Way back when I was a casual observer of the Secondlife music scene I used to walk into a venue packed with people and think to myself “Damn! Whoever runs this place must be rolling in the Linden!” Oh how niave I was! When you walk into a place and you see a metric butt load of people there enjoying a show it is an easy conclusion to draw.
Now that I work for a venue owner I know just how wrong that was. Live music venues in SL close all the time. There are several reasons for that, but the number one reason is financial. It s a part of the scene that no one really wants to think about, but it is vital to keeping live music in SL. Everytime that a host or venue owner thanks you for a tip or tells you that your support goes to helping keep live music alive in SL, they mean every word of it.
Take a second and think about the cost that can go into one evening of live music. I honestly do not know exact numbers and I am probably underestimating but still. Say a venue pays a musician $3,000L to play an hour and they have 4 musicians playing at their venue that night. Right off the bat you are talking $12,000L. Then you have to take into consideration the host/hostesses. Let’s say they make $250L and hour, and there are two of them for the 4 hours. We are now up to $14,000L. This does not even take into consideration rent or tier, time spent booking, decorating (in the case of special events) and doing promo for the shows. Remember, that is just one night. On a good night for a venue, tipwise, the owner might recoup 50% of the evening’s operating costs. Most nights that number is more like 25-30%.
This is not to make people feel sorry for venue owners to to guilt people into tipping. People who decide to open a live music venue in SL know that they are not going to make money. They do it for the love of the music and the pride in having a place that people love to come. I only wanted to write about it because I feel it is something that people should know and I did not have a clue till I started working for a venue.
One last thing…..DO NOT EVER let a lack of $L keep you from attending a live show in SL. Yes, if you have the means to tip it is amazing and helpful and helps make sure there are places that we can go to listen to awesome live music, but sometimes things are tight or there is a huge hair sale, or maybe you lost all your $L in a game of poker. No matter the reason, being there to show that you support live music means a lot too!
Don’t worry, this is not the start of a series of blogs on the financial state of SL. No, no, no. I promise I will be back to sarcasm and silliness next time!