In addition to providing live sound and lighting PDP Productions also produces our own events - booking local regional and national touring artists. What follows is our attempt to condense our expectations, policies, procedures, rules and guidelines for these events into as brief a form as possible. This document is geared mainly towards local bands, but all bands can get a sense of what we do and how we operate a show by reading it.
We get questions all the time from local bands who are trying to understand what we do. Our goal is to make everything we do as transparent and understandable as possible to the bands we work with. We think it is important that everyone understand their role in creating a vibrant live music scene here in Western Massachusetts. If you are interested in working with PDP Productions please read everything below. If you have any questions contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We take submissions from bands who are interested in working with us at our online band submission site: http://booking.pdpproductions.com
Obviously, the definition of what is a local band can be less than clear cut. Here is our definition of what we mean by a local band for the purposes of this document and the shows we do:
Local Band - A Western Massachusetts-based band that is performing, but not headlining, at an upcoming PDP event or a band that wishes to do so.
Given this definition of a local band what are the opportunities for local bands to work with PDP Productions? We split them up into three types:
These are a staple of what we do at PDP Productions. We try to promote a sense of community amongst the bands at these shows. Bands working together to draw a crowd is what this is all about. There usually is not a true headliner. Generally the less established local bands open and close for more established bands and smaller regional touring acts. Any payment given to bands is generally split based on draw, length of drive, and professionalism. Ticket sales are not required.
First of all, it makes sense to understand how these shows happen. A booking agent who we work with proposes a date or a set of dates. We negotiate a payment setup, which generally budgets for all financial costs of a show (including money for each local support act), confirm, and then work with the agent to book approved support acts. Sometimes these types of shows are self-contained and locals aren't allowed on the bill. When locals are allowed we choose ones that make sense based on draw and musical genre and send them to the agent. Often it is totally the agent's call on who can play.
When you play as headliner support it is important to understand that while your set is obviously important the show is not about you. You have been added to the show in the hopes that your crowd will come out to see you and stick around to see the touring bands who hopefully also drew a crowd. With these shows local band payment is much, much less than the headliners payment and no payments are made if the show loses money. Ticket selling is often required (more about ticket selling below).
If your band has progressed to the point where you have a very solid live show and an energized fan base it might be time to talk about booking a headlining show for yourself. This is the one place that as a local band you can make some good money. If you're a band that has a reason to headline a show we split the profits with you heavily weighted in your favor after all expenses have been paid. If you're a trusted local you may even get to pick (and pay) your own support lineup. This allows you to truly reach your targeted audience and have full control. If you have an idea for a show, always feel free to pitch it to us, understanding of course that we have the final say on whether we'll do the show or not.
Nobody likes rules or somebody telling them what to do. However, the rules below are designed to make sure that each event we do together is a success for all parties. We believe that asking local bands to follow these simple guidelines will allow us to have a great relationship together going forward.
One of the biggest mistakes that bands make these days is playing too often in a certain area. No matter how you fight it venues and promoters have to monetize music to make it feasible to invest money to put on events. If you play a Western Mass gig every weekend your fan base will grow tired of you. So here's the clause:
ALL BANDS WISHING TO PLAY PDP Productions EVENTS MUST KEEP THEIR SCHEDULE CLEAR IN A 30 MILE RADIUS FOR ONE MONTH BEFORE AND AFTER PLAYING A PDP EVENT UNLESS OTHERWISE APPROVED BY PDP Productions. See this map for a picture of the 30 mile area around most of our events.
Here's what that means: If you're playing a show June 14th with us, and you're offered similar gig at another Western Mass venue on May 31st, don't take it. Your crowd will split between the two making each show worse for you and for everyone else involved. However, say a promoter calls and offers you an opening slot for Enter Shikari on June 27 and it's always been your dream to open for Enter Shikari. Before you accept the slot (which frankly you would be dumb not to) please email us and we'll come up with a strategy. Maybe we'll offer a free pair of Enter Shikari tickets as a raffle prize for anyone that comes to our show a few weeks before. We'll buy those tickets, build them into our advertising budget and suddenly our show is packed full of people excited to see your band and maybe get a chance to see Enter Shikari for free.
If PDP Productions does book our band, what are we expected to do? Isn't it PDP Productions job as the promoter to bring people to the show? We are always amazed, but never surprised when bands tell us that it is exclusively the job of the club or promoter to pack the venue for their appearance. Yes, it is absolutely the job of the promoter to promote. But it's a team effort. Here's what we provide, and what we think that you should be willing to do:
Listing on online, including Facebook, and a Facebook event (please just one). Flyer design. Facebook event invitations sent to our entire targeted list of friends. Flyers handed out at all local events (ours and otherwise). Color and black-and-white posters hung up at retail establishments throughout Western Massachusetts. Ticket giveaways. Word-of-mouth. Twitter. Facebook statuses of all PDP staff. High school advertisements.
1. Listing on all internet sites with proper information. Don't be lazy. List addresses, pdpproductions.com as the place to get more info, times, prices. HTML the flyer into your profile, make it your profile photo.
2. Be willing to hand out flyers at area events and make sure you follow through!! If you're in school, pass out flyers at school. Put em in bathrooms, on lunch tables, anywhere that they'd be noticed.
3. Word of mouth. Call all of your fans. Mention our show at your other shows.
4. Invite all of your friends to our Facebook event.
5. Sell tickets if you need to.
THE KEY IS TO BE CREATIVE, START EARLY, AND PEAK AT THE RIGHT TIME! DON'T THINK YOU CAN DO IT ALL IN ONE WEEK! THIS IS JUST THE MINIMUM OF WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING!
This one's tough to blanket in one statement, so again, we'll divide it up into three categories: local shows, headliner support shows, and headline shows:
In the case that a show is booked for locals and smaller regional acts PDP Productions will simply cover our expenses, and then split fairly what is left amongst all bands playing. This might be an issue with some local bands due to the fact that often we pay more gas money to a band that drove from 3 hours away but didn't draw than to a band from 10 minutes down the road that drew more fans. That's just the way it is. We like to be able to encourage bands to be able to travel to new markets, and to receive $12 in gas money for a 6 hour round trip doesn't pay the bills. You'll appreciate promoters who do this when you are on the road.
For each event that features local openers supporting a headlining band, there is a budget established with the agent for local support. This number is usually $50 - $100 per band depending on the size of the show. For the band to receive that money, the show must have reached the split point for the evening. The split point is a booking term that defines the point at which enough money has come through the door to begin paying the headliner for the evening what is called backend, the bonus that comes after all expenses have been paid. Expenses include venue rental, sound and lights, security, staffing, catering for touring acts, guarantees, advertising, and more.
As an example, suppose The Red Hot Chili Peppers strike a deal with PDP Productions to play Sanderson Street. The deal says that the Chili Peppers will receive $1000 guaranteed, plus 85% (industry standard) of all backend after the guarantee. The show also has $1000 in expenses and 10% promoter profit (another term that basically means 10% of expenses plus guarantees, which in this case is $1000+$1000x10% = $200). The split point is then $2200. Tickets are $20 each. Dawn by Headlight is chosen to open. Part of the $1000 in expenses is $100 budgeted to pay Dawn by Headlight.
Let's walk through two scenarios - one where the show loses money and one where the show makes money. If the show only has 80 people attend, that means $1600 came through the door. In this case the show is losing money, because we will pay the $1000 guarantee, plus most of the $1000 in expenses. One of the first things to be cut is the local support money (as well the promoter profit which goes next). However, if the show sells out Sanderson Street at 200 paid, then there's $4000 to cover everything. The Chili Peppers are paid their $1000 guarantee, plus 85% of backend (which in this case is $4000 gross - $2200 guarantee+expenses+promoter profit = $1800), which amounts to an additional $1530 for them. PDP Productions makes their $200 promoter profit, plus an additional $270 (the remainder of the backend (15%) is traditionally taken by the promoter although other deals can be arranged). Dawn by Headlight receives their $100 (and usually a tip from us if they drew super well or were extremely well received).
You will receive the same treatment, basically, as any national or regional headlining act receiving a door deal as described above. We will negotiate a deal where you receive a percentage of all door receipts after basic expenses are covered. We will often reduce our advertising and staffing budgets for these shows to allow the band to spend some of their own money (if they want) so that they can make more money. On occasion, headliners are allowed to book their own support acts and make their own deals with them regarding payment. If the show bombs it's possible that no bands will be paid, but if it does exceedingly well, bands can walk with hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The cool thing about these shows is that for your headlining band, there is no doubt how much money you will make if fans show up. It's a mathematical formula, just like national or regional acts have.
PDP Productions has on it crew folks who are actively gigging musicians as well as in the music promotion business. We understand the aversion that some folks have to selling tickets. We encourage selling tickets because we think it helps with promotion. From a marketing standpoint a person who has purchased an advance sale ticket has committed their money to this event. They will act as a great marketer for the event, telling their friends and encouraging people to go to the event. Local bands selling tickets to your fan base will only increase your draw.
No, you do not have to sell tickets to play an event with PDP Productions. Some national agents might require that all locals added must sell tickets. So you may be excluded from some shows, but if you're not a good ticket-selling band there is still a place for you here.
No. We have never and will never require ticket purchases. We believe that you believe in your band enough to try to sell out every venue out that you play. Ticket sales are just a small part of that.
Yes, if you would like to sell tickets to an event that isn't otherwise ticketed, we will be more than happy to print some for you to sell to your fans to get that early investment we discussed above.
1. All money gathered and unsold tickets must be returned one hour before doors open on the day of the show.
2. No tickets are to be sold outside of the venue on the day of the show. The industry standard is to raise prices $2.00 on the day of the show, so if your fans wait until last minute, they must be charged accordingly. If you'd like to purchase tickets for your fans, and then get money from them as they arrive at the show this is OK. But you need to pay for the tickets before the show and have the money one hour before doors.
3. You may NOT sell tickets for more than face value, and keep the extra money. If it is found that you are doing this, you will be removed from the show.
4. Unless agreed upon in a special pre-show written agreement, you will not be paid a per-ticket amount for selling tickets. However, if tickets are lost or stolen you are responsible for the paying the cost for all non-returned tickets.
Local bands are allowed one guest to help you sell merchandise. Please email us the name at least 24 hours before the show. Family and girlfriends/boyfriends must be willing to support your band and pay for a ticket. Any other guests including industry personnel, managers, techs, etc. must be advanced with PDP Productions by email. Do not ever promise guestlist spots until you have been approved.
You have just read about booking, payments and some of the business aspects of working with PDP Productions. We have some additional show guidelines - these are especially a good read for bands that haven't played a lot of shows.