Professional musician network/classifieds - Pro version of Craigslist?
To all the touring managers, musical directors, and other industry pros who are in charge of hiring or finding musicians in various cities at the last minute, as well as serious players who are looking for other serious players for a project:
Let's say you're in Seattle for a show that night and someone in the band gets sick and can't play the show - how do you go about finding a local replacement? Someone who's professional, not just rolling the dice on a random CL ad? Do you reach out to contacts you have in the area, contact the local musician's union, or what?
How do the vets go about finding other players from similar backgrounds to play with or assist on various projects, other than just through one's own network or word of mouth?
I'm curious because I have a concept I'm considering developing for kind of a pro version of CL's musicians section that's free for users on both sides to access and use. It would be city-specific, like CL is, I'm thinking. Something that would be unattractive to the players that are less serious or just looking for casual bands, and highlights those that have some credentials and links to their work, site, etc.
If there were an attractive, streamlined site that was well built and featured musician's profiles that were media-rich and informative, would this be useful to you? I am kind of surprised that I haven't seen something like this, so I'm wondering is it already exists or of there's a preferred way of doing it. Thanks for the info!
Sounds like a great idea. I'm going to say something that will seem cruel, but I don't mean it that way. Wanna keep the riff raff out? You will have to charge at least a little bit of money. Other than that or some sort of "application process" I can't figure how you would keep garage bands and kids out.
Oh, and to answer your question, I get calls all the time for gigs from theater to rock in this half of NC. They hear about me from friends who have worked with me. Word of mouth. I don't do any social media at all.
Word of mouth has worked for ages. While this could be an interesting and useful tool, I doubt anything could ever trump a solid recommendation.
And how would you keep off the "non pros?"
That's the problem you'll always have.
Perhaps add members only on the recommendation of existing members?
My local area has a couple by invite only face book groups and i see dudes putting up sub gigs and getting them filled by pros. One group is all bass players and its like a local TB.
Thanks for the feedback, guys and gals. Perhaps there would be a required approval phase of all new profile applications. Perhaps there would be a required link to work the musician had performed on in some way, shape, or form.
But I know word of mouth has served many for a long time. People tend to use the tools available to them, however, if they're easy and convenient enough to use. Maybe if something like this existed, it would help out. It's tough to know someone in every city, after all!
And maybe there would be another feature, like a Linkedin thing, that would allow members to recommend other members, so you can see if someone is personally recommended from someone you do know/trust.
Everybody knows someone who knows somebody. Can't see that changing anytime soon.
I think that may be a cognitive bias of some sort. Sometimes I feel like that here, and then I discover a whole new pocket or scene that I was oblivious to, and I realize that I had an over-inflated idea of my own in-the-knowedness :)
I'm not knocking the idea, it's worked decently with an invite-only bass group here in Nashville, but it isn't that hard to know someone in every city, because if you're an industry person in a city like Nashville, or L.A. almost everyone came from somewhere else, and once you are in a circle of high level people, it's pretty easy to reach out. Everyone likes to help their buddy get a gig, or help a buddy get an emergency spot filled.
Fair enough. Thanks, all, for the input! If anyone would like to add anything else, I'm all ears. Thanks!
I think it's a cool idea, but there are lots and lots of kinks that would have to be worked out. Just gonna kinda think out loud here...
First, it's going to be useless, unless people know about it, and it works. How could it be made dependable? How could it be made so that it would actually work, too? You'd need a lot of talented freelance musicians, in every area of the US, who were available and dependable, on the spot...
I agree, that money might have to play a part. As possibly a signup fee for the artists, and a comission for any gigs. That would however make it way more difficult to get people to be a part of it. Maybe just a commission for gigs? This could get involved. Could there be set prices for performances and rehearsals, and all money transaction take place through the service? This would have lots of benefits, but could get tricky... himmm... perhaps there could be a set fee for musicians services, and it can be stated that additional fees may apply, to be negotiated by the band and musician?
Toughest, or most complicated parts would be to weed out the flakes, and accurately categorize the players. A search word library could probably help with that. Well thought out dropdown menus perhaps for genre, area, instrument, and 1 or 2 other things that might be useful. Or a general search with a more detailed search as an option?
Best way IMO also to really screen people is to audition them, but we're talking a lot of work and money with that. Maybe find volunteers to do screenings? That would be the best way I could think of to weed people out. Learn 4 songs in 2 days and show up for 20 minute audtion at a very specific time. Anyone who's ever audtioned anyone can tell ya what fun that would be.... :).
Last thought off the top of my head is that it could work like a yelp for musicians, but anyone who reviewed anyone would have to sign up and provide full info, including links to their bands and band credits. That might be the simplese way actually to get something off the ground for free. Wouldn't be as dependable as the above stuff... but would be easier to bring to life.
Again, like the idea but there would have to be lots to think and work through if it were going to be a reliable service.
It's been many years since I played out, so take this for what it's worth. I'd check with a couple of the reputable music stores in the area and ask if they know someone they could recommend.
Word of mouth is best. CL type of thing would be hard to weed out non players.
Most situations that call for a last minute sub are bigger acts & typically the guitar techs
can sub when needed.
Music stores are another good venue.
Not a bad idea but just not enough possible work to support it.
Networking and word of mouth has worked and will continue to be the best way.
For a web site....
In my opinion the only way to weed out non players would be to charge for registration on the site as a sub. It will need to be a fairly decent amount. You could offer a reduced rate in future or rebate if the individual successfully subs and they receives some positive feedback. You may want to restrict access to individuals looking for subs also. They should be registered and possible fee here too.
Without the $ you will not have a decent roster of subs. As we all know, even here on TB, the anonymity of the web allows people to present themselves differently from who they really are. If you have a roster of subs where half of them are posers your list won't be worth anything.
If it costs money, then it's a non starter. Working musicians will be pretty leery of anything that smells like pay-to-play.
I dunno. I'd be willing to pay a yearly subscription fee in one shot just to have a reliable, b.s.-free (well hopefully) resource to post gigs. I think it's a cool idea!
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