FreePreview: How an Idea Becomes a Show Part 1
Our first segment of the day is going to be on how an idea becomes a show this day is going to broken in different parts of talk about recording, we're going to be talking about touring, we're going be talking management, different jobs and rules in the business, they bring some really cool guests on later that'll be talking about their pathways, I think, you know, again, we're both seeing that there is no true path to success. Yeah, everybody kind of has a different route to get teo fulfilling career and fulfilling life, and it takes a lot of try on there along the way, eso understanding what the different jobs are out there and always kind of thinking about what you could be working towards for your next position while you're in the position you're at, it helps to understand all of the opportunities. So we're going to start basically with how an idea becomes a show because it's a big question I always get asked us, you know, how did you come up with the idea of the warp tour? You kno...
w, it wasn't like a unique necessarily idea it was a lifestyle, I grew up in the surf skate culture of california, and this was just a moment in time when it was, you know, I was kind of changing in my life. I said, but I still have to figure out how to get this show on the road, and we're going to talk about that right now. Yeah, so you were, in this case, the artist a cz we talked through the how an idea becomes a show, this could be any type of show, it could be the warped tour where kevin had the idea, it could be a solo singer songwriter playing in their own space where they do every single role that we talk about over the course of the segment, or it could be a giant rock band that has one hundred fifty people on the road and isa large production and has a really extensive team. So we're going to talk about all of those different roles, but know that they can be kind of one person might be doing more than one of these things, and this is one of those funny things, because a lot of people asked, like, you know, they think that as the show gets bigger, they get harder, they don't necessarily become harder because you have more people working on it, you know, that person that's getting in that van and driving down playing coffeehouses across the country is usually doing the role that may be an arena itjust department allies, so, you know, you know, it's sometimes gets easier got easier is the show's got bigger we've got a lot of ways so generally there's going to be two different sides of the business there's the artist side and there's the promoter side so if you look a um as we look through this the things that the artist team does they're going to have the idea build a relationship tio meet with promoters and get a deal going um bring all the gear that's needed in some way for the show to happen and then actually have the show be on the stage so they're going to create and execute a vision and I love jen you to love her presentations because you can follow along and really see those little keys the only way to say so so some of you might would you know think about being a promoter of any of you guys in the crowd like raising you know we're doing a whole thing because whenever I think about promoting your own show you know I always say the simplest way to be a promoter is you've got to take like twenty, five hundred dollars cash we'll burn it out the street right now would come back and finish the class with me you know and if you could do it without like shaking up your life you know it doesn't bug it too much then you're a promoter promoters were necessarily inherent gamblers early on in the business there's much more analytics and much things go on into shows and think about about it, but before in the early days of music it was just a guy that was basically a gambler and they like this what? They gambled on the gambled on rock versus gambling on forces or gambling on cards or did both of them to finance the rock show. So you know, but what what it is is, you know, so it's financial risk you know the promoter is usually on the hook if the show does good or bad, most artists are paid when they you know, if they show up in your venue, they're getting paid x amount of dollars the business has changed much more gone back to the old days where a lot of times there's door deals now where you're paid based on how many people show up, we will talk about that a little later and how that complexity of financing but it used to be you know, if you're showing up, you're getting a thousand dollars the pan's getting paid a thousand dollars, whether there's ten people in the club or a thousand people and ten people a ten dollars that you would take the risk of the finances on that show if it doesn't work, you're also contracting with the venue and paying rent on the venue is the promoter it on the venue there's insurance, they're stagehand, although possibly have to advertise the show to advertise the show so that just a thousand, you know, usually commendable to three thousand dollars. So sometimes you you weigh that financial risk out and sometimes you go, I'll take that financial risk, maybe not making money the first show. But if I get a relationship with the band, it was an investment for the future. They deal with contracts with the artists and, you know, it's, uh, they have to deal with all the contract with the artist there's, a lot of paperwork in this business. It used to be a lot of handshakes in this business, you know, you'll see that a lot of things are backed up not only contractually, but till with liability and risk assessment, you know, not only financial risk, but crowds of audiences. So there's a lot more paper work. Do you remember the days when I just didn't, you know, it was really just like a handshake deal, and I used to remember days that we're back to cash change. You know but now it's very you know it's much more documented when you're doing business in the warp tour it's what we call your bro deals when there's a band that shows up that we have no paperwork on okay had a bro deal on that one yeah yeah there's still a few of those out there you know, I don't like you know, I still believe that there's some of you could do some of that in the world, you know? You know it's sze still those kind of things that you know, you grow into that kind of thing and even, you know, early on with in my life a lot of things got documented much later because I built on those relationships then you need or you contract with the venue you have to, you know, contract with the venues very you know, some promoters own their own venues now the large ones live nation's and maybe even a g in some way, but most of me ever you're renting from a landlord, you're paying them rent for the night to use that facility, you have to advertise the chef, we'll talk a lot more about advertising the show where we've gone with it understand the demographics of your show whether you're buying ads in newspapers aren't necessary, you know, gonna work for a day to remember show you know it's funny that a day to remember khun travel through the city and the kids that no day to remember and who are going to that show all know about it but people most people don't have it's very focused because advertising can get very expensive it's not you know it's it's you have to budget there's budget set for advertising eso knowing your audience is very key you know we've evolved through the years on how we advertise the warp tour since we're kind of focusing on that today where we may advertise mayhem a little different when we had a country tour we advertise that a little different radio is still relevant necessarily in country but not so relevant to the world I live in we'll get a little further into that one gets marking so that the key points are the promoters taking the risk bringing together the artist in the venue advertising the show, making tickets available for sale and providing whatever local production sound and lights the artist needs for their artistic vision. So the first thing that needs to happen is we need to figure out is this idea feasible for the show? The artist has to kind of figure that out first so we're going to take a look at some of the main roles of the people involved that are going to be determining if this this show makes sense so one of the key people on an artist team is the manager says somebody that's kind of an extension of the artist it's a really twenty four seven job there's some talking on the phone some e mailing but there's a lot of in person either at shows or a tapir ince's of your artists and it's really kind of the person that has the all the puzzle pieces they're bringing all the puzzle pieces of that artist together in all aspects and man I just this day and age usually you get your first job as a manager is start selling t shirts for your friend's band you start moving up, you start taking you know I'm seeing so you grow with the band a lot um and build those relationships don't become a bro with the band ok big mistake role with the band if your bro with a banned most likely you're going to be gone after a couple of years become the person that's their voice in business and you have a better chance of success another key person is the agent so this is somebody that in certain areas of country has to be licensed in california you have to be licensed to be an agent to secure employment for someone you really need to love negotiation and getting on the phone and building relationships that the promoters across the country and really like working out the deal so it's a lot of talking yeah, and I think it's it's, the agents role has changed a lot more in a lot of ways, I think the agency, you have to be really careful with your band's career. You can't ask for too much money up front because nowadays people are like, if I lose money on, you know their career, that could really damage a band's career going into it. So you know, the becoming an agent now is a different because it used to be take advantage of the gambler and see how much money and get out of the gambler. But now it's, like we got to be part of this band's career deciding what size rooms? A lot of times, the agents will kind of work with the managers and to decide what size room so you don't go into too big a room because nothing's worse than going to a space that's large, you may drop two thousand people in five thousands person venue, but it seems empty to the fan, but he put him in a fifteen hundred cedar and you leave tickets on the table it's really hard sometimes leave tickets on the table, but if you leave those on the table, you know there's demand for that artist to come back in the next time they may be worth three thousand tickets, so there's some work there so rather than just grab all the money that you can on the one shot look at the long term and do what's good for your artist to have a career that can really have some longevity to it yes, I think so necessarily how agents used to operate comes but right now there are more the ones I deal with understand that it's like I want my band to be around more than two years you know they want to work with people another key person on the artist team is going to be the business manager they're really going toe fulfill a number of roles depending on what the artist needs so mike epa it might just be tax preparation it might be a bookkeeper but they're going to be involved in the long term financial strategy for the artist and also looking at things like tour budgets and making sure that these ideas right now make financial sense the things we're gonna be looking at all of these people are going to be the revenue revenue streams now you know, we used to be like we used to say if you play to show in a back yard and you made fifty bucks is a great idea then you start drawing and you wanted to make fifty dollars in t shirts now the artist it's all the revenue streams that kind of going a t shirt sales you've got ticket sales you've got sometimes concessions you might be involved in some of the concessions deals you might participate in some of those and at least the promoter is involved they usually getting some so they have to weigh that and then now you know it's interesting this whole movement towards vips revenues of the ticketing you know, you know I'm not sure how many of you how many of you are in favor that raised you can raise your hands, you know? Or do you like the package idea or do you think, you know, I'm not a huge proponent of it in a lot of ways, but that's the way that bans are making a lot of revenue if they give something special to the art you know their fans were finding in america right now that there's a big disparity of, like who will pay for the package and the ticket needs to be lower there's there's definitely like in our whole society in general there's the the ten percent and the rest of us you know that that are willing but there are a lot of artists are looking out there going okay, they're going to pay this much to see me, but I got to make sure I have a lot of tickets at a certain value so the fans can come see there's a lot of discussion in all entertainment about that disparity it's the income gap that we're all having in america right now you want people go see shows but they're they're making their money at the top ten percent of the tickets sponsorship revenue also sponsorship revenue we're at a tricky time in the music business, you know we're all evaluating and there's so much more than business brands have become so understanding of the music business it used to be like if I want to meet and greet my daughter loves drake or something, I'm going to sign up as a sponsor for this tour because I could get a backstage to meet great now it's all very analytics tribute I just spent a week in new york and learning about how these brands are analyzing the entertainment space so you might be the biggest artists in the world. But if you're fans and your artist are not that engaged, you may have two million followers on facebook and all these things, but if they're not actively involved with you the brand's air really saying that's not who we want to be involved with so we want to be involved with it an active social and everything it is being very digitally driven no it's, you know you lead you have to lead in so we're changing our whole philosophy that we're leading with digital and saying and you get to be on site at the warp tour it's weird to go back to what we used to be like ok, come set up be part of it the the thing now we have to build a very robust digital package, so if you're working as you're starting out and working with artists going better success I'm thinking in this space right now they're finding they jumped into adm and spent a lot of money in that space and found that it wasn't resonating or if they don't even know who did that track and they paid all this money for it. So the money's flowing back out of there now it's jumping into the ricky dylan youtube space, you know you know, but we're going I think there's there's, it's always a very big thing and bands really looking for sponsors because the minute I signed a ban for warped tour now back in the polk days they would it was weird punk rock sponsors for soon as I sign a band they're calling me asking can we get involved with the sponsor? Because the sponsor revenues will help them offset the tour support artist used to get support from the labels to get down the road and everything, but if they can get involved with a sponsor and do signings and things that offsets the income that the labels can't help to build their career and have a lot of expenses to be on the road so figuring out if you're going to do a show there's a lot of things that go into it you want to talk a little bit about those things you know? Yeah a little bit about it expenses number one you've got to get yourself down the road, you know, that's that's the thing you've got, you know, getting yourself traveling down the road I used to jump from a van to a tour bus it was like but that expense in that van went from one hundred dollars a day maybe a hundred fifty dollars a day to over a thousand dollars a day those tour buses possible to twelve hundred bucks a day when you put a lot of time to get the hotel for the do everything so it's created a whole mid range now the smart entrepreneurs and business have played created those bandwagons maybe you see the ones that look like motor homes going down the road you see so many bands and that because that's become a midlevel transportation way so you have to start figuring out transportation, you have to figure out who you're taking on the road uh the crew the crew usually wants to get paid, you know or you have to pay some people to do all that work for you so you know, multitasking right now in the business is very important even at a bigger level used to be that you know you go out you have a sound man you'd have a monitor person have a stage manager now that you may be asked to be be a stage manager and a monitor person or carry another role on that tour so if I was getting in the music business right now I'd really look out a multi task I always say it begins at the beginning because if you can be the person that settles the show's mixes the sound and does something else you're going to get in that van and be much more valuable than have bringing three people because it's just another stinky body in a van we're going to see that with the tour managers we look at later yeah you know it's you they learn how to multitask because honestly I don't know how many of you guys have been out there in a van with people but one less body in a van is nice that's one less hotel room you have to get one less meal you have to provide every stop exactly you know you've been have to go into you know your production you know what you're bringing with you you know are we going to in a band you know when you start out your most likely just bring your back line you're your drum's your guitar stuff and then out you start working your way up into what production you're carrying you know, is that going to be you know you've you've been to shows and you've seen others a little light boxes and special things that you don't normally see bands usually start trying to make their show a little better then it starts easing up and then I was said it's like okay, let's bring the monitor rigged with us then let's bring the light rigged with us and let's bring the sound rig with us and this is what expenses can get really expensive real quick because for everything you bring, you have more people out there you have it expensive, this show to the promoter goes up, it starts cam pounding, rolling very quickly, the expenses go up, you need trucks to put that stuff in that truck, she got to drive those intangible expenses that we have no control over fuel. You know, I was joking with a friend and hey just finished his tour and his fuel bill was like compared to mine just a month and a half before just that you don't even think about five cents a gallon or three cents a gallon can add up to when you're driving twenty thousand miles and you have fifty vehicles that get five miles to eight miles per gallon little little things can get expensive when you multiply them, so this is a really important time for the band to figure out what a tour budget khun b in one things were going to you know we won't be able to do it here today, but one of things will be working on within institute is really showing you how to budget for a tour these days and make smart choices financially because in the end it has to make financial sense somebody's got to pay for the stuff s oh are you going to generate enough revenue to cover the expenses? And it is becoming very it's so important in this time frame because we hear that touring is the only way that bans made money it's hard being on the road your tour smart which is great vocal talk about martin's book tour smart that he wrote but it is so important to get this right it's nice that the industry will talk about other ways that revenues are starting to come back into the business so you can kind of get this balance but for about the last two years it's just got to stay on the road I gotta stay on the road is the only way of making money we'll talk about the problems of that you know, if you stay on the road too much so timing of when to go on the road there's some factors that are good things to consider yeah, I used to be you know you'd set everything up around an album release you set it up, you know, when you can get media when you could do that touring around an album because you were hoping to boost your album sales to boost your revenue to me, it's strange now, because I don't want I'm booking more toward it's nice that you're gonna be putting out human new music, but it doesn't really drive whether you're gonna be on the tour. I used to be very into album releases, but what I thought was a traditional band and you have your business set up correctly and you have the right record deal. Now, a lot of times the artist I am there on an independent label or something where that money from selling more singles or selling that twenty thirty thousand albums that you hopefully get to nowadays is an important to maybe be out on the road. All right? So the things that the promoters doing now, the artist team has been figuring out if this is generally feasible financially, now they're going to reach out to the promoters, who we're going to have a little bit of input on what's happening in their local market. Um, they're really doing some risk analysis, the promoter is going to decide if they're going to take a risk buying this show, we're gonna look at album sales, radio play. Digital like fans in town now things start to know what you know, the requests there's all these programs out there that is their demand for this artist in my town. Yeah, and what has the artist on previously than they played here? How many tickets have they sold? What is the ticket price? Ben, what else is going on in the market at that time? So really it's it's looking at the artist exposure on past data is going to lead to how many tickets do we think we're going to sell and at what price? You know, and right now, it's it's really important? You seem to get that to get a lot of times you see these awesome packages out right now in our world, you know, you know, bring me the horizon and data remember could be probably headlining their own thing, but they're smart, they're packaging up and going ok, how do we get to this next size venue? They take a step back, maybe personally, financially to get to this point, but it could help their careers. This is you see those packed sleeping with sirens appears the veil announcing this tour right now, that's smart packaging to get to the next level together, and it makes it appealing to voters promoters excited about those kind of packages now because we had a period where everyone was headlining their own shows, we go through these cycles where and as a fan and as a person you're your finances they've got to understand the the public can only afford to go to so many shows and we saw band a lot of tours that probably underperformed not because they weren't good tours but they were just too many there was too much traffic on the road and that could hurt a show and we're real careful about our routing you know? I'm looking at who's around me, you know? And if we're coming in through because it could be not good for us if another big package like us right next to each other in addition, tio people only have so many entertainment dollars to spend they'll have so much time and there the touring traffic has become really heavy in like club level shows because there's so many artists who aren't those it's sometimes it's hard to get the avails at the venue well means buying an available date I mean at every level I mean, I think the club level is the craziest now it's like you know you used to be you'd call it the venue when you're looking for avails I mean we'll step back understand avails is you want to get to dr hopefully from portland to seattle, you hate to have to go portland salt lake seattle a lot of driving a lot of expense goes into that you start your agent is important because he has to start working far out people are already booking and holding venues, you know, for next end of next fall to try to get that in order so their bans expenses are kept tight, they call a club and say, hey, I want to play there this thursday be perfectly go well, your sixteenth hold that means fishes safety. Fifteen other bands have already said they would like to play that date and are potentially scheduled to play that date. It's not for sure books if it's a hold, but they kind of have the right of first refusal and then, you know, that's, the level of the venue and that's what we used to be one or two hold was like what was to hold you just give up and figure something out. Now people are juggling and trying to do their schedules, so sometimes it is an artist you wondering why am I driving all over the country? The old dark ward? My agent doesn't know how to play darts because the darts all over the map it's a lot of times because you can't find a place for you to play, we even find that the level of the shows on producing now that we're holding venues for two thousand sixteen so that you can get the date that you want so that the routing makes sense and we don't have to drive six hundred miles on the economic levels the same for the band in the van for the band when you've got this ice shows on putting out now it just if we're driving all over the expenses just go up those those those intangible expenses that you just this sucks sex like you when you're driving right through the town that you're coming back to play three days later s o the promoter is going to reach out to the venue find those available dates placed a hold on those dates while the agent is doing this all over the country to put together the routing um they're also going to look at what kind of deal they're going to offer the band there's two main kinds of deals that artists are paid from one's a flat guarantee and one is a percentage of ticket revenue so on festivals and fairs and support acts where we can't determine what why did this patron buy this ticket that the warped tour there's not one band that everybody came to see in the way that there is when there's a headliner their agents tell me they are well the agents do right but I mean people were coming to see lots of bands so bands were paid a flat guarantee flight amount of money for playing that show if it's a headlining tour where we know that the tickets are being sold because everybody is coming to see that headliner, then the headliner gets reward for that by having some sort of percentage of the ticket revenue b how they're paid, because we can really attribute the ticket sales, you know, but they're still getting a guarantee going in a lot of times and it's reverse what we did with the warp tour because I come from the club history was where we always get a percentage of the door majority of warped tour shows, we're on a zero guarantee we only get paid if we sell tickets, so if we take on more of the risk, we take a lot of the risk, the band's going get paid, whatever they get paid each day. Well, we do good because I believe in the brands that we've built, that we're willing to take the risk to maybe get a bit a little bit more percentage of the guarantees. So this is what the promoter and the artist agent are figuring out who's going to take the risk on this, and if it's zero guarantee where you're only getting a percentage, the artist is taking on more of the risk if the promoter offers a guarantee that the promoters taking on more of the risk so that the negotiation is all about that's what they're negotiating, who is going to take more of the risk on this show? And even the promoters are like what's in younger club bands. They're like, ok, they're going to come into my club and do it for free. I don't know how many tickets were really work, but I'll pay them, or if they do well, you gotta believe in yourself, it's believing in yourself sometimes now there's lots of promoters out in our country, and so there might be competition for the same show. Um, which is a good problem to have? If you're an artist, you want to have multiple multiple promoters competing to offer you the best deal on your show. As a promoter, it can. It could be tough because you are taking a risk, and if there is competition than you are, uh, probably gonna end up taking more of a risk than you originally wanted to. Yeah, you know, the psychology, sometimes they this is where the psychology of of an agent and a gambler, they could get him feeding off of each other, not as much as they used to, but they used to feed off of each other, that I can't get this show, this guy gets got paying more in this in this in this it wasn't really good for our business. You know, sometimes, you know, we're still a bit of a business of emotion, which can get things going. But it's much more thought out a little bit these days, and you have to learn how to say no that's a great tip. Just learn how to say no once in a while saying no once in a while actually makes you really interesting in this business. So who is involved on the promoter side in this figuring out if they should offer on a show, the talent buyer is going to be the main person that is, uh, overseeing all of the things that go into the show's. Ultimately, they would oversee all of the marketing the production in the ticketing. But this is somebody that has to love the risk assessment and figuring out if this is a good risk. We're going watch a little video right now that the entertainment institute has produced that is a little behind the scenes on some different roles at the promoter and how. They do god, ideally, you find abandoned over the young stage and you're able to book them in your small club and then you sort of developed them through your system, and then they play your thousand c club, then you play your fifteen hundred club, they just sort of go up the ranks and precinct in an ideal scenario, then you know, that band grows and you're able to grow with them and you're able help them grow for a band to survive right now. Like you have to look at the you have to be able to conquer the country. And so you could only be so many places that so many times if you have a really good local motor, that promoting your show, you actually promoting a band as well. It's a holiday for myself in the office, it's a lot of talking, talking to agents, managers, talking to radio stations, talking tio bands themselves. Opportunities, how we're gonna promote how we could grow bands in a particular market way could do shows bigger, better how we can make it better for fans so it's a little bit of everything from, you know, promoting man on the marketing side, how we operate our venues how we get you know the fans the best I've got a one person operation I do all my marketing I run my shows I put you know, the talent buyer you know so I kind of have to deal with every aspect of the show I'm not a larger promoter where you know one person's booking the show one person is running the show one person's marketing one person doing press like I kind of do all of it way negotiate the rights to do a concert and then way to everything we can to make that concert successful so marketing production uh you know every element of it a typical day it's it's more of a weak thing is that we started the beginning of the week and I take the staff and I mean we talk about all the shows they're gonna happen that week how we're gonna handle because he shows different way discuss how we're gonna handle the parking how we're gonna handle the crowd how we're gonna make sure that everything fits way do that at the beginning of the week and then each day everybody has to make sure that their job is being done and I make sure if there's any questions or any problems how can we deal with a lot with their booking agent? A lot of times will come to us for veils and when they're routing a tour they want to play a specific venue and still to come dressed directly for those holding kind of fit him in wherever it works best for us and them tio plan out there for aa lot of times they come to us with a band or an idea but they don't really have a venue in mind we work with them on the is that and what we think it's gonna it's going to be most successful for the event so there's a lot of influence there we could to help out and kind of a plan a really great event for somebody will decide we'll take a look at other shows we have on sale when we want to go on sale you know what radio involvement is going to be you know, digitally where do where do these bands lives so we could focus on on that area to help promote and then they but the other marketing plan and ship that off to the band's agent to sign off on your guaranteeing somebody money and saying, you know, we're going to guarantee you x amount and then it's incumbent upon us to promote the show and make sure people show up to this to this event if you're starting out in this business pursue what you're passionate about if you like being on the promoter side you know go find the best for miller and look for the job but if it doesn't pay anything who cares like in five or ten years of your passion about what you're doing opportunity and hopefully money we'll come never think that anything below you, you know, you really have tio take whatever opportunity comes your way because you don't know where that next opportunity is gonna lead you. One of the things that really you have to be able to do is deal with people if you can't deal with people in this business, you're not gonna go anywhere because you see the same people year after year after year, we pay attention, we have a good year and we're here in nassau and that's how I got where I was like, I work my ass off when I had enough on, you know, people responded that I started off at coachella driving a golf cart like that sounds like fun, and I just want to be part of something that's so great, I don't care what I'm doing there and from there, you know, I think as long as you can prove that you're a hard worker and have a really positive attitude about things and are willing to take on challenges in a positive way, then things will come your way, you know, the responsibility will always find you as long as you have a good attitude about it and a really strong work ethic it's definitely not short hours in our industry I love that she started out driving a golf cart is a cart. Yeah, yeah, I mean, that's, you know, really how it is, you know, there's, no magic potion that get you into this business. It's, it's. You find your get your foot in the door, and you just kind of keep cracking and being cool about it. Eventually, people recognize that.