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  • Hard to get gigs in our area

    We live in the last frontier of the S.F. Bay Area and are having a real tough time getting any kind of gig whatsoever around here. We see you guys are busy all the time. Do we need a sales rep? We are not wales folks. We do PR but really no sales. How do you go about getting gigs in your area? Thanks

  • #2
    I would have expected the Bay Area to be relatively easy for finding a gig. What type of music?
    Engineering Axiom 21: Whomever has the key should be qualified.

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    • #3
      We do PR but really no sales.


      By PR, what do you mean?

      Could you describe your business and what kinds of comparable businesses are working around you, either successfully or unsuccessfully?

      By we are not "wales folks" I assume that you mean "sales folks".

      I don't think that could be true. Somebody in your business is in sales, but possibly just quite bad at it. For what it's worth, IME if you don't have someone in the business making sales, you're going to have a hard time "hiring" a salesperson-- in addition to maybe not knowing what to look for, you might not have good grasp of what the sales process looks like for your product.

      How have you gotten business so far, and what kind of business has it been?

      How are other businesses similar to yours getting business?
      My Business: Media Production in the Texas Hill Country

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      • #4
        Let's see, many of the venues have house systems, there are a LOT of sound companies of ALL sizes, there are more bands willing to play than venues to play in so that leads to the typical supply > demand scenario. Not the kind of market that you want to be a supplier in. The cost of entry into being a "sound company" (and I use this term quite loosely here) has gotten so low that the market is flooded with low quality but low cost suppliers that it puts the pressure on everyone and drags the prices down to below what any quality vendor can provide (other than the gigs where there is no cost pressure option and the standards are fixed high from the outside). SF is that market, as is So. CA, Nashville, etc.
        -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/FMIC/JAM Industries Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

        Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

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        • #5
          Are you in the business of providing sound systems for bands or are you a band trying to find work? If it's work as a sound provider, get out and meet some bands where they work. Ask questions - who's looking for sound reinforcement, make old fashioned cards up and hand them out to everyone, talk to club managers, advertize on Craigslist...

          If you are a band with no contacts in the business whatsoever (and that's what it sounds like here) boy that's a tough one in today's economy. Everyone seems to be going with what they know. But it's still not impossible if you're willing to put in the work. You can start by pounding the pavement and setting up some auditions in rooms that you think you have a realistic chance of playing.

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          • #6
            We are a sound company looking for business. We have done the legwork to clubs, bands, Craigslist, business cards, telephone sales, freebies. We have done it all. There are a few other sound companies around here. Most of the places either aren't interested in hiring good sound folk because they don't think we are worth it, can't afford it or they don't want to pay anything for us. Bands think they can actually do it from the stage and make it sound good, even though they know nothing about their own gear. Seen it, heard it, done it.

            As far as playing in a band, I am a Bass player and can't even find a band to play with. I've been trying like hell to put a Blues Band together just so we can be a host band but no one wants to pay a host band, either. These clubs around here all want entertainment but are not willing to pay for it. We are in it for the business, too

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            • #7
              Nicely put Andy

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              • #8
                We are a sound company looking for business. We have done the legwork to clubs, bands, Craigslist, business cards, telephone sales, freebies. We have done it all. There are a few other sound companies around here. Most of the places either aren't interested in hiring good sound folk because they don't think we are worth it, can't afford it or they don't want to pay anything for us. Bands think they can actually do it from the stage and make it sound good, even though they know nothing about their own gear. Seen it, heard it, done it.

                As far as playing in a band, I am a Bass player and can't even find a band to play with. I've been trying like hell to put a Blues Band together just so we can be a host band but no one wants to pay a host band, either. These clubs around here all want entertainment but are not willing to pay for it. We are in it for the business, too


                Can't speak for SF but I'll tell you how it is in South Florida. I play in a cover band and the cover band circuit here is pretty dog eat dog. First, bar owners don't want to pay anything. You're lucky if you can get $400 or $500 for a 4 hours slot playing four 45 minute sets. Lots of clubs are trying to pay $300 and even $250. As for sound, of course, none of the venues have their own sound guys or even PA systems so bands have to provide their own. Now, when you figure that a 5 piece band is getting paid $400, that's $80/person so after expenses like food, drinks, gas, etc... there's really not much left to hire a professional sound man that will provide a PA so pretty much every cover band here owns and runs their own PA.

                So when you have a club owner that's already balking at paying a band $400, and when he knows that the band will bring their own PA, there's not much incentive for the bar to hire a separate sound man and PA for the night.

                I know nothing about the sound reinforcement business itself so this may not be a good suggestion but would it be possible to look around for large events like air shows, 4th of July celebrations, "day in the park" type things that are put on by the city or by the chamber of commerce or large organizations like that? Here in South Florida there are a whole bunch of them. I also know that in San Diego there are all kinds of music festivals and events all the time too. Maybe there are things like that in SF?
                Current gear:
                A whole bunch of stuff!

                Hear me play at my Soundclick music page. Here.

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                • #9
                  Bands think they can actually do it from the stage and make it sound good, even though they know nothing about their own gear.
                  Yup - Welcome to our world
                  As far as playing in a band, I am a Bass player and can't even find a band to play with. I've been trying like hell to put a Blues Band together just so we can be a host band but no one wants to pay a host band, either.
                  Yah, forget the "pay" part, most likely never gonna be more than a partially subsidized hobby. I've been playing more this year myself as I was getting boored waiting for my DL1608 to finally ship . It's pretty easy to get a "band/jam" together if you have a space to practice in and don't completely suck - I'm in four now . If you can read jazz standards charts you can even jam with some pretty scary dudes - they ain't gettin' **************** for gigs either . Had a trumpet player down last Monday that's gigged with the Temptations and Sam and Dave (among others) . Hit the blues jams and make sure you can at least play blues scales in "E" and "A" for the guitarists that can't play in multiple keys and F, Bb and Eb if you want to hang with the horns . If you want to not get condescending looks from the scary cats don't forget that there's 12 notes in them scales .

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                  • #10
                    Last night I was bored and looked thru the CL musicians section. I found a soundguy who will bring PA for $25/hr min 4hrs and a band that will play for $75 a night. So you want to have a successful soundcompany? Stay off craigslist and out of the clubs. easy.
                    www.rock-bot.com
                    Live-Band-Karaoke

                    bassist and sound reinforcement

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                    • #11
                      I suggest to develop a market rather than fight for a slice of an existing pie.

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                      • #12
                        Skip the club circuit if you can. Late nights, bad pay, and questionable talent. I would try to hook up with some wedding bands, park and rec gigs, maybe some small corporate stuff if you can land it. Try to get in with some school systems. Do graduations and battle of the bands. Universities? Maybe you can't handle commencement or spring fling, but they have donor's dinners, alumni events, smaller student events. Some of my best and most loyal clients are schools.

                        As far as sales, you need to learn to sell yourself wherever you go. Give yourself some tools including a slick website, business cards, maybe a brochure. A sound company's best marketing tool is word of mouth though. So when you do land that gig, be prompt, clean, personable and of course good at what you do.

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                        • #13
                          I suggest to develop a market rather than fight for a slice of an existing pie.


                          This is how I got started, I was doing sound at my house gig and was approached by bands and nonprofits. It opened doors to other gigs. I also tech for a few bands when they have large shows. They know I always show up early and I don't leave it everything is packed up.

                          Just to clarify, are you licensed and insured? Are you running this company out of your home or renting a space. Do you have employees? What kind of gear do you own and how big of a show can you provide for?

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                          • #14
                            If it is like this in S Florida, and SF - then I am not so ashamed of my own town - where (of course) it is very hard to make any money with "music".
                            http://www.myspace.com/steverobertband
                            Fav. Quote: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

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                            • #15
                              Ask yourself, are you good enough to become a freelance tech* with any large production company in SF bay? *not a labor/case pusher

                              If you are, bid against them on their gigs and then rent gear as needed from them. If you lose bid to them, then you still have a chance to work the event with them as your employeer. Its against the law for a company to share what the other bids are and who they are from.

                              This business is all about networking and it takes times to become successful (as in making a profit at the end of month). We get a lot of business from the city by submitting bids when they put out proposal/quote requests. Also check with the hotels, convention centers and other government agencies. We supply sound for all kinds of events; corporate convention for 2500 in the Hotel ballroom to a small PA at the 150 person bar.
                              Which rig to take out to a show?
                              Aspects over B2 or the QRx212 over QRx218 rig

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