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What If You Built A Live Performance Recording Club?
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#31
5th June 2008
Old 5th June 2008
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There was a place way back when in Cary, Illinois called Harry Hope's. It was what I used to call an intimate concert hall. There were about 250 seats in a mini theater type setting. Wonderful sound and lighting and great food, wines and cheeses. I saw Larry Coryell, Harvey Mandel, Leon Redbone, and many of the top Jazz, Blues, Folk, Country type performers of the day there. Since it had food the liquor license was much cheaper. It's only drawback was it was pretty far out in the 'burbs from Chicago.

All that venue needed was a recording truck and video to record the concerts. I'd always thought of doing something like that someday myself but chalked it up to just another idea from my inner Walter Mitty.

Nowadays If someone would also stream the video to the internet it could reach a world-wide audience. Keep it small and mighty. Charge 20-25 bucks admission, bring in the hot local and smaller national acts who are always looking for a nice venue to build their followings in. Some acts might not want you to record but most of the "good" ones will love the exposure. Just more food for thought.

Digitar (Walter Mitty) OUT
#32
5th June 2008
Old 5th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless View Post
The idea of the Miraverse is that people who want an authentic studio experience will be able (with the help of the studio) to find artists who are not (or no longer) locked into a label deal that prohibs them from performing and/or recording. We will arrange a package that can include education and orientation, social time with the artists, recording sessions of live and/or studio sessions, mixing, and production.
I understand the concept of the intimate "unplugged" concert experience. I understand the idea of having a permanent momento (cd/dvd) of the experience with the artist and I understand the part where I can be present and even participate in the "creation" of a recording. It's a "rock-n-roll fantasy camp" of sorts, but in the context of a recording studio, not a stage.

The customer is the person who wants to interact with their favorite artist in this manner and has the financial means to do so. Got it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless View Post
We can pay artists 2x-3x what they might normally get for a corporate gig, an audience that will give them 10x-100x more attention, and top-quality masters from which they can burn CDs they can sell from their own website.
I was thinking that the age demo here would be older. Artists that come to mind are Jimmy Buffett, Bonnie Raitt and Lucinda Williams, but to be perfectly honest, I don't think the "value proposition" in the above quote is going to be meaningful to any of these artists. In fact, while I love the idea, I am having trouble thinking of an artist that would plug into the above described value proposition. Maybe your demo is the 25-40 range? Maybe a Ryan Adams or a Wilco or Ben Gibbard-type artist???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless View Post
We can charge as little as what people pay for VIP tickets to the circus (Cirque du Soleil) and give people a 1:1 experience on both sides of the glass unlike anything possible in a 1000 seat venue (or even a 100 seat venue). And we can send them home with private-label CDs/DVDs that serve both as authentic mementos of their studio experience as well as gifts they can give to their friends, much as they would give bottles of wines they "produced" using on-line, whole-barrel vinyard services so popular now ($10,000 a barrel, btw).
The going rate for a "one-off" gig can easily exceed $100,000 for a top-tier artist and $20,000 for a second or third-tier artist, so it's hard to see where you're going to offer the artist 2x-3x the money, but maybe you can. At the same time, it then becomes a strain to see where you draw enough people willing to spend $1000+ to spend the day with the artist. The enterprise we're talking about here is similar to live concert promotion. Finding artists to perform, then getting enough butts in the chairs to pay the artist, the hall and make a profit.

All of my questions seem to come down to the artist. Who you draw for a paying customer and how much they're willing to pay always depends on the artist. What can you tell us about the kind of artists you have in mind? Do you see yourself as a promoter? Have you done this in the past?
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#33
5th June 2008
Old 5th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emdub123 View Post
The going rate for a "one-off" gig can easily exceed $100,000 for a top-tier artist and $20,000 for a second or third-tier artist, so it's hard to see where you're going to offer the artist 2x-3x the money, but maybe you can.
I'm definitely not going after a $100K/show artist--too rich for my blood. I'm aiming at the guys who cut good records in the 1970s and 1980s and are now playing weddings for $300 and corporate gigs for not much more. (Strange but true!)

Quote:
All of my questions seem to come down to the artist. Who you draw for a paying customer and how much they're willing to pay always depends on the artist. What can you tell us about the kind of artists you have in mind? Do you see yourself as a promoter? Have you done this in the past?
I'm building the artist list as we speak. I'm not ready to share the names yet, but it will start rich with jazz artists and, because of the area, likely include a lot of bluegrass, gospel, and classical as well.
#34
5th June 2008
Old 5th June 2008
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go for it man. i think you are right on.
#35
5th June 2008
Old 5th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless View Post
I'm definitely not going after a $100K/show artist--too rich for my blood. I'm aiming at the guys who cut good records in the 1970s and 1980s and are now playing weddings for $300 and corporate gigs for not much more. (Strange but true!)

I'm building the artist list as we speak. I'm not ready to share the names yet, but it will start rich with jazz artists and, because of the area, likely include a lot of bluegrass, gospel, and classical as well.
I love talking about this kind of stuff and I believe that "poking holes" in business plans only makes them stronger, so I guess I'm going to play the devil's advocate here...

In my experience, if an artist has ever had a hit or even been a minor star, they're working for a lot more than $300. Fire up google and look at the list of artists represented by William Morris. Lots of acts like what you describe, but they don't come cheap. Pick a couple and call the agency for a quote. Tell them who you are and what you're planning on doing and they'll be happy to talk to you (after they transfer your call 4 times).

I was a board member of our local museum association and got stuck chairing the "fundraising" committee in 2006 and 2007. This meant booking talent for both fall and spring fundraisers for both years, so I've been quoted fees for at least a dozen acts by all the big agencies and a few smaller ones too. I'm by no means a "promoter", but I've booked $5000+ acts on four separate occasions.

Booking Talent and getting the "butts in the chairs" are, in my opinion, the two most important jobs in your organization. They will be critical in the success of your venture and your response indicates (maybe correctly, maybe not) that you haven't spent much time in this area. It obviously makes no difference to me one way or the other, but if I'm not mistaken on this, I would suggest that you address this IMMEDIATELY.

How? Book an event. Not for when the building is done, I'm talking Fourth of July weekend or sooner. Maybe you do it at the B+B, maybe outside in a Rent-a-Tent. Book somebody and get the tickets sold, then do it again. Yes, your facility is a central aspect of your concept, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the actual revenue generating duties of your business. When the day comes for your grand opening, you must be an expert at giving people what they want. You're going into the "Events" industry, so I would suggest getting as much event planning/hosting experience as you can, as quickly as you can -- before the building is built.

That's my .02, I'm no expert and don't mean to come across like a know-it-all, just trying to help.
#36
6th June 2008
Old 6th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emdub123 View Post
I love talking about this kind of stuff and I believe that "poking holes" in business plans only makes them stronger, so I guess I'm going to play the devil's advocate here...
And I appreciate that!

Quote:
In my experience, if an artist has ever had a hit or even been a minor star, they're working for a lot more than $300. Fire up google and look at the list of artists represented by William Morris. Lots of acts like what you describe, but they don't come cheap. Pick a couple and call the agency for a quote. Tell them who you are and what you're planning on doing and they'll be happy to talk to you (after they transfer your call 4 times).
Already there.

Quote:
I was a board member of our local museum association and got stuck chairing the "fundraising" committee in 2006 and 2007. This meant booking talent for both fall and spring fundraisers for both years, so I've been quoted fees for at least a dozen acts by all the big agencies and a few smaller ones too. I'm by no means a "promoter", but I've booked $5000+ acts on four separate occasions.
A $5000 act is fine with the model. It starts getting hairy over $15K.

Quote:
Booking Talent and getting the "butts in the chairs" are, in my opinion, the two most important jobs in your organization. They will be critical in the success of your venture and your response indicates (maybe correctly, maybe not) that you haven't spent much time in this area. It obviously makes no difference to me one way or the other, but if I'm not mistaken on this, I would suggest that you address this IMMEDIATELY.

How? Book an event. Not for when the building is done, I'm talking Fourth of July weekend or sooner. Maybe you do it at the B+B, maybe outside in a Rent-a-Tent. Book somebody and get the tickets sold, then do it again. Yes, your facility is a central aspect of your concept, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the actual revenue generating duties of your business. When the day comes for your grand opening, you must be an expert at giving people what they want. You're going into the "Events" industry, so I would suggest getting as much event planning/hosting experience as you can, as quickly as you can -- before the building is built.
We're thinking along the same lines, and I'm starting to talk with people (calls placed, details being worked) as we speak.

Quote:
That's my .02, I'm no expert and don't mean to come across like a know-it-all, just trying to help.
Thanks!
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#37
6th June 2008
Old 6th June 2008
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If the room was done right with the help of a knowledgeable engineer,
I could see where some acts might be happy to use the room to launch a tour.

I saw Pete Best Band recently at Jammin Java in Vienna VA.
About 200-250 people at $25.00 a head plus drinks and food.

If you could make it work with those kind of numbers, then perhaps
work a separate deal on post production of any video, seems doable.

The critical part would be having a facility where bands want to play
almost more than they care about making a killing on the door receipts.

I suppose it would be easier to partner with someone who already owned
all the recording gear and just needs a place to set up.

Be that a permanent set up or a remote rig, not sure which plan would
work out better.
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#38
6th June 2008
Old 6th June 2008
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Originally Posted by Clueless View Post
Come down to North Carolina in about a year. I'm building a carbon neutral recording studio with room for a live studio audience (audio and video).
- very cool! I wish you the best with your venture (and others list here, too).

- one small point from your blog, though: it's John McLaughlin, not John McGlaughlin (many do say it how you wrote it).
#39
6th June 2008
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Originally Posted by Coyoteous View Post
- very cool! I wish you the best with your venture (and others list here, too).

- one small point from your blog, though: it's John McLaughlin, not John McGlaughlin (many do say it how you wrote it).
Thanks--now fixed! I can't believe I made that error.
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#40
6th June 2008
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That's quite impressive!

Now just to make it band and beer proof.
#41
25th July 2009
Old 25th July 2009
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It seems to me that there are a few threads worth of discussions going on here.

I put in twelve years at an "artist collective" in San Francisco starting in 1988. Over that course of time we hosted over 1000 shows, recorded 200+ albums, incorporated many people in various roles of running the place. There were some magical evenings. Totally worth the effort.

Our situation didnt start with much of a plan...rather it evolved over time. What began as a rehearsal hall maintained by several bands as an alternative to pay-by-the-hour practice rooms, turned slowly but surely into what many cool bands from the area and beyond considered the favored place to play.

The recording aspect began as a sideline in the front room of the building. We got a DAT machine, hung a couple of mics in front of the stage, then eventually wired the stage to the studio via a home-made split. Twelve lines to the P.A., and 24 to the studio.

The rent got paid....from rehearsals, live shows, and recording in what was at times an uneasy cooperation of space and time considerations. The wear and tear was excessive. We sometimes had temporary permits to sell beer and wine. Sometimes we had food cooked elsewhere and served ala carte.

But in reality it was nothing more than a dusty, smoke-filled warehouse space full of people looking to have fun two or three nights a week. There were weddings and wakes.

Plus a long history of dealing with various authorities who would show up demanding this or that. There was confusion among them as to what we were actually within our rights to do.

I could go on and on and on...

Some folks want a good, solid rock and roll experience. Beer. High energy displays from performers who can exert incredible amounts of energy onstage. A "scene" that builds of the sweat and dedication of those who are there for the music.

The Miraverse model is more conservative, a lot more controlled, and might just be able to do what it hopes resposibly and professionally in the long term. And it would also be a "scene" that is operated and supported for the sake of the music.

Ive seen scruffier "self-styled venues" in many cities. Chances are there is one in yours that is members only and exists by word of mouth alone. If you don't already know about it, then you may never find it. If it's unlicensed, you wont see it on the web.

You can get a lot of milage out of "private parties" so long as they are not every weekend for more than two years or so. Membership-only is another way to go. Perhaps there are sources of sponsorship that can be arranged, to cover some of the costs for performers, staff, gear upkeep etc.

You will eventually run into someone from the local municipality who will determine that you can host a certain small number of occupants (aka occupancy) as long as there is no dancing. I'm not kidding. No dancing. That's a different permit altogether...

Consider liability issues, because it's all about fun until someone loses and eye. The things you would not expect to happen are the same things that you will be least prepared for.

With the economic meltdown that has begun all around us....so many great fully licensed venues we have come to rely on will be closing their doors. This puts out the call to anyone who's labor of love can fill the gaps...even in very small ways. We wont have culture without it. Performance Theatre is moving into otherwise abandoned shopping malls.

You could host Hootenannys right out of your garage. A barn is better....but not everyone has one of those laying around. And you gotta have a place people can get to. Location, location, location.

Just a little more for now....simple things like controlling conversation among the patrons during a live recording can be a big issue. Not everyone cares about that sort of thing. Some guys have these noisy girlfriends. Klinking glasses and bottles?

Say you are in a "real club" with your mobile rig recording bands of your choice and are responsible for covering the basic costs...certain that the recording will be worth every penny. Who's running sound? Got feedback? What if the bartender needs the music a LOT quieter RIGHT NOW so they can hear orders for drinks? Is the little bell that dings every time tha cash register drawer opens in tune with concert pitch? Can you sacrifice the ambient room mikes if not? Or, will the club owner mind if you disable the bell?

What about the phone? Every bar has a phone.

Best of luck to anyone who gives it a go. The chaos will smooth itself out in time to where you have a well oiled machine, and if you love surprises then you will love your endeavors. More power to you!
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#42
25th July 2009
Old 25th July 2009
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The Miraverse model is more conservative, a lot more controlled, and might just be able to do what it hopes resposibly and professionally in the long term. And it would also be a "scene" that is operated and supported for the sake of the music.
Definitely so. I have no interest in trying to compete with clubs offering the "loud" experience, the "beer" experience, or even dancing. Not that I'm against any of that, or the venues that offer it, but I'm trying to do something different. I'm looking to create a place where people can seriously geek out about music, production, artistry, and vision. A "studio" in the classic sense of the word, like DaVinci had a studio, but which moves beyond the idea of the lone genius to a community of creators.

My updated construction schedule tells me I won't be opening until mid next year at the earliest.
#43
26th July 2009
Old 26th July 2009
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Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
'The Moorings' in Aberdeen (Scotland) does exactly this and releases CDs.
As does the new "The Mill" sessions. looks like scotland's leading the way here..

THE MILL | Live Gigs At Glasgow And Edinburgh
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#44
5th October 2009
Old 5th October 2009
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I found myself with some time to look through old threads and came across this one. Anybody had any new thoughts since July?

My update is that I'll be giving a lecture on this subject at the Center for Design Innovation in Winston-Salem NC on Oct 20th at 5:30pm.
#45
12th October 2009
Old 12th October 2009
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I'm a Gemini, which means I cannot do anything without looking at things from both sides.

The Manifold Recording side is a straight-ahead high-end, full-size recording studio. In today's climate, I know that sounds like a.... a production.
I've seen your studio build thread but I hadn't seen you lay out your plans like that... thats a very cool idea! Best of luck!
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