January 6, 2012

The Business Side of Second Life Music - The Show

Making the transition from Real Life shows to Second Life, or starting to include Second Life shows in your calendar of performances can be a bit shaky at first. I remember when I first started performing over 5 years ago in Second life. I had split from my band, and was writing a new album, but was still missing playing live. I think I saw an ad for Second Life and thought it just sounded really cool. So I joined.

There's a few things I picked up while touring, both RL and SL, that I want to share. Likely, you know some or all of this if you've done any performing at all, but for the benefit of those that don't, I thought I'd put it down.

What I'd like to cover really quickly here, for the benefit of others who might be considering starting to perform in Second Life, are just a few simple pointers that might help you out a bit. Like I said before, I think many of you will know this stuff, but it never hurts to hear from someone who's been doing it a while. And trust me, I'm guilty of at least a few of the following so I'm talking from my own experience of falling on my face at least a few times!

Before starting in Second Life, I hadn't really tried the whole "streaming" thing and the one thing that threw me a bit at first was the delay time from when I play, until the audience heard what I played. This is known as "latency". Usually, when I record my music, there is such a slight latency from my instrument to the computer that it isn't even audible... we're talking maybe only a few mili seconds. Streaming into SL on the other hand can give a latency from 5-25 seconds (to those on the receiving end). The reason for such a wide discrepancy can be based on several factors including distance, operating system, the computer itself, Second Life preference settings, etc. When you become accustomed to the latency, you'll begin gain a feel for the change in typical live show "protocol" you might need to alter or otherwise effect.
free, free, music, marketing, blog, free, free, free, music, pr, baby, son, kid, child, love, seo,blog,free,free,free,free,free, live music, make money, money, free money, gift, gifts, seth regan, mankind tracer, secondlife, second life, sl, facebook, twitter, social, alexa rank

Promoting your shows, event and yourself, in my opinion, is probably THE most overlooked part of performing live in Second Life. There are many avenues of promoting your events, many of them free. First and most obvious is Second Life Events > Live Music. I'm very optimistic that the layout  of Events listings will be fixed soon to be less cluttered with different kinds of events, more separated in fact.

Right now under Live Music, there are the Live Musicians' listings but there are also DJ events listed, Karaoke nights, Track Singers and more. I suggested that these be separated into individual categories to allow the Second Life community easier access to what it is they're looking for and to eliminate the current clutter of this jumbled mess we now have to work with. In the meantime, it is what it is and it's THERE so use it, be sure to have every one of your events listed by the venue if possible and if not, get invited to the land group and do it yourself. 

You might also consider creating your own Facebook Group and/or page if you haven't already, create a Twitter account and tweet about all your shows, post on Myspace and so on. Google offers free calendars which you can quickly and easily embed onto your website or blog, letting people know where and when you'll be performing.

You can also join Second Friends for free! This is a growing social network designed by myself for members of Second Life ONLY! You can list your events including, images, description and the SLurl. You can post whatever you want like a link to your own website where people can listen to your music, links to your YouTube or other social networks Keep in mind that you can also easliy and quickly "share" your event to the other networks like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and more. JOIN FREE HERE!

Personally I also like to design my own promo posters for each show. They always include my picture, my logo, the venue name, date and time. Ok to be fair, I do own a website/graphic design firm in real life so I have the luxury of being able to do it myself. But even if you have someone on your staff who can create the first promo, then it's simply a matter of changing the venue name, date and time info for each show, then upload the texture. This takes, seriously... all of about 3 minutes. So if you have to pay someone, make sure it's not robbery!

I cannot stress this enough. Arrive early at your shows! Many venues' owners have likely invested time and probably some money in your show. When a venue owner sees that you are late, haven't set out your board, tip jar, etc and you're rushing to get it done, it also tells them that you are not serious about your career, or about the work you are doing for their venue. Absolutely right... you are working for the venue when you perform there. More on that later.

Seriously though, try to get your stuff out early. Chances are there are people already at the location, on the sim, etc. Why not have your logo and gear up for them to see anyways? Sure there are off days, we all have them. Just don't get "known" for being a last minute kinda performer.

After you've setup, before ANYTHING else... dear GOD please TUNE YOUR GUITAR!!! I remember one show in real life, when arrived barely on time and decided to skip tuning. So I started playing the first song of my first set and of course, right away I heard I was out of tune, but at that point, it was too late... or so I thought. I mean sure I could have just stopped after a few strums when I heard this abomination, excused myself for a minute from the audience (big deal right?), but instead I pressed on, playing the entire song out of tune. I can't tell you how quickly after that show, that I began tuning BEFORE every single show. Like I said, it's a simple thing, and certainly most musicians know this, but if on your first song you are out of tune, do you think people will be impressed. I mean I saw the expression of "YIKES!" on a few people's faces in the audience that night and trust me, I DON'T want that EVER again! In this regard, however, Second Life is not like in real life. In real life, people have already made the effort to get dressed, travel, park the car, get seated, etc. and they'll most likely stick around. But in SL, leaving is as easy as teleporting out. So make a great first impression by respecting the audience with a tuned instrument.

What this really comes down to, is just doing your best to sound as great as you can. Sure we all have our of nights, but if you willingly contribute to MAKING it an off night by playing on dead, out of tune strings, well that just shows you aren't serious about your music and haven't taken the audience into consideration. Again, I'm guilty of this too but it's a hard lesson learned to complete a relatively simple task.

Take this a step further and spend about 30 seconds making sure your gear is all plugged in, batteries working, no inputs crackling, etc. and if you come across this after you've already arrived late, you're going to be under the gun to rush for a quick fix which may crap out half way through your set. So to reiterate above, arrive early for this and other reasons. Personally, I prefer to just stay on top of things during the down time. I'm on the guitar daily so I know when things go sour, when strings lose their "shine", when cables start crapping out.

Through the course of your shows, make sure you ask for venue tips as well. The venue hired you, even on a tips only show, you are hired by the venue. The more tips you bring in, the better off the venue will be to be able to provide a place for live music in the future. Running a venue costs money too.

When people in the audience tip you personally, for the love of GOD, please make sure you thank them personally. I have been to shows where at the end of the show, the artist says "Thanks everyone for your tips!" Thanks "EVERYONE"? People are tipping you. Thank them... each and every one PERSONALLY! This isn't a ploy, this is respect. Let people know that you appreciate that they took the time to come to your event instead of the 50 others going on at the same time.

Continue on to the next part of the series: The Business Side of Second Life Music - Promotions

No comments:

Post a Comment

CNN.com - U.S.

RollingStone.com: All News