Primary Blog/Gigging Musician Podcast/Episode 228 - Navigating the Gig Economy: Venue Tours, Expos, and the Power of Numbers

Episode 228 - Navigating the Gig Economy: Venue Tours, Expos, and the Power of Numbers

Monday, April 01, 2024

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Episode Recap

In this episode, Jared shares insights from his recent venue tours and a mini expo, emphasizing the critical role of strategic partnerships and data-driven decisions in the music business. He recounts an unexpected mix-up that led to a potential bar gig and how a small expo appearance might turn into a fashion show performance. Jared challenges the common reliance on emotions in gauging career success, advocating instead for a focus on measurable outcomes such as lead generation, conversion rates, and the financial return of various marketing efforts. He introduces listeners to the concept of tracking lead sources and sales cadences within BookLive, and offers a blueprint for musicians to optimize their booking processes and increase gig revenue. Through personal anecdotes and professional advice, Jared illustrates the importance of aligning business strategies with factual analysis, rather than feelings, to achieve sustainable success in the gigging world.

Best Quote

"Your feelings as a musician do not matter towards the success of your music career, which I know that's going to probably sound a little controversial, but I got to say it. As a musician, we deal with emotions. We are in the creation of emotions business."


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What's up, gigging pros? It's Jared Judge. Welcome back to another episode of the Gigging Musician Podcast. I am on my way back from another venue tour here in the Denver area.

This one is called Bonnie Blues. It is an event center. They host a lot of weddings and corporate events, and it is, I guess, an hour away from me.

So we're not going to do an hour long episode, but some people have actually requested that, which is kind of cool. But I wanted to chat today about. What was it that I wanted to chat about? Oh, yeah.

How the fact that your feelings as a musician do not matter towards the success of your music career, which I know that's going to probably sound a little controversial, but I got to say it. As a musician, we deal with emotions. We are in the creation of emotions business.

That's what our music does. And I guess the emotion does matter. However, when we're talking about our career as musicians, the goals that we set, our emotions should not come into play when we are working towards our business.

And I say that because, really, we're in the music business here. Business is a game of numbers. Some people actually do see business, truly as a game where you're playing and money is really just the points that you score.

But I'm not that extreme about it. However, I do believe in the power of numbers and logic and facts as far as our music career goes. Take, for example, the opposite.

If we completely operated our music career based on the emotions we felt, what could happen is we go and play a gig, let's say it's a bar gig, and we feel like it's the best performance of our life, and we feel amazing about it. We feel like we did those songs justice, and we had a great time. We feel like we connected with the audience.

But then the bar owner looks at the cash register and they realize this was actually one of the worst nights for sales they've ever had. And I don't know what caused it, but they're going to attribute that to the musician. They're going to say, this musician caused us to lose money today.

We are never hiring them again. And so, despite the fact that we felt great about it, we actually did a terrible job. And it's our fault that the bar lost money.

It's our fault that we got fired. Oh, man, how confusing, right? So that's kind of where our feelings can mislead us, even feelings in the opposite direction. Say you had a terrible gig, you felt like you did awful.

You missed a lot of notes. You did not do those songs justice, and you just felt like the audience was not into it. They just stared at their phones the whole time, and you feel awful.

It made you question, why am I a musician? Should I just quit and give up? But then at the end of the night, the bar owner looks at their cash register, and they realize that because you were there, people ordered twice as many drinks, twice as much food, and you literally made the bar twice as profitable as normal nights and even other musicians. So that's another situation where our feelings have misled us because we thought we did terrible as a musician. However, from the bar owner's perspective, you actually killed it.

You crushed it, you made them more money, and as a result, they are going to double your bookings at the bar. And so that's where, once again, our feelings have misled us. And that's why I advocate that our feelings don't actually matter.

The only thing that actually matters are the facts, the figures, and the numbers. So I used bar gigs as an example because I think it's pretty easy to quantify, what are bar owners looking for? Now, this also assumes that the bar owners are operating their business from a place of logic and numbers, which not every bar owner does. I would say that's one of those businesses that are not necessarily run the most efficiently, to say the least.

But if they were to operate their business from a very logical and numbers based perspective, they would care about two numbers in their bar. The first one I already mentioned, which is sales. They care about how much food and beverages they are selling to their patrons each night.

And this is impacted by musicians, right? Some musicians are really good at getting people to stick around for longer than they were originally intending. Just imagine a couple comes into the bar, they're like, oh, yeah, we'll grab a beer, and then we got to go watch something on Netflix. Later, they come into the bar, they order their beer.

They realize a live musician is playing, and this musician is really engaging. They play songs that this couple loves to hear. The musician also is good at getting on the mic and encouraging them to stick around longer and order more food and drink.

And as a result, the couple was coming in just for one beer, but they wound up ordering two, three rounds, plus an order of nachos, and they stick around for an extra hour and a half and triple the amount of money the bar made. And so that is a number the bar cares about. And those are like, we, as musicians, have to take responsibility for those numbers, but first, we have to identify what those numbers are so that we know how to optimize for them.

The second number that bar owners care about is the number of people coming and attending the musician's concert, right. This is why a lot of bar owners ask, like, what's your following? Because they want you to bring people. And where you stand on this argument, that's kind of neither here nor there.

Some bar owners think it's the responsibility of the musicians to bring people, and that they are actively measuring the success of their musician based on that number. And so really, if you're pissed off by that, then that's okay. You don't have to play at those bars.

But recognize, like, that's the philosophy of some of those places. So you're fighting with their philosophy. And if you decided to embrace that and you realize that these bar owners, whether or not they actually state it, like, we want you to bring people, they're measuring you based on how many people you bring.

Why? Because once again, it increases their sales. The more people that come and attend, the more checks that get open, the more beer and wine and cocktails and food gets sold. So that is another way that they care about these numbers.

So we have to figure out, how do we optimize these numbers. That's why it is in your best interest to promote your public gigs, because that will help determine the success of the event. All right, so let's chat about this in the private event world.

Once again, there are a lot of musicians who run by feelings and emotions where I think numbers truly are the way to analyze this. And I will admit I am subject to this, too. I just had a great venue tour.

It felt really good, right? The people that I played for, they loved it. They took a couple of videos, and then they promised me, like, we'll pass out your business cards, put you on a preferred vendor list, which is great. But at the end of the day, the numbers, the facts, the figures are what matter.

So I'm measuring the success of these based on whether or not I get a gig out of them in the future. Like right now, that's zero. I'm not going to say it's a failure because it hasn't had time to propagate yet or do whatever it needs to do to get me a gig.

But as of right now, it was not a complete success. The numbers say zero gigs equal zero success, but I know that it takes time. So I am going to not count my chickens before they've had a chance to hatch.

And right now, the metric that I am using as to whether or not, I'm doing everything necessary is the number of venue tours that I go on that turn into the number of active partnerships in my gig vault in BookLive, and then some other numbers that we care about are the number of gig leads that we generate each month. A lot of musicians don't actually measure the number of gig leads that they've generated in a given month. And I understand that because it's very hard to measure it.

You get gig leads from so many sources, wedding wire, the knot, Facebook, Instagram, even these referrals from venues. So it's hard to keep track of them. That's why I recently built that feature in Booklive, to help you keep track of them, but you got to measure them.

And if it's zero, then you've got to get from zero to one. In fact, there's a book called zero to one that I haven't read yet, but I think it talks about this very problem. It's like, how do you get your first paying customer? And that's also a lot of what we talk about here.

If you do a lot of the things that I'm telling you to do, like go on these venue tours, you will get your first gig lead. So that is a number that I'm advocating you measure is number of gig leads. Then another number is the number of leads that turn into gigs.

So that is a percentage, because if we take number of gigs divided by number of leads, that is your closing ratio. And, yeah, so that's where we measure. How effective are you at turning a lead into a booking? And again, there's no emotion about this.

A lot of people are like, oh, people just don't like me, or people suck. That's the wrong attitude to have about this. The better attitude is like, I'm not doing everything in my power to close these leads, or I don't know enough about sales to close these leads, because if you did, then you would close some of these leads, right? And there are some musicians who still have low numbers and they're unsatisfied about them, but they're not actually willing to do anything to change these numbers.

And that's where we have to operate not on emotion, but on facts and figures. And look at these numbers staring us in the face, say, oh, I'm not closing any of my gig leads. There's something that I need to change about what I do.

I need to learn more about sales. I need to change my approach. I need to send more emails, or I need to retool the emails.

That I'm currently sending to actually close those leads. Does that make sense? Okay, cool. So that is why I advocate that our emotions in this business do not matter.

It is dangerous to run a business based off of emotion, and it is a lot cleaner, a lot safer, a lot simpler to run it based off of numbers and facts and figures. And so that is all I got to share for you guys today. By the way, one of the best ways to generate leads is by having a killer website.

A website that not just looks good, but also performs for you. It performs at its job to get you leads at gigs and convince people, make it easier on the sale so that people can say yes to your offer of a gig. So if you want a website that performs for you, I urge you to go to

That is our own little web design agency that we have here at BookLive so that we could help build you a booking optimized website, a performing site. So check it out and just to take a look and see how we do it. That's totally free.

We can even have a consultation, take a look at your current website if you have one, or just discuss building one from scratch if you don't have one. And that is all free, even if you don't decide to get a website from us. But that all starts by visiting

So thanks for tuning into another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast. Remember, “Your music will not market itself.” Bye, everybody.

Episode 232 - From Bar Gigs to High-End Events: The Renegade Musician's Guide to Success

Episode 231 - Leadership in the Music Industry: How to Secure High-Profile Gigs and Take Charge of Your Career

Episode 230 - Unlocking the Secrets of Consistent Networking and Modern Sales for Musicians

Episode 229 - The Power of Networking and Recommendations in the Music Industry

Episode 228 - Navigating the Gig Economy: Venue Tours, Expos, and the Power of Numbers

Episode 227 - Strategic Moves: Venue Tours, Expos, and Unexpected Gigs

Episode 226 - Maximizing Gigs: New Tools for Tracking Success and Boosting Bookings

Episode 225 - Unlocking Gigs: Venue Tours and Strategic Partnerships

Episode 224 - A Day in the Life: Venue Tours, Unexpected Gigs, and Networking Wins

Episode 223 - Landing Gigs Post-Wedding Expo: A Musician's Success Story

Episode 222 - Navigating the Wedding Expo Scene: A Musician's Journey to Success

Episode 221 - Maximizing Success at Wedding Expos: A Musician's Guide

Episode 220 - Unlocking High-End Gigs: Venue Tours and Virtual Assistant Strategies

Episode 219 - Maximizing Your Music Career: The Power of a Personal Assistant

Episode 218 - Unlocking High-End Gigs: A Musician's Guide to Preferred Vendor Success

Episode 217 - Gigging Musician Podcast: Joe Deninzon Interview


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