RockStarter coaching partner Nathan Stoops on :
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH VENUE OWNERS
One of the most important relationships in the music business for up and coming or independent bands is with the owner or talent buyer of venues. While I’m not suggesting you name your first born child after the owner of your favorite bar, there are several ways you can increase revenue, build better tour routings, and limit the risk of losing “your slot” in the venue’s rotation of bands. Here are my top 3.
- ALWAYS contact the owner/talent buyer or other responsible party to advance EVERY show…no matter how many times you have performed at that venue. Advancing shows is typically the responsibility of a tour manager, but for artists/bands who can’t afford one, a 5 minute phone call confirming load in time, start time, set length, lodging info, etc goes a long way toward building trust with the person writing your check. The bottom line here is this: when an owner/manager of a venue trusts you and your team (band) to execute the contract with no drama they will be much more likely to keep you in a regular rotation which can quickly mean better dates and more money. Being consistent with communication is key to many aspects of life, and it is no different here.
- As the next big thing, you probably think that your show is “all about the music” and your only reason for being on that stage is to sell your CD’s/merch, and make fans…right? Wrong. The smart artist recognizes that while that is of course YOUR #1 goal for the night, the #1 goal of the venue owner is to sell alcohol so THEY can make money! I’ll give a personal example of a situation where recognizing this dual purpose to a show resulted in more money for my band, and better dates being offered in the future. My band rolled into a very popular Panama City Beach venue one summer for our first show. We were siked to play the new venue and couldn’t wait to rock the stage for our fans. As we were loading in, the manager came over and asked us “what was the #1 reason we were there that night”. My band mates answered quickly…”to have a great time” and “to make new fans”. My answer was, “to sell beer”! The manager laughed and immediately agreed. Of course, he understood that our goals were to have fun, make fans, etc, but knowing that we understood the two part nature of our business relationship, he contacted our agent the next day and booked us for two more long weekends of shows, including the coveted spring break weekend slot that most bands would have killed to be a part of.
- Little things matter! Let’s face it, unless you have serious clout from a hit single, a significant fan base, or the venue owner is Uncle Bob, you need them more than they need you. A respectful and courteous attitude goes a LONG way! After you advance the show at least a week before hand, follow that up by showing up on time, working with the sound engineer to get a good sound check, starting your set on time, not taking longer breaks than agreed on, and not getting too drunk/high to settle up after the show and chat about potential future dates. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with venue owners/managers complaining about how the band showed up late, drank too much and were sloppy on stage, or trashed the hotel room before leaving town. Those conversations all had a common theme: “That band will never play here again.” On the other hand, I have experienced venue owners being incredibly helpful in filling an open tour date on a short notice, and going above and beyond in providing food and drinks to an artist/band who simply did what they promised to do in their contract in a respectful manner. Because it really is so important I’ll say it one more time…LITTLE THINGS MATTER!
Check out Nathan at https://www.facebook.com/nathanstoops