Don’t Sleep on Live Music

Don't Sleep on Live Music

Live music has always been popular, and that popularity seems to be increasing! More and more bars and restaurants are hiring musical talent on to attract patrons on weekends and even some weekdays. Live music adds to the ambiance and creates a dining experience. And for some bars, it keeps the party going!  In either case, the decision to add music requires a little homework on the part of the owner because it is more involved than clearing out a corner in your bar near an outlet. 

Before booking that acoustic duo, ask yourself why you want to add music?  This is the single most important question to answer before announcing live music. Bringing in live music can create some additional buzz for your establishment. But before you pick up the phone to book your next band, there are some things to coordinate first.

The Economics

If you are adding live music to boost revenue, you need to first evaluate the economics. Live music is not a “magic bullet”, you are going to have to spend money to make money.  Some things to consider:

  • Music licensing fees: ASCAP, SESAC & BMI are 3 separate companies. Unfortunately you can’t pay for just one of them, you’ll need to obtain a license for each. They can be $500-$1000 for each license.
  • What Days to have music? Will the number of customers on those nights spend enough to cover for the cost of a band? 
  • What is the type of crowd you want to draw (younger, older with disposable income, etc.)?
  • Hours for Live Music:  Do you want to entertain the dinner crowd and then draw a bar crowd for afterwards?  Keep people buying food and drinks?

Know Your Customers When Picking Bands 

Offer a variety of music, but within the parameters of your customer-base and atmosphere of your establishment.  Do you want acoustic or electric?  Drums or no drums?  Rock, Blues, Jazz, etc.?  If you run a dive bar, that acoustic duo playing folk originals may not be the best fit; however, if that acoustic duo can rock (and some can) then they may win over the customers.  Don’t assume because a crowd is of a certain generation that they will not like certain bands.  Tina, from our real estate division, is a vocalist for one of the busiest and more popular bands in the ‘burgh, Right TurnClyde, and she says, “in my experience, the 45-65 age group likes to get a little rowdy when there is good music.”

Promote Live Music

If your goal is to get people in your establishment to spend money, you need to also promote the bands you hire. When you hire a band, they will also be promoting your business by letting their followers know where they will be performing.  They may be bringing you new, and potentially repeat business.  You do a disservice to the band and your own business when you don’t promote them to your current clientele. When you hire a band, they will also be promoting your business by letting their followers know where they will be performing.

Expect when you hire a band, they will also promote your business by letting their followers know where they’re performing.

Realistic Expectations

Don’t tell a band you expect a certain number of people. They are the entertainment, not the marketing team for your business. Music can drive attendance, but there are extraneous factors that the band cannot control. , s your establishment is not in an accessible or desirable part of town? Is there is inclement weather? Have you promoted the band? Is it Super-Bowl weekend? A Holiday weekend? i Set yourself, and the band, up for success and keep your expectations realistic

If live music has been on your mind, we hope that these tips will help your business continue to grow.

Specialty Group is your honest hospitality service provider. When it comes to the restaurant and bar industry, we will give you the information you need, not the information you want to hear. We can take you through the entire life of your business, from purchaselendingliquor license work, success and sale because we care about making the right match. We’ve been doing it since 1986 and our reputation speaks for itself!