Saturday, March 27, 2010

I guess I got sucked into this.....

When Tim first said, 10 years ago, that he was actually going to be a musician and not a seminary teacher. I said, "Fine. Get it out of your system now before we have 5 kids and no way to support them. Just don't use up family resources to do it. You have to make your own money to invest in it with music."  And I had very little to do with it.

Now we have 5 kids and we're trying to support them on music, and we have used family resources to do it, and notice I said "we"? kinda crept up on me as I learned more about what was going on. Doesn't help that my interest tests when I finished college said that I would love the job of a musician.  Doesn't help that I have loved design for a long time.  Doesn't help that I enjoy watching the creative process.

So here I am, suddenly finding myself fully involved, and it surprises me!

I have been functioning as an advisor and assistant to Tim for years now, but only in the last few days have I jumped into the day-to-day workings of the business. What I realized was that if we want this to take off and start making money (so we can live), it would work better if TWO people were looking for shows (gigs) than if just one was. Then I realized that it's not rocket science, especially with google.

So I set about my business and have been contacting people, sending press kits, and generally trying to make myself useful.

And I've learned a few things.

Different types of bands have to be booked in different ways. On the one hand, there's the traditional, family-friendly a cappella cover band. We have one of those, and Mister Tim (the live looping show) can fit with those audiences, too. These bands do well performing at fairs, festivals, library performance series, and other places families congregate.  This is something I know something about because we've been on that circuit, so I immediately set to work finding these kinds of shows--I tracked down every state fair website I could find, and learned how to find the booking information on them (it's always buried some weird place, like in the FAQs after "can I bring my dog to the fair" or on the Contact Us page, or some other funky spot). Then I did some county fairs.

And then Tim and I had a long talk and I realized (what he already knew) that Rock Bands, like VoxBom and Throat, are not really admired by that kind of audience. Nobody goes to the afternoon food court stage at the fair expecting to have their ears blasted off by a hard rock band. They would complain. So Tim told me some things--but he's never done a band before either. Both of Tim's rock bands (okay, all three, if you include the a cappella hair band parody group) can be marketed to a cappella groups, but when I saw VoxBom live, I realized they have crossed the barrier into "real music" world instead of being stuck in A cappella land. So I wanted to market them to "real" band venues. And that's where I got stuck. We've never been there before, so how do bands get out of the garage and on the road?

We came up with a few ideas: Local music spots hire in bands. They're called "venues". So I dug up info on the two dozen or so most-mentioned venues in the Denver area. In the process of that, I learned about Promoters. A cappella groups use agents, who give you a few tips and then primarily book shows. They occasionally use managers, who help form the group into something marketable and also deal with details like booking shows, handling money, etc.  A cappella groups never use Promoters. But Bands do. See, promoters book and advertise all the shows at certain venues for a cut of the pay. Theoretically, they bring the best bands to the venues, and bring the best fans to the venues, and get everyone out of the garage. So I got the info for a couple of promoters who cover Denver Venues.

Another way bands get out of the garage is participating in Battles of the Bands. So I dug up info on that and Tim is applying for a couple of big ones (Warped Tour, Hard Rock Cafe).

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this one because it's all new to me, but I really feel like VoxBom (now) and Throat (when there are singers for it) are the real, serious groups that Tim has, where Wonder Voice (all covers) is kind of an acappella filler group artistically (they're really good--it's not that. It's just that the groups that end up working steadily aren't cover bands. They're legitimate groups with original music, and that's what VoxBom, Throat, and Mister Tim are).

So now I'm on to local Festivals in Colorado and Utah, and some nationwide (but they aren't as high of priority as finding info on and applying for local stuff). These bridge the two sides--depending on the festival, you get all kinds of music playing, so all Tim's bands become applicable.

And I feel like I have a new job! Sheesh. I spend a lot of time on this. Not because the work is hard, but because there are a LOT of festivals, fairs, and venues, and, just like job applications, you have to send stuff to EVERYTHING in order to get SOMETHING. And we need lots of somethings to make a living.

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