Saturday, October 17, 2009

Economic Report: End of 1st tour. (includes car update)

Tomorrow we begin our second tour (7 shows in 13 days, from philly to milwaukee via birmingham and points south). We've already begun booking our next month-long tour (going south in January) find dates and plans in the calendar to the right side of this page.

These events make the final economic report quite overdue.

THE CAR! We paid over $5500 for the car, got $394 in donations put toward covering car costs. I will pay the remainder of car cost out of pocket. I don't know the odometer numbers off the top of my head. We've gotten two oil changes. One during tour (paid for by company) one during our search for a new home (paid for by kate and I) a transmission flush (which we also paid for) and the "service" and "check engine" lights are off. There's one tire with a slow leak (not a hole, a malfunctioning cap) and i guess the car just runs loud, cuz everyone says the exhaust looks fine and it passed an emissions test. So, Mary is now happy!

TOTAL BALANCE: If we include initial donations and costs, we spent $1622 we earned $3019, which means we've got $1397. If we look at just the on-the-road balance we made $519, which means touring can be sustainable. Here's a graph detailing this balance.
And a link to the raw data.

ALSO, most excitingly, we've created a set of variables to compare and evaluate shows for things like city size, type of show, region, venue types, audience age, and payment type. Then we've compared these variables for money earned, merch sold, turnout, quality of discussion, the friendliness of people, and payment per person.

The raw data can be pretty deceptive, though, so i'm going to kind of explain each variable here and point out which correlations seem to mean the most. Also, we left some shows out of this mix. The Milwaukee shows are left out because our history there, and playing multiple shows there makes them different. The G20 is out, cuz that show was just weird. The Minneapolis and last Chicago show are left out, cuz we started doing this stuff before we did those shows.

on to the variables:

Averages for large cities were lowest in every catagory. Midsize cities were best or tied for best in every catagory but merch sales. Storrs, CT and Urbana, IL boosted small town scores. The best large city shows were in Boston and at Mess Hall. Things that made these shows successful, Mess Hall was on a Tuesday and Free. Boston was with some GREAT noise bands and was set up by a great guy who'd hosted Paint the Town in the past.

Shows set up by people we've either played with or hosted in the past averaged best in every category. First time in a city shows averaged better than times we'd been in a city at a different venue or through a different contact. I think this might largely be because if we're returning somewhere with different contacts, it's probably a bigger city where things didn't go too well the first time we played there. These might just be tough places to break into. Playing multiple low attendance shows in Chicago on this tour, after having played good shows there in the past, we realized how big and impenetrable big cities can be.

Shows mainly about us generally went better than shows where we're just one part of a concert. This is a somewhat inaccurate measure cuz some of our concerts were under really ill-advised circumstances. The concerts with well-chosen bands (local, experimental) went quite well.

I'm too lazy to make a graph, so imagine a venn diagram (y'know the overlapping circles). Art is one circle, politics is the other, we exist in the intersection, but sometimes venture into one sphere or the other, playing shows that are marketed to only artists or to only activists (or whatever). You can think of these ventures as a kind of a measurement of intolerance. Do artists generally hate politics more than radicals hate art? Seems like it, with some exciting exceptions.

I don't know who draws regional lines, where the border between the midwest and the east coast lies, but I feel like MI and OH are a very different place than MN, IL and WI. So we broke things into 3 regions. We generally felt most welcome, appreciated and supported in the middle parts, but had a few good shows east and west.

This is complicated and mostly unreliable data, cuz we played a lot of different kinds of places, only a few shows in each. Hopefully once we include future shows we can build enough of a sample set to come to reliable conclusions.

Recent grads and older earned us most money and best discussions, but college age shows had best turn out.

This is the most disappointing catagory for me. The shows where we passed a hat had great discussions and high turnouts, but lowest average payment per person. Looks like the experiment in alternative economies isn't entirely successful, and the tour was bolstered by playing more traditionally funded shows. Or maybe we need to promote things differently. If we advertise a show as being "FREE!" and then pass a hat afterwards saying "if you don't support us we'll die!" is that a bait and switch?

It seems like many theatre people won't deign to look at anything that advertises costing less than $15 and makes itself look like fancy-ass artistry, which is really lame in my opinion. Equally lame are some 'anarchists' who talk about smashing capitalism but then can't throw down some scratch for anything but cheap (ie corporate) beer. I think both these things are changing, and I'm excited to be someone who is trying to document (and in my small way encourage) those changes.

No comments:

Post a Comment