Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Second Life Music can Equal Success and Profit - Part 1: Possible Goals

Second Life Music can Equal Success and Profit - Part 1: Possible Goals

The virtual world of Second Life allows for a collaboration of people to come together to create a real-time live music event. In SL, there's a vast range of music performances. The measure of success is completely relative to the people involved. Everyone's goals are different, while many goals are similar and will overlap each other. Some performers are content with simply playing inworld to people across the globe. Some venues are simply content as being a land space for a live music event to occur. Meanwhile, some performers & venues have complex productions most everyday of the week, booking SL talent nonstop, and utilizing multiple event staff.

In part 1 (of my 3 part series): "Second Life Music can Equal Success and Profit", I want to discuss the possible goals surrounding a live music event in Second Life. (Part 2 will organize the roles of each person involved in a successful and profitable live music production. Part 3 will discuss possible avenues and approaches to making more profit from an inworld music event.)

I want to begin by discussing ways an individual performer and an individual venue can come together with their plans and agendas in order to generate a money flow. It IS possible, especially because the effort and passion is usually already present.

Possible Goals of a Live music event:

* To perform (obviously) - This goal is accomplished when the performer can perform a show and has performed a show. The performer gains experience & practice - This 1st goal, of course, the easiest to reach. When the performer is performing the show is happening.

* To express yourself / To stay true to yourself - This is the artistic & talent side to the show. Fortunately for Second Life, the music performing artist isn't the only artist in the room. In fact, it was an artist that built and designed the room. I even view the team involved in a venue as being artists. The goal of self-expression in SL; It is what it's all about. Anyone that does anything in SL is fortunate to meet their goal of self-expression. It's impossible not to. For performers and venues, staying true to oneself is usually what it's all about too.

* To create the ability for a performer to play music to people - For the performer & the venue, when this goal is reached, exposure & audience is present. Slightly different than the performer simply performing, this is about creating a fan base for the performer, the venue, and the team involved. Any person that arrives to a show has already been exposed just for arriving, and now is a potential (something); potentially a word spreader, tipper, investor, shopper, CD buyer, talent booker, etc. The reason someone arrives to a music show is usually, 'said live performer is performing'... however those reasons can be revised once they arrive.

* To create a family, crew, team effort relationship around the owners and staff of the venue - This is a very important goal to most venues, and also to the performers choosing which venues they perform at. Many successful venues inworld stay successful, with their doors open, when the love and passion from all people involved is there. Especially when profit is NOT a goal, creating the family/friends vibe for a venue usually becomes an important goal.

* To create a popular venue with a unified team. This continues beyond "building the team effort" which I mentioned above. This goal is about presenting and perpetuating the reputation to the public. When the performer is booked, this is where the venue, performer, & team involved, needs to either capitalize, or just sit back and enjoy the show they've produced. Many venue owners and staff do it for the love of it... and that's a goal too. Meanwhile, booking the performer in the venue and having the show actually happen, sometimes is only the beginning, not the satisfying end result. Venues (the management, staff, performers) need to keep in mind: what are the real goals in bringing all these people to the venue other than to listen to the performer. Is it to add fans to a group, is it to sell products in a nearby vendor, is it to perpetuate the club's popularity by announcing future shows?

* To create something unique, revolutionary, ahead of it's time, and beyond the norm - After a venue or a performer has settled into their routine of SL performances, sometimes they want to explore new creative options of entertainment or stimulus and revolutionize their standards. Examples of this could be lining up a full day of performers for a festival, themed events, or basically just adding anything unique into the show. Also, many locations inworld aren't build to be a music venue (such as an art gallery, or a sim opening event). In their own way, these locations are creating something unique simply by having a live performance.

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Above I listed one set of goals, more aimed at fun & enjoyment plus exposure as being the high standards. Below I list the goals involving monetization. The goals below; not for everyone. Many sway into differences of optinion, and some choose not even to make money or profit part of the equation.

* To create traffic - This is the goal of having avatars at an event and to create traffic. I don't mean the land traffic calculation number, I mean the general flow of people in and out, the traffic. For example, think of a website... it gets on average 100 people to visit the website a day. That is the traffic. It doesn't mean the people that visited were quality, or even read the webpage, but it does mean people were there and pageviews happened. With some venues and performers, their main goal is simply "the traffic." A large crowd is obviously better than a small one and gaining/maintaining the traffic seems to play a large role for some. The goal of traffic is also a great way to combine all walks of life into one music event. Usually a traffic-aimed event is filled with not only music fans there to see the show, but also newbs, randoms, and the nonmusic public in SL.

* To make money as the performer, venue and staff - The profitability is a goal for some. Usually more often, we hear the venues are in need of making profit, because plain and simple: making profit above the cost of land, rent, bills, payroll is the business plan... or more like the business dream. It seems that when people start a club in SL, they either set out from the get-go and declare they are not in it for the money... or... they start the club, and soon find out just paying club expenses isn't making them money, and instead it's going to render them bankrupt. Some venues choose to disregard making money and I applaud the efforts. The same goes for performers. Some performers in SL do not let making money factor into their SL music hobby. Meanwhile, performers and venues, many have the goal of profit. It's a dance, finding ways to be profitable without selling out or feeling compromised. In part 2 of my SL music: success and profit series, I will delve more into the profitability goal.

* To create profitability by sales. Some venues choose to have sales intermingled with their venues, either as a shopping area attachment, or some selected items on display near the dance area. Some venues charge admission. Some performances and events charge a cover as well. Performers have the ability to display music for sale at each of their shows. All of these aspects can be a reason for any event.

* To create an avenue for sponsorship. Advertisers and sponsors need to get their word out. A public venue or a performer (in RL and SL) is a great way to get that word out. A goal can be to gain a sponsorship business relationship in order to offset costs. By doing events, the sponsors receive their promised agreements (business relationship reputation)

If you're a venue, what are your club's current goals? Is it to keep booking performers? Is it to stay packed? Stay popular? Is it to build a large following for the club? Is it a place for performers and community to simply jam? Is it a mutlicomplex that offers more than a music location?

If you're a performer, what are your current goals? Is it to perform as much as possible? Is it to sell your music? Is it to hit people with your sounds around the world? Is it to become popular in real life? Is it to make money? Is performing in SL a way to continue practicing?

If you're a venue manager or staff member, what are your current goals? Is it to perpetuate the passionate support of the venue and crew? Is it to help make the club money? Is it to simply have a job in SL?

If you're a performer manager or booking agent, what are your current goals? Is it to book as many of your performers as possible? Is it to build a strong relationship with several performers and help build their career? Is it for the money and the commissions? Is it for the noteriety?

PLEASE let me know more in comments and I'll add here in updates. I'm looking to somehow conform this into a group made article, so please, use comments, let me know any thoughts, and I will work them in on revisions with credit.

Doubledown Tandino

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I run a live music venue in Second Life called ZenLive..the reason for it's existence it is to provide independent musicians a place for expression and exposure in SL..it is the philanthropic arm of our publicly traded company Zhenya Zoning Real Estate (ZEN.) Our way of giving back to the SL community.

Annabis Moody