You guys are constantly asking me if I know of jobs and internships in your area. While it’s cool that you’re trying to be resourceful and find opportunities, you need to take the time to do some research on your own. I live in Boston. There’s no way I would know about internships in Texas, or…
Marketing yourself is a key step to launching, and maintaining, your music career. With so many different ways to go about it, we’ve got the most up to date tips for you courtesy of Coalition’s own Devi & Andrea:
Know who you are. What’s your genre? What are you currently pushing?…
Working at a venue is a great way to gain experience in the music industry. Over the course of the last four years, I have gained venue experience in a few different areas and I’d like to share with you guys some of the jobs that exist within a 500 cap venue. If any of you have questions about working at a venue, feel free to submit them here. I’m going to talk about some of the positions and then do a little FAQ at the end! Also remember that this is written based on my own experiences, and some of the terms may be different depending on the venue!
Most small venues have a couple of box office positions. The person working in the box office is responsible for selling tickets to upcoming shows, and handling customers who have questions about the shows or ticketing. Many box offices sell their tickets through a software program run by Ticketmaster which is hooked up to a printer designed to print tickets. After the show, the person in the box office will run a report on the show which gets handed in to the venue’s general manager that night. This report is called an “audit” and it lists how many tickets were sold (through phone, internet, and box office), as well as how much money was made on tickets. The report is used later on to compile financial information about the show.
The security team is responsible for keeping patrons safe before, during and after the show. Security has set rules that they follow which help them to keep the show running legally and safely. Most venues have security teams that are comprised of both men and women. Although women are stereotypically not as strong, we can deal with issues in the women’s restrooms and issues specific to female patrons. Security often helps clean up beer and empty cups after the show as well.
Before the show, the manager at the venue will have a meeting with the band’s TMs to go over the contract that was set between the band’s manager/booking agent and the venue. During the meeting, the manager also goes over specific venue rules, passes, hospitality, payment ect. During the show the manager keeps track of the click count (how many people are in the venue), and handles certain problems that may arise involving the band/venue. At the end of the night, the manager will settle with the artist.
These positions make up the production staff at a small venue. These positions are also generally managed by the head production manager. Usually venues have one or two production managers. Load in for bands happens a few hours before doors depending on the show. This gives the production staff and bands time to set up their backline/gear and soundcheck before people start coming into the venue. Often times, bands will have their own lighting or sound guys on tour with them.
Bartenders and bar backs make up an important part of the venue staff. This one is pretty self explanatory. Bar sales are important to the financial success of a show this size.
During the winter months, there is usually a small staff of coat check people who handle the coat closet during the show. This one is also pretty self explanatory, but it’s another position that exists.
Some local venues have people on hand that can do merch. Not every band takes a merch person on tour with them (especially bands who are playing 500 capacity rooms). Local merch people are often enlisted to come work shows. The band’s TM will help set up the merch and pay the merch person in cash at the end of the night.
Many venues have production interns or office interns. Right now I am the operations intern at The Sinclair. It has been a great opportunity for me to learn about different financial aspects of the venue, as well as many other assets that make the show run smoothly. Interning can also lead into merch gigs, or future jobs.
How do I go about getting a job at a venue?
It can be tough to get a job at a venue, especially one that is only 500 capacity. The key is to make connections with people working at the venue or associated with the venue. For my first job, I got lucky. I searched the venue on Linkedin and messaged the first person who came up. You could take that approach, but in most cases it’ll be easier if you know somebody who works there.
How do I make connections with people working at a venue where I want to work?
Go to a show and talk to people working at the venue. Say you want to do merch, and you happen to attend a show where the person selling merch is a local seller. Ask them how they got their job, and ask them how you might be able to get involved. You can ask these same questions to anyone working in the box office or working security. Most importantly, get their contact info and follow up with them. After following up, keep in touch with them.
What if I don’t have any experience?
That’s ok. It’s really key to be confident here. One saying I love to use which I first heard from Lisa Brownlee (Vans Warped Tour Tour Manager) is “fake it until you make it.” Even if you aren’t sure exactly what you’re doing, just have confidence and ask as many questions as you can. Don’t lie about your experience, but just trust that somebody will be there to help you learn if you approach the situation correctly. When I first started working in the box office, I didn’t know anything. Same with security, coat check, and merch. You learn to get better over time as long as you are willing to work hard and ask questions.
If you guys have any other questions or want to add anything to this post, feel free to hit me up. I have worked box office, coat check, security, operations (intern), and merch at venues so I can help answer any questions. I will also be posting an interview with The Sinclair’s production manager very soon, so look out for that if you are interested in learning more about production.
Songwriting is a collaborative process. It’s very rare that one person is responsible for creating a song from start to finish. When you write with like-minded artists amazing things can happen. Coalition’s Artist in Residence Sean Kelly gave our Artist Entrepreneur program, CMAE, tips for making the collaboration process flow smoothly…
One of the things we barely talk about on the road is the progress we see in the music business. For those of you that follow this blog you must be scratching your head saying “What the hell is themerchdude taking about?” Yes. I’m known for making fun of the way the music business is handled…
We’re pretty sure that, by now, you’ve heard about the female crowdsurfer who planted an unwanted kiss on vocalist Parker Cannon during The Story So Far’s show in Houston last week. In fact, we know that you’ve heard about it, because an astounding number of you…
While the endorsement from Bill Werde [editorial director for Billboard Mag] should be enough on its own, I wanted to address all the high schoolers who are looking into pursuing a music industry-related major about the Bandier Program for the Music and Entertainment Industries at Syracuse University.
Founded by Marty Bandier [CEO of Sony/ATV], this unique program is all about preparing you for the future of the industry. With courses in marketing, social media, communications [from the #1 communications school in the entire country!], history of music, studio recording, and so much more, Bandier focuses on the evolving technologies and newer tactics to make sure you can achieve the career of your dreams.
Besides the wide range of classes, there are so many opportunities Bandier has to offer: admission to conferences [SXSW, CMJ, Billboard Touring], abroad semesters [LA, London, and now Nashville and NYC], a lecture series hosted by some of the most prestigious names in the game, and a network of music businesspeople that could help launch you to any area of the biz you wanted. With a 3 internship requirement, you gain more exposure than I ever dreamed of - this past summer, I was able to intern with the community outreach/music dept. at Tumblr, Inc. [yes, the actual Tumblr headquarters!!] and my classmates interned at Atlantic Records, Complete Control Management, The Fader, Cornerstone Media, and tons of other places.
Ultimately, this program has granted me the opportunity to tap into my true potential. Bandier is a close-knit community of students who have the drive to do whatever it takes to make it in the industry. Being accepted into this program was the best thing that ever happened for my career; my network has grown astronomically and I have the resources to make anything I want happen right at my fingertips.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
- There is no such thing as too many internships - There is always more to learn, there are always new people to meet.
- There is a such thing as applying to too many jobs (all at once) - I’m 100% a proponent of keeping your options open. However, if you apply to ten jobs at…
Still looking to volunteer at Warped Tour? Come be a part of a fun team and help with an interactive campaign for Z!ng Revolution!
Z!ng Revolution? What’s that?
Z!ng Revolution creates custom accessories for electronics so you can personalize and protect them. This summer we will be…
Just wanted to write to say a few things here mid tour:
We’re having a fantastic time on this run of shows!!!! WOW! Although it’s been busy (lots of shows, radio performances, interviews and long drives) we are thrilled to be out in support of Heartthrob! Our support act Diana is blowing our minds every night but SO ARE YOU!!! What an amazing audience we have! You guys have been so gracious and lovely and we just appreciate you so much!!!
Although travel/road/weather conditions have been kind of crazy the last week we are truly blown away and so appreciative that so many of you still made it through the long drives, delayed flights, and huge line ups to come to the shows. Who doesn’t love a Canadian tour in March!?!
The response to the new music has been so overwhelming. Never in our wildest dreams did Sara and I imagine all of you loving Heartthrob (and singing along so loudly and cheering more for the new stuff than the old stuff) so soon! What a thrill! Thank you! This record was so important to us, we’re glad the majority of you are getting it!
The last few nights post show there have been people lining up near the buses to meet us. We want to remind everyone that for the past few years we have had a policy of NO stopping or signing post show. We have this policy for 3 reasons:
1. YOUR HEALTH AND SAFETY:
This is ourNUMBER ONE PRIORITY!
There is nothing safe or healthy about standing in -15 weather with snow up to your knees until 12am in a dark, remote, empty parking lot to meet us! We are unable to ensure your security in such unstable conditions! This is why we ask you guys NOT to wait out there.
2. OUR CREW’S HEALTH AND SAFETY:
Our crew and band generally start their work day at 10am. They work straight through until the trailer is loaded 14 hours later at 12am. We can’t ask them to stand with us in the cold until 12:30am signing. It’s dangerous, not to mention cold!
3. OUR HEALTH AND SAFETY:
Last month we had to cancel shows because Sara fell ill after playing an hour long set in -10 weather. It cost so many fans so much money because of the postponement, not to mention the stress and disappointment we all felt because of the delay. We just can’t let that happen again. Our health has to be a priority! We are working incredibly long days and although we love interacting, chatting, and hanging out with fans - the time to do that is NEVER 12:30am outside a bus in a dark parking lot after a long, long, long day. We hope the 2 hour long show we put on every night is enough and that you can respect our
need to get some much needed rest at that point! We adore you guys but we can’t make an exception to this rule. It’s in place to protect us all!!!
The best way to get an opportunity to meet us is to stay up to date on our website and social media sites. We will always let you know when there are meet and greet tickets offered for a given concert, charity auctions, or chances to win tickets through various contests. We are also working on ways to make it easier for more of you to have access to these opportunities.
Thanks for listening! Take care all of you! See you out there!
-Tegan and Sara
WELL SAID! Now apply these to every winter tour situation, and stop lying down in front of the bus you crazy people! (Actual thing that happened to a tour I was on once… don’t do it)