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Author Topic: The business of live sound  (Read 10785 times)

Rich Grisier

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Re: The business of live sound
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2011, 12:09:36 pm »

Jim Marshall was selling a "brand" of physical product; he wasn't hired to provide a service.

And running sound for a rock band in a 200 capacity bar isn't going to be a profit center no matter how many banners you put up.  Really.

Here's a pic from a recent local wedding:


On the light stand it says "Colossal Lighting".  I don't believe there were any complaints about this.  It gets the name out there yet is discrete.  That's all I'm saying- I'm not talking 8'x32' banners.
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Randall Hyde

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Re: The business of live sound
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2011, 03:25:18 pm »


It's very difficult to "get the name out there" when you're just starting out.  It can literally add years to develop a client list if your company name is hidden.  If you're at the level of doing corporate events for Toyota then I'm gonna guess that a lot of promotion is not necessary... but if you're running sound for a classic rock cover band in a bar that can hold 200 people then I see nothing wrong with some visible promotion.

Well, I was working for the Arena, not Toyota. But even had I contracted with Toyota directly I'd will be worrying a lot about promotion. That said, I had no banners up at  the food truck event -- they were not appropriate for that venue (and I was getting paid reasonably well, at least on my scale, for that event).

I wouldn't ever put a banner or any kind of advertising up at a wedding -- that day is all about the bride, not the sound company. Best place to promote your services to weddings is by making friends with a lot of wedding planners; YMMV, I don't do weddings so I'm not the best person to ask about them. OTOH, I've been to enough weddings lately and I'm aghast how how obtrusive the photographers, videographers, and sound people are in those events these days. Granted, it's been 30 years since I got married, but back then the photographers stayed hidden. I find it offensive that they walk right up to the couple in the middle of the ceremony these days. I cringe when I see a DJ making out like the star of a show at the reception. The service crew is supposed to be invisible at such events; I'd like to know when that attitude changed.

As for the other events I do, as I said I usually put up a banner on the FOH canopy. When that one (canopy) wears out, I'll probably get one with the logo and contact information silk-screened onto the canopy. Basically, I feel it's important to let the crowd know that I'm not with the band and that I'm not with the venue. That encourages interested parties to come up and request a card. You don't want to make a big deal of the promotion (e.g, putting the banner on the stage would probably be a non-starter, even if it's your stage), but something subtle that will get noticed by someone who is interested and ignored by everyone else isn't a bad idea.  Again, though, this depends on the venue.  Typically, even in a ballroom setting, you can get away with table skirting (on the table on which you set your FOH equipment) that has the company name and phone number.  Director's chair's with corporate logo and phone number also work well.
Cheers,
Randy Hyde
 
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kristianjohnsen

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Re: The business of live sound
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2011, 07:38:07 am »

Hi, been giving this "advertisement on cases" stuff some thought lately and have some thoughts.

First of all, having labels on all your cases isn't only an advertisement thing, it's also a way for volunteers, stage hands, whatever, to quickly identify what cases belong to whom, like in a darkish parking lot with three trucks being packed for three warehouses at the same time.

I think there is a chance us sound folks are a little too modest, also.  The "mantra" of not blowing your horn by having cases that aren't anonomous isn't something other parts of our industry cater to:  Look at festival generators, vendor tents, or the equipment used by the people who drain toilets or whatever - full of company logos.  I think some of us consider our gear "furniture" and then apply the logic that the wedding caterer's tablecloths don't have logos, either.  Newsflash, most people find the gear ugly - logo or not.  It's only us sound geeks that actually find a shiny new case or speaker do be decorative - LOL.

I actually think that the people most opposed to visible logos are other sound companies that don't want to "reveal" that they had to cross-rent something.

My take on it:  Big logos on the rack lids and INSIDE the trunk lids, medium logos on the actual case.  During setup/teardown the people that "matter" see the logos while the trunks are open, then they become more anonomous once they are closed. 
Amp rack lids, etc get stowed away with all the empties, anyway. 
Occationally, I might come to the conclusion that it would have been more proper at a certain event for the mixer doghouse or whatever to not have a label and I fix it there and then with some gaff or the mixer's dustcover or whatever.

PS:  I really like the logos that are "engraved" into the wood of the case.
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Erick Swihart

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Re: The business of live sound
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2011, 06:09:27 pm »

Personally, I feel that putting a label on any gear that is visible is a mistake.  Label your speakers on the backs, don't label stands, label cases with white gaff on a per show basis.

A lot of gigs we do are for high profile clients where a business card stand and shirts are plenty of advertising.  Sometimes the shirts are even too much.  Keep yourself flexible.  If you have to do a black tie talking heads event you don't want speakers stands with big white letters on them.  You don't see people writing their company name on the wedding cake or adding a watermark in the video productions.  Why is audio any different?

Also, make lots of friends.  I just recently sold my PA (graduated and started working for a lot larger production company) and 95% of my business was referrals.  I had purchased all my gear as a side project in college and did pretty well with it (8xROI in 2 years and sold it for 10% more than I paid).  I made friends with all of the DJ's in town and they would get me gigs almost every Friday and Saturday.

Be careful undercutting your competition.  At some point the larger companies you are stealing gigs from will notice and those are bridges that you want to keep open.  You will be renting from them at some point.

If there is one thing that you should probably invest in is a decent wireless mic.  There are lots of threads on here about suitable options.  You'll typically make more money working for corporate and weddings than you will anywhere else and a wireless mic is a relatively minor investment.
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eric lenasbunt

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Re: The business of live sound
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2011, 10:15:14 pm »

I am with the folks in the discrete logo camp. Big logos don't bode well for cross rentals either, which for my small company is $20+k a year. They don't want to have my ads all over the gear and I like renting to other companies. A small label can be gaffed over and helps make it in the right truck. My 2 cents.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: The business of live sound
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2011, 10:15:14 pm »


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