Jump to content

Oversaturating a market


jamieb

Recommended Posts

  • Members

Got a situation that I need some advice on.

 

We are based in a very rural area. For a while now, our "market" has mainly been one nearby town, in our county (about a 38-mile drive). Several establishments have closed down, and the shows there are a crapshoot most of the time, due to the "cell-phone" nature, which I discussed in an earlier thread. We have recently added another local musician to our lineup, and the last time we played there, the place was packed! But, that was only one time. We're there this Saturday, and who knows what the turnout will be...

 

In an effort to find more gigs, we have ventured north (we are in northeast Alabama) about 20 miles, into Tennessee. It is amazing the difference we have found as far as a following goes. There are 3-4 establishments that have booked us with very successful results. Many of them are paying only the door, yet we are making more per member than we had been with a set price back "home".

 

Our dilemma is this; As I mentioned earlier, we went only 20 or so miles away from home. This is kind of a "central" location for all these locations. Between these places, the FURTHEST distance is 51 miles (or about 35 minutes, as us southerners are prone to equate driving to time, rather than distance.) :)

The closest, although they are technically in different cities/towns, are 6-7 miles (12-15 minutes) apart.

 

The success is great for us. But all these places are wanting to book us more and more. For example, in August, we are booked for three weekends in that area (one class reunion, and a benefit are included in these), and one of the venues wants to book us the final weekend. I really get the feeling that there can be too much of a good thing, for the band, the owners, and the crowds. We seem to have some "overlapping" fans that will move from the outer edges of this area toward the gigs in the "center", and I am afraid that, eventually, everyone involved is going to get burned out. Anybody else ever experienced anything like this?

 

Thanks,

 

jamieb

+++++

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I'm trying to picture what you are saying... I think I understand and if it is that way (building a circuit of rooms in a concentric circle) then I'd say the opposite is true. It's much easier to build and maintain a following from a central point and move outward, rather than pick points on a map that don't have any relation to each other. In other words you want a little overlap. People bring their friends from one room to the next.

 

Our area is three counties... geographically it measures 60 miles by 40 miles. Within that area we play 6-7 venues east to west. If you drew a line to each one it would be like stars in a constellation. Each of these venues are maybe 15-20 mins apart from the nearest one. Just enough distance to bring a crowd... and also play to a fresh audience. People in my area are used to driving when they bar hop. So some might plan a night starting in one town and end the night two towns away, seeing one set from each band. There's one location where there are a few music venues in a cluster ... you can walk from one to the next. But these are summertime destinations when it's warm, and two are weather dependent (outdoors).

 

A few years ago we worked with an agent and worked clubs in Long Island, Boston, Rhode Island... the agent kept booking us 2-3 hours away when we really wanted to build rooms 1 hr plus. Since we were only in these markets 3-4 times a year it was hard to build any traction. We'd play in April and tell the audience we'd be back in July. I'd rather work from the inside out rather from the outside in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Grant, these are pretty much a straight line. One highway runs the length of the distance, pretty much east-to-west. And, these seem to be really the ONLY places with live bands at nearly all the locations. So we have actually seen folks from the western venue at the eastern one. And we're booking a lot at 2-3 of the places, which is a problem in and of itself. (One place is actually closed in the summer months.)

 

We love the growing crowd. We've sold a ton of t-shirts, etc. (Which is going to have to help us replace our dying p.a., which is a whole 'nuther thread.) I'm just afraid that, when the crowd can PICK about any weekend to see us, it kind of loses the luster.

 

jamieb

+++++

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I would just make sure that you can spread these rooms out on a rotation... 4-8 weeks. There are destination rooms we play every month. Then there are smaller rooms (more B-level) that we hit every 6-8 weeks. This area has two seasons and we benefit from a growing waterfront development area along a winter. In the summer 2-3 outdoor venues run from May til September. They close after Labor Day. In contrast some of the inland venues slow way down in the summer months, so we hit those hard in the winter. We try to keep the rooms spaced out in terms of frequency and mileage. It doesn't always work nut we try our best. Right now my longest 'local' drive from my house is just under 50 minutes... not bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I'm kind of in a similar spot c'ept I'm in Southern Middle TN....one town in the middle of 4 towns...they all come to the one in the middle....and you can burn em out. I've found that there are only 2 ways to avoid this:

1) Constant change in content. Always have something new for them to see/hear. And it needs to go way past having a new tune or two....

2) Limit your playing to that crowd, irregardless of venue.

3) Both

 

How much you should limit it? I feel that if you are getting the SAME people (not crowd, but faces) then twice a month is about all they can stand. But if you are changing it up and doing different stuff, they'll look forward to it.

 

But even then, you can burn them out. Of course IMHO and YMMV.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

we are totally over saturated down here. Everthing happens in a few miles of sand. Solo performers are the top of the food chain. 300 bucks will get you a bar band. A couple hotel clubs with agency bands. anything over a hundred on a band split down here is a decent gig if you are workin the bars and beach. Its the price you pay for the view of the bay.

 

Its a hobby that has a few perks. I do like the oversaturation because at least I dont have to travel and hump gear all over hells half acre to play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

If there is a risk of over saturation, you have to keep it fresh and keep your audience wanting to come back. Think of it the same way you would if you were in a house band situation in the same establishment for a six month run. You have to be the band your audience knows is not only going to play their favorites but are also going to be constantly adding new material (a couple of songs a week, not one every couple of months!) and present it in an engaging and entertaining way. Schlogging out the same tired old 40-50 tunes that every other band is doing without some kind of show behind it is going to get old quickly in such a limited market. Find ways to keep it fresh and set yourselves apart and it shouldn't be a problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
Got a situation that I need some advice on.


We are based in a very rural area. For a while now, our "market" has mainly been one nearby town, in our county (about a 38-mile drive). Several establishments have closed down, and the shows there are a crapshoot most of the time, due to the "cell-phone" nature, which I discussed in an earlier thread. We have recently added another local musician to our lineup, and the last time we played there, the place was packed! But, that was only one time. We're there this Saturday, and who knows what the turnout will be...


In an effort to find more gigs, we have ventured north (we are in northeast Alabama) about 20 miles, into Tennessee. It is amazing the difference we have found as far as a following goes. There are 3-4 establishments that have booked us with very successful results. Many of them are paying only the door, yet we are making more per member than we had been with a set price back "home".


Our dilemma is this; As I mentioned earlier, we went only 20 or so miles away from home. This is kind of a "central" location for all these locations. Between these places, the FURTHEST distance is 51 miles (or about 35 minutes, as us southerners are prone to equate driving to time, rather than distance.)
:)
The closest, although they are technically in different cities/towns, are 6-7 miles (12-15 minutes) apart.


The success is great for us. But all these places are wanting to book us more and more. For example, in August, we are booked for three weekends in that area (one class reunion, and a benefit are included in these), and one of the venues wants to book us the final weekend. I really get the feeling that there can be too much of a good thing, for the band, the owners, and the crowds. We seem to have some "overlapping" fans that will move from the outer edges of this area toward the gigs in the "center", and I am afraid that, eventually, everyone involved is going to get burned out. Anybody else ever experienced anything like this?


Thanks,


jamieb

+++++

is there any reason why you don't go any farther? Around here 50-60 miles is pretty much an average distance to a gig. A fair number of them are 100-130 miles one way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

is there any reason why you don't go any farther? Around here 50-60 miles is pretty much an average distance to a gig. A fair number of them are 100-130 miles one way.

 

 

 

driving a couple hundred miles to play would wear on me if we did it every weekend. Its at the distance where you gut it out and burn the candle at both ends to stay out of the hotel. Its hard to get guys who can devote the time to a band to be gigging three or 4 times a month especially if you start hitting the long distance shows.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

A lot of bands play in town at several different places. I think it's a bit much, but I don't think there is much crossover. The people that go see bands usually have their own bar or two they go to, so if the band happens to come there that week, they are happy. But they usually won't go see them if they are at bars they don't like. So, it works out for the bands: they get to play in town, sleep in their own bed and make a good amount of money a few times a month.

 

Our band pretty much just plays one place in town now. We started out playing at three different venues, but for one reason or another, we just play the one place now. We will travel 20-60 miles for the smaller town one-nighters and every three months, we play a place that is 90 miles away on the weekend (it's actually cheaper to drive back and forth each night than to stay overnight in a hotel).

 

We live in a rural area as well. Small towns and small cities with many miles inbetween of nothing but farmland and highways. I worried about oversaturating our market, but I think we have the opposite problem: we don't play enough for people to remember us! So, I'm going to try to push for a lot more gigs this spring and summertime and see if that will work in our favor more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

is there any reason why you don't go any farther? Around here 50-60 miles is pretty much an average distance to a gig. A fair number of them are 100-130 miles one way.

 

 

Just a regional thing, I think. I always find it funny when I read some of these posts from parts of the country and people will talk as if driving 50 miles to get somewhere is something they need to pack a couple of suitcases and have their passport on them to do. Out west, most people don't think twice about driving 50 miles just to get a decent sandwich.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

We've learned to try to only book ourselves in any given town/area/region only once every 6 - 8 weeks, for many of the same reasons which have been already identified here. There are some venues that we play more often, but they have more of a rotating crowd or a good built-in crowd that tolerates us. :cool:

 

We've also found out that driving over an hour to play somewhere that doesn't "know you" can be a big waste of time/energy/money. Do what Grant said - start from a centralized location and work your way outward, building your crowd as you do so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
Just a regional thing, I think. I always find it funny when I read some of these posts from parts of the country and people will talk as if driving 50 miles to get somewhere is something they need to pack a couple of suitcases and have their passport on them to do. Out west, most people don't think twice about driving 50 miles just to get a decent sandwich.

I hear ya on that one!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
We've learned to try to only book ourselves in any given town/area/region only once every 6 - 8 weeks, for many of the same reasons which have been already identified here. There are some venues that we play more often, but they have more of a rotating crowd or a good built-in crowd that tolerates us.
:cool:

We've also found out that driving over an hour to play somewhere that doesn't "know you" can be a big waste of time/energy/money. Do what Grant said - start from a centralized location and work your way outward, building your crowd as you do so.

well, hopefully they know you 60 miles away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Just a regional thing, I think. I always find it funny when I read some of these posts from parts of the country and people will talk as if driving 50 miles to get somewhere is something they need to pack a couple of suitcases and have their passport on them to do. Out west, most people don't think twice about driving 50 miles just to get a decent sandwich.

 

 

My daily commute is more than 30 miles each way...but that being said, 50 miles OUTSIDE of the city limits is a haul, especially when you're somewhere that has everything you want/need within 15-20 minutes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

well, hopefully they know you 60 miles away.

 

Depends on what direction.We've been very successful in building a fan base in a line from from Seaford, DE, to Salisbury, MD, to Ocean City, MD, but not so for the DE beaches (which are actually closer to our home-base but not along that path). There really isn't anywhere west of us worth pursuing, because we'd be competing with well-known Baltimore-based agency bands. We do have the option of heading north, but of the three places we'd play in Dover, each of those don't want you playing in the other two (we are already in one of the venues, but it's a PIA gig and pays less than we can get anywhere else).

 

That's OK, we're in no rush. Already made that mistake once. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

People don't get bored with bands that keep growing. You don't need huge changes, but a band that kicked me out added 4 songs in the following year and a half. You really ought to be learning at least 4 songs a month. (Ignore this if you're band does mostly originals. That's a very different world.) The other thing is that we're Americans. We go to the same restaurants, we order the same things. And a few bands that were killers did the same great show every night to full houses every night. A great act doesn't have to be different every night. I've played in house bands, but those seem to have fallen into disfavor. It's the fastest way to get tight that I can think about. (That and 5 rehearsals a week.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

we are totally over saturated down here. Everthing happens in a few miles of sand. Solo performers are the top of the food chain. 300 bucks will get you a bar band. A couple hotel clubs with agency bands. anything over a hundred on a band split down here is a decent gig if you are workin the bars and beach. Its the price you pay for the view of the bay.


Its a hobby that has a few perks. I do like the oversaturation because at least I dont have to travel and hump gear all over hells half acre to play.

 

 

So your Jimmy Buffetting it to the tourist the beach and bay? I can't blame you a bit and would be like a bum on a bologna samwhich milking that fat cow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Just a regional thing, I think. I always find it funny when I read some of these posts from parts of the country and people will talk as if driving 50 miles to get somewhere is something they need to pack a couple of suitcases and have their passport on them to do. Out west, most people don't think twice about driving 50 miles just to get a decent sandwich.

 

David,

 

I think it's more a case of not that many venues that will pay enough to justify traveling that far in the diesel truck pulling a trailer of gear. (Not that we haven't done that.)

 

And, luckily for us, there are many decent sandwiches with a much more acceptable driving distance! ;)

 

jamieb

+++++

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

David,


I think it's more a case of not that many venues that will pay enough to justify traveling that far in the diesel truck pulling a trailer of gear. (Not that we haven't done that.)


And, luckily for us, there are many decent sandwiches with a much more acceptable driving distance!
;)

jamieb

+++++

 

I don't know that there are any better paying gigs out here. I just think there really IS a different mindset among people who live in different parts of the country when it comes to things like travel and driving time. Not just for gigs--for just about anything.

 

Talk to a lot of people back east who say they live in a "rural" area and you ask them WHERE exactly and they'll say "45 minutes from NYC". Out here, "rural" often means you're 45 minutes from the nearest highway sign that tells you the next big city is still 4 hours away...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...