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Coopwood: Concert Business How Bands Bring in Big Bucks

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People in my town of Cleveland were sad to receive the news this past Thursday afternoon The Band Perry was not going to perform that night due to bad weather. It was absolutely the right decision because the rain arrived that night in Cleveland in a huge way.

The Band Perry will return in the coming weeks to perform in Cleveland and the date will soon be announced.

Watching The Band Perry’s entourage arrive in Cleveland the other morning brought to mind what it takes to keep any established band on the road these days.

It goes something like this.

Two or three customized Greyhound buses transport bands and in addition to band members, passengers also include first tier stage hands, managers, assistants, and the band’s friends and family.

Next, several transport trucks are needed to carry the musician’s musical gear, sound and lighting equipment, and everything else.

With the larger rock bands who are on the level of Paul McCartney or The Rolling Stones, it gets even more complex.

For these bands, they often have a second group of trucks carrying an exact duplicate set of equipment, stage, and lights. A second crew will set up the next show one day ahead of a current show. Example, while Paul McCartney is performing in Dallas, at that very moment a second crew will be putting together another stage in Atlanta for his performance that next day or two days later.

And, a band touring on this level that will have shows in a region for several dates will have a home-base city to travel from. If McCartney has tour dates in the South, more than likely he’ll stay in New Orleans or Atlanta and fly back and forth on a private jet to shows in Dallas, Nashville, St. Louis or Little Rock. Of course, not all bands can afford to tour like this, but the top acts certainly can and often do.

Today, touring is how bands make money.

In the old days (pre-Internet), bands released a record every year and they would “go on the road” to promote that new record because back then, there were untold dollars to be made from selling records.

Not so anymore.

Thanks to the Internet, the majority of bands don’t make much money from selling records because everyone finds a way to download songs without paying for them. But, touring continues to provide a good income.

One interesting slice of today’s touring income is something new called the “meet and greet”.

This is where fans can pay anywhere from $250 to $500 so they can walk back stage and meet the band for a few minutes. The income from the meet and greet is staggering … if 50 fans pay $250 each to meet their idols, their idol just pocketed $12,500 for that evening. If four of these meet and greets are held each week, a touring band has the potential of earning $200,000 a month alone from the “meet and greet”. Add in ticket sales and the other merchandise sales (t-shirts, booklets, buttons, etc.) and an established touring band can bring in some significant dollars.

Ah, the entertainment business!

There is great money to be made in it, but only the very few have a real shot at “making it.”


ScottCoopwoodPhoto-843x1024Scott Coopwood, a seventh generation Deltan, lives in Cleveland, Mississippi, with his wife Cindy and their three children. Scott is the publisher and owner of Delta Magazine, one of the South’s leading lifestyle publications, the Delta Business Journal, the first business publication in the Mississippi Delta; and Cleveland’s weekly newspaper, The Cleveland Current. Scott’s company also publishes two weekly e-newsletters. Coopwood publishing concerns now reach 250,000 people.  Scott is also a 1984 graduate of the University of Mississippi. He can be reached at scott@coopwood.net

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