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From the club owner...
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From the club owner's perspective...

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4921

My two cents:

I remember the due diligence days. Club owners did go out and recruit entertainment - from OUTSIDE their market area. In Chicago, if you were playing a Lincoln Ave. club, none of the other club owners on the street would come see you - nor would they hire you if you went to see them. Why? Because you worked for their competition. Instead, they'd look for recruits at bars in other neighborhoods. Booking a band that draws a crowd in a different neighborhood carries the upside of bringing new customers to your establishment; booking the band that plays across the street next week risks losing some of your regulars. Back in the day, a band had to consider how important an alliance was with a particular club - because it shut the door on working competing venues. Due diligence cut both ways.

The bar owner is right in that the band is there to sell drinks. That's another difference from back in the day... when I started performing, virtually every bar had live music. When that's the standard business model, it's a routine expense, like insurance - you don't want to not have it, because you wouldn't be providing the bar experience. That experience has changed over time. Music is now a way a bar owner can differentiate his or her business from the competition, but that only makes sense if that path is more profitable than the available alternatives.

The market has changed. Fewer people go to bars than they did 30 years ago, for a bunch of reasons, including lower DUI limits, higher drinking ages, and more entertainment alternatives (back in the day there were only 3 or 4 TV channels in each market, and even a simple VCR cost over a grand!). People went out more then.

Fewer people in bars means fewer bars hire musicians. We can't change that. If you want to work in music, you reinvent what you offer, find new markets, and hustle hustle hustle. Moaning about it won't bring the jobs back when a market changes - just ask the guy who used to deliver blocks of ice to my grandmother's house.

The first rule of making a living in music (or any other art): realize that the world does not owe you a living. You must convince the world you're worth your price. If you can do that, you'll be fine.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

Estimable Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 75

Sounds like he runs a club not a bar. He obviously doesn't know what kind of music bar patrons enjoy. It's certainly not pop or some fancy dance krap. Save that krap for the raves, not bars. Guy sounds like an ass and I would not want to patron his bar let alone play in his bar. I've seen very few bars with friggen dance floors. The dance floor is where you stand at that moment in a bar. The folks that do patron bars are older mature folks with appreciation of finer things (some of them go there to get drunk and make trouble). These folks have already grown up and moved on thru life. They go into a bar to listen to stories, listen to music and meet friends, not to dance while some crappy european techno dance music blaring out of 53 high output speakers.

This guy is way off base

Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4459

Well Peavey interesting take on that letter personally I would have to agree with the guy. The band for a bar owner is there for one purpose and that's to get people to buy drinks that's it don't kid yourself that it's about the band.

I catch some of those Bar Rescue shows and the guy pretty much preaches the same thing and it's just common sense. Bars are about bringing women in. If you can get them in then the guys will follow. Most women want to dance and although you may think it's techno crap done right it brings in the right crowd and keeps them out there dancing.

This was on a recent Bar Rescue show and they talked about the role of the DJ in those kind of clubs and how they can/should manipulate the crowd to buy more drinks.

As far as attire goes he's probably right about that too.

Hard to say this guy doesn't know what music bar patrons want when he actually owns a bar and can see every night what works and what doesn't and everything he mentioned in that letter I can see happening.

Unless you have some jazz club or something if you are a bar owner your target audience has to be 21 - 40 tops afte that not many people older than 40 go out to clubs bars frequently.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 129

The first rule of making a living in music (or any other art): realize that the world does not owe you a living. You must convince the world you're worth your price. If you can do that, you'll be fine.

Hit the nail right on the Head

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