Live Music Management were very pleased to have been invited to speak at Barnsley Music College yesterday. Our talk was one of a number of days when guest speakers have been invited into the college to speak to music students. The majority of the talks have been based around the original music scene and have focused on how to get recognition for songwriters and bands pursuing record deals , publishing and support/ festival slots.
Of course many students will pursue these ambitions whilst having to confront the reality of how to monetise their skills and one of the key themes that we focused on yesterday was that many musicians need multiple revenue streams in order to survive and it is not uncommon for an act to be played on radio or to be given low bill festival slots whilst at the same time playing bookings at parties or weddings as a cover act.
In yesterdays talk we tried to stress the basics of what is required in order to charge money for your services as a musician. It goes without saying that the act has to be able to play well and certainly the standard of musicianship yesterday was very high but the following elements are also essential.
1. The act needs to recognise its audience and play a set appropriate for this audience. The most successful acts will be ones that either capture a niche (i.e an in demand tribute / themed band) or have a wide set that will appeal to many different audiences. Key market places are weddings , parties , holiday parks , events, cruise ships and club venues.
2.The act needs professional quality equipment. Not just instruments and amplifiers but also PA system and lighting. The PA system needs to be capable of filling a room of at least one hundred and fifty people.
3. The act needs transport whether this be a shared van or a number of members of the band with access to cars. It has often been said that a band gets paid for being a long distance lorry driver and plays music for fun!
4. Once an act starts playing proper venues they will need public liability insurance and their electrical equipment will need to be PAT tested. The musicians union offers a good deal on insurance with free insurance for all members.
5. The act needs a professional attitude . Every gig is important and the more friends you win when out playing the more re-bookings you will get. The rock star attitude that some acts carry on the indie circuit is not going to work at a holiday park or wedding. Save the rock star bit for when you are on stage.
It was a pleasure to be invited to speak yesterday at a music course run by Dave Laycock who has been a member of two successful Live Music Management acts and has worked for us for over ten years. Dave put on a mini showcase featuring five acts from the college all of whom showed great potential and a couple of which could be added to our roster almost immediately if they wished to pursue the kind of work Live Music Management offer.
As on the previous occasions we have visited music colleges we found the standard of musicianship to be very high and were impressed by the attitudes of many of the students who expressed their desire to get out their and work hard (many of them are already laying the ground work with pub gigs and other work.) The facilities and teaching at Barnsley College seem to us to be a great platform for building a career in the music business and it looks like many of the students have already begun looking for opportunities.
Live Music Management are proud to be able to offer paid gigs to our many working musicians and support the idea that being a musician is a profession like any other and deserves a fair rate of pay. We are also pleased to have been invited to mentor at Barnsley College and other music courses.