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Are Club Owners Totally Lost?

SOURCE: Published: 2012-01-25
This article by Dave Goldberg is making it around the internet. While the writer makes it specific to LA, it is the current model for a lot of jazz clubs throughout the country.

WHY LA CLUB OWNERS ARE TOTALLY LOST AND SOME ADVICE FOR THEM FROM A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN

by Dave Goldberg

AS I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR GIGS LATELY, I've never seen so many free and low paying gigs. Well the economy is bad, so I can understand that a little bit. However, it is no longer good enough for the musician to be willing to perform for little compensation. Now we are expected to also be the venue's promoter. The expectations are that the band will not only provide great music, but also bring lots of people to their venue. It is now the band's responsibility to make this happen, not the club owner.

Just the other day I was told by someone who owned a wine bar that they really liked our music and would love for us to play at their place. She then told me the gig paid $75 for a trio. Now $75 used to be bad money per person, let alone $75 for the whole band. It had to be a joke, right? No she was serious. But it didn't end there. She then informed us we had to bring 25 people minimum. Didn't even offer us extra money if we brought 25 people. I would have laughed other than it's not the first time I've gotten this proposal from club owners. But are there musician sreally doing this? Yes. They are so desperate to play, they will do anything. But lets think about this for a second and turn this around a little bit...

...When a venue opens it's doors, it has to market itself. The club owner can't expect people to just walk in the door. This has to be handled in aprofessional way. Do you really want to leave something so important up to a musician? This is where the club owner needs to take over. It is their success or their failure on the line, not the musician.The musician can just move on to another venue. I've played places where for whatever reason only a few people have walked in the door on a Saturday night. The club owner got mad at me, asking where are the people? I turned it around on him asking the samething? Where are all the people? It's Saturday night and your venue is empty. Doesn't that concern you? What are you going to do about it?


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This story appears courtesy of Seattle Jazz Scene.
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