Highlights from 2015

As the holidays approach, and we reflect on the past year, we are so thankful.  We are thankful for all of the amazing clients we worked with, spectacular artists we presented, and the continued opportunity to serve, educate, and entertain our clients.

We started off 2015 laughing, with a few Bo Burnham shows as well as a couple Adam DeVine shows.  Bo continues to be a college venue favorite across the entire country, and Adam’s fame from Pitch Perfect, Workaholics, and several other movies sure makes for a recognizable face!

Continuing through the early winter months, we worked on a record-breaking Pentatonix arena show that sold almost 7,000 tickets!  This Pop/A capella act is on fire, and every show we work on with them is a near or complete sellout.  Can’t wait to see what this act has in store for us in the new year.

Then of course we headed into the crazy time of year with the March through May rush.  There were very few dates in April that didn’t hold at least one show for us!  We of course had killer shows with some usual college favorites like Timeflies, who free-styled quite a few times for our clients this year.  Not to mention Hip Hop favorite Hoodie Allen, who called us from his hospital bed to reschedule a show when he was very ill.  He made up for it with several other killer performances this year with us.  Pop/Rock star Andy Grammer played several colleges, festivals and special events with us this year, absolutely blowing our audiences away before heading into Dancing With the Stars in the fall.  We look forward to a few more shows with him in the new year as well!  We loved working once again with Contemporary Artists Needtobreathe, Sammy Adams, We The Kings, B.o.B, and other repeat artists, as well as getting to know some newer faces like Country newcomer Cale Dodds and Indie Pop group Smallpools.

We had the privilege during the spring to work with other artists such as Pop stars Nick Jonas and Nico & Vinz, Country acts like Old Dominion and Frankie Ballard, and so many more. Throw in a private event in Australia with Jewel just for variety, and I would say our spring was pretty exciting.  Honestly, there were so many new and returning artists to our calendar we can’t quite mention them all, but needless to say – we had a blast.

The summer certainly didn’t slow down much for us as we had the privilege of working with great festivals across the country, booking everyone from Aretha Franklin to Daughtry, and from Foster the People to Boz Scaggs.

Then it was time to jump right into late summer and early fall, which here in the Midwest is a great time for Country and Comedy shows, including huge Country headline names like Lee Brice and Hunter Hayes, all the way to small sell out shows with Kelsea Ballerini.  We also got to know Country newcomers Ryan Lafferty, Clare Dunn, Dean Alexander and Ruthie Collins.  Working with Comedy greats Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall (on separate theater shows) was definitely a highlight as well.

As we continued through the busy fall months, Pop star Tori Kelly certainly wowed us, Classic Rocker Dennis DeYoung brought us back in time to relive some of our favorite hits, Indie group Hippo Campus let us hear something completely new, and Pop/Rock favorite Nate Reuss and the Campus Consciousness Tour made us think more about climate change (and our souls for that matter with his lyrics).  There were so many others we can’t possibly name them all, but these were definitely some highlights.

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In 2015, we worked with theaters, arenas, festivals and colleges from the state of Washington to the state of New Hampshire (sorry Maine – we’re still waiting for your call), and watched them inspire us with their enthusiasm.  Although we can’t start naming you all individually, our clients are the real stars here.  They put their blood, sweat, and tears into shows regularly, and look to us to guide them through the process and bring them the artists they love.

2015 has certainly been an awesome year.  We plan to finish up the year strong with our killer December shows, and then it’s on to an already packed 2016.

Thank you for a great year, and we are looking forward to the next!

Tickets Sell Tickets

This fall several of our clients hosted shows that did not sell as many tickets as anticipated.  At the same time, several other shows did in fact sell well.  It is pretty typical to have a mix.  But, what did the shows that sold well have in common?  The key is in the on sale.

Tickets sell tickets.  Once you have a strong onsale, the word spreads quickly.  Suddenly hundreds or even thousands of people have tickets “in their hands” and are excited to tell everyone they know.  They tell their co-workers.  They tell their families.  They tell their friends (near and far) about it on social media.  The difference between 10 people having a ticket in their hands and 100 people having a ticket in their hands could literally mean an additional several thousand people suddenly knowing about your event, regardless of what marketing plan you are executing between on sale and the show day.

How do you create a strong on sale?  Get creative,make a plan, and get people excited about having a ticket.  Your marketing plan shouldn’t suddenly start when your tickets go onsale.  There should be at least one week between your announce date and your onsale date if at all possible.  That gives you a week to create excitement about it, and emphasize your onsale date and time so it is fresh in everyone’s mind.  Here are a few ways some of our clients with strong ticket sales have done this:take my money

*One of our college clients created an
all-nighton sale party.  Students camped out starting at 9pm the night before their 7am ticket onsale.  The line started at the box office and weaved throughout the common areas of campus.  Students participated in contests, won prizes, drank free hot chocolate, ate free donuts in the morning, and hung out with thousands of their fellow students.  It was the place to be that night, and everyone who camped out then bought a ticket, so they ended with over 2,000 tickets sold in the first day of their onsale.

*Another one of our clients did something similar on their smaller campus.  They hosted a party from 6-11pm where students could purchase their ticket, and ended up coming within 100 tickets of selling out that first night.

*Contradicting what I said above about giving yourself a week between announce and onsale, another one of our college clients spread the word that a “big concert announcement” was to occur during their weekly chapel session.  A huge part of their student body attends weekly chapel, but once they knew that a concert announcement was to be made, they all made sure to be there that day.  Once the concert was announced, a wonderful type of chaos ensued, where the students could purchase their tickets immediately after chapel.  Everyone ran to get to the box office, which is in the same building as chapel.

Keep in mind that these examples are in addition to the usual ways of promoting an event, such as:

*Buyers with a strong social media presence can create hype for their show by posting clues or other promotions on their social media building up to the big announce.  Once announced, they should have many posts/tweets/shares, etc between then and on sale to spread the word and keep it fresh in everyone’s mind.  Traditional theaters, PACs and arenas need to focus on building not only their social media presence but also their email lists.  Ticket buyers are likely to buy again, so be sure to collect their contact info in every way possible and send them regular communication about what is coming through your building.

*Make sure your radio station(s) is/are fully-engaged with ads stating the onsale date, “win ‘em before you can buy ‘em” contests, liners, and general mentions before the announce.

*Make sure your posters are hung everywhere possible immediately upon announcing.

*Don’t forget to tell your audience at one event about the next event.

*Add your event immediately to all online calendars possible, including the artist’s website and social sites.

*Talk to the artist’s publicist to get the artist to help you.  Ask if the artist can announce on all of their own sites, ask whether they can conduct interviews with any media outlets you are marketing with, and even ask if the artist would consider making a video saying they are excited to perform at your event.  Not many artists will be able to do this, but it is always worth asking.

*Front-load your marketing plan with a combination of every single promo item you can think of.  A combination of all of the above and more is best.  Especially free marketing.  If it’s a free way to market your event, you have no excuse – use it!

Once on sale, unless your tickets sell out that day, you cannot let up on marketing.  You have to keep pushing marketing out to remind people to go get their tickets.  Sometimes if your marketing slows down or disappears right after the on sale, some potential ticket buyers may either forget about the event, or think that your tickets are sold out.

If you don’t front load your ticket sales, you may be in for an uphill battle with your ticket sales, in which it is a painstakingly slow process and you will have a lot of anxiety about whether the tickets will sell or not.  But prepare accordingly and put a ton of effort into your on sale, and it will likely pay off!

When to Start Booking Your Spring Campus Concert

It’s almost the end of October.  (How did THAT happen?!)  College students have finally settled into their campus lives.  To many, it still feels like the beginning of the school year.  It seems WAY too early to be thinking about events taking place in March and April, right?  Not in the concert business!

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One of the most frequent questions we receive from our clients is “When should I start looking at artists for our spring concert?”  The answer is now.  Yes, now in October!  The music industry moves at a very fast pace, and there are several tours already completely booked for winter/spring.  Many others are still routing their tours, which makes it a perfect time to jump into those conversations.

Start early if you can!  We understand that sometimes there are reasons you have to wait to make offers (funding, administrative rules, etc), but don’t wait on the research.  Have your list of artists narrowed down so that when it’s time to submit offers, you are ready to go.

Over the past few years, we have had about 30-45% of our spring semester college campus concerts already confirmed before heading into winter break in December.  What does that mean for you?  It means that if you wait until January or February to even start looking at which artists you may want to bring to campus, you could be missing out on a lot of routing opportunities and missing out on booking your favorite artists.  If you only have one possible date to book your concert, then you are really limiting yourself.  Many of your top choice artists will likely already be booked that day.

Don’t wait – reach out now to ask about your favorite artists.  We are getting new prices, available dates and routing information daily.  We are also updating our website regularly, so feel free to check prices (link this to our Artist search page) and create your own wishlist (link this to our wishlist function) too.  And whether you can make offers now or if you have to wait, do your research regardless!  Keep checking Billboard charts and radio charts to see which artists have momentum.  And, better yet – ask your favorite middle agent for information!

How We Can Save You Money Planning Your Next Event

How Your Middle Buyer Saves You Money

We as Middle Buyers occasionally hear, “We are going to book our artist direct in order to save money.”  Meaning, they don’t want to pay the 10% fee that Middle Buyers charge on top of the artist fee.  But what programmers often don’t realize is just how much money a Middle Buyer can save them.  Let’s look at some real examples.

Example 1 – The “BIG” show – A year ago one of our school programming board clients was interested in an artist on the rise, but was dragging his feet.  We as Middle Buyers often are more in touch with artist prices and changes, and we knew this artist’s price was going to double in the coming weeks because several singles were flying up the charts.  We let the school know that it was “now or never.”  The school trusted us, submitted their offer very quickly, and the artist  we confirmed for $75,000.  Literally by the very next week, that artist was charging other schools $150,000 due to their sudden jump in popularity.

A few weeks later, the production for that artist grew into a massive set up that we could not have anticipated when booking the artist, and their needs went far beyond anything the school had budgeted for.  We negotiated with the artist’s production team and management, explaining the budgetary issues, and the tour ended up paying for $10,000 of that increased production.

Thus, for our $7,500 fee, we saved the school $85,000, plus they had a huge, sold out show.  Worth it, don’t you think?

Example 2 – The “smaller” show – A school with a budget of $15,000 wanted to produce a large scale concert.  Typically $15,000 doesn’t get you an artist that can sell thousands of tickets.  However, a small unknown band at the time (someone named The Band Perry) was routed through the area, and we had booked them at another school or two, knowing they were on their way up.  We knew there was one more routed date possible, so we convinced the school to book The Band Perry for $12,500 and another small up and comer at the time, Thompson Square, for $2,500.  The school ended up selling 3,000+ tickets for this event and made a profit, which is basically unheard of in the college concert world.  No one, not even the artists, anticipated those ticket sales.

Thus, for our fee of $1,500, the school saved $30,000.  Broken down, instead of the school losing about $20,000 on a show (which they normally budget for) the school MADE about $10,000.  Again – worth it.

Example 3 – Saving money along the way – We also save money for our clients in smaller ways.  For every event, we suggest our clients form a budget and share it with us, so we can make sure the numbers are realistic and help them stay within those numbers.  We speak with tour personnel daily, so we know how to have the tough conversations about saving money.  We can review production needs and suggest areas where savings might be possible.  We can also go through catering lists and see how we can prevent wasting food, and thus save money.  We have even saved some of our clients a few thousand dollars by suggesting a new production company they hadn’t heard of, or by routing several shows together and putting the same production company on all of them.

Thus, even if we only save our client a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, it is still making up for the cost of our services.

What’s more – you can’t put a price on the experience and expertise  a Middle Buyer can give you.  When you’re faced with a tough decision and you don’t know contractually and legally what you can do, we as the Middle Buyer are there to tell you.  We’re there to help you through the tough decisions, make suggestions every step of the way, and offer creative solutions to problems.  Every artist has a team of people representing their best interests.  We represent the buyer’s best interests.

Glossary of Entertainment Terms

As you dive into the world of entertainment, you may hear some terms that you are not familiar with, or are only vaguely familiar with.  Here are a few definitions that can help you better understand and conduct business in entertainment.

Artist – performer of any kind.  (Sometimes referred to as “Producer” in entertainment contracts.)

Headliner – main Artist, which must be reflected in all marketing efforts.  They perform last.

Support Act – opening performer or performers, performing before the Headliner.

Direct Support – Artist performing immediately before the Headliner.

Buyer or Purchaser – the entity that is financially and contractually responsible for a performance occurring in a space they have arranged for it to occur in.

Contract – a written or spoken agreement concerning employment, sales, tenancy, etc that is intended to be enforceable by law.  In this case, an artist contract is an agreement to perform within the specified parameters in exchange for an agreed upon dollar amount.

Rider – a condition or provision added to something already said or decreed.  In our case, a rider “rides along with” an Artist contract to further outline what is expected of both the Artist and the Buyer.  An Artist Rider includes technical, hospitality and marketing requirements or restrictions that the Artist expects the Buyer to provide and adhere to.  A Buyer Rider (whether it is that of a Venue, University or Festival) includes legal & insurance requirements, state, city and venue policies, and key information that the Buyer expects the Artist to adhere to.  All riders are considered part of the contract and therefore should be included with the contract when obtaining signatures.

Flat Guarantee – a predetermined, set amount of money that a Buyer will pay an Artist in exchange for their performance, regardless of ticket sales or financial outcome of the event.

Backend Guarantee – a predetermined percentage of net profit to be given to an Artist in exchange for their performance.  Often agreements are “flat plus backend deals,” which means a Buyer will pay an Artist a set amount of money plus a percentage of net proceeds.

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Verse Deal – an agreement for a Buyer to pay an Artist the larger amount of EITHER a flat guarantee OR a backend after proceeds are determined.

Deposits – a financial down payment for an Artist to perform.  Colleges and Universities are rarely able to pay deposits, and the Artist cannot require them to per law.  A typical deposit for other Buyers is a 50% deposit, 30 days prior to show date.  Otherwise full payment or rest of payment is made immediately following an Artist’s performance.

Settlement – going through final ticket sales and the amount an Artist is to be paid.  With a flat guarantee, settlement is very short and straight forward.  With a backend or verse deal, settlement is perhaps a bit more complicated because you buyers have to present all expenses with receipts to the tour manager, as well as all box office revenue.  Even in a flat guarantee scenario, paying an Artist’s tour manager and handing them a box office report at the end of the show should be expected.

Radius Clause – a specific distance around a Venue in which the Buyer expects the Artist to avoid performing within in a specific number of days.  For example, a Buyer can request that an Artist not perform within a 100 mile radius 30 days either side of play date.  If the Artist receives offers within 100 miles and within a 30 day window of the contracted performance, they must pass on the second offer or ask permission of the first Buyer to play within their given radius.

Ad Mats – short for “advertising materials,” ad mat refers to any poster, radio ad, television ad or other created piece used to advertise a performance.  Often an Artist will require the use of a pre-made ad mat to be used in conjunction with a tour so that the materials remain consistent throughout the tour.

Ad Plan/Ad Grid – a graph and/or list of advertising and promotion plans, with dates of release, for marketing a performance.  It outlines what marketing efforts will be made between point of announce and the day of the performance.

Billing – the listing of the performers on any and all written or spoken documents and marketing materials.  Often the Headliner must receive 100% billing and any Support Acts 75% or smaller.  This means the logo, font and photo size of all Support Act info must be no larger than 75% the size of the Headliner’s logo, font and photo in all print materials.

Advance – to “advance” a show means to discuss all details about an upcoming performance with a tour and production manager of the Artist.

Backline – band or performance equipment above and beyond sound and lighting requirements, such as pianos, keyboards, guitars, drum kits, monitors, etc.

Merchandise – any items an Artist intends to sell at the Venue they are performing at.

Merch Rate – the agreed upon split point of gross merchandise sales.  For example, an 80/20% merch split means the Artist gets to keep 80% of the gross sales at a venue while the Buyer (or Venue) keeps 20% of the gross sales.

Runner – a designated person with a vehicle who is specifically responsible for running errands, transporting performers to and from their hotel, and taking care of other spontaneous needs.

ASCAP/BMI/SESAC – several companies that license music rights.  Venues must carry these licenses in order to have performances at their facilities.  Typically universities and university venues have campus coverage for these licenses.

Have you come across other terms you aren’t familiar with?  Let us know and we’ll add them to our list!

Starting the Year Off on the Right Note

It’s fall.  It’s officially September, and the time for “Welcome Back” events is upon us.  This could be Welcome Back to School, Welcome Back to our theater/programming series, Welcome Back to those that disappear to the back woods, Europe or Florida over the summer and surface again this month.  We hope you enjoyed your summer, and are ready to get back at it, programming and attending the best concerts, comedians, speakers, and more.

If you were lucky, you were able to take in some festivals this summer.  If you weren’t lucky, here are some reviews that you  might want to check out:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/lollapalooza-review/

http://www.billboard.com/festivals

http://www.musicfestivaljunkies.com/

http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/08/outside-lands-2015-festival-review-from-worst-to-best/

Either way, it’s time to regroup and start fresh with your peers.  Here are few ways we recommend getting to know fellow committee members:

*Take the Meyers-Briggs tests here: www.16personalities.com

Compare results, and take the time to read up about your peers and those you work the closest with.  It can’t hurt to learn a little more about them, not to mention learn more about yourself in the process.

*Answer these ice breaker questions: http://humanresources.about.com/od/icebreakers/a/Icebreakers-For-Meetings.htm

*Discuss what new music you added to your playlists this summer and why.  Meanwhile, check out our playlist (link to our Spotify).  Discuss any summer festivals you attended and what your favorite performances were.

*Or, you can always attempt trust falls (we don’t actually recommend this one).

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Get settled, get to know your peers, and get excited because “Welcome Back” time is upon us.  There is no better time than now to come to the table with new ideas, new perspectives, and new initiatives.  And there is no better time than now to be open to new ideas, new perspectives, and new initiatives from others.  Let us know your ideas, questions, concerns, hopes and dreams for this season of programming, and we’d be happy to help you through your planning process.

Visit our website here to create your own artist wishlist to share with your team!

Using The New Event Resources Website As a Tool

Our brand new website has a few features that we’d like to brag about!  www.eventresourcespresents.com

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First and foremost, we now have an improved, responsive design that works well on any device.  It will sure make viewing on your phone and other handheld devices much easier and more user-friendly.  Your welcome, and yes we know this was overdue.

Second, we have an increased social media presence, utilizing the usual Facebook and Twitter of course, but also adding our Youtube channel , Spotify playlist, and our new WordPress blog (and if you’re reading this you obviously found it…).  We plan to update these items more regularly and allow you to connect with us in multiple ways.  We want you to feel up to speed on the latest artist and industry news, be able to sample new music we’re into, and have access to our previous newsletters that you may have accidentally deleted (say it isn’t true!).  So like us, follow us, stalk us, and just plain enjoy us as much as you can via social media.  We’ll try to keep the cat videos to a minimum and the artist news to a maximum.

Last, but not least, there is our enhanced artist search capabilities.  This is likely the part of our new website that we are most proud of, and we know you will want to use it as a tool.  Many of our clients (both new and old) use our website as a resource for gathering artist pricing and information, forming lists for your committees to browse through, etc.  We love that and want it to continue, and have added a few bonus features.  We have two new categories, which are “currently routed artists” and “staff hot picks.” 

Currently routed artists are artists that we know are routing a full tour.  That doesn’t mean the artists not on this list are unavailable – it just means they are more likely taking one-offs or small mini-routes rather than gathering a full on tour.  What is the benefit of knowing who is currently routing?  Artists that are routing full tours are more likely to accept lower offers if you can fit into their routing geographically, so date flexibility is key.  They can also save you money because they often carry some production or at least backline equipment with them.  This saves you money on production and could allow you to afford an artist that you otherwise could not.  They also often have their own means of travel.  One expense that may go up with booking a currently routing artist is catering as they often have more people on the road with them.

As for “staff hot picks,” these are artists that we are personally most excited about, our clients are asking about the most, are a special bargain price, or have some other exciting reason for us to label them as such.  If you really want to know – ask us why we picked each one and we’ll tell you.

The other new enhanced artist search feature is that we offer the ability to form an “artist wishlist.”  As you browse our huge list of artists, feel free to periodically add artists to your wishlist so that you have an easy way of tracking your favorite artists.  Once you have formed a wishlist, you can add or subtract any artists you want, and then create a pdf of the wishlist to email to your committees, or send us a copy of it.  What will we do with the list once we receive it?  Probably make fun of some of your favorites amongst ourselves, and then email you to make fun of your favorites directly.  (COMPLETELY KIDDING.)  In reality we will take that list, and send you an email detailing more information about those artists, verify pricing, and reply to any other requests for information you may have put in your message.  For example, if you have a wishlist of artists and you specifically need one of them to perform on October 11th, we can then check that date for all of those artists and let you know which of your wishlist artists are available for your date.

Some of you are used to emailing us all your questions, artist lists, etc, and we have no problem with that.  The additional website tools are to add to your experience, not take away from it.  If you prefer to email or call us directly, then that’s the way to go.  We also want your continued feedback on everything new we are providing.  If you hate any features, we want to know!  If you are having a hard time using our new website, tell us!  We want your feedback so we can continue to improve both our website and the services we provide.

So enjoy the new website, explore, and let us know what you think!

Why We Do What We Do

Occasionally we get asked what keeps us motivated as we sit at our desks and answer emails and phone calls all day every day.  To some the job of a middle buyer may sound exciting because we are dealing in entertainment, but then they realize 95% of our work is done sitting at a desk and it may not be all that it is cracked up to be.  As you deal with the stress of a few shows per year, we are dealing with the stress of multiple shows each week, at locations on opposite sides of the country, with artists on opposite sides of the spectrum.

I’m not going to lie – some days are easier than others.  Some days as we sort through contracts, chase marketing materials, answer emails asking whether our clients really have to provide that package of underwear listed on the rider, and so on, it can seem a little tedious.

Being honest, this job has ruined my own ability to be a direct consumer of concerts and comedy events.  I cannot help but wonder why the artist started 15 min late, why the left spotlight isn’t working, and I often find myself preoccupied with the details that have nothing to do with me as an audience member.  BUT, then we get to attend a show for one of our clients, and our perspective changes.  We get to see the entire process come together in one culminating event.  Buyers, committees, venue staff members, students, and audience members are all excited for the day of the show, whether it be the nervous excitement of those backstage or the anxious excitement of audience members lining up outside.  The energy on a concert day is unbeatable.  Anyone on the planning side of things is working hard to ensure a smooth day, to make all their months of planning come together, and to keep everyone (especially the performer) happy.  Then, it all somehow comes together, and the performance starts.  If we’re lucky and all is running relatively well, we get a chance to see the looks on the faces of both the audience members, AND the faces of those behind the scenes.  My favorite is watching those behind the scenes, seeing all their hard work come together, and knowing they’re thinking “this was totally worth it.”

After a show, those working the show are typically on a “high,” loving the texts and social media posts from their friends, and they start asking the next logical question – “What can we do next?”  The excitement is visible on their faces, the sense of achievement and accomplishment, and a sense of pride is in the air.  A sense of “we pulled it off!”  An echo of “how can we present something even better next time?!”  It’s contagious, and makes us smile just thinking about it.ILStatecrowd

Those are the moments when we know why we do what we do.  And that’s when WE say “this was totally worth it.”