Primary Blog/Gigging Musician Podcast/Episode 232 - From Bar Gigs to High-End Events: The Renegade Musician's Guide to Success

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

Monday, May 27, 2024

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Episode Recap

In this episode, Jared Judge discusses the transformative journey from low-paying bar gigs to lucrative high-end events. Jared shares insights on how to attract wealthy clients, break into the corporate and wedding markets, and position yourself as a top-tier musician. Discover the strategies behind creating a high-end brand, networking with industry professionals, and making a sustainable living from your music.

Best Quote

"And, you know, this is a quote that came to me pretty recently. I just recently discovered it, but it's so true. You know, you don't get rich by solving broke people problems. And if you think about all those different, like, low end gig experiences that I went through, a lot of other musicians went through, they were low end gig experiences."


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What's up, gigging Pros? Welcome back to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast. My name is Jared Judge. I am your host and electric violinist based in the Denver area, and I play a lot of high-end gigs.

This is kind of a re-intro episode because it's been a while since I've published the last one. Things have been very busy, but I'm actually on my way to a high-end wedding gig at the Wellshire Event Center in the Denver area.

And I focus mainly on high end gigs, weddings, corporate gigs, nonprofit galas, and private parties because they pay very well, and they also have some of the best gigging conditions available to us gigging musicians.

Right. We don't have to bring an audience. We don't have to deal with, you know, angry bartenders or drunk patrons, or we don't have to chase our paychecks afterwards.

And to me, that's the. The ideal kind of gig. And, you know, I didn't always get those kinds of gigs.

You know, back when I was just a wee lad back in, you know, music school, I went to music school twice, and they were teaching us how to be better musicians.

And, you know, I was participating in that whole, like, normal music school slash, you know, musician experience where you would have to take these low end gigs. And, you know, because some of my versions of low end gigs was, honestly, there was a regional symphony I was playing for that.

I was making, like, $100 for the gig. Sound familiar? A lot of bar musicians also get $100 or less per gig. And so I was pursuing these low end gigs.

Similarly, I was playing in a musical theater pit where I was making less than minimum wage. It's like, this doesn't feel like the path towards making a living as a musician. And so that's when I realized, like, I need to get a higher end type of gig.

I need to play for people who have money. And there was somebody one of my mentors learned from, a guy named Myron golden. And Myron said, do you know how to get rich? It's by solving rich people problems.

And, you know, this is a quote that came to me pretty recently. I just recently discovered it, but it's so true. You know, you don't get rich by solving broke people problems.

And if you think about all those different, like, low end gig experiences that I went through, a lot of other musicians went through, they were low end gig experiences.

If you play for a bar, oftentimes those bars are. I saw a statistic once, like, 99% of bars in the state of Florida fail within their first year, they financially cannot afford to keep going.

Bars are basically broke. They are barely making it as is. And so they're basically like playing for not rich people.

I was looking at a ruffle, a couple feathers, I am sure of it. But I am just so determined to help musicians break into high end gigs and honestly eschew meaning get rid of the low end gigs.

Because if you play low end gigs, then you are sacrificing your time, your money, because youve invested a lot into your music career, your health, the health of your car to get to these low end gigs and load hundreds of pounds of equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars and play these gigs that really don't pay well.

And so there is a whole world out there of high end gigs. Rich people throw extravagant parties. Corporations that have lots of money throw these large parties for their clients and employees.

They've got money. They've got thousands of dollars to throw at entertainment. And so, you know, same for weddings.

I love weddings. I'm on my way to one right now. I mentioned, and, you know, rich people get married.

But another interesting, you know, part of this is that when people are having their wedding, oftentimes they will want to throw an extravagant party, even if they aren't necessarily wealthy themselves.

They want to show others like, hey, we've got our stuff together. So they spend lots of money, oftentimes putting it on credit cards.

And this isn't like our place to decide whether or not they should be spending that money. But the point is they've got it and they're willing to put it on musicians. And so that's why we have to decide to pursue high end gigs.

And decide comes from the latin word day, which means off, and then chitteray, which means cut. So basically, we have to cut off the low end gigs. And so I am very passionate about helping musicians break into these high end gigs.

And that's, you know, those are the kind of gigs I play and I want to introduce, like, the concept. I feel like what I do and what I teach is very different than what most musicians do out there. And that's intentional, right? Someone you know, I also study from a marketing mentor named Dan Kennedy.

And one of the things that he said is that if you want to actually make it and break through the noise, you have to look at what the majority is doing and do the opposite. Right? Why do we want to do that?

Like, if you look at the majority of musicians, the majority of musicians are broke, at least as far as music is concerned. I would just talk to a musician yesterday and asked him, like, in the last year, how much money have you made from your music? And he's like, oh, $500.

He's like, you're making dollar 500 a year from music? And most musicians are like this. I get that. Right? I'm not here to judge, but I'm here to say, like, look at what most people are doing, especially those who are unsuccessful and do the opposite.

And that's where I want to introduce a new identity that I'm going to play around with, an identity for me and other musicians like me, who pursue these high end gigs called the Renegade musician. We are renegade musicians because we do not do what the majority does.

We are not willing to accept the lies that Spotify and the recording industry and even the lies that gig salad and these other directory websites are telling us.

Right. I'm giving a presentation tomorrow about breaking into high end gigs, and I was thinking about, rich people really don't shop at Walmart. Sure, in a pinch, they might go there, but that's not their default.

They go to high end grocery stores. They go to high end retailers like, you know, they'll buy Teslas from a Tesla showroom. They won't go to a Kia dealer.

And. I'm sorry, where was I going with this? Oh, yeah. So, you know, rich people don't shop at Walmart.

Therefore, you know, what is Walmart? Walmart is kind of like a, it's a large, big box store where there are lots of different products all on the same shelf. They all kind of look the same. And the real big differentiator is price.

Right? And people are going to go with great value because it's typically the lowest price brand, that's Walmart's in house brand, where they manufacture things at a fraction of the cost.

And so they really are trying to, like, get massive amount of low end clients. But what does that do for them? That means they have to have massive amounts of products, massive amounts of employees, and so their margins are very thin.

It's not a very comfortable way of living. Now, the equivalent for us is we musicians. When we go on directories like gig salad and even wedding wire and the knot, that's like putting our product on the shelf at Walmart because, you know, we're basically putting ourselves on the same shelf that hundreds of other musicians are on.

And they all kind of look the same. And it's definitely like a big box retailer where price becomes the differentiating factor. And so I know a lot of musicians who are on these websites and they're getting, you know, a good number of leads, but they're all low end lead, low end gigs like backyard barbecue.

We'll pay you $100. They can make that same hundred bucks at the bar if you wanted to. Sure.

You may catch a whale in these puns at some point. I myself have booked, you know, thousand dollar clients on, on these platforms from time to time, but they're few and far between.

I would say the amount of time that I spend sifting through all of these low end leads is pretty large and it's not very fun to do it honestly.

It reinforces the idea that musicians are low end. And I don't like that. I don't think that that's fair or justified.

I feel like we should be high end musicians, but that doesn't mean we have to change anything about what we do. Because these high end clients, they're humans too. They want what we already do.

They want the music that I play. You know, some people are like, well, do I have to play high end music? High brow music? Ill tell you, I booked a wedding and we were discussing their playlist. This is a pretty big wedding, like, you know, thousands of dollars for the music.

And were working on their playlist. A couple of songs that they requested are still Dre by Doctor Dre. They also requested, you know, guns n Roses, sweet child of mine.

It's like not highbrow music. It's fun music that I already enjoy playing. So it's not like I have to change anything about what I'm doing currently.

Sure, I may have to dress up a little bit. I'm in the car on the way to that wedding right now. I'm wearing suit and die.

But, you know, that doesn't mean that's who I am all the time. It just means that I'm a high end musician and my website reflects that too. You know, I always say your website should not just be a portfolio.

Your website should be a high end reflection of who you are to attract high end clients. And then also it should have marketing strategy baked in because, you know, I mentioned going to the Tesla showroom and buying a Tesla. Like those showrooms are essentially like a website in a way.

In a way they showcase what Tesla does. They have a car, like a demonstration of the car in the actual showroom.

And then they actually have people, staff in it that can help the customer find what they're looking for, customize their Tesla and then guide them towards placing an order.

And that is what a website should do, right? It should demonstrate your product, have some high quality videos, and then it should answer their questions like, you know, what does it look like to actually book you? And then it should guide them through the process.

So it should have a way for them to fill out forms on your website so then you can go ahead and send them a contract and book the gig.

And so that, to me, is the path that I'm going with this concept of the renegade musician, right? If you look at the majority of other musicians, they're not playing high end gigs.

They're just playing whatever gigs they can get. And it's okay if you're that kind of musician right now, but you do have to decide at some point that I am going to be a renegade musician. I'm going to look at what the majority of musicians are doing and do the exact opposite.

I'm not even going to bother with putting my music on Spotify because I know that, you know, fractions of a penny don't add up. $500 a year. It's not a lot of money.

Instead, I'm going to decide to pursue high end gigs. I'm going to attract them. I'm going to put together a performing website that actually attracts high end gigs and guides them to book me.

And then I'm going to fulfill on the promises that I make and charge a price that these high end clients expect. Right? If you're trying to sell a high end product, you don't want to charge Walmart prices. That's going to be a huge turn off.

A big red flag. Like these high end clients expect to pay a pretty penny for their musical services. If you're only charging bargic prices, well, that's going to turn them off and they'll go to somebody who is actually charging these prices.

So I want you to join me. Be a renegade musician like me and don't do what the majority of musicians are doing. Say no to that.

You know you deserve it. And honestly, I feel like all musicians deserve it because we do not deserve to be treated like low end, you know, beggars with our guitar cases in hand, just hoping people drop a dollar bill into our cases. No, you deserve better.

So be a renegade musician like me. And I want to know what your feedback is on this. I am sure I ruffled a couple feathers there.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. If you agree with me. I would love to hear it.

If you disagree, I also would love to know why. What about what I said? Do you disagree with what rubbed you the wrong way, and we can have a good discussion on it. I'm not going to judge you.

I'm not going to come at you with. With knives or anything like that. I just love to engage in a dialogue.

But my mission here is to help musicians become renegade musicians so that they can make a living doing what they love instead of chasing these low end experiences. All right, that's all I got for you guys today. By the way.

I am running a series of masterclasses called the High-End Gig Workshop, where if you want to know how I went from broke musician to living comfortably by breaking into these high end gigs without, you know, building a huge social media following, getting a booking agent, chasing down bar owners, anything like that, then go to high-end gigs, and there is a dash between those three words, high dash end dash gigs. And you will see a registration for my upcoming masterclass.

Thanks for tuning in to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast. Remember, "Your music will not market itself!". Bye, everybody.

Episode 234 - Building a Music Community: Lessons from EDM and Metal Fusion

Episode 233 - Think Like a DJ: Elevate Your Music Career with High-End Gigs

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

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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


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