you, at least twice a month." He proceded to offer 20% more that we're getting all over town to get more dates. He says "I'm tired of these sub-par bands, if I can't get you guys in here more, I'm going to have to start bringing in bands from out of town". This is one of those places that books exclusively through one agent. We also book exclusively through one agent. So our agent works with their agent... 2 commisions get paid (they pay one and we pay one). He gave us his cell phone and said call him. I gave it to our agent - I'm not going to cut him out. I think their agent is the problem, trying to work new bands into the rotation. But in either case, looks like maybe we'll have to cancel some places and take more shows there for more money.... or start a bidding war :thu:

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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80s-LZ said: But in either case, looks like maybe we'll have to cancel some places and take more shows there for more money.... or start a bidding war.

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Will you continue to draw big crowds at the place you are now playing if you add more dates for that venue? If the answer is yes I would take the 20% increase in pay and add the extra gigs. Bidding wars may get you some short term extra money but long term they usually cause hard feelings. I would work for the owner who loves you and take the pay increase.

 

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That brings up a point that's been on my mind: Is it good policy to cancel a gig to take a better-paying one?

 

My answer has always been "no", because who would hire a band that they know will cancel when a better gig comes along?. But the realities of making a living are making me rethink that.

 

 

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That brings up a point that's been on my mind: Is it good policy to cancel a gig to take a better-paying one?

 

My answer has always been "no", because who would hire a band that they know will cancel when a better gig comes along?. But the realities of making a living are making me rethink that.

 

One of the biggest things you have as a calling card as a musician is your reputation. Does that answer your question?
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Around here on the Beach music scene... the clubs pay less than half and often only about 25% of what the top bands make on private dates. So the club owners work with us if we have a private date come up. We help them find a replacement or they may have one in mind. But the main thing is they understand we do this for a living and let us out of dates without a hassle

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it also depends on how the gigs are handled. If an agent has an exclusive on a room, he or she may frequetly juggle schedules just to make things work a little smoother for band or owner. The bar owner may not care as long as 1/ it's handled, and 2/ it's not last minute so they don't have pissed off patrons. In this case the agent could probably juggle things around without the club owner getting wind of why. That's a lot of "if's" though. In most cases I think this could do more harm than good. You have to also consider what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket. If this guy cancels on you AND you've alienated a lot of other rooms, things could get ugly quickly!

 

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That brings up a point that's been on my mind: Is it good policy to cancel a gig to take a better-paying one?

 

My answer has always been "no", because who would hire a band that they know will cancel when a better gig comes along?. But the realities of making a living are making me rethink that.

 

One of the biggest things you have as a calling card as a musician is your reputation. Does that answer your question?

 

Exactly.

 

I'd also like to add that I've experienced this exact situation before, ie a club wanting you to play more because you draw. Same thing happened to us (Root Doctor) and we wound up playing the same club two weekends a month. It was fine at first. And then guess what happened? People got tired of us and the numbers started slipping. It didn't take long.

 

It might be that one of the reasons you're doing so well at this club is exactly because you don't play there much. If you're there all the time, people will stop coming out because they know they can just catch you the next time or they're just sick of you. Next thing you know, your numbers are down and the club stops hiring you and then those other clubs that you blew off to take this gig don't want to work with you because you left a bad taste in their mouth.

 

I'd think about this seriously before jumping in.

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I agree with Jim and Kevin. Maybe you shouldn't gig there as much as this owner says he wants you to, but a little more than he has you now. Maybe that's once a month.

 

As far as canceling the other gigs, as long as you don't alienate the other rooms. Maybe you set it up so that you play the one place once a month on the third Saturday or whatever it happens to be, and juggle the dates with the other rooms so you're not eliminating them and pissing them off.

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That brings up a point that's been on my mind: Is it good policy to cancel a gig to take a better-paying one?

 

My answer has always been "no", because who would hire a band that they know will cancel when a better gig comes along?. But the realities of making a living are making me rethink that.

 

 

We usually don't cancel anything unless it's at least 90-120 days out. Most of the bars are OK with that. If they are not, they always have the option to pay a deposit to hold the date like our private party clients do. We would never cancel a show where there is a deposit paid, and never on short notice.

 

I was sort of joking on the bidding war, although for all practical purposes, in the long run that may end up sort of happening. Next year people may offer more to secure dates.

 

In terms of playing someplace too often, I can't see that being a problem. St. Louis isn't that big. We already play every Friday and Saturday. Whether it's this place or a place down the street, people can see us whenever they want to. A few years ago we played this place every Wednesday night and did OK with it, we just couldn't do weeknights anymore because of our day jobs, and I travel a lot during the week.

 

Also, we are a really good match for this place - our crowds are in sync. We can bring a good crowd out to other places, but in some cases, we're bringing a different crowd than what is typical. At this place, their typical crowd is the same as ours, which is probably why it's always so packed when we're there.

 

Just got a message from a friend... This is the second time in a row that we've played there that I found out a friend was there and wanted to come over to say hi but couldn't make it over to us because it was so crowded.

 

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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That brings up a point that's been on my mind: Is it good policy to cancel a gig to take a better-paying one?

 

My answer has always been "no", because who would hire a band that they know will cancel when a better gig comes along?. But the realities of making a living are making me rethink that.

 

One of the biggest things you have as a calling card as a musician is your reputation. Does that answer your question?

 

Exactly.

 

I'd also like to add that I've experienced this exact situation before, ie a club wanting you to play more because you draw. Same thing happened to us (Root Doctor) and we wound up playing the same club two weekends a month. It was fine at first. And then guess what happened? People got tired of us and the numbers started slipping. It didn't take long.

 

It might be that one of the reasons you're doing so well at this club is exactly because you don't play there much. If you're there all the time, people will stop coming out because they know they can just catch you the next time or they're just sick of you. Next thing you know, your numbers are down and the club stops hiring you and then those other clubs that you blew off to take this gig don't want to work with you because you left a bad taste in their mouth.

 

I'd think about this seriously before jumping in.

 

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That brings up a point that's been on my mind: Is it good policy to cancel a gig to take a better-paying one?

 

My answer has always been "no", because who would hire a band that they know will cancel when a better gig comes along?. But the realities of making a living are making me rethink that.

 

One of the biggest things you have as a calling card as a musician is your reputation. Does that answer your question?

 

I quoth Randy Halberstadt in 'Metaphors for the Musician' in my philosophy regarding this. You take another gig only if it's:

 

-SIGNIFICANTLY more lucrative

-a crazy opportunity

 

To that I add that it depends on who you made an agreement with and what type of agreement it was, as well as how many hours/days/weeks beforehand you are doing it. Some things you just can't bail on period, but for the majority of work the above philosophy steers me right.

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We usually don't cancel anything unless it's at least 90-120 days out. Most of the bars are OK with that

 

I was sort of joking on the bidding war

 

In terms of playing someplace too often, I can't see that being a problem

Okay, you're on top of this and know what you're doing. I suspected as much. :thu:

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

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That's awesome you're in that situation. As others have said, just be careful. From reading all your posts here on KC, you do seem to have it down, though as far as business.

 

I know my situation is just a tad different oin that we're specialized, covering one band. That's why we don't play any venue more than once a month. People DO get burned out. By having an every other month at most policy, it keeps the crowds.

As one venue owner told me, when we, or the Bon Jovi, or whoever tribute bands play, it's an "event," as he put it. So, by not booking the same venue frequently, we keep up the interest.

 

Anyway, good luck whichever way you want to go.

 

Oh yeah, on those few occasions over the last few years where we've cancelled a gig (at least 90 days out) it was only to play a top notch opportunity (TV show on ABC affiliate). EVen then, we took it upon ourselves to get a replacement band that would draw for the club. Everyone was cool!

 

 

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In the past we've cancelled bar gigs for private gigs, but usually not other bars. A lot of times, it's still far enough out that we end up shuffling around the schedule to give the bar some more dates. That could happen in this case. He was complaining that we don't have enough shows there over the next few months. We do have a few summer and fall dates open, so we may see if we can "move" some dates at a couple other clubs to open up dates this guy wants and still keep them spread out evenly. Most places we are on a 4-6 week rotation. I think we could easily keep this place filled on a 2-4 week rotation. I wouldn't say that about every place we play.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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