Are even bands BIGGER IN TEXAS?

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As the saying goes – everything’s bigger in Texas! With a population exceeding 26 million, it’s home to 12% of the US population. The Lone Star State’s footprint alone covers 269,000 square miles. It is 10% larger than France and twice as large as Germany or Japan. The state boasts 3 of the 9 most populated cities in the country with Houston in 4th place, San Antonio in 7th, and Dallas in 9th. Geographically speaking, you could unequivocally say it’s BIGGER than most other states.
But how does the live music industry in Texas measure up? Well in 1985 the Texas Music Commission (TMC) was created by the 70th session of the Texas Legislature and identified music as an industry in need of state government recognition and assistance. The TMO (Texas Music Office) opened on January 15, 1990 and serves as the information clearinghouse and promotion office for the Texas Music Industry. Today the TMO database contains well over 6,000 bands of all musical genres and sizes that are based in the state.
And on that note, its capital city of Austin is now recognized internationally as the live music capital of the world due to its large number of live music venues. The city easily plays host to over 100 live musical performances nightly. So what spurred the development and growth of the music industry in Texas? For one, the state has a rich (though pretty underrated) background and proud heritage in the Blues genre from residents that have included Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Freddie King, Big Mama Thornton, Leadbelly, and Mance Lipscomb. And more recently Johnny Winter, Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, and Houston’s favorite son, Billy Gibbons. In other genres we’ve seen the likes of Don Henley, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Beyonce, Don Williams, Pat Green, Buddy Holly, Eric Johnson, Waylon Jennings, and Selena each rise up from the Texas music scene and blow up on a national level. As a result of many of these players’ affection for the guitar, in 1997 it was designated the official state instrument.
So how and where does the current crop of musicians make a living in the state and who books them? For starters, Texans avidly support their musicians by attending both original and cover band performances by Texas Country and classic country bands that play in several thousand honky tonks, dancehalls and nightclubs scattered all over the state. Playing this network is unique to the state and is fodder for another blog article on another day. Suffice it to say many of the successful bands are making a good living playing the circuit year in and year out, while newbies strive to succeed beyond breaking even. As with most things persistence has paid off for many!
Texas also is one of the top three states that host the largest number of festivals and fairs in the nation partially due to its moderate climate and reasonable amount of rainfall. Most of these outdoor events book local, regional and national recording artists to attract attendees. Texas ranks Number 1 in the number of music festivals it hosts – overthrowing California despite having 17 million fewer people. These events are great for the exposure they provide bands even in some cases when the pay may not be as lucrative.
Beyond the dance halls and festivals though is a big market for both weddings and corporate events throughout the state. Last year alone, there were over 180,000 couples who tied the knot from Brownsville to Amarillo and Pecos to Beaumont! Weddings abound in the state and the better known variety bands get plenty of work on wedding receptions that typically pay on average between $2500 to $15,000+. For the lower budgets there are many DJs available in every market who can provide pre-recorded music as a less expensive alternative for those “BIG events” working with smaller budgets.
Perhaps the healthiest segment of the Texas musical gig landscape is the thousands of corporate functions that hire variety, Country, Jazz, R&B, Tribute, Latin, Big Bands, Mariachi Bands, and Show Bands to entertain employees, customers, and clients. While Texas has upwards of 50 Fortune 500 companies residing in the state, Houston is 2nd only to New York City with 23 Fortune 500 firms and Dallas ranks 4th in the nation with 9. Many of these corporations host special events throughout the year and close it out with high-end Holiday and New Year’s Eve Parties that provide Texas bands with some of their biggest paydays.
So while the physical size of a band varies in Texas, it’s clear that the musical landscape for bands playing in the Lone Star State is vibrant, competitive and BIGGER than most of the other states in many ways and Prime Source Entertainment has seen this as potentially fertile ground to make its mark on the Texas music scene with its new office in Sugar Land and help take its bands to the next level while bringing in new and diverse musical offerings from other states whose music Texans can now enjoy through its efforts!

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How can Pinterest help me book a band?

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For those of you not familiar with Pinterest, here’s the definition from Wikipedia:

Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more. Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration,’re-pin’ images to their own collections and/or ‘like’ photos. Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting”[3] via a global platform of inspiration and idea sharing. Pinterest allows its users to share ‘pins’ on both Twitter and Facebook, which allows users to share and interact with a broad community.

You’re probably thinking: “This is great but what does it have to do with booking a band?” If you read our last blog, we touched on searching for a dance band via a search engine and whether or not you can you trust the source, be it contacting a band directly or a booking agency. The discussion continued in regards to videos and promotional materials that can be found online and the validation of such materials. How can you tell if the band is as good as they seem on their video? Can you trust what the booking agent is telling you about the band? Do agents ALWAYS tell you the band is great?

Well, this is where Pinterest can help you. If someone “pins” a band they have booked, they must like them, right? Makes total sense, why would you “pin” something you don’t like? This is where “social media” can really help buyers in making good decisions. Pinterest is an unsolicited forum for people to show things that they like. We encourage everyone that books a band for their wedding, private party or corporate event to “pin” them on Pinterest.

Consider the value and possibilities.

Why Should I Book a Live Band Through an Agency?

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“I never realized how many dance bands there are out there. There are bands in every town, all over town, and sometimes it’s hard to decide how to go about booking them.

My first thought was that the easiest way to book a band would be to go watch them play live. I looked at every night club I could think of and quickly decided the bands performing were not the style of band I wanted. I thought my friends might have some recommendations, so I started asking them if they knew of any bands I would like. I quickly realized that booking a band is not like buying a car in the way that you don’t buy them every day, and not everyone has answers to questions you may have. My next thought was to turn to Google, and boy was I overwhelmed. After reviewing the countless searches, it became apparent to me that I had two options. 1) I could contact a band directly, or 2) I could book a band through a booking agency, but which choice was the right choice?”

This is where most new talent buyers wind up; lost, confused, and having to make a decision with no one to advise them, but that’s what we’re here for. As a talent agency, we know the high importance of booking a band through an agency. That being said, you make think this information is biased, but before you make any assumptions, let’s look at the facts.

The first is that if you choose to contact a band directly, the band will be biased on how good they are. They will tell you where they have played, who they have played for, how much money they charge, and will try to convince you they are the best band for your event. It’s highly possible that after conversing with a band directly, you still won’t be sure they are the band for you, so you contact the next band that strikes your interest.

The second band will do exactly what the first band did, try to convince you that they are the best band for your event…See a pattern here? This can go on and on, and before you know it, you are getting emails and phone calls from every band you contacted.

If you did finally make a decision on which band you’re going to book, what are you supposed to do next? Does the band send you a contract? Are you required to give them a deposit? What happens to your deposit? What happens if the band breaks up? What happens if someone is sick and the band can’t make your event? …The list goes on and on, and these are some of the issues you need to consider when you book a band.

Many people say that if you book a band directly, it will save you money. Is this true? Let’s think about this scenario for a minute. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say you are trying to book “Band X” and they are an independent band, meaning they book some shows directly and will also take jobs through an agency. If the agency books them for $5,000.00, the band will pay the agency a commission for finding them the work. However, if you book the band directly, the band could still charge you $5,000, or even more than the price the agency would normally charge for the same group. If Band X did that, they would pocket the commission and leave you paying more for less service and expertise. The band’s reasoning is why am I now worth less because someone is calling me directly.

So let’s say you decide to book your band with an agency, what are the steps you and your agent would go through? First of all, you will speak with an agent. It is more than likely your agent specializes in a certain geographic territory. This is good for you because the agent will know about popular bands and venues in your area and your particular market. Your agent will ask you questions such as “What style of band do you want?” “What do you want them to play?” “What is your venue and will it accommodate the type of band you are looking for?” “When is the date and what is your budget?”

After asking these questions, your agent will give you a list of bands that fit your criteria. If you have any questions about a particular band, or are interested in a recommendation, the agent will most likely be able to provide you with references of previous clients so you can research the band. Not only will your agent provide you with recommendations, but they will provide you with photos, audio links, videos, biographies, and song lists that the band can perform. If you decide on a particular band, the booking agency will then issue you a performance contract, confirming the engagement.

So what happens after you’re issued a contract? Well a deposit on the band is required, and usually ranges between 20 and 50% of the full amount. Once the deposit is received, it will be deposited into the agency’s escrow account and will remain there until the show is played.

Obviously, there is always a chance for problems to occur, but the benefit of going through an agency is that your agent will handle your problems for you, so that you can enjoy planning other aspects of your event. For example, if the band you booked breaks up, or someone gets sick and cannot play, the agency can either refund your money or give you several options of like bands that can play your event.

You may be wondering if an agency will try to put the “hard” sell on you like bands do. The answer is both yes and no. Agencies will normally pitch you their exclusive bands first, which is to be expected. However, if you like someone that is not exclusive with the agency, the agency will work with you to find what is best for you and your event. The best way to think about it is that a booking agency will not make any money if you do not book a band through them, so they will definitely work with you to find what you are looking for.

The ultimate question is, “What’s easier, dealing with multiple bands, or a booking agency?” A booking agency is hands down the way to go. Normally, dealing with a booking agency will not cost more than booking a band directly and can sometimes save you money, not to mention the headache. Agents know where the work is and if the band is in your area and will help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

So, how do you know where to find a good agency? Well, there are several ways. Word of mouth, references, the internet, and the Better Business Bureau are just a few. Ask if the agency is a member of the BBB and use this resource to confirm who you are dealing with is legitimate and has no complaints registered. If there have been complaints, did they deal with them until they were resolved?

Times surely have changed. People can very rarely go see live dance bands at clubs and festivals to book them for an event anymore. Nowadays the internet is the best resource. Still interested in booking a band? Go to your search engine of choice and consider all the factors discussed in this blog. Weigh your pros and cons and do what you think is right for your event. When it comes time to book a band we are sure that if you select a legitimate agency, you will not be let down and your event will be a success.

Tips on how to choose a band that is right for your wedding day.

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A wedding band can make or break your wedding reception. It’s very important to choose a wedding band that will play the music that you and your guests enjoy, and be able to keep the party going all night long. When searching for the right dance band for your wedding, keep these six tips in mind.

Match the Mood

If the wedding is formal and you’re dressed in tails, you’ll find a good match with jazz, swing, or even chamber music–but the “Electric Slide” might come off a little tacky. For any other kind of ceremony, the sky’s the limit–traditional dance/party bands, country bands, whatever you like. As a general rule, the less formal your wedding, the less formal your music can and should be.

The Value of booking a Cover Bands

Those of you who take your music seriously may never, ever consider employing a cover band for your wedding. But you should. Wedding receptions and rehearsal dinner parties are gatherings of your past, like family and high school reunions, as much as they’re celebrations of your future. Having familiar songs on the soundtrack while you and your bride dance the night away can bring out the memories and help to unite a very eclectic guest list (give me a little old lady and a limbo stick, and I will show you a very happy crowd). Plus, a wedding just isn’t a wedding unless you get a little bit louder now with “Shout!”

Good Dance Bands Know Weddings

“If I’m going to have all old songs playing,” you might think to yourself, “why not save some cash and pay someone to spin records?” The logic makes sense–but unless your DJ is extremely creative and well established, he won’t be able to bring the house down with the same energy as a live band. Plus, good dance bands who know weddings (see above) are fronted by engaging front men and women who keep the festivities on track between songs. DJ’s can also serve this role, but most of the time they’re not as capable to do so.

Weigh in on the Playlist

Most wedding bands make a living by knowing a wide array of “standards”–jazz and pop songs that are familiar and fun. So if you have any special requests that aren’t too idiosyncratic, you’ll want to quiz your potential dance band on them before you do any hiring. This is one thing we as booking agents can help with.

Leave the iPod at Home

The beauty of portable music players is that they can hold hours and hours of music that you have personally picked and organized. It’s so easy that you may think you can save yourself musical costs altogether and be your own DJ. We advise you to save your body-rockin’ for another occasion. For starters, you’ll be up the creek if your musical device goes on the fritz. But more importantly, this is just one more responsibility that you just don’t want to deal with on your wedding day. If you’re on a limited budget (and don’t plan to have a lot of dancing at your wedding) consider this option as a last resort. There is such a wide variety of dance bands out there for different prices, you would be better off booking or hiring a band. In the long run, you will not regret spending a little extra for a “Once in a Lifetime” event like your wedding.