July 18, 2012

A Different Approach: Tip Splitting and Sponsors - Reducing Second LifeVenue Costs

In an effort to assist live music venues, many of which pay for their overhead out of their own pockets to provide live entertainment, I have recently started offering venues something which we believe to be a reasonable solution.

The first idea was to have only one tip jar for venue and musician. Since the majority of audiences tip the artists considerably more than the venues, I'm offering to automatically split the tips I receive with the venue and remove the venue tip jar completely. This could work to the venues benefit in several ways.

The first benefit of splitting the tips, using only my tip jar, is that with a full audience, it can get very laggy. This way, people only have to find one tip jar.

Another benefit is that there will be less "tip that, tip this" in local chat. This allows people to socialize more in chat with less interruption.

Further, since most audience members tip the artists more often than the venue, the venue will likely see an increase in tips due to the split.

During the week, Brandy and I approached the venue, Ground Zero, owned by our friends Thea and G Metal, about this idea. After explaining the idea on a Skype conference, they were both very open to trying a something new. We decided to try it out that coming Saturday.

After the concert, we all got back on on Skype, discussed the outcome and worked out the numbers. We found that the venue saw a 33% increase in tips. Also, Thea and G Metal reported that several people expressed to them how they enjoyed the lack of "tip spam" in local chat and it was a much more fun and relaxed show with greater audience interaction.

With this success, I spoke with Brandy to revisit something we had discussed in the past: Sponsorship.

We then approached long time live music venue owner and friend, Liz Harley at Key West, where my next show was scheduled. We asked if she was open to the idea of not only having paying sponsors to reduce my booking fee, but to also try the tip split as well. After informing her of the success at Ground Zero, Liz was also very receptive to trying a new approach.

Brandy and I got to work and quickly found three sponsors for the Key West show.

I'm happy to say that this show was also a really good success! The venue made good tips from the split. Further, the reduced booking fee kept money in Liz's pocket. After all was said and done, Liz was very pleased at the outcome, as were the sponsors and the idea of having sponsors was well received by the people attending the show.

We have decided to continue on with this model of splitting tips and getting Second Life businesses to sponsor shows. We are also continuing our brainstorming to try to come up with new ways to help the venues that spend a significant amount of money to book live performers and of course their other overhead like tier, paying hosts, etc.

While this model may or may not work for every venue and performer, I felt it was worth mentioning to perhaps encourage more ideas but also to just inform people on how it all worked out.

On a side note, I have to say it's very cool to have open conversations with venue owners who are open minded and willing to try new things. So once again, my sincere thanks to Thea and G Metal from Ground Zero and Liz Harley of Key West.

If you are a business possibly interested in sponsoring my shows and helping live music venues to continue providing live entertainment by the many talented live performers in SL, the please send a note card in Second Life to either Brandy (Kalli Birman).

CNN.com - U.S.

RollingStone.com: All News