Monday, September 14, 2009

Zak Claxton's Thoughts on Music Venue Cover Charges in Second Life

Zak weighs in on Second Life Cover Charges
by Zak Claxton: via

"Since everybody and their respective monkeys have offered an opinion on the proposals to standardize cover charges at Second Life live music shows, I felt a need to add my L$10 to the fray. Don't worry; I don't think you'll find anything particularly inflammatory or controversial here. Just a few thoughts on the topic. First, the background.

Flame On!
Late last month, the Second Life Newspaper ran an article on a cover charge system that was brought up by a fellow SL musician, Mankind Tracer. Note that I said "brought up"; he's hardly the first person to suggest this plan, nor the first to implement it. But he seems to be the focus of the controversy for current go-round of the idea that SL audiences should pay a cover charge to see live music events, as opposed to relying on people's desire to tip artists and venues on their own accord.

Why is this even being considered?
Pretty simple answer to a complex situation: it's getting harder and harder for venues to pay performing musicians. Many venues that formerly offered a fee to musicians found themselves unable to do so for various reasons, and one of two things happened; they either closed their stages, or they convinced the musicians that performing for tips only was in the best interest of everyone. So today, the majority of places you go to see live music in SL do NOT pay their musicians (but some still do... more on that in a bit).

So, according to the article, Mankind Tracer's plan would have a preset entry fee, enforced by a "bouncer bot" that would eject non-paying residents from shows. He initially suggested a ticket price of L$500 (about two US dollars, for those of you unfamiliar with SL's in-world currency) for an artist of his caliber, from which a 20% portion of the total take would go to the venue. Sounds pretty good on paper, at least for the artist and the venue, right? Let's say Mankind gets 30 people to come to the show at L$500 a pop. The evening grosses L$15,000, the venue takes $3,000, and everybody is happy, right?

Here's why this system is not going to work for most artists, venues, and (most importantly) audiences in SL live music. In no particular order... "

Zak weighs in on Second Life Cover Charges

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