In our attempts to be as informative as we our innovative, we’d like to try to offer some tips and advice, as well as give our readers an idea of why we do things the way we do. There’s always room for growth, whatever your goals. We hope we can continue to contribute to your success!
Here are some of the ways that shows are booked.
Peer to Peer Network
This is probably the method through which most bands book their first shows, and many more after. Ya become friends with another band in an area, and through the relationship you build, you’re invited to come on board a show that they have already started putting together. Obvious things to keep in mind are to try to work with other musicians who are 1) Good People, and who 2) Perform Good Music.
Artist to Venue
Let’s say you’ve played at a venue a few times, and now you’ve run into the person at the venue who puts the show schedule together. You mention that you’re always looking for more shows, and a date gets tossed your way. It does happen. The other method, perhaps more common, is to make a phone call, or an email to a venue and attempt to speak with the person who handles the booking. Be specific with dates. If you’re too general and simply ask to perform when there is availability, it would be surprising if you ever meet with any success. Mention that you are available for a specific date for a higher success rate. If that date is unavailable, toss out another date that is convenient to you and your band. Realistically speaking, this kind of communication can go back and forth for a while until something gets nailed down, but it’s worth the effort. If you’ve got some good contacts with other musicians in the area that are 1) Good People, who 2) Perform Good Music, who 3) Have a Strong Fan Base in the area, you might mention that you can help fill the bill with other artists, and this could increase your chances of getting something going since it relieves the Venue Booking Agent of the duties of filling a bill for that night.
Artist to Promoter
A promoter is typically someone who rents out a venue, books the acts, and promotes the show. The most common way for a promoter to ensure the show is a financial success, is to enlist the aid of the performing bands to sell tickets. Sometimes, promoters require minimum ticket sales. Often, when a promoter requires a minimum ticket sale, the band will be required to pay for any unsold tickets (up to the minimum). What most people don’t understand about promoters is that they are assuming all the risk as to whether or not a show is successful. So, if a band simply doesn’t feel like selling tickets, the promoter is still responsible for paying for the venue. A band required to pay the difference of ticket sales on the day of a show can lead to the assumption that they have entered into a “pay to play” deal, which is not accurate to the example given. If the band had sold the minimum ticket requirement, the band would not need to pay out of pocket in order to perform. Should you find yourself in this scenario, it is regrettable, but in the end, it is the band that has accepted the show, offered to sell tickets, understands the minimum requirement, and has entered into the deal anyway.
Let’s look at it from another perspective. Once the minimum required ticket sales are made, promoters usually have an agreement with the artist to pay them for each ticket sold. Some bands will have no problem meeting the minimum, and will make only a few dollars for their efforts at the end of the night. Other artists could walk away with a large sum of money, assuming they have the ability to sell a large number of tickets. Artists who set sales goals and achieve them on any level, do not feel that they have been slighted, they feel they have been successful.
We’re always advising artists to understand that there are a ton of opportunities out there, and to keep in mind that what is good for one group, might not be good for another group. What’s good for one group now, will not necessarily be good for them later. Every artist is in their own phase of developing their career and must make the decisions that are best for them.
The Alchemical Method
To date, Alchemical Records has attempted to work with venues who do not require a deposit in order for us to book shows. These shows are more like partnerships between Alchemical Records and the venue. The venue hosts the event, puts the information about the show on its website and social media sites, and prints out flyers for promotion around the venue, provides the sound, lighting, door staff, etc. Alchemical Records books the performers, designs the poster and social media graphics, and sends out press releases to local media to inform them of the upcoming show. Both Alchemical Records, and the venue will take a cut of the door to cover expenses. The rest of the funds are split evenly between the number of performers. Performers have not been required to sell tickets, but advance tickets have been made available online for them to promote online sales to their friends and fans. The result of the show is the combined efforts of the venue, Alchemical Records, and the artists performing. In the future, we hope to implement physical ticket sales, not as a requirement, but as a way of providing bonuses to bands that are willing to put forth that kind of effort.
It is our goal to have the name Alchemical Records be synonymous with quality. We believe that people will recognize the quality of the venues we are placing shows into, the quality of the performers, and generally accept that when Alchemical Records puts on a show it will be a good time. We want people to have an “experience”, not just come to a show to see one band and go home. We feel that when a fan walks out of an Alchemical Records show, they’re going to tell someone else about it the way they would talk about one of their favorite performers at a show. This will encourage repeat fans to our events and fans that bring more friends with them next time. Our fundamental vision is to provide a good opportunity for the artists performing at our shows, and to contribute to their financial success and independence. We are always looking for ways to improve the format of our shows in ways that will allow an artist to walk out of the door with more money in their pocket.
We hope you’ve gotten some understanding about common practices, and also an idea of how we work with artists and venues to put together our Showcases and Extravaganzas. We’d invite you to contact us if you have any questions, concerns, ideas, or interest in performing at one of our events.