Saturday, December 29, 2012

So... your DJ friend blew up?

Don't get butt hurt if your now popular friend does not cut you fat deals anymore.  It is the natural progression of the hard worker to eventually build their way up the ladder and increase their worth.  You should be supportive and excited for their success.  Don't get all bitchy and say "they've changed man".  When you think about it, you are probably the one who actually changed for being a dick head friend now, that feels they owe you something.  Maybe they do owe you some gratitude for helping them in the beginning, but there are many factors on why they may not be able to play your show for dirt cheap anymore.

They may only be able to play a limited amount of times within a certain region due to contract restraints.  Their agent also gets a cut of their fees, so a hook up can cut into other people's pockets besides their own.  Sometimes word gets out that they are cutting deals.  Next thing you know, they are getting hounded by anyone who simply interacted with them once, asking them for insane deals that are rude and unprofessional.  Most DJs have a minimum too, so some other promoters may get all pissy if they find out they paid way more for an artist than you did.

Sometimes giving out deals makes people assume your value is low, or you fell off.  It can lower your appeal if people know they can just see you in the forest for free somewhere, anytime they want.  So why would they pay $20 to see you in a club?  That mentality not only damages the artist, but it makes the promoter, club owner, and anyone else involved lose profits.  This is a business after all.

The music industry is a lot different than it was 10 years ago.  Most of the money is made in live shows now, not record sales, so you are cutting into their main source of income if you ask for a deal.  You may as well, quite literally, reach into their wallet and steal cash directly from them.  If they do cut you one last deal, be grateful and don't guilt trip them into hooking you up all the time from now on.  Sometimes your budget is too low to afford them anymore.  Don't get mad at them if they can't work with your budget anymore.  I assure you it is nothing personal.

Maybe it was someone in your crew who blew up, and you are jealous.  It is natural to feel a bit of jealousy when someone surpasses you, but you should turn that jealousy into motivation.  Your crew is family.  Their success should inspire you to work harder to catch up.  That is the best way for a crew to work and grow together.  Don't be too shy to ask them to help you get to their level either.  Most likely they would love to see you at the top with them.

If you are the one who blew up, and are feeling guilty that you can't hook your friends up as much as before, you should realize that a true friend would completely understand.  Don't let people use you and take advantage of you.  I'm not saying to completely cut everyone off, and only do stadium shows from here on out, but try to be selective.

Don't get sick this winter.

OK, it's time for my germophobe side to come out.  This is probably the most random post I've ever written, but it's something to think about.  Now that it's winter, you need to take precautions when throwing multiple shows with many guests.  It is so easy to get sick because you are hugging tons of people, shaking hundreds of hands, or talking really close to each other's faces since the music is so loud.  Since your immune system is a bit lower this time of year, and you are exposed to more people than the average person, just take your usual methods of staying healthy a bit more serious.

Try to wash your hands more frequently or have some hand sanitizer handy.  Take some airborne or similar vitamins to boost your immune system before you go out, and try not to share too many drinks.  Also wipe your pipe after you pass it around.  You don't want to ruin crucial bonds by being too paranoid and not touching people, and some germs actually help you build your immune system, but just be cautious because you don't want to feel shitty with the flu at your own party.  Speaking of the flu, when you are in this line of work, and exposed to so many people, it is very wise to get a flu shot every year.  This is all stuff you should already know, but after getting sick a few times after shows, i just thought I'd mention it.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Gogo Dancers.

Obviously gogo dancers (even merely half naked ladies), are there to make men drool over them and they add a sexy flavor to the party.  Maybe subconsciously it convinces guys to drink more too, making the bar even more money.  Who knows the deeper psychological effect, if there even is one, but I do know these hot ass young girls make me go home alone, hating myself for feeling like a fat old loser.  That's a joke if you didn't catch the sarcasm.  I can't truly talk shit about gogos because I do have a penis, that is still fully functional, but there are a few things that I'd like to critique.

They absolutely must not suck.  I can't begin to express how unsettling it is to see a bad gogo dancer that just looks like a wet dog flopping around.  Have you ever met a hot girl or guy, end up going home with them, and the sex is just awful and awkward?  Well I feel the same way when I see gogos that either can't dance, or are just flailing around goofy and not sexy.

There is a difference between being sexy and just being hot.  Basically any young girl who is willing to expose herself in front of a crowd and bend over, is probably going to be fairly attractive.  Although, If she can't dance, or hasn't learned the subtle art of how to tease, or take things slowly, then she just makes me feel like a pedophile for staring at her with tunnel vision.  Speaking of young, don't have all your dancers just barely 18 either.  Not everyone wants to see only kids up there.  Have some variety and throw some actual women in your crew, and while you are at it, diversify your crew's race, height, weight and anything else that will set them apart.  What is the point of trying to get everyone's attention, and having mass appeal, if all the girls are just clones of each other.

My long time friend who happens to gossip with me while she cuts my hair, told me something that made a lot of sense.  She is a very attractive woman, but like me, she is getting older.  I was belly aching to her about some of the negative sides of aging, such as my hair thinning, and she said this to me: "You know Daniel, I went through that phase too.  The phase where you are still young, but not as young as the people you are surrounded by.  I work in this salon and I see all these younger, perky girls and I know I'm not the center of attention anymore.  It bothered me for a while until I realized that even though I'm not the youngest girl here, I am by far the sexiest."

That stuck with me and now I think about that every single time I see a young gogo dancer that hasn't quite aged into what true sexiness is.  It takes time to learn how to be sexy.  Anyone can wear skimpy clothes and shake their ass, but to really be into the music and let your body sway, instead of just slump over, takes a certain amount of practice and heart, and not everyone can master the art.  I'm far from the foreman of sexy, so I can't see myself even attempting to put into words what a girl should specifically do to be sexier.  I do know what makes my pants tight and sticky though, and I know that over doing it, is not what turns me on.  If you are trying too hard, you've lost me.  It should be natural.  The slightest glance in the right manner can melt me more than an off rhythm girl slamming her boney ass into my pelvis.  Learn how to tease and seduce, not just squeezing your jelly bean butt cheeks on some dude's half chub.

Gogos should be really into the art of dance in my opinion.  Not just a crew of slutty girls that want attention.  As I said before, these are just my opinions, but I think it is important to have passion for your work.  Take a fucking dance class at a community college or something, or Zumba at the gym for Christ's sake.  You get bonus points if you take pole dancing classes, belly dancing classes, hooping classes, do yoga, are in a burlesque troop, or a samba group etc.  Shit, if you break dance on the side, just marry me now.  These are all good ways to train your body to be more creative, agile, balanced, and even spiritual.  The ones that take the shit seriously are amazingly talented people and will actually make you think and be inspired, not just eye candy to jerk off to in the parking lot.  You can tell by their scars, bruises and other war wounds if they dedicate their time to their craft, unless they are just a meth head who gets beat by their pimp.  Go ahead and tell me to fuck off.  I know I'm insensitive.

I also hate seeing dancers hammered as fuck, or on so much molly their eyes are rolled back in their head, making them sweaty and gross.  If their lower back has sweat beads dripping down because they are dancing so hard, and not merely displaying a greasy, dripping, thizzed out forehead, then that is a different story (now excuse me while I FAP that first image out of my head).  Besides the fact that being super fucked up is unattractive, it is also dangerous as hell.  Not only to your physical well being and safety, but your health can be at risk too.  No one wants to see a dancer fall off stage and break their ankle, or have a seizure and shit.

I may be nit picking here, but it also kind of bugs me when dancers are singing/yeling the lyrics to songs to the crowd.  I don't know why it bugs me, but I think it just looks tacky.  You're not a fucking hype man.  That's just my personal pet peeve... or when they stop dancing and start talking to their friends in the crowd, while still on stage and the center of attention.  I just think it's unprofessional.  Go ahead and throw up a peace sign, or blow a kiss at your buddies, just be subtle and talk to your friends about kayaking later.  You are working and being paid.  You wouldn't see a runway model stop halfway down the lane to have a conversation with someone.  It just looks bad, especially on a big stage at a big show.  Also, this should be obvious, but please fucking shower and wear deodorant.  Dude, seriously!  I wouldn't even mention it if I haven't been around some stanky people.  It isn't often, but do you think people are gonna find that shit sexy?  I know you just got off work and had to rush over to the club, but baby wipes and perfume will not override hot buttery asshole cheese.  This goes for you too men!

And for the love of God, don't bring your damn boyfriend to the show.  Do you bring your boyfriend to your day job too, so he can stare down every other dude in your office that looks at you?  Are you fucking retarded?  This shit just boggles my mind when girls do this.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but most of the appeal of a sexy dancer is that she is somewhat approachable (metaphorically).  If I see her making out with her man the second she walks off stage, or pulling him into the bathroom, I'm not as inclined to want to stare at her like the usual hornball that I am.

The dancers shouldn't be an asshole to the stage managers or performers either.  If someone in charge is politely asking you to get off the stage, or off a speaker, GET THE FUCK OFF!  They are asking you for a reason.  I have seen so many dancers flip out on someone that is just trying to maintain order on a hectic stage, and do their job.  I know you may be getting paid to dance, but you are not the authority figure here, and arguing with someone in charge, in front of a huge crowd just makes you look like a stuck up bitch.  Sometimes the stage needs to be cleared for the music acts, or the club's insurance may not cover a dancer in high heels prancing on a one foot wide, beer soaked speaker.  If I was a stage hand and some skinny girl was giving me lip in front of 2,000 people, I'd be so tempted to just pick her narrow ass up and toss her into the crowd.  Let all those horny zombies feed on her entitled flesh like piranhas, leaving just a crowd surfing skeleton with fuzzy boots on.

I'm joking again, obviously, in case you were too offended to tell, but you do need to respect the dancers and their needs.  I know it may be hard if they have an attitude problem, but let's put that aside for now.  They get a lot of shit from people and they need to have a certain hard edge to keep them protected from douche bags and drunk, aggressive, pieces of shit.  They are performers and you need to provide certain amenities for them to do well and be safe.  I know it may have sounded like I was suggesting just throwing them aside and not giving them special attention or respect, but that is far from the truth.  I do not mean to discredit the value of the dancer and all the hard work that goes into it (only the shitty ones).  Here are a few things I've noticed a gogo should have standard.  If I missed a few, feel free to let me know.

They need to have a sturdy platform or stage with plenty of room to move around, preferably out of arms reach of nasty perverted dudes.  Bouncers should always be within a few yards of them in case some shit goes down and they need to bust someone's skull open.  You also need to make sure your ladies are hydrated and get plenty of breaks.  Always bring them water in a sealed bottle and have a place for them to safely store it because rufies are real.  Have a bouncer escort them off stage to rest, preferably in a safe back room.  No one should be allowed to leave their drinks on the dancing area.  Try to have them on separate platforms from painters, or on a different structure from the band or performer, unless it is big enough to share, sturdy enough to handle her body movements, and she has enough room to move without slapping someone in the face.

You should always respect your dancers, but they should never take attention away from the music, or take priority over the music.  Maybe that is just me, but when I see promoters giving more attention to their dancers, and not the DJs, it just makes me sick.  Most of those sleazy promoters are just trying to fuck em all, and it's a damn disgrace.  If there are so many gogos that you can't even see the performer or stage, you've gone too far.  If your event was specifically made to showcase dancers, then by all means, keep the music listed as a lesser priority, but if your party is music based, keep it that way.

As much as I love seeing a half naked, young, sexy lady shaking her ass, it will never be as awesome to me as watching a skilled hula hooper, belly dancer, aerialist, fire dancer etc.  It is just way more interesting to me and can easily be just as sexy, if not more so, than a gogo at times.  You'd actually be surprised at how much more affordable they can be too, compared to some gogo dancers.  It is not always the case, but it should definitely be something you research and take into consideration.

(PS, I just watched 3 Bill Burr stand up comedy specials in a row, sorry if I'm all amped up)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Humble artists.

There is nothing like a humble person that you look up to.  When you find out that someone you admire is a douche, you die a little inside, but when someone you dig is the shit, then it motivates the hell out of you.  There are so many amazing artists out there that are just down right friendly people, but one that really surprised the shit out of me was Messinian.  Maybe others have had different encounters with him, I don't know, but I have booked him twice and each time he has been insanely chill and easy to work with.  When you hear his vocals over tracks, you'd think, "Holy shit, this dude is gonna be a wild man!" but he was very professional, full of conversation and low maintenance.  That is the kind of shit that every promoter dreams of.  OK, I'll get off his nuts now.

There have been many other positive interactions with artists that I look up to and most of the time they are super cool cats and it makes me respect the shit out of them even more.  I'd love to go down the list of all the DJs I've met, who inspire me on a deeper social level, and not just their music, but to do so would mean accidentally hurting someone's feelings who didn't get mentioned, and I don't want to do that.

When you meet an artist that doesn't talk down on you, doesn't boss you around, doesn't expect you to wipe their ass, and actually listens to you and engages you, it is one of the greatest feelings.  That is why I try my best to talk to people as much as I can, even if they are drunk and talking my head off.  Granted, I wear a mask when I am throwing shows, or spinning, so sometimes it is hard to hear me speak, or read my facial expressions, so communication (especially sarcasm) can be difficult in a loud club.  I'm also surprisingly shy at starting conversation, so I may not approach you, but I usually open up when someone says hello to me first.  If I'm not rushing around fixing something, or lost in the music, I love talking to people.  Obviously I'm not perfect, and have had my share of anti-social moments, so if I've ever been short with you, let me just apologize right now.

Luckily I don't smoke cause I could see myself getting stuck in the smoking section all night babbling on with a bunch of different people about all kinds of shit.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but if good music is playing, I'd prefer to talk outside of the club when the night is over.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bad agency communication.

This can destroy a booking, ruin a relationship between promoter and agency as well as ruin a relationship between promoter and artist.  There are many agencies, or agents, that are horrible to work with.  The worst ones are impossible to reach, they change deals you agreed upon, they try to sneak things past you, they think you are stupid, the contracts are poorly written, and they just generally try to take advantage of you, among many other things.  Agencies can potentially be the single most frustrating element to deal with as a promoter, especially because the agency's job as the middle man is to make the promoter/artist relationship flow smoothly.  Let me tell you a little story...

About a year ago, I reached my boiling point.  I absolutely had it with a certain agency, and refused to be fucked over by them anymore.  They had repeatedly been just awful to deal with, screwed us over multiple times, and after they stole money from us, it was the last straw.  I won't go into every detail leading up to the final straw, only the last booking interaction that we had with them.

It was November 22nd, 2011 and we had booked an artist of theirs from Orange County for an $800 booking fee, plus a $150 flight, $100 hotel, $20 dinner and $30 cab fare to the venue.  So that's $1100 right off the bat for only one artist, to play a $5 party (that is free before 10pm), in the middle of the week on December 29th (2 days before New Years Eve, which is a hard night).  Not to mention, our original agreement over the phone was $800 all in, which means $800 total, not $800 plus accommodations, so we were already pissed from the start that they changed our deal in the first place. 

$1,100 was a bit high for us back then.  We didn't really have the budget to pay for just one DJ who was an unknown name, especially since we'd need to pay for a decent supporting lineup to counteract his lack of popularity, but we decided to let it slide.  We now had to penny pinch on this night or we'd be in the hole.  We still had to pay for the other DJs, the door person, and photographer, so we were looking at almost $2,000 just for an average night, not even a huge one.

The agency asked for a 50% deposit so they could confirm the booking and book the flight.  It was their policy to book flights on their own, and I responded that the deposit would be in their account the following morning, and I would confirm when completed.  I made the $400 deposit the next day on November 23rd, messaged them confirmation, and asked them to please book the flights as soon as possible because they increase in price every day, especially around the holidays.

Two weeks go by with no response, so I contact them again on Dec 6th, with still no reply.  Another week goes by and I finally get a single response on Dec 13th, asking If I made the deposit yet.  I politely say yes and they send me a flight invoice the next day for $300.  You could see here that $300 is double the price of what the airfare from OC should have been.  This flight increase pushed our buttons one too many times, and we had enough.  

I replied with: "This flight should have been booked in late November, or we would have just booked it ourselves.  We should not be held responsible for a $300 flight that should have been half of that."

They ignored us and said: "Can you please advise of the payment status?"

After a week of accomplishing nothing, the flights went up to $350.  A higher power at the agency then steps into the email conversation on Dec 20th with: "If you are not going to pay the flight invoice our only option is cancel the show and reschedule,  or we can cut ties and move on."

Dec 21st I reply with:  "I personally don't see a reason to sever ties.  I do however feel like we get tossed around by your agency a bit.  We have established ourselves as a reliable crew with nearly a hundred shows under our belts at this point, yet it is extremely difficult getting in touch with your agency at times.  I understand that you guys are the big dogs, and we are considered small fish in your eyes, but if we are a customer, then it should be a bit easier for us to communicate to make both of our businesses flourish."

"If we had the invoice in November, flights would be cheaper and we easily would have paid it.  We are not a $20 dollar party so we are on a budget at all times.  I'm sure many of the promoters you work with have no problem dishing out an extra $200, but it is a large number for our budget.  It would be a stubborn move for the two of us to not negotiate seeing as how you are the major powerhouse in booking major dubstep artists, and we are the largest dubstep weekly on the West Coast and many DJs want to play our event.  You mentioned that a rescheduling option was available.  If you are ok with a rescheduling, we have Feb 2nd or March 1st available."

The agency replies the next day with: "We have been trying to email and communicate with you guys and we get delayed responses.   A deposit was made which we were never informed about and when we were finally notified and verified the deposit flights began to rise.  The past week we have tried to resolve this matter and again we received delayed responses and no results which leads us to where we are now.  I am not sure how it is difficult to get in touch with us,  I always returned any email I received.  It was a stubborn move for you to drag this out as long as it was.  We can look at May."

I reply immediately with:  "I have to disagree that we delay our responses.  Attached is a screenshot of our entire email thread and you can clearly see that we have swiftly responded to each email the same day, or at the latest the very next day.  We let you know on Nov 22nd that the deposit would be made the following afternoon, and on Nov 23rd we sent a confirmation that the deposit was indeed made.  We received no response, so we sent another email on Dec 6th checking on the status of flights.  Yet again, no response.  It wasn't until 3 weeks later on Dec 13th that we finally heard back.  On Dec 14th we voiced our concerns twice, about the late booking of the flight, but our concerns were never addressed until a week later on Dec 20th.  Please explain to me how we are the ones delaying responses, and not informing you about deposits when the proof is right here that we are not in the wrong.  May is too far down the line for us."

The agency replies with:  "At this point the only option that the artist is willing to do is drive up there.  We can do $200 gas money, they will save all the receipts in case it is more,  but that should cover it."

After their response, I start to get even more pissed because they are still trying to fuck us, and I had already had enough of their bullshit.  So I reply with some numbers:  "I don't see why it should be $200 in gas.  That seems a bit high.  840 miles roundtrip from OC to SF, divided by an average of 25 freeway miles per gallon (if it's an older car), times roughly $4 per gallon (California average is $3.89), comes out to only $135, which is still a rather high estimation.  Why don't we do $150 in gas money which is what we were saying flights should have been in the first place."

This is when shit starts to get nasty and the agent replies with: "If you really want to argue over $50 to solve this problem lets just cancel the show.  They are willing to drive 6 hours each way to make this show happen and requested $200 for gas."

Again I reply with: "Well it's not our fault that this mistake was made and we have paid our dues in this scene to not be stepped on.  It is less about the money and more about principal.  As a big agency you are the ones less affected by a mere 50 bucks then we are.  We never want to cancel a booking, and never have cancelled a booking, but if you refuse to acknowledge fault and be fair, then we have no choice.  Our deposit can be refunded by check to our business address."

The agent responds: "We are trying to work with you on resolving the situation.  Im not sure why you think any of this is effecting our agency.  This effects the artist 100%.  Unfortunately the deposits are not refundable.  I will let them know the show is cancelled."

This is when I lost my shit and had to lay it down:

"Are you really trying to go down this route and not refund our money after your mistakes?  Seriously (name here), put the pride aside for a second and be human.  We got fucked royally in August with the (DJ name here) cancellation and asked to be reimbursed for deposits and flight cancellation, since the show was a Friday one-off party, and his rates were out of our range for the weekly Thursday budget.  Yet we still agreed to your terms anyhow and re-booked him on a Thursday in Dec at the same cost, which greatly affected our finances on that night and we lost money.  To top it off, we treated him like a prince when he was in town.  Just ask him.  Another thing, when (a different DJ name here) was the last minute replacement for that show, he had a full blown melt down on stage and lost his marbles and was not keeping calm while the sound guy tried to solve the issue.  He slammed the mic down, walked off stage and never even played a single song.  I didn't mention a word about it, didn't complain, didn't ask for a refund or anything.  Now after all this, this is how it's going to be?"

Four days go by with no response and it is Dec 27th, 2 days before the event, and I have no other choice but to contact the artist directly.  After emailing the artist about our concerns, he says he will try to sort everything out.  Eventually we get the final email from the agency:  "I want to make sure everyone is clear,  Due to the airfare not being paid for and no agreement for gas money, management has pulled the show,  This gig is 100% cancelled.  Please do not contact the artist, and address all issues and dealings with myself."

So that was how it ended.  We lost $400 from them and made a vow to never book another artist on their agency, and we haven't since.  Maybe we will work with them in the future, but there is no reason to bother at this point.  They are strong enough to be just fine, and we are doing great ourselves, but it was a bad business move on their part.  We have grown in numbers since then, with much bigger budgets, and have thrown at least 60 shows since then, including Emissions, a 3 day festival with dozens of big name artists.

The night of Dec 29th actually ended up being an amazing event for us because we ended up getting Helicopter Showdown to give us a killer deal when they heard our dilemma.  They are friends of ours and they pretty much saved our ass that night, and since they were at least 3 times more popular than the previously confirmed headliner, we ended up coming out on top.

Why you always see "Special Guest" on the lineup.

There is a clause that some artists can only perform once within a certain region, within a certain amount of time.  Everyone's contract details are different, but usually it is something like: "This artist can not perform more than once within a 30 day period at a venue within 50 miles of the previous venue."  That is obviously in my own words, but is essentially the same thing.  The reason for having a "Special Guest" listed on your flier, is that you can basically ignore that contract clause because you are technically not using that artists name to promote your event, and they are not the main attraction.

This is also done when the artist is good friends with the promoter and wants to give them a really good deal on DJ rates, but have a contract minimum.  Rates can drop drastically this way.  A $3,000 DJ could easily go down to a few hundred based on the right scenario.  Most of the time, a "Special Guest" is a big name, but in some cases promoters will try to fool you into thinking they landed someone big, just to get you to come out.  That is kind of a shady move, if not just ignorant.  Sometimes an old friend, that moved to another state, may have come to town for a surprise visit, and the promoter wants to surprise everyone.  That is cool and all, but it is very misleading because these days, everyone assumes "Special Guest" is a big headliner.

You may wonder why artists are forced to limit themselves, and I hate to say it, but much of the time it is because of fickle fans.  People start to shit talk, or at least try to sound cool to their friends if they saw the performer recently already.  You hear it all the time... "Oh, so and so is in town again?  I just saw him the other day, I don't want to see him again." or you may hear, "I don't want to hear the same set, I doubt it will be anything new."

Sometimes the artist just does not want to burn themselves out in a certain market.  They may also like to have at least 3 or 4 newly produced tracks before they play again if they only play their own tunes in their sets.  The performer may also just be in town for the weekend, and wants to make as much money as possible, or just really loves to play.

When you limit your availability, you give yourself higher value.  It makes people think that seeing you is a special occurrence since it doesn't happen often, and they are more likely to go to your show, and view you as a superstar.

I personally think it's cool to have a "Special Guest" listed.  I love mystery and it reminds me of opening presents at Christmas.  Sometimes you like the gift and freak out, and sometimes you just pretend to like it and smile at the effort.

Pushing and shoving on the dance floor.

This is my old man rant to these young punks.  Don't fucking push me out of the way when you are trying to get by, without some sort of "excuse me", or a mere tap on the shoulder at the least.  If you made someone spill their drink because you had to barrel through the crowd to the front of the stage, to be an uber fan boy, then you need to realize this is the real world, and negative repercussions may befall upon you.  You do that to the wrong person and you may get your ass beat.  Be a fucking grown up and respect others, and if you caused them to drop their drink, buy them a new one and tell the bartender there is beer and broken glass on the dance floor.  And for the love of God, if there are six of you, don't lock arms and make your way through the crowd like a centipede.  I can't stand that shit.  That is all.  End Rant!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Promoters that do not pay you.

Each one of these people needs to die, or at the very least get the living shit kicked out of them.  Sometimes we are too much of a hippie fuck community to just slap a mother fucker stupid, but after a certain amount of times being fucked over, one will reach their boiling point.  I myself am guilty of being too nice after a show, and letting it slide until I see them next, but after countless times, I refuse to take it any more.  From this day forth, if I can control myself from physically hurting them, I will try my best to ruin their reputation at the least.  People like this need to be exiled from the scene and not allowed to trick anyone else into their deceit.  Now if I'm actually really close friends with the person, then usually I will give them the benefit of the doubt, and a grace period, but after a few months, it can ruin a friendship.

This is how we make money, and we probably turned down another gig to play at your show.  I know it sucks to lose money, but that is part of this game.  It is a high stakes gamble, and very rarely turns a high reward.  It takes a certain drive and passion to have the patience to learn from mistakes, and stick with it through the heartbreak.  You need to know from the start that you may lose a shit load of loot, and you need to be OK with it.  I have lost so much money in this game you'd wonder why I even keep doing it, but I have also been very successful over time.  Don't get it twisted, I still lose money regularly, but I never go into a situation without having enough money to recover or pay the talent.

If you do not have enough money in the bank, and on hand in envelopes to cover the cost, then you should not throw an event.  Too many promoters anticipate a certain amount of money to be made at the door so they can use that cash to pay artists, but that is a terrible way to do business.  The fact of the matter is that the majority of parties are a financial failure.  My personal estimate is that only 20-30 percent of events turn out to be profitable, so you are a dip shit if you don't plan ahead.

Headliners that don't let openers kill it.

This concept just fucking sickens me.  It reminds me of a story I heard about when Rick James had Prince as his opener when he was on tour, but Prince was upstaging him, so he kicked him off the tour. That is some ol' bullshit!  If I'm given the opportunity of a lifetime to boost my own career in front of a wider audience, you think I'm gonna curb my skill level for a headliner that is getting stale?  Fuck NO dude!  If you are being upstaged by an opener, that just means you need to up your game or else you will just be a "has been".  I have zero sympathy for a headliner that is so full of themselves that they forget what it was like when they were given those same opportunities to grow and shine.

There are actually some headliner DJs who have it in their contract that not only is an opener not allowed to do particular stage performances that would hype the crowd (such as stage dive, start mosh pits, spray the crowd with glitter etc.), but they are not even allowed to play the same genre of music.  They also say that the opener is not allowed to play music that is too uptempo, in fear that they will either burn out the crowd, or flat out wreck shop, leaving the headliner looking like an ass.  There have been many openers kicked off a big tour because they were doing exactly what they were booked for, which is making people lose their minds.

If a headliner is as amazing as their bio says they are, they should be able to prove it, and do better than the openers without question.  Isn't that what everyone is paying for?  It is far too often that a headliner is just a great producer that gained popularity because of their music, but their low self esteem kicks in when they realize they have no stage presence, or experience in front of a crowd, and they suck dick live.  Whenever I hear about a headliner that makes the openers dumb down their art, it shows me that the main attraction will be shit.

I was talking to my friend from Denver who I will not name, and he mentioned something that I hadn't even thought of.  He mentioned that many of the opening DJs were selected because they built their popularity, and have proved themselves to be someone who will draw a crowd.  They have usually been scouted out by the promoters of these big shows because they always make their crowds go wild. Why then would you book someone that makes the crowd jump, but then tell them not to do that?  That's like hiring a great car mechanic, then telling him you'd rather him just smash your windshield and slash your tires instead of fix your transmission. What's even more fucked up is that many of these openers for bigger shows want to play a bunch of their own produced tracks, if not an entire set of originals, but if all they produce are big room bangers, then they wouldn't even be able to drop their own tracks.

People are too afraid to speak out on this nonsense in fear of blacklisting themselves, but I'm not at that level yet, so fuck em.  If you book me to open for someone big, don't expect me to hold back, because I am actually trying my hardest to in fact upstage you.  That is my job, and if you are as bad ass as you think you are, with a $20,000 booking fee, then you can afford to use some of that money to improve your stage show.


I posted this article and within a day it had 1,000 reads.  Some people misinterpreted something that I should clarify.  When I said opener, I meant any DJ playing before the headliner, specifically the one right before the headliner, not just the first DJ playing.  I probably should have used the term "supporting DJ" instead of "opening DJ".  Sorry for the confusion.  Obviously if the room is still getting busy, or people are not ready to rage yet, you should keep it mellow, but even playing mellow Dubstep or House, would be prohibited if the headliner is a Dubstep or House DJ in some of these cases.  If you are an opening/supporting DJ with the timeslot right before the headliner, then the place should be busy enough and warmed up enough for you to do your damage.  I wrote an article earlier about opening DJs and I specifically said that going too insane, too early, is not wise.  Check it out if you so please to get a better understanding of my viewpoint.

Here is the link: The importance of your opening DJs

Proper lighting and laser placement.

MY FUCKING EYEBALLS ARE ON FIRE!!!  That is why I tend to walk to the back of the room.  Whether you are in a club with lights already, or you bring in your own, please do not blind people.  The main point of focus is center stage, so if the line of sight for someone 5 to 6 feet tall, anywhere on the dance floor, is blinding, you are ruining the vibe.  The same goes for lights that are just generally too bright or overwhelming for the mood, even if not in your eyes.  If it is done right, and artistically, then it can work, but if you are in a dark forest at night, but the dance floor looks like it is day light, you are doing way too much.  If your party is in a tiny space with only 50 people, there is no need for 30 moving lights.

The same also goes for blinding the DJ or performer.  They need to see what they are doing and be able to see the crowd.  You want to either have the lights facing down onto the top of people's heads, or from the side.  I'm no lighting expert, but you want your lights to enhance the event, not hinder it.

Lots of people are kind of reserved when it comes to dancing, so if you see the dance floor in front of the stage is dead, but hundreds are crowding around just outside of where the lights hit, then you should dim those fucking things.  People scatter like roaches when they are not trying to be under the spotlight and are trippin.

Lights can set the tone for what you are trying to accomplish with your party.  If you want it a bit more social and upbeat event, the lights can be a bit brighter.  That way people can see each other and talk.  If you want your party to be more of an underground feel where it's all about the music and losing yourself, keep it darker in there.  Everyone has their preference.  I personally like it dark because I don't like to socialize when I'm on the dance floor.  I may not be dancing, but if my head is bobbing, then I'm really into the music and want to zone out.

It is always good to have a second room, even if there is no music in it.  One dark, and one bright.  If your main room is dark, your side room that is bright can be where people talk.  If you want your main room a bit brighter, your dark room can be a chill space with pillows and shit.

Be seen at other parties and make friends.

Go out, have fun, support others and introduce yourself to people.  When you throw your own show, it is hard to connect with people sometimes because you may be busy, or just nervous about various things.  It is good to go out and talk on a more intimate level with your supporters. You will get die hard fans if you connect with them and make them your friend.  You also want to show that you are down with the scene as a whole, and not just your own shit.  Don't hate on what other's are doing, and you get bonus points if you pay to get in.  Try to actually hang out on the dance floor too.  If you are in the smoking section the whole night, or just smoking dabs in the VIP section all night, you aren't really supporting.  Don't be too cool to dance or mingle with others.

Needing a work visa to DJ out of the country?

I know very little on this subject, but it is very important if you are either playing out of the country, or booking someone from out of the country.  I will basically just talk about what I have seen or heard from others on this.  I don't really know the legal process for obtaining your work visa, but I do know that it can be very difficult and very expensive.  Take what I say into consideration, but educating yourself, and learning the facts is crucial.

There have been countless last minute cancellations because a DJ was turned away by customs.  This can devastate a party and people are not sympathetic to your situation.  It can ruin you.  I'm not 100% sure, but I think you could also get penalized and be banned from the country you were trying to get into for a couple years.  If an artist gets turned away, they have to get right back on a plane and go all the way back home.  This can be miserable for someone if they are on a 10 hour flight.  You also may lose your deposit on the DJ, the airfare you paid, and may not be able to cancel the hotel.  Also, anyone that bought a pre-sale ticket will want a refund, and many people will not show up to your event if they really wanted to see the out of town DJ.  You may lose your venue rental fee and can blacklist yourself from ever throwing a show again.  All this, and it wasn't even your fault.  It was the DJ or their agency trying to pull a fast one on the government.

I've noticed the best way to fool the feds is to make your trip seem like you are just visiting friends to not raise suspicion.  You should also stay in each city for a couple of days.

Packing very little music gear is essential.  By little, I mean as little as humanly possible.  A serato box, needles, and control vinyl are completely out of the question. Some people are too afraid to even bring DJ style headphones, CDs or in rare cases, a laptop, since it may be opened and looked through.  They may need to borrow your headphones, so always have an extra pair handy.  Many DJs now require promoters to have CDJ2000's so all they need to bring is a tiny thumb drive full of music.

You absolutely must convince the feds that you are on vacation.  You need to have your story straight and say you are staying with friends (who are basically the promoter who hired you).  You need to know their full names, address, and what you plan on doing during your trip.  You can not have your actual name associated with your stage name either.  If they google your name, and the first thing that comes up is a picture of you spinning in frond of a huge crowd, you are fucked.

When your tour is over, make sure any cash you made is safely in the bank.  Nothing raises suspicion like a fat ass wad of cash after visiting 10 major cities.  As I clearly stated before, this is just what I have either experienced, or heard from others, and I may be wrong about certain things.  If this is a subject that is relevant to your situation, learn the facts.

How to transition from DJ to DJ.

2 things I fucking hate when a new DJ comes on... Stopping the music to introduce them, and playing a song that is way too mellow for the already hyped up crowd.  There is also a third thing that kind of falls under each of the previous categories, and that is to play a song with a long ass intro, and the beat doesn't even drop until a minute and a half later.

DO NOT DO THIS!  I know you probably won't listen to me, but seriously, if you actually DO listen to me, you will engage the crowd much much more and keep the party flowing.  Now sometimes stopping the music works, as long as your first song is a heavy one, but even then, you shouldn't wait more than 10-20 seconds and there absolutely must be an MC hyping up the crowd.  This also should only be done if you are the headliner.  If you do this, you or your MC must also give the DJ before you props or else you just look like a douche bag who is full of themselves.

First impressions are so crucial here.  Your first song you drop and the way you transition will speak volumes to the crowd about what your vibe is all about.  Sometimes if your introduction is bad, you may not be able to bounce back from a dead dance floor.  This isn't always the case, but some audiences can be fickle and quick to judge and stereotype you, especially if there is another room to go to.

You should also never go over your set time.  This is such an asshole thing to do.  Seriously, if you do this, you are being an asshole, straight up.  It is no one's fault you started late, or are "in the zone".  Be a fucking professional and let the next person do their thing.

Also, if your last song is something way off genre, like an old blues song or love ballad, you had better be the DJ closing the night out.  If there is a DJ after you, and he has to keep the party going after you just played "Hello" by Lionel Richie, you are a fucking DICK!

DJs, read your crowd, don't pre-plan a set.

I have been in many more discussions on this topic than almost anything else music related.  Some people agree whole heartedly, while others violently oppose this line of thought.  I for one stick by this rule for EDM DJs and performing producers.  One of the arguments people have against my view is that if live bands can pre plan their song list at a concert, what is the difference?  My response is that bands are not just standing there hitting play, or standing there mixing 2 pre-recorded songs together.  Watching a DJ is way more boring than watching a band shred live on stage.

It is also in a DJs job description to read a crowd and diversify based on the crowd's reaction and body language.  Maybe if you were playing to 20,000 people, it wouldn't be as big of a deal, but in a crowd of a few hundred, it makes a huge difference.  The reason I say that in a large crowd it may be ok is because fucking up in front of 20,000 people could ruin your image for one thing, and another thing is that out of 20,000 people, it is highly unlikely that you would drop a song that would clear the dance floor.  In a massive event, most people will go ape shit no matter what you play.

The smaller shows, say under 1,000, are where your crowd reading skills should really come into play.  It is much easier to notice that no one is dancing, or people went out to smoke while you are playing in a smaller crowd.  You are right in front of their face.  You can see the broccoli in their teeth and can high five them.  Basically you are in an intimate environment and you need to play to them.

What you practiced all week in your bedroom may not work for a live audience, and every audience is different.  Every city is different.  People act differently based on the weather, time of year, who played before you and set a certain mood, who or what is playing in the other room at the same time, if it's a campout or in a club, day time or night time, or just the general vibe of the event.  Who knows what will effect what people are into at a certain time, but the fact of the matter is that you need to have a diverse library, or be a diverse producer, so you can match what they are feeling or else you will not connect with them.  Your set could sound amazing, but people might think your set sucked, just because it didn't match the tone.

Some DJs say, "Fuck them, I'm the DJ and they need to listen to what I want to play", but then they get all butt hurt when their dance floor dies after their first few songs.  DJs, I can't stress this enough, you need to be looking up and around constantly and analyzing your audience.  Comedians do it all the time.

As I said before, I have had many debates on this, so you may have your own opinion, but I feel that if you are confident and skilled enough, this should be common knowledge to you, and not a hard task to achieve.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Guest list etiquette.

Being on a guest list is great.  You get to save money, you feel cool, you may not get patted down, you may have access to an otherwise sold out event, or you may get to cut the line.  If you are the guest looking to be put on a list, you need to be very selective on who you ask, how to ask, when to ask, and why do you deserve it, before you ask.  If you are the promoter, you need to ask the same questions or else you will have this massive guest list, and lose money because you were too nice.  Here are some guest list faux pas.

Don't assume you are entitled to a free entry just because you know the promoter, or someone involved.  You also should not assume you are entitled just because you are famous or a popular player in the "scene".  Also, just because you were on the guest list once, does not mean you are on it every time from now on.  You may be on the permanent list to a promoter's monthly party, but not to their big one-off event.  Don't show up assuming you are.

You are not on the list just because you did them a favor, or worked with them in the past.  If you used to (or currently) tickle their balls and gobble their cock (or vagina), it doesn't mean shit, unless they tell you so.  You're a booty call, and you can pay.

Do not wear out your privilege.  If you ask to get in to every single party for free, not only does the promoter feel like you are using them, but it also shows that you don't care to support their cause, which can be a huge slap in the face.  If you haven't contributed to the party in any way, or helped raise awareness and attendance, then the promoter is basically just losing money on you.  If the promoter is letting 30 people in for free at a $20 party, that is $600 out of his pocket.  Granted, many of those people probably wouldn't come anyway unless they got in free, but the promoter doesn't always see it that way.  You should be appreciative of their gift and realize they are losing money by doing you this favor.  Never act like you deserve it, and thank them each time, period.

You should always give to receive.  If they put you on the list, the least you could do is blast it out on facebook or something.  Especially if you're famous and have an extensive reach.

If you ask to be on the guest list, show up.  It is so rude to ask for something, then not even have the courtesy of showing up.  Try to get there before 11pm too because sometimes they may forget to tell you that the list closes at a certain time.  It is also good to be there by 11pm just to show them that you actually want to support them and their whole event, not just watch the headliner then leave.  Also, if the event is really cheap, like $5-$10, don't even ask to be on the list.  Just fucking support them you cheap shit.  

Most people do not like the feeling of being used.  If you are not really a close friend of theirs, and you don't really hang out, try to either get to know them better first and build a relationship, or just be very selective on what events you ask for.  No one wants a mooch friend either, so try not to abuse their kindness even if you are good buddies.  You have to realize that most promoters are cool with hundreds of people and they sometimes have to make hard decisions on who to chose for their guest list.  Don't take it personal, or think they don't like you.

Don't give their door person shit either just because you are not on the list.  There are many reasons why you may not have been put on there, and it is almost NEVER the door person's fault.  If you piss off or belittle a staff member like the door person, who the promoter trusts enough to watch all their money, and has a strong relationship with, you are burning a bridge and will seriously offend the promoter.  Just be patient and text the promoter.  It was probably just something minor.  Many times a promoter will forget a tiny thing like adding you to a guest list, when the weight of the entire event is on their shoulders and they have 50 other big things to handle.

If you got in for free, the least you can do is buy a drink or two.  Sometimes the promoter needs the bar to make money so they can hit their bar guarantee, or maybe they are paid a bar percentage bonus.  Never ask the promoter if they have extra drink tickets for you.  This is so rude.  Most of the time they are barely given enough to cover the performers, let alone you.  They will probably want to slap you if your greedy ass asks them for a free drink on top of the free admission you just got.

You may be on their permanent guest list, but if you haven't shown up to one of their events in a long while, it is a good idea to text them ahead of time to let them know that you will be showing up.  Sometimes they may forget that they put you on the permanent list, or there is a new door person that doesn't recognize you.  It is just a common courtesy that I personally like to give.

Sometimes the promoter can't let you cut in line, and even though you are on the list, you may need to wait.  Don't be a dick.  Just wait in line and have a nice conversation with someone.  You aren't missing anything, and it looks really good on your character to be patient and not act too cool to be among the general crowd.  

I can't stress this last one enough... DON'T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO ASK!  The promoter has way too much to do than to deal with your last minute procrastination.  You should try to ask no later than 4 hours before the event.  The day before is even better.

On the other end of things, if you are a promoter, who should you give tickets to?

The day of the event is here, and your phone, email and facebook are blowing up with people asking to be on the list.  It is in your best interest to not be too stingy, and add some people, but if you are too nice, you can hurt yourself and lose money.  Sometimes you can open a floodgate just by saying yes to someone once, because now they may ask you every single time.  Give em an inch, then they want a mile.  It's not true for everyone, but a lot of times it is.  

Many promoters want to give guest list spots to people they can benefit from.  I say that is ok  as long as it pertains to the event.  Not just because they hook you up with cocaine or pussy.  It can be hard because my personal instinct is to want to give out my guest list spots to the fans who support the most, but if you let your main supporters in for free, you run a very high risk of losing a good amount of money.  What I have narrowed it down to is always adding my crew, then maybe a dozen people that directly helped me with that event, then a few people that always put me on the list to their parties, so it is always an even exchange.  

I know it sucks to be a fan, standing in line, and seeing all these industry people always getting in for free.  Believe me, I kinda hate the whole networking and schmoozing thing, but if you really want to start getting in for free, maybe you should try to negotiate something with the promoter.  A lot of the time they are open to having an extra set of hands to help them.

Sometimes there are last minute factors in a promoter's budget that do not allow for an extensive guest list.  If you have last minute budget constraints, then it is best to lower the amount of people you'd put on the guest list, rather than increase the price on your paying supporters (if possible). Sometimes, someone decides to throw an identical party on the same night as you, at the last minute, after you've been promoting for months.  This can destroy you and you will need to either forego a guest list, or create a "half price" guest list.  

The main lesson for guests is proper communication and curbing your sense of entitlement.  The main message to promoters is to not allow yourself to be stepped on, and be selective.

Dealing with a diva or drunk performer.

Sometimes you book a DJ that you just can't seem to connect with.  Maybe they are grumpy because they have been on tour for weeks and are just exhausted, or just got in a fight with their agent or spouse.  I try to give them the benefit of the doubt as much as possible since you may not know their situation, but sometimes they are just assholes.  For the most part, anyone you book is most likely going to be a chill person, but sometimes you can encounter that one ego maniac that just sets your blood on fire.  Maybe this person just has a personality that clashes with yours, but gets along with most others just fine.  Maybe they said a racist comment in the car ride from the airport.  Sometimes they are totally normal until they start drinking, then become this uncontrollable monster.  Whatever the case may be, just remember that this is temporary and there are ways to avoid interacting with them.

One way to avoid interaction with them outside of the venue, is to just pay them cash for dinner and ground transportation.  Just tell them that you are busy and can't properly host them before the event.  Sometimes you really are too busy, but for the most part, they can care less if you babysit them or not.  They are adults and can check themselves into the hotel, go to the nearest restaurant, and hail a cab to the venue as long as they have the money and proper info.  Many times it is actually a wonderful experience taking artists to eat and at least 95% of the time they are amazing people with great stories and senses of humor.  This article is in case you are blind sided by that rare 5%.

If they are a mic hog, babbling nonsense to your crowd, unplug the mic right after you announce them.  This can piss them off, but if you stay out of the DJ booth until the end, there is nothing they can really do.  I only do this in extreme cases where the DJ does not know how to shut up or is insanely drunk.  The mic can be your friend, or worst enemy.

I may even lock the DJ booth, so the DJ can't convince people who wander in to keep feeding them immense amounts of booze.  You may even have a bouncer stationed.  The DJ may think it is to protect them from the crowd, but it is really to keep the crowd safe from them.  Keeping an alcoholic person sober, or at least coherent in a bar, takes a fine balance of being smart, but playing dumb.  If they have a bad reputation of alcohol abuse, I may just give them 2 drink tickets, then say the rest are with my partner and I don't know where he is.  My partner may not even be there that night.  Sometimes it's not even the alcohol that is the issue.  Sometimes they are just so full of themselves that being the center of attention turns them into fuck wads.

A lot of the time, the DJ is cool as hell, but it may be their girlfriend or entourage that is causing the disturbance.  In this case, you need to proceed with extreme caution because what you say can easily be taken the wrong way.  Sometimes emotions are high, and I have snapped before.  It is not cool, to lose your cool.  What I have learned to do now, is pull the DJ to the side and have a one on one talk with them about the situation as to not embarrass them in front of other people.  They usually understand, and it is most likely not the first time they have dealt with the problem. If the shit hits the fan while the DJ is spinning, the best thing to do is try to keep the troublemakers in the DJ booth by themselves and pull everyone else out.  Then just pray the shit doesn't get out of hand.  Many times the entourage just wants to draw attention to themselves because they are not the superstar DJ at the center of attention, so they sometimes act out inappropriately.  Maybe the girlfriend just has an ego because she is fucking someone famous.  Whatever it may be, just lock them in there with the DJ and he will deal with it himself if they start to piss him off.  I mean they are HIS friends right?  So he may know how to deal with them better than you do, while you may just escalate thing and make matters worse.

Sometimes it is in a DJs rider/contract to have a ton of alcohol provided to them.  This is a major red flag to me and I usually negotiate a more sensible drink rider.  It tends to piss off a lot of artists and agencies because they assume you are being a bad host, but it is less about being cold to your guest and more about covering your ass.  I have dealt with numerous issues dealing with an ego that is drunk.  This is a dangerous combination and you have a lot of money, and your reputation on the line, so I try to catch the issue at the source.  There is no reason why a DJ needs a full bottle of vodka, then be staggering drunk before they play an hour set.  Since when does alcohol = good performance?  Just do your job.

In some cases, the artist will expect you to provide them with hard drugs, and they assume you will pay for it.  You pretty much have the right to tell them to fuck off if they are being rude about it.  If they are chill, and maybe want to do something after the show, then I may connect them with a source, but I will never put my own ass on the line like that.

I have seen performers fight with people, argue with the sound guy, not allow the next DJ to start, stop the music entirely while they babble on the mic, train wreck, accidentally unplug gear, and harass women.  It is not worth the risk, and don't let anyone guilt trip you into going against your premonitions.  You are the customer and the boss here.  You are the one taking the risk with everything on the line, don't allow yourself to be stepped on.

Innovator, or Sell Out: Part 1. "Introduction"

Changing your style is a very delicate subject.  It can either sky rocket your name, or destroy it.  People can either view you as brilliant and diverse, or a sell out who has lost their mind and just hopped on the bandwagon.  Are you a trend setter, or just following the trend?  Neither is technically bad, but everyone has their opinions.

Many creative people want to grow and expand, but you run the risk of alienating your fan base.  This is true to everything in life and there are tons of factors that create change, like age, finances, love, drugs, dreams, happiness/unhappiness, and literally anything under the sun.  The hard part is to get the people that rely on you and your creative mind to grow with you and your vision, and not feel abandoned.  On the flip side though, changing your style can open you up to a whole new audience, and can help your creative mind flourish.

There is so much to say on this topic, so I'll probably have to split it up into separate parts.  I have no immediate answer for how to go about it the right way besides... Follow your heart.  This act of switching up your style, or even just expanding your style can be quite baffling and many are insanely scared to take the risk.  Especially when fans are so quick to abandon their allegiance to you.  Some people approach it gradually and seamlessly to where very little even notice the change over time, or some people just slam it in your face unexpectedly.  I myself think it's best to either do it gradually, or create a new alias if you want to start immediately, but I assure you that people are not stupid.  Most people that know you, or follow you, can tell if you are not genuine or true in your change.  Like anything, if you do something for the wrong reasons, it will come back and bite you in the ass.

Why fliers are used, and how to disperse them.

Fliers, or Flyers?  Everyone always debates on the proper spelling of that word.  I like spelling it "Fliers", but I actually fucking hate them.  When you get a box of 5,000 fliers, it seems like such a waste.  It is bad for the environment because of all the paper used, and if you put them on cars, most people do not properly dispose of them, and just litter 6 of them on the ground.  When you sprinkle them around a club, almost no one takes them, they get beer spilled all over them, and are just thrown out at the end of the night.

I also hate handing people fliers because they look at you like you are the lowest piece of shit on the planet and can be extremely rude to you for no reason.  You may have even spent an entire night putting them on a thousand cars in 3 major club heavy neighborhoods, wasting your Friday night.  There is an etiquette to handing people fliers too, but even if you follow the unspoken rules, people can be an asshole to you, when all you want to do is share something cool with them.

The reason promoters are still using fliers as a means of communication is mainly for branding purposes.  When you see a particular flier 20 times across multiple events you attend, it sticks in your head.  You may never actually grab one of the fliers, but it is stuck in the back of your mind, at the subconscious level at the very least.  That means when the day of the event arises, and you catch a glimpse of the event page and imagery, you have an associated connection in your brain, and that familiarity makes you want to check it out.

The price of fliers is roughly $200 for a designer, and $200 for the printing, or maybe $150 for designer, $150 for print, and $100 for a street team.  Promoters assume that out of 5,000 fliers, maybe 100 people will actually save it and stick it on their fridge.  Out of those 100, maybe 20 will actually show up.  If your party is $20, you just made $400 because you had fliers made, and you broke even on them, if not actually profited a bit.  So even though it's a wasteful practice, if you hustle them out hard enough, it is a good financial move.

Here are a couple things to avoid, or take into consideration when handing out fliers:

*Don't hand them to people dancing on the dance floor.  These party kids just want to be lost in the music and are not trying to be snapped out of their zone so you can give them a flier.

*Do not hand them to people that are having a conversation.  It is just rude and people do not want to be interrupted.  Especially if some dude is just inches away from convincing the hot girl to lick his ass in the bathroom stall.

*If someone is in a costume or dress, they probably don't have pockets and won't want to hold on to the flier all night.  Don't get offended when they tell you this fact.

*Try to memorize the faces of people you hand fliers to.  People hate getting the same flier, from the same person, multiple times in a night.  It can be hard to remember what everyone looks like in a dark club, so try to focus on their jacket or hat etc.

*Try not to leave them on the bar tops.  Bartenders fucking hate this shit because drinks always get spilled on them, then they stick to the counter tops at the end of the night and they have to scrape the cardboard off the counter tops.

*Do not put them on a car when people are sitting in the car.  There are a couple reasons for this.  First of all it scares the shit out of them.  Especially when they are smoking weed and they think you are a cop.  Secondly, people are insanely sensitive about their cars sometimes, and even though you are not damaging the vehicle, they don't want you touching it.

*If you are in the smoking section, or outside when a concert lets out, try to exchange a brief sentence with the person you are handing a flier to. You may not have too much time to talk, since you have a lot of ground to cover, but even something brief shows respect.  No one feels like you care about them if you just blindly hand them something then walk away.

*If you are asking to get into a club for free, you should first tell the bouncer that you have some fliers to leave at the club and if it's ok. Most of the time they say no, but many times they are cool with it.  Clubs are so sensitive sometimes because they think you are stealing business from them if people go to your club on a different night.  The logic behind it is stupid because let's say club "X" only has a dubstep event on Thursdays, and you are promoting a dubstep event on Saturday at club "Y".  Club "X" is playing top 40 on Saturday, so none of the Thursday dubstep kids would be there on a Saturday anyway.  I could bitch about club flier policy forever, but I will move on.

*If you are asking the door person to let you in for free in order to flier, their first reaction is usually defensive.  The best way to do it is to be as courteous and honest as possible.  Usually what I do is hand them my ID first.  Then I say something like, "Hey there, I'm out working tonight fliering the town.  I was wondering if I left you my ID as collateral, would you let me put some fliers on the tables for 10 minutes?"  If you approach them in this manner, they are usually cool with it, but may have certain rules you need to follow, like no taping up on walls etc.

*If you hire a street team, it is best to have a young, pretty girl handing out fliers.  I know it sounds shallow, but they are the ones that can get away with murder.  They get into the clubs easier, guys are quicker to pay them attention, and other girls aren't defensive when they approach.

That's all I can think of right off the top of my head, but I'm sure I'll add a bit more to this.  I will also post about the best places to put fliers, as well as how to target your demographic, in a future post.

The importance of your opening DJs

Booking the right opening DJs can be one of the hardest things to do, and depending on the size of the club or popularity of your event, it could potentially ruin your party from the very beginning.  It is extremely difficult to book because they can be your free DJs who have little experience and little draw.  That isn't to say they don't have a draw somewhere, but your particular crowd may not know much about them.  You may want to give these new comers a chance to shine and build their name, but if they are not skilled yet, it can be a disaster.  That isn't to say they have little value, but most of the time they are still learning.  It is also hard to give the opening slot to DJs with a little more experience because most people hate that time slot and refuse to accept it unless they are doing you a favor.  This makes it very hard to find someone that knows what they are doing, is willing to play for free or cheap, and is ok with the opening slot.  This opening slot has such a bad reputation, but the reality is that it can be just as important, if not more important, than any other time slot.

If you are a smaller party on a Wednesday night, that holds 100 people and it's free, you absolutely have to have a solid opener.  The reason being is that many people are already on the fence about even being out on a mid-week night, and if your event is free, they are less likely to care about walking out and going somewhere else, since they didn't pay.  This can ruin your event because you need a certain amount of people to hit that "tipping point" where people start piling in, and staying.

Lots of times, if a DJ sucks on a smaller night, people will walk in for a minute or two, then walk right back out and find somewhere else because it is still early.  This causes a detrimental domino effect.  Now as time passes, and you've had 30 people (in groups of 2) walk in, then right back out, you are left with a dead dance floor where there should be 30 people.  That's almost a third of what the club's capacity is.

The DJ may not even suck.  Maybe they are just playing music that is not fitting the tone of the event, or the vibe of the crowd.  We've all seen it before... The new DJ who is super excited to play for a crowd his first time, and thinks there is some sort of DJ scout judging whether or not he will be a superstar.  This makes the DJ think he needs to play the heaviest most crazy dance music imaginable, to only 8 or 9 people.  The truly talented DJ can diversify his sound to cater to the audience, especially if they are just easing into the night.  How about this for an "ANALogy"...  You wouldn't just power fuck your girl in the ass without some lube and easing into it slowly right?  Well maybe if your girl is a super champion, but most likey NO.  Same goes with the flow of a party.

Now it's 11pm and your next DJ comes on who is amazing, but the damage has already been done.  Now the first thing people see when they walk in is an empty dance floor during what should be a peak hour.  So what do they do?  They walk right back out because they don't want to be at a dead party.

The music could be phenomenal , but there is a certain psychological discomfort associated with being at a dead party, and it causes people to want to escape.  So if you want to set the right tone of your event, make sure you do your research, and make sure the DJ knows how to read the crowd, and can adjust to a mellower crowd that is just beginning to drink and "loosen" up.

Why are some DJs so expensive?

...Because so many hands are in the pot and so much is taxed.  I made a generic rundown in a previous post, about how a promoter makes his money, but as a DJ there are many factors that determine your rates.  It can range from dozens of reasons. Maybe they are the hot new shit and just want to strike while the iron is hot.  You never know when you can fall off the map and many fans do not have a dedicated allegiance to these performers.  Some producers only want to do this for a few years then invest their money or get a normal job.  That means they gotta get as much as they can, as fast as they can.

Some performers have tons of expenses, like getting a work visa, paying their booking agent, paying their manager and some may not even have a normal job, since producing music is so time consuming, and maintaining a normal work schedule around a tour schedule is next to impossible.  They sometimes have to pay to get their music mastered if their record label does not.  Also, not many producers make enough money on record sales anymore since so many people download music illegally, so they compensate by having higher booking fees.

Also each region is different.  Prices can be based on the local economy, the price of the admission ticket, if it is on a peak night like Friday or Saturday, how thriving the scene is in that region, or whether they are headlining or merely a supporting act.  Prices can also reflect how big of a following they have on social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter or Soundcloud.  The number of releases they have and what popular magazines, radio shows or blogs they have been featured on plays a big role too.  If they have collaboration tracks with big names, it increases their value as well.  They may even pay for a publicist or promotional team to get them more popular.  If a bigger name than them dropped a tune in a mix, they will most likely tell you about it so it increases their worth to the promoter.  How popular their record label is plays an enormous role too.

If they have actual music training or went to a music engineering school of some sort, their rates may be higher because of their level of professionalism, the quality of their music, or they just need to pay off those loans.  They have to buy all of the best gear to stay ahead of the curve.  If they are from out of town, they obviously need to pay for flights and hotel which can sometimes be even more than the booking fee alone.  They are also taxed on their earnings just like any other job.  Sometimes they need to pay for studio space since you can get evicted from your apartment if you are playing/producing loud music all the time.  They may have paid a professional photographer to do a photo shoot, or have a couple music videos produced, with thousands of Youtube views.

If they are a local DJ, and not playing an all original set, they are probably going to play at least 30 songs in their set, at an average of $2 each, which is another $60 they are paying for.  Sometimes performers have set rates, and sometimes they will negotiate with you depending on what sort of relationship you have built.  The agencies will always ask you to submit your offer because it is easier for them to milk as much money out of you as possible that way.  Think about it, if you asked them what a certain DJs rates were, and they said $600, you may catch a break because you thought they were $2,000.  But if you initially offer $2,000, that artist just had a massive increase in wages because you over estimated their potential rate.  If you happened to low ball the agency with a $400 offer, they could easily respond and say their artists needs at least $600.

The poster nazi and why I want to kill him.

This asshole goes by many names, but I call him the flier nazi.  I know who he is, what his name is, and where to find him, but I'm not really going to waste my time with him because I'd rather enjoy my life than get arrested on assault charges, but this dude really should get his ass beat more often.  I called him the poster nazi in the title, because essentially what he does is tape up posters on light poles up and down Haight street in San Francisco.  I think he also hits up 11th street where all the clubs are.  I'm sure he hits up many other spots too.  I have no beef with him hustling the territory, and I'm fine with him making his money, but he rips down any posters that are put up, that were not done by himself.

He gets paid to post up, and rip down the competition.  There is no describing the anger you feel after taping up over 100 posters, along 6 or more blocks, both sides of the street, only to see them all gone the next day.  You destroy your fingers ripping the tape, your arms get sore holding the posters up, the wind blows them all over the fucking place, you sweat your balls off and it takes up half your day.  I have been so pissed at times that I have waited for him outside Amoeba Records with my staple gun and would have seriously hurt him if I saw him.

Some people argue that it is not him ripping them down.  They say there is a group of city workers hired to keep the poles clean, so they rip em down, but I don't believe that.  There is a reason he is called the nazi.  It is not just my pet name for him.  It is what he is known as, and I want to rip his face off.

I am personally willing to work hard on promotion myself, and use my own elbow grease to save money on a party, so why should I be forced to pay this fucking dick shit asshole for his services?  I'm not very fond of someone who has created a monopoly on something he does not even own.  I don't know his exact rates, but I hear it's $100 for 100 fliers posted for 1 week.  He has had his ass beat so much, he needed a safe way to make the transaction without being sabotaged.  You leave a manila envelope with the posters at a local liquor store, pay the cashier, and in a couple of days he posts them up.  There is no direct contact with him.

I want to start a revolution against him and get every other promoter to rip down all the posters he puts up.  If the posters don't stay up, people will stop paying him and his reign of terror will end.  Sure he may still rip posters down in spite, but he will be forced to come to an agreement with everyone.  He can still make his money, as long as he doesn't rip down other posters.  There are still plenty of promoters that would love to use his service since they don't have the time, and have the budget for it.