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"Talent Show, Battle of the Bands" Bookings? Are they Successful??

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    hey all,

    my roommate recently joined a band and the bulk of their gigging is mostly talent shows, showcases, and battle of the bands kinds of appearances. and while at first, i was sorta mocking inside, turns out they've been getting alot of great press this way. heck, a few nights ago, their bassist was asked to play on local rapper's album after playing a Sugar Hill Gang riff during soundcheck!

    so, anyone go this route? how successful has it been for you? what's a good place to start? besides trolling craigslist, any places online that'd help me find something in my area?
  2. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I just played in a local 'Battle of the Country Bands' with a really talented female lead singer. It started out with like 28 bands. We took the Grand Prize in the finals last Thursday. IMO her singing is what won the contest. But our band played solidly and tastefully and we grooved really well. I'm happy with our performances. Had we been eliminated, I'd still be happy.

    I met two other local bands that are looking for a new bass player to either sit-in or replace their current bass players. Our band also got asked to perform a gig sponsored by one of our local hospitals at a 10,000 seat venue. Factor in the prize money, and the opportunity for more good paying gigs, I'd have to say it's worked out to be a pretty good deal.

    But I honestly still don't believe music is a competition, and I initially didn't want to participate in the contest.

  3. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I'm leery of it, but my friend's band, E X Vortex, has been pretty successful at it.
  4. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Smash, 100%! Perfect post IMHO.
  5. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    We have done a few of them in the past, the last one was this summer, I guess. I have always had a blast at them, the best part was getting a chance to hang out with a bunch of other musicians, ranging in age usually from high school kids to 40-50 year olds. Around here, these are deals that last all day long, and sometimes take a few weekends to complete. Gets to be a lot of fun. We have won a few, we haven't won some.

    The one we did this summer we didn't win, but got 6 months worth of bookings at the venue that hosted it, very good paying bookings I might add. That was way more than the winning band got, which I didn't understand. I guess the venue like us better than the judges did. :rolleyes: Oh well, it's money in our pockets.
  6. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    My friend's band, the afore mentioned E X Vortex, came in 2nd, but the contest was redone, because the lady on air jock, who was also the deciding judge, was sleeping with a member from the "winning" band, :scowl: They redid the show in a different venue with different judges, and they won. :bassist:
  7. KPJ


    Oct 2, 2001
    Methuen, MA USA
    I have done a number of them. I was in two different bands that competed in the Battle of the Boston Blues Bands and was in the finals in 2002. The prize was to go to Memphis and compete in a national competition to win a recording deal. Not bad if you won.

    I have competed with two different bands the last two years in the New Hampshire Country Music Association Talent Search. The singer I'm backing up currently, Tracilynne, had won as a soloist the last couple years and then went on to compete at a national competition in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. She won there also. She has a local deal for a CD. She is currently a finalist in the Colgate Country Showdown and competes in January at Disneyworld for a $100,000 prize! :eek:

    She entered as a soloist because her previous band fell apart and the current lineup wasn't in place in time when she entered the competition. She says we'll still be with her if she wins! (We are being promoted as a band, Tracilynne & American Pride, but band members can be changed! :) ) Meanwhile, we will be competing at the NACMAI competion in Pigeon Forge this March. We already have a guaranteed spot at the awards show because Tracilynne is being recognized for her dominance in the soloist categories previously.

    I look at all of this as a way to be exposed to the music business and see what could be. If nothing comes of it, oh well. I'm just going to enjoy it. I've been doing this a long time and it's nice to have some sort of recognition. I don't think of music as a competition either, but I do enjoy playing out to as many people as possible, I do have an ego, I guess! :D

    There is a lot of politics in some of these competitions though...

    Sorry for the long post, but some info from someone who's been there...
  8. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    My band has only been in one so far. We did win, but had no intention of doing so when we were asked to play. It kind of sucked because one of the other bands that was there were some friends of ours, and really intent on winning, and things haven't really been the same since then. We have been invited to another one coming up soon put on by the same people. We're going to treat this one just like the last, just like it's another show. We'll go and do what we do and if we win, cool, if we don't cool, it's just another fun show.
  9. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    First let me echo the sentiments of others, that it's not about winning, it's about having fun and networking with other bands and the club.

    However... I've had a bad experience with a Battle of the Bands at Peabody's in Cleveland, OH

    They have big-time acts, so my band wanted in. We're from about 3hr45min from Cleveland so it was a big ordeal for us, but we thought it was worth it. We did a battle of the bands, where the guy in charge promised us a weekend gig if we sold at least 50 tickets out of 100 for this battle of the bands (at $8 a pop, none of which we were allowed to keep!). Well, we sold all of them. We went there, played, kicked @$$, had a ton of devoted fans from our area make the long trip just to see us play that show, won and went on to the finals, and in the end got nothing. They made probably around $1300 just from my band's ticket sales for the 2 shows, and then didn't even offer us a gig! If selling out of tickets for an over-priced show almost 4 hours away and actually BRINGING a big crowd that far for a show doesn't prove that your band is deserving of a gig, I don't know what else is.

    Like I said, we didn't care about winning, but we weren't making the 4 hour trip for our health, either. We busted our butts to sell the tickets, and really had to work to convince people to make the long haul to the venue. We thought that Peabody's would be a good foot in the door to breaking into a larger market. And with the promise of a weekend gig for selling 50 tickets, we were very excited when we sold twice as many. But it left a really sour taste in our mouths when we were left out to dry by the venue.

    If you have no reason to play it other than to have fun, go for it, but if you have goals in mind, don't be surprised if they aren't met. Also, I'd try to keep it limited to JUDGED contests. The Peabody's thing was crowd-response voted. Thus, in the finals, we were defeated by a pop-punk band who had a whole slew of 14 and 15 year old kids there. The band actually got on the mic before their set was over and said "Thanks to all of you for coming, and thanks to your parents for bringing you out!" That's so lame. LoL But oh well, we weren't mad about losing. We made some friends and enjoyed some good music.
  10. I say this in every "Battle Of The Bands" thread. My bands have "won" a few, and "lost" more than twice as many. Like several people said, it's not about "winning," it is about making money. Pay for play situation suck, no way around it. The venue is going to make money regardless (as long as people show up and drink). The money you pay as an "entrance fee" or "ticket sales" or "membership fee" to the organization is nothing less than preying on the hope that bands have of being stars. "Winning" might net you some studio time or something- but your big prize is saying you "won" this "competition" which means "zilch" in the not so grand scheme of things.
  11. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Bands without followings yet would seem to get the best bang from the buck in these contests. I have never done one. But for original acts in hollywood, pay to play can get expensive... so from what I have seen the cost of these battle of the bands things has been pretty reasonable for the exposure a band would get.
  12. Think of the "exposure." For the most part, people that are attending the "event" are either band members or friends of band members. No matter how jaw droppingly amazing a band is, if anyone's paying attention- they're there to vote for their friends.
  13. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    Exactly, which is why I mentioned that getting into contests with judges is a better idea than the crowd-response thing.
  14. Larzito


    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    I've been there and done that too. Two years ago, we won and got some studio time. The whole thing was sponsored by a local radio station. They did nothing for us after we won...but it was fun.

    This year's contest was far more competitive and had a record contract as the bounty. We won our first round, then lost the second round to a band that we thought had far less playing ability but fit the criteria the judges were looking for...looking for the next Robert Earl King Texas Music hero. The band that beat us placed second in the final round...the worst of all four bands in my opinion. My point is that these competitions will really bug you if you try too hard to rationalize who wins and who doesn't.

    Now, if I had followed the advice from some of the posts above and looked at this as purely another chance to play and network, I would have had a much more positive experience. Losing sucks, but winning validates your playing/performing skills...definaltely a double edged sword.

    Based on the contest, we got a "Talent Show" gig the next week at a nearby county fair. It wasn't really a talent show, it was a way for a loser to get some free entertainment for the fair. Beware of contests with audience response as the vote. Beware of talent shows...talent show sounds like middle school. Contests worth entering are sponsered by someone other than the bar it is held at...like a radio station, beer company, music store, etc.
  15. My band's last concert was at a contest.

    It was a two hours drive away from home.

    We played really good, the audience like us a lot, even ppl we didn't bring cheered and danced, and one of the officials (who was not in the jury) said we weere the best band he ever heard in any of the contests.

    When the results were announced, we were 3rd (out of 5 by audience) and 5th from the judges, we ended up on last place, but we were so hyped by the comment of that official and the rections of the audience that it was well worth it.

    After it ended, we were outside talking to some friends, and the judges came to us and told us what they like and what they didn't, which they didn't do with other bands, so it was really cool in the end.