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  • Exploring the private/wedding market

    Lately at our club gigs we've had numerous inquires regarding private parties and weddings. For the past few years we've been primarily a club band (although we have done a handful of private parties and also one wedding), but in the coming years we're really going to try to develop into paring back on the club gigs and getting into the private/wedding market.



    I know it won't be easy, but I really think we have the potential to get there, although we we need to take some steps to do so. In my mind (well...on my PC at my office) I have a list of some of the things I think we need to do already. I'm curious though, from Dave and the rest of you guys that do this regularly, what does it take to propel yourself from a club band into the private market? What are some of the key things we need to do to get there?



    Secondly, we have a serious inquiry for a wedding in 2013 right now...need to follow up with this couple this week to discuss things. I'm thinking of trying to put together a package with both us and a DJ. The DJ can emcee the event and such, plus provide the ability for us to provide anything under the sun (musically) for the event. Is this a good idea, and have any of you done it? Also I'm wondering how much to charge for something of this nature...keeping in mind we'll have to cover us and our DJ...



    One thing I'm not sure how to overcome is our lack of testimonials...we haven't played a zillion weddings so if anyone has any advice to sell us with this shortfall...I'd love to hear it. One plus side we have is that this couple saw us at a club gig and quickly said we were the "best cover band they'd ever seen"...so they obviously like us at least a little already.
    Christian

    SpaceCat
    www.spacecatband.com

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix







    Originally Posted by wheresgrant3


    Our singer is basically butchering the Grade A material into deli meat, but don't fear... the crowd is there for big sandwiches.

  • #2
    Quality promo...

    A good photo, better than average audio, solid video that shows why someone should select you for their event
    For cripe's sake, somebody buy that kid a freaking DICTIONARY already!

    Comment


    • #3






      Quote Originally Posted by kmart
      View Post

      Quality promo...

      A good photo, better than average audio, solid video that shows why someone should select you for their event




      Vagisil???



      Thanks kmart. IMPECCABLE promo materials is actually #1 on my list of "things we need to do" to get there. Early next year we'll be hiring a photographer to do 1 or 2 live show shoots and a "studio" type shoot. We need someone creative to help us with the staged shots. We'll also be hiring someone to shoot some good live video. Fortunately our sound man is a video editing guru...so we've got the editing covered. Also we're redoing our press kit, and I recently made some changes to our website.



      Other than the shotty images which will be replaced as soon as we get some good ones taken...I'd appreciate any advice on design/layout/content/etc. We're going for something better than Joe and the Schmoe's bar band site. I'm a novice web designer but I think we've got something serviceable here. If it's WAY off...which I don't think it is...we'll probably look to hire someone here too.



      Our Site



      One other major thing we're looking to do is gather as many references as we can. Right now all we primarily have to work with is club references and fan comments and such, but they are upscale and well-known clubs at least.
      Christian

      SpaceCat
      www.spacecatband.com

      "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix







      Originally Posted by wheresgrant3


      Our singer is basically butchering the Grade A material into deli meat, but don't fear... the crowd is there for big sandwiches.

      Comment


      • #4
        I wish we were as young as you guys: would make a lot of my job a lot easier!



        There's a lot that can be discussed here so I'll try to break it up and keep things as brief as possible (I know....it's ME we're talking about....)



        #1 overriding principle: Treat It Like A Business.

        Now that doesn't mean you have to give up your artistic integrity---far from it. But it DOES mean you have to focus your integrity in different ways. At these sorts of events you are really just another 'vendor'. Which makes you no different than, say, the caterer. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Think about it this way: we've all been to weddings or corp events that were catered. Sometimes the food and the presentation was great and sometimes it sucked. When it's great, it's obviously and clearly done with a high degree of skill and integrity to the product. The most successful caterers aren't the ones who insist on only serving mussels and mushrooms when their clients would prefer beef and chicken, but are the ones who prepare some KICK ASS beef and chicken and take care of all the details of the cooking and service in a fully professional manner. The best caterers have some excellents chefs---even IF they don't get to fully control the menu.



        Same thing with being a successful corp/wedding band. You may end up playing some songs or doing some things you thought you'd never do, but that doesn't mean you can't do them with flair, pizzazz and skill. In fact, you'll be better for it. So put aside any attitudes you might have about song choice, what clothes to wear, etc and realize that the best bands in this niche of the business are the ones who find their integrity and make it happen within the confines of what is really just superficial nonsense anyways. ANY song is only as good or as bad or as cheezy as you choose to make it.
        _________________________________________________
        band websites:
        http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
        https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
        https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
        http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

        Comment


        • #5
          #2: marketing.

          This is going to be a "build a following" endeavor for the most part. Of course, things will vary from band-to-band and market-to-market, but for my band it DEFINIATELY wasn't. We don't play clubs. We don't even actually live in the market we play in the most often. Most of our clients have never seen us before. So for us, and I suspect for many/most corp/wedding bands, it's ALL about the up-front appearance and sale.



          So I approached it like this (as I would any other business I might be starting up): first I looked to find out what kind of gigs exist in our market that we'd want to play and try to figure out how we'd best fit into an appropriate niche. I looked at the bands who were most successful doing those types of gigs and looked at what was there about their presentations we could copy, what could we improve upon, and what could we do differently that would best fit our band. Before we started putting together the promo, I came up with a clear idea of what I wanted the band to look like, how I wanted us to be perceived and how I wanted our promo shots and video demo to look. Since our market is already saturated with agents and bands, and since we didn't have any big "ins" with those agents, I decided to try and work around them and go straight to the clients via the internet. Hey, it's 2012, I figured. Everybody's shopping on the internet these days anyway, right?



          This turned out to be largely correct. The vast majority of our gigs come through websites like Gigmasters and Wedding Wire that we pay to be listed with, and directly through our own website.



          So take the time to search out as many bands like you (or like you want to be) that you can find. And then come up with way you can be better than they are. Like I said earlier, I wish we were as young as you guys. Our age forced us to take a bit more narrow route than I'd like to take, but we can't compete with the 30-something bands head-on in many areas--simply because we'll just never have the same look or attitude. So we worked around that and found our own niche that's a bit less youth-dependant.



          I don't see anything particularly wrong with your website---I've seen a lot of bands making great money with much worse ones---but, like anything else, there's always room for improvement. I'm big on previous client testimonials. And live crowd pics/video footage. Since you don't have a lot of previous clients when you first start out, you can cover a lot of ground with audience testimonials. Put stuff in your video of people saying how much fun they are having at the gig, how great they think the band is, etc. What's going to sell better than some pretty girls saying they danced their asses off to your band?
          _________________________________________________
          band websites:
          http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
          https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
          https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
          http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

          Comment


          • #6
            There will be plenty of negativity here (it's BSWTB, after all), so I'll start--my current group got inquiries about a private party or a wedding at our very first, unamplified, street corner performance, and have fielded numerous such inquiries since then. Three years in, we're just now starting to get people to follow up with us and actually book it--a lot of people think it'd be neat to have a band up to the point that they find out how much it'll actually cost.
            Jukejoint Handmedowns (my band)

            Find our album on iTunes!

            A Month of Songs (Songwriting blog)







            Originally Posted by gennation


            Neither of us is gay or anything, it just happened.

            Comment


            • #7






              Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Monkey
              View Post

              There will be plenty of negativity here (it's BSWTB, after all), so I'll start--my current group got inquiries about a private party or a wedding at our very first, unamplified, street corner performance, and have fielded numerous such inquiries since then. Three years in, we're just now starting to get people to follow up with us and actually book it--a lot of people think it'd be neat to have a band up to the point that they find out how much it'll actually cost.




              I think that might largely be a factor of just fielding inquiries at gigs. They're just window-shoppers for the most part.



              You have to go after the gigs to a certain degree. Even with internet marketing, you can't just Build A Website And Hope They Will Come. You have to target the people who are actually looking for bands. That's why sites like Gigmasters and Wedding Wire are a big plus. There ARE people wanting to hiring bands for such event and willing to put out the cash, you just have to do the work to put yourself in contact with them.
              _________________________________________________
              band websites:
              http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
              https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
              https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
              http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

              Comment


              • #8






                Quote Originally Posted by guido61
                View Post

                I wish we were as young as you guys: would make a lot of my job a lot easier!



                There's a lot that can be discussed here so I'll try to break it up and keep things as brief as possible (I know....it's ME we're talking about....)



                #1 overriding principle: Treat It Like A Business.

                You may end up playing some songs or doing some things you thought you'd never do, but that doesn't mean you can't do them with flair, pizzazz and skill. In fact, you'll be better for it. So put aside any attitudes you might have about song choice, what clothes to wear, etc and realize that the best bands in this niche of the business are the ones who find their integrity and make it happen within the confines of what is really just superficial nonsense anyways. ANY song is only as good or as bad or as cheezy as you choose to make it.




                On the "treat it like a business" part, we're already there. We act VERY professional even at club gigs. We actually really do have our **************** together.



                On the choosing songs part...we're 90% of the way there. We pick songs pretty much solely on how well they'll go over with 21-39 year old women. Now sometimes we have disagreements on whether we can "pull off" certain songs or we may disagree on whether or not they'll "work"...but it's not our egos or embarrassment for playing such a stupid song getting in the way. It's a disagreement on whether or not it'll work.



                Clothing wise, we all just try to "dress for the gig" for the most part, although we don't put any effort into actually coordinating a "look" as a whole. This is also on my list of "to-dos" going forward. I'm thinking even the minimum amount of coordination here will go a long way. It's not like I want to go crazy and fashion up matching jumpsuits...but I think a little thought could help. Maybe tying in a color or something.
                Christian

                SpaceCat
                www.spacecatband.com

                "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix







                Originally Posted by wheresgrant3


                Our singer is basically butchering the Grade A material into deli meat, but don't fear... the crowd is there for big sandwiches.

                Comment


                • #9






                  Quote Originally Posted by guido61
                  View Post

                  #2: marketing.



                  So take the time to search out as many bands like you (or like you want to be) that you can find. And then come up with way you can be better than they are. Like I said earlier, I wish we were as young as you guys. Our age forced us to take a bit more narrow route than I'd like to take, but we can't compete with the 30-something bands head-on in many areas--simply because we'll just never have the same look or attitude. So we worked around that and found our own niche that's a bit less youth-dependant.




                  I actually think that this is one of our strongest selling points. Being in our late 20s early 30s, we're young and energetic and we have that image over a lot of the other bands in our area right now. Many of the bands that are where we are (status wise) are older than us by 5-10 years. But we realize we have a limited window to capitalize on this...so we're jumping for it now.









                  Quote Originally Posted by guido61
                  View Post

                  I don't see anything particularly wrong with your website---I've seen a lot of bands making great money with much worse ones---but, like anything else, there's always room for improvement. I'm big on previous client testimonials. And live crowd pics/video footage. Since you don't have a lot of previous clients when you first start out, you can cover a lot of ground with audience testimonials. Put stuff in your video of people saying how much fun they are having at the gig, how great they think the band is, etc. What's going to sell better than some pretty girls saying they danced their asses off to your band?




                  Definitely room for improvement. We're going to be adding lots of new pics and a new promo video hopefully pretty early on next year. Killer idea on the "interviewing" people as part of the promo video. We will definitely do that! As far as testimonials go, in addition to those we have some good Facebook posts from fans and also some good quotes from club owners. I'm hoping they'll carry some weight because the clubs are fairly well-known places around here. So...I'm planning on organizing these and putting them up to at least get going on a testimonials section. Obviously as we continue to grow this section will vastly improve.
                  Christian

                  SpaceCat
                  www.spacecatband.com

                  "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix







                  Originally Posted by wheresgrant3


                  Our singer is basically butchering the Grade A material into deli meat, but don't fear... the crowd is there for big sandwiches.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As I said, I like to steal a lot from the bands that are successful. Here's one I thought of right away when I looked at your website. (4 guys probably in the mid-30s to mid-40s). There's a lot I like about this band and the way they present themselves and the way their promo and website are built and a lot I don't (at 10 min I think their promo video is WAY too long, for example). Some of that is just personal taste and could be argued back and forth; some of it is probably valid. But one thing I WILL tell you about these guys: they make good money.



                    And here's what I know about that: they are a Gigmasters band, and if you're a member of Gigmasters you can see what other bands book through the website. Now, that's not all necessarily 100% honest: some bands probably play down how much they book through the site so as to not pay so much commission. (5% of each gig.) Others might list non-Gigmasters through the site just to keep up the appearance of booking a lot of gigs. They might even say they book gigs for more money than they actually do to keep their rankings high. (Although I'm not sure to what degree any band would WANT to do that. We certainly don't. If anything, we low-ball figures.) But this band runs six figures through the website every year. So no matter which way you figure they may be fudging numbers (even assuming they are) they're still doing quite well. And yeah, they are in So Cal, where there are a lot of gigs, but there are also a lot of bands.



                    And I'm not sure I see anything they are doing that you guys couldn't do.



                    http://www.meetthetrip.com/
                    _________________________________________________
                    band websites:
                    http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
                    https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
                    https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
                    http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

                    Comment


                    • #11






                      Quote Originally Posted by guido61
                      View Post

                      I think that might largely be a factor of just fielding inquiries at gigs. They're just window-shoppers for the most part.



                      You have to go after the gigs to a certain degree. Even with internet marketing, you can't just Build A Website And Hope They Will Come. You have to target the people who are actually looking for bands. That's why sites like Gigmasters and Wedding Wire are a big plus. There ARE people wanting to hiring bands for such event and willing to put out the cash, you just have to do the work to put yourself in contact with them.




                      This is so true. We've been getting these inquiries for a couple years now. But only recently (in the last few months) have the inquiries become more serious. After a conversation in the club at our gig, we get a phone call or a website inquiry and talk more details. One wedding we got. One out of town gig we bid too high and didn't get...but I think they were looking for something a bit unrealistic considering the gig required a hotel stay and also it was fairly short notice all things considered. The price wasn't so high that they didn't indicate they may be interested down the line though. Bottom line is that we know it may take some time to get here. We're already successful in the club market here so we're riding that out too. Just trying to look at how we can take the next step down the road.



                      The wedding inquiry we have now I need to follow up on this week. I submitted requests for a few different wedding bands in our area to see what they'd charge for a similar event. A little underhanded but I don't know how else to go about getting this info...? I'm going to charge on the high end of what I find through my research, and try to sell the package based on us working with a DJ also. That way we can handle the emcee duties, play any song under the sun between us, etc. I think putting it together this way should have some high selling points.
                      Christian

                      SpaceCat
                      www.spacecatband.com

                      "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix







                      Originally Posted by wheresgrant3


                      Our singer is basically butchering the Grade A material into deli meat, but don't fear... the crowd is there for big sandwiches.

                      Comment


                      • #12






                        Quote Originally Posted by guitarguy19
                        View Post

                        I submitted requests for a few different wedding bands in our area to see what they'd charge for a similar event. A little underhanded but I don't know how else to go about getting this info...?




                        Hey, it's done. I've done it. And I've gotten inquiries from people that I'm pretty darn certain were the same thing. There's really not many other ways to find out unless you're going through an agency, and even they are reluctant to tell you what other bands make.
                        _________________________________________________
                        band websites:
                        http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
                        https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
                        https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
                        http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

                        Comment


                        • #13






                          Quote Originally Posted by guido61
                          View Post

                          I think that might largely be a factor of just fielding inquiries at gigs. They're just window-shoppers for the most part.



                          You have to go after the gigs to a certain degree. Even with internet marketing, you can't just Build A Website And Hope They Will Come. You have to target the people who are actually looking for bands. That's why sites like Gigmasters and Wedding Wire are a big plus. There ARE people wanting to hiring bands for such event and willing to put out the cash, you just have to do the work to put yourself in contact with them.




                          I was speaking directly to the OP's statement that he was approached at a gig. We don't really pursue private work, tho we've had a few things come up.
                          Jukejoint Handmedowns (my band)

                          Find our album on iTunes!

                          A Month of Songs (Songwriting blog)







                          Originally Posted by gennation


                          Neither of us is gay or anything, it just happened.

                          Comment


                          • #14






                            Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Monkey
                            View Post

                            I was speaking directly to the OP's statement that he was approached at a gig.




                            OK, gotcha.



                            Yeah, everyone is interested when they are at the gig, excited, and maybe even drunk. Some just wanna play bigshot and talk to the band. Then they get home and suddenly they don't want a band as much as they did the night before. In my entire life I doubt if I've booked more than 1% of "private event" inquiries coming from regular patrons at gigs.
                            _________________________________________________
                            band websites:
                            http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
                            https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
                            https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
                            http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

                            Comment


                            • #15






                              Quote Originally Posted by guido61
                              View Post

                              As I said, I like to steal a lot from the bands that are successful. Here's one I thought of right away when I looked at your website. (4 guys probably in the mid-30s to mid-40s).



                              <snip>



                              http://www.meetthetrip.com/




                              Crazy. I actually interviewed Steve, their bassist, about 10 years ago. He's actually in his mid-50s now, but he was a pretty active actor in his late teens/early 20s:



                              http://youtu.be/PI0jjGZOAMc



                              He seemed like a nice guy, so I am glad to see he is doing well.









                              Quote Originally Posted by guido61
                              View Post

                              OK, gotcha.



                              Yeah, everyone is interested when they are at the gig, excited, and maybe even drunk. Some just wanna play bigshot and talk to the band. Then they get home and suddenly they don't want a band as much as they did the night before. In my entire life I doubt if I've booked more than 1% of "private event" inquiries coming from regular patrons at gigs.




                              We got that a lot with one of my bands, but on the rare occasion they followed up, they would usually lose interest as soon as we quoted a price. One person in particular stood out . She had seen us and liked us and was having a family oriented event coming up and the band she had booked cancelled a few days before the event. She tried to guilt trip us into doing it for a low cost:



                              "A friend of ours planned on playing his band for the party, but recently backed out. They were considering it a 'practice'. There are about 90 people invited to the Community Center. What would your rate be for Nov. 20th. 7-10pm? I appreciate your talent, but hope that your rate would be low and more for fun for the kids- otherwise we can't afford to enjoy your music again."



                              It was actually really close to our rehearsal place, so we were going to do it for our usual bar fee, but that was still too high for them.

                              Comment



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