Saturday, January 21, 2012

LA Club Owners.....But really, ALL CLUB OWNERS

But where are people? You see people? Show me people. There are no people!
One of my Facebook friends had posted a link to an article regarding music venues in Los Angeles, written by a working musician. I thought it was right on the money, and it could really apply to all music venues, at least in North America. I believe there are many reason why live music is suffering; the bad economy, the lack of interest in culture, the sprawl of Americans into the suburbs(they don't want to drive back into an urban area at night to see music, let alone take public transportation), the prevalence of internet(people stay home and surf the net or watch TV for free; why drive and pay 10-50 bucks to hear some difficult sounding music?). However, this article by Dave Goldberg makes great points.

There was a time when you could do a gig, even a jazz gig, at a club, and it was more common than not to get a guarantee of payment. Now, most jazz gigs, really most club gigs in the U.S., are door gigs. Perhaps college student musicians or unmarried twenty somethings will have the energy to play door gigs. I must say, it's pretty demoralizing to play a door gig at age 42. And I'll admit I have had mixed luck with getting people to come out to my gigs. I've sold out shows, but I've also played to plenty of empty rooms. I played a gig recently which was maybe one of the best musical experiences I've had, but I'm pretty sure I won't be playing this venue again due to the lack of people.

I understand the dynamic of "If you have a name, people will come to your gigs" or "you have to develop a following," or "get everyone in your extended family and everyone who you went to high school with to come to your gig!" In order to really have a name, you have to have a publicist and a label behind you. In order to develop a following, you need to have gigs, and then it gets into a which comes first, the chicken or the egg type deal.(In order to get a gig, you need a following. How can I develop a following if I don't have a gig?) And getting your friends and family to come? Well, ask my mother about that. She does her darndest, but not everyone might be available on June 26th for your one show.

Anyway, read the article. Musicians will understand. Club owners and bookers will probably have a litany of reasons to disagree. Mr. Goldberg says that:  

I think we as musicians need to fight back. Sure you can get mad about it, but that won’t do anything.We could all agree not to play those for the door gigs, but you know that isn’t going to happen. But what we can do, is explain to the club owner that it’s not in their best interest to operate their business like this.There is too much at stake for them not to be truly invested in the music presented in their venue.

I've wondered this myself for years. It takes a lot of time, sacrifice, and commitment to play music well. All of a sudden, we have to be Public Relations Experts! And some people just suck it up and put in the EXTRA work it takes to get people to come to their gigs. Those people can end up being successful. They usually aren't married with children. 

I used to play at Blues Alley in Washington D.C. in the early 90's. I played there with a lot of great musicians who did decent business. But I also played there with musicians or singers who weren't full time, who had day jobs in an office. They would play Blues Alley once or twice a year, and get everyone they ever met in life to come out to the gig. Most of the time, they were not that great as musicians. But they did good business. OK I'm being nice, oftentimes they were, um, not very good, in my humble opinion. But they would continue to get bookings. Clubs no longer care about the quality of the music, they just want bodies in the seats. And they don't want to take any responsibility for it. It's supposed to be OUR job to bring people. Period.

Spent 18 hours a day on his mailing list.....
Sometimes  I think about what it takes in the New Music Business to be successful. I almost think that I need to never practice again, and only focus on marketing myself.  Problem is, when I first fell in love with jazz, listening to Clifford Brown, Herbie Hancock, and John Coltrane, I thought to myself:" I want to PLAY this music!" I didn't think, " I want to have a huge mailing list and spend hours promoting myself on the internet!" And naysayers( I know you are out there-some of you are my Facebook friends!),  you might think I'm being defeatist or negative. You're probably right.  Maybe someday I'll get my act together  and sink what's left of my vast fortune into a massive 9 month  publicity campaign, so I can FINALLY get that 60 dollar gig  at that little jazz club near Christopher Street that never returns my calls .....


  1. I am very sorry to say that you are 100% right!!! If we could just impress the club owners with our knowledge of the music and show them the value...maybe we could slowly start to improve the base pay and not have to rely on the door. I would pay to see and hear you..because I know how you play..but..I am a musician and know the difference between a great player and a bad one. Thank you for your posts..we ALL appreicate them!!!

  2. A few thoughts on reading the original piece and your comments.
    I think clubs have lost the ability to tell good from bad music, and to be able to peg their business to their musical taste. Of course the good clubs have that going on, like the Vanguard or Small's in NYC. But even clubs like The Jazz Standard want to know if you draw people in. There are very few clubs that subsist on their name alone It is hard to do.
    Here is a business idea: There should be a person or even a company, that provides booking and promotional services to clubs, who weeds through the piles of artist submissions, and determines the suitability for their client's venue based on the demographic, the location, the type of music, etc. This entity would work with the band and the club owner to market the gigs and draw people into the club.
    The idea is that just as you can't expect musicians to be promoters and marketers, you can't expect club owners to know how to create a brand from their music offerings, and build a loyal following based on the music they present. THey don't know enough about music and audiences (save the exceptions above, Lorraine Gordon, Spike Wilner, etc.) I don't know that anyone does this for jazz clubs...

    They follow the money, like anybody else. It's as if you were offered a shitty gig for 300 bucks or a door gig at the coolest cafe in town. Which one would you take?

    Then again, perhaps the venues of the future are on the Internet...

  3. We have a real problem with this in Portland, OR. The most egregious offender being our town's flagship "Jazz Club" known as Jimmy Mak's. This guy is legendary for his stance on requiring Jazz musicians to work for the door (often a percentage of the door) while the club rakes in the cash. He boasted that he grew his business by 20% last year! Yet, the trend of major Jazz acts "flying over" Portland continues. Our most-recognized Jazz club (Portland only got 1 entry - Jimmy Mak's - in Downbeat's latest Jazz club directory) is selling the city's diverse Jazz scene short because of sheer greed. Worst yet, when one attempts to engage Jimmy in coversation about Jazz, one quickly finds that the man is not a fan of the music. So he's kinda like some sort of terrible Jazz slum-lord.

    The only hopeful sign I see is that there are new endeavors happening in Ivories Jazz Lounge (which hosts Christian McBride this week) and the Portland Jazz Festival's mission series which gives international, national, and local acts guaranteed money when they play.

    But it's terribly sad that Jimmy Mak's gets most of the recognition in our community when they really aren't a supporter of the community.

  4. Couldn't agree more and thanks for expanding on my article on your blog. What you are talking about at Blues Alley goes on at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood. When I saw they hired local bands on off nights, I inquired about my quartet and was told sure, they'd love to have us. First we had to write them a check for $500. Then we get 50% of the door. After $1,000 was collected at the door we would get our check returned to us and 100% of the remaining door above $1,000. What? I've never heard such a thing. So I laughed and walked out. But people are doing this. And I'm caught up in it too. I'll get called to do a gig with a singer at Catalina's and it pays $100. Piano, bass, drums, and saxophone all getting paid $100. But it's the singer that's paying us, or her manager. Plus they are paying the club the $500, I guess. So you can't say to the venue that you aren't getting top musicians in town to play there. They are. I haven't really decided about how I feel about this. I mean, should I care where the money is coming from? The singer has identified that if she wants a top band, she has to pay. But this is so wrong. And there are lots of people out here doing it. Rich wives of Hollywood types, who have no problem throwing down $1,000 for their wife to get on stage and sing tunes. Or you get rich "managers" who most likely want to bang the hot young singer, so they lay the money out. Or they really are managers and believe that their young singer is going to be a star and are willing to put the money into her career to build a following. It's a fine line, but the clubs are getting off scott free for sure.

  5. This is interesting stuff. I'm in Sydney Australia, and we've got similar things going on. I was only talking to someone about it today, and the venue we're working at is taking the line that the band must bring in the people, and doing minimal publicity. I contend that the venue should at least be doing it's best to build up a reputation as a place that people can rely on to provide quality music, so that they can go there anytime and be sure there will be something good on, perhaps within a certain broad genre category (Jazz, Funk etc.)I think the band should also do a certain amount of promotion, but for the venue to put the responsibility entirely on the musicians is wrong, lazy, and as someone said, basically bad business practice. I think the reasons for this are complicated. Some of them George has touched on - competing technologies (i.e. TV, home theatre systems, the net etc.), but I also think there's more talented musicians out there, and less venues (the Global Financial Crisis has definitely contributed to the dicontinuation of live music in many of the hotels here for example). Also part of it that no one has mentioned is the age old attitude that music is just a "hobby", and not a "real job", which can result in people being disrespectful to musicians, and not taking seriously their need to make a living. I don't know what to do about it, but I certainly make sure I always educate anyone (venue owner or otherwise) about the last point if I get that attitude. I think that talking to the venue owners the way Dan has described is probably a good start.

  6. Dave, I think part of the problem is that "top musicians" are working for $100 at Catalina's. That's "hobby money", not professional compensation.

  7. complex issue is complex

    here in san francisco, it's not uncommon for someone in the band to go around between sets with a tip jar soliciting handouts from the patrons

  8. I agree Pablo, but if you aren't going to take a bill to do jazz gig in a large town, then you'll never work. I guess I should rephrase that. Top musicians that don't have a big name. I mean just because Peter Erskine lives in Los Angeles, I'm not talking about him. I'm talking about guys that play their ass off, but still aren't going to pack the place based on name recognition. And sometimes even people with name recognition are willing to play for that money too. When I lived in New York, I had a little duo gig in a restaurant, and I got some pretty well known guitar players on major labels willing to play with me on that gig. $100 and dinner, done. It's sad but true.

    And as for passing around the tip jar, isn't that the most embarrassing thing. It's like begging on the New York subway or something. I always try to explain that to a venue, that it just tells everyone.....Hey we don't pay our band.

  9. yes, passing the tip jar is embarrassing to say the least.

    however, i feel like the venue owners present an even bigger obstacle beyond not wanting pay: they don't know anything about music!
    a lot of the gigs here in san francisco get sucked up by these hacks who can barely play at the level of a first year junior college jazz ensemble.

  10. I'm always wondering how come we don't have a real working union like SAG? Not counting the existing ones that seem to have no bearing on the club scene. As a musician, I make most of my living wages doing background work - the bottom of the totem pole in the film/tv/commercial world... yet I get a meal, free parking, and $150-$350 a day depending on the project. I'm happy to pay a reasonable dues knowing that they are out there negotiating and enforcing these rights for us... compare it to the non-union actors who work the same hours as me for 1/3 the pay (at least they still get food & they're still making more than most gigging musicians) but point being, union VS non-union is a BIG DIFFERENCE. To a certain degree I blame ourselves for not organizing yet... I mean, BMI just now started paying songwriters the licensing fee due to performing their own songs live all over town...why did that take so long! And why did I not even realize it should be happening until they offered it?!

  11. I wrote this in response to the various articles making the rounds. IMO, a dose of reality for all of us:

    1. This is an excellent op ed!!!

    2. Are you any relation to ED Shaughnessy?

  12. الرياضة المصرية

    balersLawrence Avenue was named for Jacob Lawrence, a tanner and farmer in the area of Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue.[3] Originally Lawrence Avenue only ran east of Yonge Street, with the road heading west to Weston being named McDougall Avenue.

  13. African Americans make up the single largest racial minority in the United States.[4] Most African Americans are of West and Central African descent and are descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States.[5][6] However, some immigrants from African, Caribbean, Central American or South American nations, or their descendants, may be identified or self-identify with the term.
    Melbourne flower and garden show

    rental villas

  14. Each component of the German Empire sent representatives to the Federal Council (Bundesrat) and the Imperial Diet (Reichstag). Relations between the Imperial centre and the Empire's components were somewhat fluid, and were developed on an ongoing basis. The extent to which the Emperor could, for example, intervene on occasions of disputed or unclear succession was much debated on occasion – for example with the Lippe-Detmold inheritance crisis.
    Arginine and effects

    small dog clothes

  15. The creation of the Empire under Prussian leadership was a victory for the concept of Kleindeutschland (Smaller Germany) over the Großdeutschland concept. This meant that Austria, a multi-ethnic Empire with a considerable German-speaking population, would remain outside of the German nationstate. Bismarck's policy was to support this solution diplomatically. The effective alliance between Germany and Austria played a major role in Germany's decision to enter World War I in 1914.
    Gap Year Thailand

    Poway Ca homes for sale

  16. Bismarck built on a tradition of welfare programs in Prussia and Saxony that began as early as in the 1840s. In the 1880s he introduced old age pensions, accident insurance, medical care and unemployment insurance that formed the basis of the modern European welfare state. He came to realize that this sort of policy was very appealing, since it bound workers to the state, and also fit in very well with his authoritarian nature. The social security systems installed by Bismarck (health care in 1883, accident insurance in 1884, invalidity and old-age insurance in 1889) at the time were the largest in the world and, to a degree, still exist in Germany today.
    Audiolibros Gratis

    large dog clothing

  17. A key difference between Wilhelm II and Bismarck was their approaches to handling political crises, especially in 1889, when German coal miners went on strike in Upper Silesia. Bismarck demanded that the German Army be sent in to crush the strike, but Wilhelm II rejected this authoritarian measure, responding "I do not wish to stain my reign with the blood of my subjects."[46] Instead of condoning repression, Wilhelm had the government negotiate with a delegation from the coal miners, which brought the strike to an end without violence
    Auto Warranty Company

    itunes gift card

  18. whose primary activity was teaching Christian theology and literacy at their newly-established schools using the Bible as the only Malagasy-language text, were obliged to leave. Several years thereafter, in the spirit of solidarity they were joined by James Cameron and other artisan missionaries whose diverse practical skills and many significant contributions to the industrialization of the island had secured them positive relations with the Merina monarchy since their arrival in the early 1820s
    orlando orthodontists

    reverse mortgage san diego

  19. Soon after the conquest of Algiers, the soldier-politician Bertrand Clauzel and others formed a company to acquire agricultural land and, despite official discouragement, to subsidize its settlement by European farmers, triggering a land rush. Clauzel recognized the farming potential of the Mitidja Plain and envisioned the production there of cotton on a large scale. As governor general (1835–36), he used his office to make private investments in land and encouraged army officers and bureaucrats in his administration to do the same. This development created a vested interest among government officials in greater French involvement in Algeria.
    Restaurant Text Message Marketing

    yiwu china

  20. The controversial historian Daniel Lefeuvre has contested the common estimates concerning the death toll. He has recently alleged that if the Algerian population has decreased by 875,000 people between 1830 and 1872, the French military were not responsible for all of them, as a fraction of these deaths could be explained by the grasshopper invasions of 1866 and 1868, as well as by a rigorous winter in 1867–68, which caused a famine followed by an epidemic of cholera.
    stone animal statues

    free dating search engine

  21. The President of the Republic can decide to dissolve the National Assembly and call for new legislative elections. This is meant as a way to resolve stalemates where the Assembly cannot decide on a clear political direction. This possibility is seldom exercised. The last dissolution was by Jacques Chirac in 1997, following from the lack of popularity of prime minister Alain Juppé; however, the plan backfired, and the newly elected majority was opposed to Chirac.
    stop hair loss

    Apartamentos de vacaciones en Madeira

  22. They fall into two branches: Tongic and Nuclear Polynesian. Tongan and Niuean constitute the Tongic branch and all others are part of the Nuclear Polynesian branch. Polynesians share many unique cultural traits which resulted from about 1000 years of common development, including common linguistic development, in the Tonga and Samoa area through most of the first millennium BC.
    Extended Auto Warranty

    ultramarine blue pigment

  23. Otherwise the locative function ("place where") has merged with the genitive. The vocative, a case of direct address, is marked by an ending only in words of the second declension. Otherwise the vocative has merged with the nominative, except that the particle O typically precedes any vocative, marked or not. There are only five fully productive cases; that is, in the few instances of the formation of a distinct locative or vocative, the endings are specific
    orlando fl foreclosures

    Antivirus Gratis

  24. Latin translations of modern literature such as Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh, Tintin, Asterix, Harry Potter, Walter the Farting Dog, Le Petit Prince, Max und Moritz, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Cat in the Hat and a book of fairy tales, "fabulae mirabiles," are intended to garner popular interest in the language. Additional resources include phrasebooks and resources for rendering everyday phrases and concepts into Latin, such as Meissner's Latin Phrasebook.
    Walk-in Freezer Sliding Door

    where is yiwu

  25. The present indicative expresses general truths, facts, demands and desires. Most commonly, a verb like portō can be translated as "I carry," "I do carry," or "I am carrying". In all but the third conjugation, only the thematical vowel of the stem is used. In the third conjugation, the e is only used in the second person singular in the passive for a less difficult pronunciation. Otherwise, it becomes either an i or u. The first person singular of the indicative active present is the first principal part. All end in –ō.
    fort lauderdale fl foreclosues

    catering brisbane

  26. I compared it were not increased in the same ratio. Moreover, the comet being magnified much beyond what its light would admit of, appeared hazy and ill-defined with these great powers, while the stars preserved that lustre and distinctness which from many thousand observations I knew they would retain. The sequel has shown that my surmises were well-founded, this proving to be the Comet we have lately observed.
    replicas de relogios bvlgari


  27. In 1986 Voyager 2 found that the visible southern hemisphere of Uranus can be subdivided into two regions: a bright polar cap and dark equatorial bands (see figure on the right).[17] Their boundary is located at about −45 degrees of latitude. A narrow band straddling the latitudinal range from −45 to −50 degrees is the brightest large feature on the visible surface of the planet.[17][96] It is called a southern "collar".
    water ionizers

    villa rentals

  28. In December 2005, the Hubble Space Telescope detected a pair of previously unknown rings. The largest is located at twice the distance from the planet of the previously known rings. These new rings are so far from the planet that they are called the "outer" ring system. Hubble also spotted two small satellites, one of which
    Microlon engine treatment

    sell personalised number plates

  29. The particle population is strongly affected by the Uranian moons that sweep through the magnetosphere leaving noticeable gaps.[92] The particle flux is high enough to cause darkening or space weathering of the moon’s surfaces on an astronomically rapid timescale of 100,000 years.[92] This may be the cause of the uniformly dark colouration of the moons and rings.[81] Uranus has relatively well developed aurorae, which are seen as bright arcs around both magnetic poles.[76] Unlike Jupiter's, Uranus's aurorae seem to be insignificant for the energy balance of the planetary thermosphere.
    Mexico Real Estate

    mind maps

  30. Windspeeds continue to increase reaching maxima at ±60° latitude before falling to zero at the poles.[18] Windspeeds at −40° latitude range from 150 to 200 m/s. Since the collar obscures all clouds below that parallel, speeds between it and the southern pole are impossible to measure.[18] In contrast, in the northern hemisphere maximum speeds as high as 240 m/s are observed near +50 degrees of latitude

    cash drop

  31. On 20 missions (1983–1998) the Space Shuttle carried Spacelab, a space laboratory designed in cooperation with the ESA. Spacelab was not designed for independent orbital flight, but remained in the Shuttle's cargo bay as the astronauts entered and left it through an airlock.[59] Another famous series of missions were the launch and later successful repair of the Hubble space telescope 1990 and 1993
    تثبيت الوزن

    brainwaves alpha

  32. t is currently being assembled in Low Earth Orbit. The construction began in 1998 and construction of the US Orbital Segment was completed in 2011; operations are expected to continue until at least 2020.[64] The station can be seen from the Earth with the naked eye and, as of 2011, is the largest artificial satellite in Earth orbit with a mass and volume larger than that of any previous space station.
    water ionizers


  33. In the middle of the 20th century[clarification needed] NASA augmented its mission of Earth’s observation and redirected it toward environmental quality. The result was the launch of Earth Observing System (EOS) in 1980s, which was able to monitor one of the global environmental problems—ozone depletion.[99] The first comprehensive worldwide measurements were obtained in 1978 with the Nimbus-7 satellite and NASA scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
    jewelry factory

    new job

  34. Before the end of the next decade, NASA astronauts will begin an extensive exploration of the surface of the moon. The objective is to establish a lunar research outpost where astronauts will learn how to live and work in space for extended periods of time before venturing further into the solar system. Building on the best of Apollo and shuttle technology, NASA's Constellation Program is creating a 21st-century human and robotic exploration system that will be affordable, reliable, versatile and safe.
    enagic distributor

    its good to share

  35. The future of the planet is closely tied to that of the Sun. As a result of the steady accumulation of helium at the Sun's core, the star's total luminosity will slowly increase. The luminosity of the Sun will grow by 10% over the next 1.1 Gyr (1.1 billion years) and by 40% over the next 3.5 Gyr.[58] Climate models indicate that the rise in radiation reaching the Earth is likely to have dire consequences, including the loss of the planet's oceans.
    meet friends

    water ionizer

  36. jeux de coiffure

    yoga exercises
    The new attacks came after violence flared at the sprawling Aleppo University, one of several schools where anti-government protests have erupted recently. Seven were killed at the university Thursday.
    Aleppo, a bastion of support for al-Assad, has been largely spared in Syria's 14 months of bloody uprising. Recent protests there could signal a significant shift.

  37. The Olympics resumed in 1948 and were celebrated every four years. The Winter and Summer Olympic Games were held in the same years until 1992, when the governing body for the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), decided to place the Summer and Winter Games on separate four-year cycles in alternating even-numbered years.
    Tummy Tuck

    wholesale full lace wigs

  38. An alternative choice to a hand-held scanner is usually to link to the Laptop containing OBDii software package installed on volvo vcads. You will have a cable together with the 16-pin connector on a person conclusion by using a USB connector around the other to hook about your Laptop. Bluetooth connectors are readily available for this application.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.