[Dixielandjazz] fees and unions

Rob McCallum rakmccallum at hotmail.com
Thu Mar 13 18:19:41 PST 2003

Hello all,

One thing I'm starting to notice is that some of the smaller clubs are
starting to utilize corporate sponsorships for national acts.  I saw Benny
Golson last month at the Bird of Paradise in Ann Arbor  (which is actually
one of the larger jazz clubs) and it appeared the concert was co-sponsored
by Absolut vodka.  When the SereNgeti Ballroom was still open, they would
bring in national acts (like Milt Jackson, Mulgrew Miller, Tommy Flanagan,
Jane Bunnett, Terrence Blanchard) and I believe there was corporate
sponsorship involved there too (they were only opened when there was a show
booked, as there was no bar).  Despite it's tradition, Detroit's jazz market
(paying customers) is absurdly small.  Clubs in NYC and Chicago (like the
Village Vanguard and the Jazz Showcase) I believe survive on volume based on
name recognition and the tourist market.  They'll book 5 piece groups for
Tuesday through Sunday, 2 shows a night (seperate 15 or 20 dollar cover for
each set plus a drink minimum), and pack the house.

 In Detroit, you're lucky to find people to pay a cover, much less an
additional cover for a second set.  Case in point, the world famous Baker's
Keyboard Lounge used to have a dirt cheap five dollar cover, and they
struggled for a lot of years eventually opening only on Friday and Saturday
nights and using mostly all local groups.  About six years ago, they changed
their policy, no cover charge, and added a simple menu and jam nights during
the week.  The result?  Packed out the door six nights a week (can't even
get a parking space if you get there after nine) - closed Mondays.  Baker's
only seats @ 110, but there is audience turnover between sets.

All the best,

Rob McCallum

----- Original Message -----
From: jazzfact <jazzfact at ozemail.com.au>
To: Djml <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2003 5:37 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] fees and unions

> Hi All,
> There is no active musicians union in Australia that I know of so we get
> no help or hinderance from them. Fees here are a matter of commercial
> reality.
> How can a venue support a five or six piece band with say 140 customers.
> Drinks, The margin on food and drinks is 300% gross, if each audient
> pays say $10 for drinks = $1400 = $800 gross
> Food, say 100 of those in the room eat a $14 meal= $1400 Gross $800
> Total gross profit for the night $1600 subtract staff, rent, light,
> licences superannuation, holiday pay, tax etc and you see what I mean.
> Our long running jobs are all based on commercial reality. Bums on
> seats, we promote our own gigs and work the crowd for the repeat
> business. We have a list of our fans and send flyers promoting our
> upcoming gigs.
> How do others on this list work?
> regards,
> Richard Stevens
> http://members.ozemail.com.au/~jazzfact/
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