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#157563 - 11/07/07 06:57 AM Audience Profiling
btweengigs Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 1910
Loc: Stuart, Florida, USA
Borrowing from another thread, Mark79100 made a point that, I think, deserves it's own thread. He said:
"Regards my remark about 'music not being fun anymore,' I meant for working musicians out there in the "battlefield" (the venues). Now there is mountains of paperwork involving each job, traffic to get through, tons of equipment to carry, inattentive/unappreciative/rude/musically illiterate audiences, contemporary music that sounds like a washing machine on steroids and impossible to play without 1/2 dozen sequencer programs running simultaneously, etc.

I'm not a pessimist, I'm a realist for those wondering where I'm coming from! The only real enjoyment I get nowadays from music is sitting at the piano and playing my heart out for myself. I wouldn't give that up for the world!

WOW!!! He may not be the only one here who feels that way. Sometimes I get some of the same vibes, especially the part about "inattententive/unappreciative/rude/musically illiterate" people.

I work in a highly seasonal type of environment where, mostly retired folks in the 50+ age group, come down for the winter in kind of a "vacation" frame of mind and expect to be personally catered to. Most belong to country clubs and social organizations of like minded people.

Those from certain parts of country and ethnic heritage tend to cluster together. None are horrible people, but I find their behavior and response to entertainment is very different from one another.

Without going into the specifics of profiling, I will say I find those from the midwest to be the friendliest, most attentive and appreciative people I play for. As a result I solicit at places and organizations that attract people that fit that kind of profile.

It is said that the most popular entertainers have the ability to "read their audiences" and get on their page. Most of us are adaptable and can usually do that. However, when I feel I can't even share the same book as them, I will no longer solicit or accept jobs from them.

I no longer feel bad or regret turning down offers from clients that make my evening less than enjoyable. Entertaining is a very synergistic business. When entertainers and audiences are in total sync, there is nothing better.

Eddie
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#157564 - 11/07/07 07:03 AM Re: Audience Profiling
Dnj Online   content
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Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 33876
Loc: Jersey Shore, NJ USA
Eddie in today's day & age of musical performance for the OMB this is where the Professionally Experienced JUGGLING of the the BIG 3 come into full view for success for any audience situation.

STYLES/SMF/MP3's
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#157565 - 11/07/07 07:15 AM Re: Audience Profiling
captain Russ Offline
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Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 6233
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
Eddie, I understand. There are places I simply won't work and people I won't play for. There are types of music I simply won't play.

I'm not in the business of playing just anything for anybody. It's harder to be so selective, but the work is out there. And, when you specialize and become the recognized "expert" in your market, the pay is sometimes much better.

Everyone has to manage their efforts in a way that is satisfying to them. I couldn't use MP-3's, sequences and the like. Others do and it works for them.

Perhaps the difference is how entertainers approach the market vs. how musicians do it.

Nothing inherently wrong with either approach. We need just to decide where our passion is and work hard to make the success happen.

Believe me, I understand.

Best of luck!

Russ

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#157566 - 11/07/07 07:43 AM Re: Audience Profiling
Dnj Online   content
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Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 33876
Loc: Jersey Shore, NJ USA
Also Eddie.....If your just a weekend worrior your would approach it differently then some one who makes a good living for themselves & family...but we all know this stuff already dont we
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#157567 - 11/07/07 09:48 AM Re: Audience Profiling
mikeathome1 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1208
Loc: Syracuse NY
I think the times are changing and live entertainment is getting less and less important to the masses.
We're all musicians here so we are interested in music and other musicians. Some of the older folks still appreciate live music but the younger ones are used to music videos, big screen, video games, Karaoke, ipods. They have their music on demand like we never did in the days of records. You wanted to go see a live group because you couldn't download it on your phone.
Unless you live in a resort area I see less and less live local music happening, we used to have a "club on every corner and a band in every club."
I can't even think of a restaurant that has live entertainment any more. As a matter of fact it's getting harder and harder to find a local restaurant, the chains have all moved in, Applebees, Olive garden. Pre packaged frozen entrees.
UGH! the times are changing.
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#157568 - 11/07/07 10:03 AM Re: Audience Profiling
Dnj Online   content
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Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 33876
Loc: Jersey Shore, NJ USA
Mike dont be fooled by the all the camouflage you mentioned.....its still there for the taking .....look between the cracks, make the necessary changes, be very flexible, forget what you like & play for the audiences pleasure first, look at the whole picture, give yourself the edge & make sure Your Act is Better then your competition.
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#157569 - 11/07/07 12:42 PM Re: Audience Profiling
captain Russ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 6233
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
Mike, the secret is to not play for the masses.

There are markets out there...big money upscale markets where it's possible to charge $500.00 plus on a Tuesday night for quiet atmosphere creating music for a dinner for 25 people, for instance.

There are jazz lots of jazz only jobs here in the heart of the Bluegrass that pay top dollar. I suspect that the money people are intimidated into believing that they have to like jazz and hire jazz musicians to "fit".

The film soundscore market it also very lucrative. Of course, just supplying music is a harder sell than providing turnkey services,..scripting...camera, editing, sound track, media packaging/graphics, etc. Pay is not as linked to talent as it is to the size of the market. I net over $10,000.00 for each fully produced 15 minute film score for an automobile manufacturer, and do multiple projects a year for them, where I also net many times that for script production and all other elements.

The point is, I'm an average player who has an acceptable level of skills in multiple areas and access to "money" clients.

The downside is, the work is relatively boring, except for the satisfaction of working at that level and fulfilling the communications needs of the client.


It's not nearly as fulfilling as a throw together session on B-3 with great players, but it more than pays the bills.

A good living is absolutely possible. You just have to reach the "non-mass" markets and become the "go-to" source.


Russ

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#157570 - 11/07/07 01:46 PM Re: Audience Profiling
mikeathome1 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1208
Loc: Syracuse NY
But Russ You play to the "masses" just not the same masses as others. Of course I mean your audience.
Quote:
Originally posted by captain Russ:


There are lots of jazz only jobs here in the heart of the Bluegrass that pay top dollar. I suspect that the money people are intimidated into believing that they have to like jazz and hire jazz musicians to "fit".


Russ


And that is the attitude I'm talking about how many of them would really care if there was no music or recorded music at the events.
And even more how many of the next generation would care.

I agree with Donny and Russ you have to change with the times.
I had written a long reply but basically in my area, Central New York, I see less live music venues, less opportunities for local musicians. When I was a teenager I was playing jobs on the weekends. I don't see that anymore.
And more and more if the budget gets tight entertainment is the first cutback. Even if the budget isn't tight lets get a dj and have shrimp cocktails instead of live music. And I've been on all sides of that discussion as a musician, a dj and booking the parties.
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#157571 - 11/07/07 01:49 PM Re: Audience Profiling
Songman55 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/24/05
Posts: 892
Loc: Baltimore, MD USA
I agree with Donny and Russ. It's out there, you just have to look for it. There was a time when I tried to be all things to all people, but I found for me, that's not the best approach. Since limiting myself to certain age groups, ect., and actually turning down some work, my phone is ringing off the hook. I think I'll also try Gary Diamond's approach and double my price and see if the demand doesn't go higher. We can all say things aren't what they used to be, but at age 57, I'm having the time of my life doing exactly what I love to do. What could be better than that?

Ciao,

Joe

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Songman55
Joe Ayala
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#157572 - 11/07/07 02:07 PM Re: Audience Profiling
Dnj Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 33876
Loc: Jersey Shore, NJ USA
Besides looking for it........
you have to CREATE YOUR NICHE...& it will take years to do it right.
supply & demand will substantiate the price charged.... but you had Better have
"THE GOODS" to back it up, if the client feels cheated by a sub par performance after the gig your done & as good as the word can spread....it can also rapidly backfire in reverse in your area & beyond, always give them 150%
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#157573 - 11/07/07 03:30 PM Re: Audience Profiling
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
Just to put a slightly different 'spin' on it (who, me?! )...

I'm not really sure that the audiences today ARE any less attentive, or appreciative than they used to be 30 or so years ago. I honestly think that, just like most things, we tend to look back with rose-colored glasses, and only remember the good.

And, who knows, maybe, back then, we didn't feel quite so 'entitled' to respect and adoration by our audiences, and if we didn't always get it, perhaps look to OURSELVES as perhaps the cause of their inattentiveness, rather than blame the audience.

Just a thought...

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#157574 - 11/07/07 06:13 PM Re: Audience Profiling
tony mads usa Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 11194
Loc: East Greenwich RI USA
One of the differences I find with audiences of 'today' vs 'yesterday', is that for 'yesterday's' audience, if you played a 'pop' song, even in a dance situation, it didn't "HAVE TO SOUND LIKE THE RECORD" ... not so today...
t.
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#157575 - 11/07/07 07:46 PM Re: Audience Profiling
Tom Cavanaugh Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/06/99
Posts: 2109
Loc: Muskegon, MI
Eddie,

For your crowds just play the songs from the commercials for Geritol and Polident. They will be able to sing right along.

Tom
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Thanks,

Tom

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#157576 - 11/09/07 12:50 PM Re: Audience Profiling
Uncle Dave Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 10168
Loc: Philadelphia Pa, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by tony mads usa:
for yesterday's' audience :
if you played a 'pop' song, even in a dance situation, it didn't "HAVE TO SOUND LIKE THE RECORD" ... not so today...


I think that has always been a curse hovering over the club scene for the last 30 years. I get a way with adding more "me" because of longevity. People come to hear my spin on stuff, because they KNOW they're not gettin' the clone version. Sequence, arranger or solo - I always add more ME than track.
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#157577 - 11/09/07 01:17 PM Re: Audience Profiling
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
I think the problem comes from 'trying' to sound like the record, and failing...

For me, it's more important to work with the SONG, and not worry too much about the arrangement. As long as the 'spin' you put on the song is still fresh, groovy, and entertaining, I think that the audiences still seem to appreciate it. But when you coldly go through the motions, and although get technically 'close' to the original, miss it's drive and passion (what made the audience like the song in the first place), you are always going to get that 'cold shoulder'.

And, let's face it, you old geezers, no amount of sounding like the record is going to make a kid jump around to your latest Kanye West cover. SOME musics are just NOT meant to be played by the elderly!

If you find yourself covering a lot of tunes by artists you wouldn't normally listen to, or enjoy, it MIGHT be time to consider a different venue, where you can play what YOU enjoy, and then, no matter HOW far away from the original version you stray, you are still playing stuff you love, and the audience ALWAYS gets off on that!

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#157578 - 11/10/07 12:54 AM Re: Audience Profiling
Mark79100 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1035
Loc: USA
My remark......

'music not being fun anymore,' I meant for working musicians out there in the "battlefield" (the venues). Now there is mountains of paperwork involving each job, traffic to get through, tons of equipment to carry, inattentive/unappreciative/rude/musically illiterate audiences, contemporary music that sounds like a washing machine on steroids and impossible to play without 1/2 dozen sequencer programs running simultaneously, etc

My original remark above seems to have gone somewhat astray by the time you get to this point in the thread.

ALL of what you've discussed here has been important, but, when I wrote what I did, the point I was making and the reality that I have to accept is that all the peripherals involved in doing a job now is detracting from your concentration on the music itself....performing AND practicing. I backed up and took a long hard look at what I have to do these days to continue working, even though I'm extremely good at what I do to begin with.

I didn't even mention hustling the work. Sure I could get as much work as I want if I spent whole days on the phone making contacts, maintaining a web site, reading the newspapers every day for events that Ill type into a database and contact for next year, etc. Let's face it, the "numbers" game ALWAYS pays off (you get back 5-10% of what you put out in advertising, phone calls, networking, etc.

Then the previously mentioned traffic.....ever increasing traffic. I leave two hours early for any job now, I carry detailed local road maps of where I'm going in case in case I get stuck on a main highway so I can get off and take "back roads." I maintain two vehicles in case one breaks down. I subscribe to two "automobile clubs" with 100 miles of free towing on each so if I break down on the way, I call one club to tow me there, and the other club to tow me back. I keep up-to-date emergency lists of available replacement musicians for each job I do should something happen to ME and I cant get to the gig.

Which brings me around to the equipment. I always carried two sets of everything in case something breaks down there. Now it's not just a keyboard, drum machine and adequate sound system, but almost enough to fill a Piper Cub. The sound system alone takes up half of your vehicle space and almost ALL of your energy.

I "stepped back" a while ago to view the whole music scene now as an outsider looking in as compared to "not being able to see the forest for the trees." What I came up with was this: literally you CAN be working all day and every day of the year, you really can, but you would have to spend most of your time between gigs addressing what I wrote above. There IS plenty of work out there, just not as much, so you have to work harder to locate it and then rope it in. That takes time!

I find myself spending an inordinate # of hours making phone calls trying to reach unreachable people, getting to gigs through traffic that is becoming like the General Motors proving grounds, having to make sure I lift weights every day so I remain strong enough to carry the equipment (I use the keyboard for bench presses!), and the final payoff.......the lack of respect and appreciation I get when I'm performing. I'm treated no different than any employee in the place, and sometimes not even as well as a waiter.

The plus side of the constantly changing music scene is that it forces growth, both musical and mental and that carries over into your personal life too. Constant change is the magic bullet that keeps you stimulated and stimulating! I've managed to metamorphasize from a shy accordionist in the early days to someone who can take that mike in hand and walk out on the floor, face 500 people, kibbutz with them, sing a song (with Karaoke backing), and ultimately handle any situation that arises because I learned to go with the changes in performing (up to now). The changes being you need to be an entertainer now, and not just a musician (and I cant say I dont enjoy the attention I get being out on the floor and feeling like a small potatoes headliner!).

If any of you are wondering, I'm NOT a novice at this. I play professional piano, synthesizer, arranger keyboards, accordion, organ. I'm a trained vocalist. For the last 15 years, I've also done up to 100 jobs a year as a DJ, and I have a complete Karaoke setup for Karaoke events. Yet I get no respect from anyone anymore when I do any of these things, exception being when I sit at the piano, but even there people think nothing of talking loudly while you're performing.

I thought I would play right up to my dying day, but this is the first time in my life that I'm thinking of giving up the whole kit and kaboodle, cashing in my SS, cut my expenses, tighten my belt and doing music simply as a hobby. Its a decision Ive been thinking about for a while now, as Im really not enjoying my music like I used to. I dont want to be another Chuck Berry....having to play into my 70s when my heart is not in it anymore.

More power to you guys who want to stick it out. To you folks, I admire your determination!

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#157579 - 11/10/07 04:57 AM Re: Audience Profiling
mikeathome1 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1208
Loc: Syracuse NY
Mark79100,
Well said!
May I ask your age?
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#157580 - 11/10/07 08:12 AM Re: Audience Profiling
Dnj Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 33876
Loc: Jersey Shore, NJ USA
I Cant agree with anything you said above ...but thanx for the post & your opinions.
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#157581 - 11/10/07 11:42 AM Re: Audience Profiling
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
Maybe it's time to take a backwards step from karaoke, maybe even find a (gasp, shock, horror!) REAL band to play with (the hell with the money, how about the MUSIC?) and try to rekindle your love of PLAYING.

That's (IMO) the only thing that will get you through the increasing trials and tribulations, and feed your soul for the next decade or so. You've got an uphill battle with getting respect, being karaoke, my friend, Far too many equate it with an audience participation sport, and you don't get much respect for doing something (and charging for it!) that most people go out and do for free, no matter HOW good you sing...

Sadly (or maybe not!) players get respect, singers get respect (if they are in a band or play most of the time) and guys that play AND sing get respect, but karaoke singers, there's always the niggling thought of 'what's WRONG with them? Can't they play with a REAL band?!', no matter HOW skilled you are. Well, at least, that's how I and many I know think of it.

Try giving the karaoke bit a rest, and just concentrate on playing while you sing. You'd be surprised at how they respond to you when they see you PLAYING all the time instead of singing to tracks.

One last comment on something said earlier. I don't believe that most modern music is any harder to pull off today than it used to be. Yes, it MIGHT take a sequencer and arpeggiated loops, vocoders and the like, and if you think that makes it unplayable, so be it. But remember, 30 or 40 years ago, how many of us were playing in bands that had full horn sections, dual lead guitars, full backup singers, string sections and the like? Without those, it wasn't POSSIBLE to play probably the majority of music on the charts THEN.... But somehow we managed. Even without brass and string synthesizers. We just played the SONGS. And they danced!

Just play the SONG, not the arrangement. If the song sucks without the arrangement, well, it wasn't much of a song in the first place, was it?! Leave it for the break music, they'll still be happy.

But once upon a time, we pulled off Chicago and EWF, BS&T and the Beatles, all without benefit of horn sections and strings. What makes modern songs any more difficult?

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#157582 - 11/11/07 12:22 AM Re: Audience Profiling
FAEbGBD Offline
Member

Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 847
Loc: Nashvville TN
For me, it isn't that I have to play what the audience likes. Rather, the audience likes what I play. I do concert type settings where the audience is there because they know what I do, and they have come to enjoy it. Oh sure, I have played a lot of dances and parties and such where I am there to play what the people want, but usually then I am not the front man. I hire on as a sideman and let someone else worry about picking the tunes. Most often when it is my show, I play what I play, and people always enjoy it. They have come to hear my music; they have not come to be entertained by any generic musician to whom they can feel free to yell FreeBird.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you will find much more appreciative and attentive audiences if you develop yourself as an act. Why are you worth seeing and hearing? If the venue is looking to employ entertainment, then expect to be treated and accepted very generically. But if the venue is looking to hire "insert your name specifically", because of who you are and what you do, then you will have an attentive audience.

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