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  • Leveling up or leveling off - what now?

    Most of you know that we've done pretty well for being a "local yokel" cover band. We've played some of the better rooms in the area and have secured a weekly (Saturday night) gig at a pretty popular Ocean City Hotel/Pool Bar for the summer season.

    But it seems that things are changing - local venues are closing and live music opportunities are drying up. We were asked to play a Valentine's weekend gig at our go-to venue, then asked to change it to St. Pat' s weekend - normally, we'd be asked to do both. This is the first year where we barely have two gigs/month booked between now and May. Normally, we'd be busy at least 3-5 weekend nights a month, but we haven't seen that since the end of September.

    Quitting isn't an option. We've worked too long and hard to get to where we are to just quit - and we want to keep moving forward.  So we want to seek out other opportunities. But where are they? I know some of you guys have been through this. How did you recover?

    We've already accepted that the days of $100+ per man may be over. Most bands are now playing for $400 or less - and even those opportunities aren't widely plentiful. It seems that many of the bands around here are barely working - most are working much less than we are. But those bands aren't my priority - I need to keep six of us busy as much as possible. So where do we go from here?

    Thanks!

    Mike

     

     

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    My cover band

    HARD WORK BEATS TALENT WHEN TALENT DOESN'T WORK HARD

  • #2

    I don't have much advice for you as my new trio is rapidly approaching the leveling off at least with the small bars we are in- as stated in another thread we will be saying goodbye to some of them soon because they are unwilling to pay what we want and other places are stepping in and saying "we like you!" and paying what we want. Leveling Up is what we are looking at. - if possible.

    I'd say look for other avenues besides the local bars. Have you tried more private/corp functions and weddings? Or is that something you guys are not going after? 

    I know that area slows down in the winter but $400 or lower for a full band? uggh. That hurts. 

    www.ostrichhat.com

    Comment


    • #3

      mstreck wrote:

      Most of you know that we've done pretty well for being a "local yokel" cover band. We've played some of the better rooms in the area and have secured a weekly (Saturday night) gig at a pretty popular Ocean City Hotel/Pool Bar for the summer season.

      But it seems that things are changing - local venues are closing and live music opportunities are drying up. We were asked to play a Valentine's weekend gig at our go-to venue, then asked to change it to St. Pat' s weekend - normally, we'd be asked to do both. This is the first weekend where we barely have two gigs/month booked between now and May. Normally, we'd be busy at least 3-5 weekend nights a month, but we haven't seen that since the end of September.

      Quitting isn't an option. We've worked too long and hard to get to where we are to just quit - and we want to keep moving forward.  So we want to seek out other opportunities. But where are they? I know some of you guys have been through this. How did you recover?

      We've already accepted that the days of $100+ per man may be over. Most bands are now playing for $400 or less - and even those opportunities aren't widely plentiful. It seems that many of the bands around here are barely working - most are working much less than we are. But those bands aren't my priority - I need to keep six of us busy as much as possible. So where do we go from here?

      Thanks!

      Mike

       

       


      You just summed up my band / scene perfectly.

       

      We thought last fall that we would be upping our gig fee to $500-$600 in 2013, only to find that not only are there much fewer gigs to be had, but that $400 is pretty much the ceiling, with exception to the casinos, who really aren't booking "local" bands anymore.

      Sig Fail

      Comment


      • RoadRanger
        RoadRanger commented
        Editing a comment

        The Wolf Den @ The Mohegan Sun Casino used to book weeknight gigs with local bands for decent $$$ but stopped as of the first of the year. Last time I was working there the staff was mucho pizzed off at the recent staff cuts .


    • #4
      As Kramerguy will tell you, it's the same up our way. Bars are not doing much more than $400 and you have all the hassles that go along with it. We have slowly been working our way into events. Things like dinner parties, private parties, but also municipal events like carnivals and first Fridays, some of which can pay pretty well. The advantages to these events are that they typically have built-in crowds, usually you only play for 2 to 3 hours and are home by midnight. Most of these type events we've lucked into, but we're finding them very enjoyable. We have played a couple weddings, but are not exploring this full time yet. The main concern some members have about weddings is what do you do if something unexpected happens where someone can't attend last minute. We're not at a spot where we can call in a sub, and don't want to be responsible for ruining a wedding or open ourselves up to a lawsuit.

      PS I'm really digging the mobile option of the forum.

      Comment


      • #5

        IMO, it boils down to supply and demand. 

        Most bars won't pay more than a few hundred bucks for a band.  In any given area, you'll find maybe one or two venues that are willing to pay a premium. To work your way into in the rotation at several of these bigger clubs, you have to be willing to cover several markets.....which means extensive travel.  And more travel means much higher expenses....gas, truck/trailer rental, food, lodging, etc,

        There's also the fact that, unless you're incredibly well-connected, you'll probably have to rely on booking agents to find you gigs and get you into the A-list rooms....so that's another 10-15% of your revenue gone, right off the top.

        The bottom line is, you'll be doing a lot more traveling and a lot more work...but at the end of the day, after the expenses are covered and everyone is paid, you probably won't bring home much more money than you're making right now.  Not for a while, anyway.

        I gave up on that years ago.  I did it for a few years, but I just didnt have it in me to stick it out.  I got tired of the inherent flakiness of other musicians, and the lifestyle and travel was wreaking havoc on my personal life, so i threw in the towel.  Now I'm content to play 5-10 miles from home for a hundred or so bucks a night and sleep in my own bed.

        However, some friends of mine stuck with it, and eventually turned into a full-blown business....and theyre making good money doing it.   It's my understanding that the singer/bandleader pulls in six figures personally, and the band doesnt leave home for less than $3K/night.   But they've been at it for 20 or so years now, becoming somewhat legendary on SEC college campuses and beach/resort areas, and they've played every two-bit hoe-in-the-wall in the southeast  along the way.   And the members have a long history of failed marriages and child support payments as testament to their dedication.

        It's just like anything else:  the more you put into it, the more you'll get out of it.  It's certainly possible to bump yourself up a notch or two on the payscale, and even turn it into a full-time proposition, should you so choose.  But it will require an awful lot of sacrifice, as well.....and for most of us, the long-term payoff simply isnt great enough or secure enough to justify the expense.

         

        Comment


        • mstreck
          mstreck commented
          Editing a comment

          n9ne wrote:

          IMO, it boils down to supply and demand. 

          Most bars won't pay more than a few hundred bucks for a band.  In any given area, you'll find maybe one or two venues that are willing to pay a premium. To work your way into in the rotation at several of these bigger clubs, you have to be willing to cover several markets.....which means extensive travel.  And more travel means much higher expenses....gas, truck/trailer rental, food, lodging, etc,

          There's also the fact that, unless you're incredibly well-connected, you'll probably have to rely on booking agents to find you gigs and get you into the A-list rooms....so that's another 10-15% of your revenue gone, right off the top.

          The bottom line is, you'll be doing a lot more traveling and a lot more work...but at the end of the day, after the expenses are covered and everyone is paid, you probably won't bring home much more money than you're making right now.  Not for a while, anyway.

          I gave up on that years ago.  I did it for a few years, but I just didnt have it in me to stick it out.  I got tired of the inherent flakiness of other musicians, and the lifestyle and travel was wreaking havoc on my personal life, so i threw in the towel.  Now I'm content to play 5-10 miles from home for a hundred or so bucks a night and sleep in my own bed.

          However, some friends of mine stuck with it, and eventually turned into a full-blown business....and theyre making good money doing it.   It's my understanding that the singer/bandleader pulls in six figures personally, and the band doesnt leave home for less than $3K/night.   But they've been at it for 20 or so years now, becoming somewhat legendary on SEC college campuses and beach/resort areas, and they've played every two-bit hoe-in-the-wall in the southeast  along the way.   And the members have a long history of failed marriages and child support payments as testament to their dedication.

          It's just like anything else:  the more you put into it, the more you'll get out of it.  It's certainly possible to bump yourself up a notch or two on the payscale, and even turn it into a full-time proposition, should you so choose.  But it will require an awful lot of sacrifice, as well.....and for most of us, the long-term payoff simply isnt great enough or secure enough to justify the expense.

           


          Yeah, we recently had the chance to do the agency thing, but after asking a lot of qustions, we found that there would be very little ROI for us. We would have a had a full schedule, but we'd have to do a LOT of traveling - and also give up a lot of things that we've worked very hard to earn (like surrendering our schedule to the agency so they can do all of the booking - even for the better rooms that we've worked our **bleep** off to be able to play).

          In the past week, we've had offers to do a wedding and a venue's anniversary party. We've never played this venue before, so it's kinda cool for them to want us instead of the plethora of other bands around here. But we do have the advantage of being a female-fronted band that covers a w-i-d-e variety of music. I think we're unique in that respect around here and that could work to our advantge in the long run. I guess time will tell.


      • #6
        That's awesome to hear Tim!!'
        NO SIGNATURE FOR YOU!!

        Comment


        • stratotastic
          stratotastic commented
          Editing a comment

          I just joined up with a trio (keys/gtr/drums). We do anything from Bruno Mars to Steely Dan, take requests, make it a party, and although we keep it loose we're all good players and can rip it up a bit. People love it. If we ever actually rehearsed, we'd be dangerous! LOL. But the best part is that to each go home with a buck, all we need is to make $300. And a trio format is much less intimidating to some of the places not geared for a 5 or 6-piece, opening up some venues my regular band can't do.

          So that's one way to do it...



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