Posts Tagged ‘LiveWorks Newsletter’

THE WEEKEND ROUNDUP

October 18, 2011

Beginning next Monday, the LiveWorks Newsletter will start posting a weekly “Weekend Roundup”.  The idea is to promote your events (successes and lessons learned), on-sales, marketing tools, production tips, best practices, what’s trending, and any other news we can gather from Thursday through Sunday. 

Please send anything worth sharing to jim@liveworksevents.com.  We currently have over 1300 Live and Branded Live Entertainment subscribers (w/even more who read online) that you can reach…with more each week. 

ASPEN HOTEL DEADLINE

There are currently only 5-rooms left in our block at the St. Regis for December’s Aspen Live Conference http://www.aspenlive.com.  Although we’ve been told we can add more rooms to our block, the hotel can only guarantee our conference rates through November 7th.  There are also 14-rooms still available in our block at the Limelight.  Should you need a room, please click on the link above for registration and room reservation information.

Don’t forget to email your news!

Jim

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TRANSPARENCY

June 26, 2011

I’ve been scared to write.  I believe in transparency.  The idea that you can find someone on Facebook, LinkedIn, or through a Google search and learn almost everything you want about the person you’re interested in is a good thing.  Yet since last June’s Food & Music festivals, those that are owed money and believe me a crook write horrible things emails every time a new newsletter is posted. 

What sucks is that they are right.  It shouldn’t matter what the circumstances are, if you make a deal with someone, you stand by it.  Since last summer, some have been owed tens of thousands of dollars without seeing a penny…or a timeline for when they will get paid. People who worked hard, fronted money and believed in a concept…believed in me.  Without new investors and/or winning a few court cases, there is no money to pay anyone (restaurants, performers, vendors, crew, etc).  Since the newsletter seems to aggravate the situation, it seemed better to just try to work on what I can change…since you can’t change minds with words (well, maybe if you are Gandhi but not me) only action.

Here is what I do know.  In the internet age, there is no hiding.  In 20-plus years in the business, I’ve never stiffed anyone.  The plan isn’t to start now.  We will close with new investors and win a settlement or two in the process.  The brand isn’t the food festival, or any of the other projects over the years, it is Jim Lewi

I believe in the new things we are trying to create (especially the food and music festival), the old models that work (such as the Aspen Live Conference heading for year 16) and projects still on the drawing board.  A few big fumbles doesn’t make a player.  What you do with your career, life…how you conduct yourself moving forward, that’s what matters. 

It is taking much longer than it should, which is frustrating as hell, but everyone owed money will be paid.  If you are reading this and have your doubts, there are multiple plans in place to change your minds.  Till then, no more being scared to write the newsletter as trust is something earned and with transparency, there is no hiding.

See you soon…

Jim

 

POSITIVE THINKING

March 17, 2011

WARNING, THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST PERSONAL LIVEWORKS NEWSLETTER I’VE EVER WRITTEN.  READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED

Lately it seems that I’ve been identifying myself more by the last two-years of temporary defeats with my food festival, rather than the 20-plus years of building successful events.  After living life with the motto “failure is not an option” I’ve let the loss of money and reputation dictate who I am and how I’ve acted.  With the economy being what it is and the number of books and articles written on the subject, there are probably others out there in a similar circumstance that could learn from my experiences. 

Look at any successful person in life, no matter how you measure success, and you will most likely find confidence.  The fact is that there is almost nothing we can control in life.  Certainly what’s occurred in Haiti, New Zealand, and now Japan proves that.  The only things we really do have control of are our thoughts…and depending on the way we are wired, these thoughts can lead to success or failure.  The key is to not stop thinking…and thinking positively

Having a motive other than money is another important factor to success.  In my case, 2009’s trial run of the food festival concept was just that.  Never in our wildest dreams did we expect to make money and draw the crowds we did.  The idea was simply proof of concept and to make sure everyone (guest, talent, restaurants, promoter, staff, and press) had a good time.  With just a few technical glitches involving our cashless payment system and lack of staff as the doors opened, the first few hours of the show failed to fulfill either goal as lines grew to “amusement park size”.  Moving forward, we could fix the operational issues.  Success was within grasp.

The money was an all together different story.  We refunded everyone’s money in 2009.  In fact it was the first time I ever put significant personal money into a project and after seven-figure losses, had no idea how to support my family.  Not only was our savings wiped out, we had no real income to speak of.  Without loans from family and friends we would have never made it.  Lesson learned… having family and friends that care about you can change your life.  Cherish what’s important. 

Moving into 2010, there was only one goal on my mind; to make the food festival successful….which to me meant making money.  After a falling out with our previous partners, we went to what we considered a logical place to hold our events, football stadiums.  They had the perfect lists to market to (season ticket holders) and plenty of room for us to setup.  Unfortunately although we did factor weather in…it wasn’t not enough…and our marketing partners that had done such a wonderful job on our show in 2009 didn’t exist in 2010 (radio, print, online, clubs, etc).  Price also became a concern.  In 2009, we had ancillary charges built into our ticket price…and they totaled only $10.  This would not be the case with 2010.  As the shows came closer to playing, our pre-sales were not picking up as they had in 2009.  In hindsight, we should have cancelled the shows…but we were broke and thinking of money. Somehow we would be able to fix what’s broken and wrap strong.   

We didn’t wrap strong.  In fact without going into too much detail, we ended-up losing even more money.  The food fest owes more money than it ever grossed.  In my mind, I felt like a loser…and that has been the image I’ve been projecting ever since.  All the years of the Aspen Conference, HORDE Festival, MTV Campus Invasion, Woodstock, Jeep Tour, our cruises, etc…meant nothing.  If my 13-year old said I was a loser, I was a loser. 

Then something weird happened.  Investors started getting interested in the food fest idea.  Actually, the fact that we were two-time losers…wanted to pay all our debts…and wanted to try again…all worked to our favor (who knew???).  Although the number of people we drew in 2010 was soft, our food and beverage numbers were record-breaking.  If we could put the numbers from 2009 together with per caps from 2010, we have one strong show.  All of a sudden we were thinking creatively again. 

For one thing, I never wanted to look at bankruptcy as an option.  We owe money and I would rather raise the money, pay everyone back and move forward than walk away from those that trusted us…that trusted me.  Again to my surprise, this had also worked to the fest’s favor.  You see, one of the things investors like besides making money is doing business with people who have shown integrity through their careers.  They were happy we wanted to pay our debts versus declaring bankruptcy.  Gee, maybe I should have lost more money (just kidding of course).

The last two years have been the worst of my life.  Getting sick, death of family and friends, nothing has had the collateral and emotional damage that losing everything and letting people down has had.  Yet the moment I started thinking…positively… things began to change.  I went back to the computer to make sense of the numbers…combed through every note from every meeting…every email…and all our post-mortem meetings. This could be fixed.

As of today we are holding dates in multiple cities for an even better food fest concept and will have a few new partners (investors, promoters and brands) to help us along the way.  We aren’t there yet but we sure are getting close. 

There will be a new food fest in 2011…along with more cruises, festivals, and the biggest Aspen Conference in our history this December.  All this change with a simple attitude adjustment… and positive thoughts… of something other than money. 

I would like to thank all the family and friends that believed and continue to believe.  I would like to thank our staff, vendors and talent.  I would like to thank my heroes Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Bill Graham and PT Barnum for continuing to show me the right road.  I would like to thank all of those authors that have written books and articles that have influenced my thinking.  And I would like to thank you for reading the LiveWorks Newsletter.

Keep Thinking…Positive Thoughts!

Best,

 Jim

BURGER KING ADS

April 21, 2010

It is hard to write if you have nothing to say.  That’s why it has been so long since the last LiveWorks Newsletter. 

Today I was again reminded of creative and memorable advertising that we could easily create in Live and Branded Live Entertainment but somehow seem to always fall short.  Well if imitation really is the greatest form of flattery, why not just steal others ideas?

“It’s not that original but it’s super affordable…” is the line at the end of the new Burger King TV commercial for its sausage breakfast sandwich that’s a dead ringer for McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin.  In fact, the ad shows Bk’s character, “The King” breaking into McDonald’s headquarters and stealing the secret recipe for the mega-brand’s Sausage McMuffin with Egg.  Funny, smart, daring.

Will these spots end up selling more breakfast sandwiches for Burger King?  I’m betting yes.  Why, because the marketing message is extremely clear and simple.  We have exactly what they have, for less.  Most fast food consumers are also aware that Burger King’s are usually not as busy as McDonald’s restaurants so if the drive-thru looks crowded @ Mickie D’s, you just go down a few restaurants on fast food row to BK and try their new sausage sandwich. 

Now cut to one of our spots.  Are we selling American Express, the acts new record, Coors Light, one of three pre-sales, or tickets to the show?  Hopefully, none of the above.  If you aren’t creating an experience for your consumers, you will continue to get beat by companies out entertaining the entertainment business.  My friend Mike from Yes Dear Entertainment sent me an article stating that Apple is thinking about entering the ticketing business.  Hopefully they will create an iPod type device or some kind of tech gadget that holds paperless tickets, photos you can take and email to your friends of you at the show and other entertainment apps…just to continue to show us how to do our jobs and improve the guest experience. 

Just look at products like Flip Video.  This is the future and we are somehow missing it.  There are young people ready to change our business and we aren’t embracing them.   Entrepreneurs like Alex White from Next Big SoundBrent Smith from WME was talking with me about him today…about what his company is compiling and how that data is a gold mine for predicting future consumer spending, etc.  Plug in!

I’m more hopeful than ever that we can make a difference.  Of course it starts with a product…but for our shows out this spring and summer, let’s makes sure we spread the right message.  It is about the experience our guests will have if they come to our shows!  It isn’t the new single no one has heard, the sponsor no one cares about, or the promoter of the show… how long you’ve been in business, or anything else.  What’s the show, and how is your guest going to have a great time.  That’s your message!  Go spread the word!

Look forward to hearing from all of you as usual!  It is great to see our subscription list grow so much even when I’m not writing.

Thank you for reading and writing back!

Jim

THE U2 EXPERIENCE

October 26, 2009

I wanted the next LiveWorks Newsletter to focus on marketing but needed a little inspiration.  It came in the form of a radio commercial for U2.  What caught my attention was that it didn’t sound like one produced by our business.  It sounded professional.  Then I realized that’s because it was paid for by Wal-Mart…to me that’s actually a good thing.  And then I read what Lefsetz wrote on U2 last night and I was a bit bummed http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2009/10/25/u2-360/.  Is Bob for the tour and U2 or not?

Back to the ad…it was just awesome.  What I got out of it was that the biggest band in the world was coming to down…they had new music…a new album @ Wal-Mart…and of course the “360 Tour“.  It sounded exciting, like you needed to be a part.  It was the U2 Experience!

For years I’ve harped on marketing the concert experience versus tickets going on-sale on a day and time.  U2’s tour is called 360 so right away you get a sense of what you are in for.  The radio spot comes on and envelopes you in U2 music, the band’s show and tour, the new album, and where you can get it (available at Wal-Mart).  The Lefsetz Letter’s opening last night almost took all the wind out of my sails as he pointed out that the biggest news on the U2 tour was the stage.  This is great!

With U2 360, you know you are in for an experience.  I love U2 and have since I saw them in high school when they played for free at SUNY Albany.  Now I love their marketing.  They know how to connect the dots.  Do you?  If you aren’t sure, let me recommend someone who does. 

Years ago, I had the good fortune of working with Jolene Pellant while she was a VP of Marketing for what was then Clear Channel Entertainment.  She had passion, knowledge, tenacity and relationships.  Jolene was willing to go the extra mile.  Cut to this past spring.  We needed help with the marketing around The Great American Food & Music Fest.  We needed a quarterback.  I called Jolene who now runs a company called “Yes Dear” with her partner Mike Gormley.  Within days everything was organized and all pistons firing at the same time.  The Fest had a well-organized plan that was implemented step-by-step by Yes Dear along with our “Best in the Business” PR team, Elaine Garza and Jada Williams from Giant Noise

So, here is three pieces of advice.

  1. If your marketing needs help call Yes Dear @ (310) 203-9007 and speak with Jolene or Mike
  2. Need the best PR people for festivals and events, call Giant Noise @ (512) 382-9017
  3. If you are a U2 fan, go see U2…if you can afford to

Don’t forget that if you have any plans to go to Aspen Live (Dec. 10-12) this year, I really need to hear from you soon.  jim@theagencygroupevents.com or (310) 385-2800.

Speak with you soon…

Jim

CLUB PASSPORT UPDATES…

September 20, 2009

It is good to know that all of you are alive and well.  The last LiveWorks Newsletter on Live Nation’s new Passport got a lot of you writing… whether it by email or Facebook.  In that time, I’ve learned a lot.  First from our friends Debbie Speer at Pollstar and Jim Steen from Live Nation who informed me that I had it wrong on the number of venues in each market that are participating.  It is all Live Nation clubs (and some small theatres), not one per city.  Then came the rest…

Going back to the last LiveWorks Newsletter https://liveworksnews.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/livenations-passport/ again, we talked about our conversations at the Aspen Live Conference (this year’s dates are Dec. 10-12 @ the St. Regis, Aspen…please call (310) 385-2800 and ask for Jim for more info) regarding “Season Passes” at clubs to help grow developing artists.  More specifically, the problems agents and managers might have with this concept.  Well, look no further than the Live Nation’s website for your answers. 

For instance, take LA where I live.  The Wiltern Theatre has 28-shows remaining this year according the calendar on their website.  Of those, Club Passports can only be used at three; Billy Squier, Enanitos Verdes, and Moby.  The House of Blues Sunset’s percentage is better.  According to their website, of the 25-shows (excluding Sunday Gospel Brunches) remaining on their schedule, the Club Passport is good for 9.  But before you get too gitty, the “new music” fans will be discovering include Better Than Ezra, Dinosaur Jr., The Sippy Cups (guessing this is either a kid’s group or a new fad from The Hills), and K.C. & The Sunshine Band.  Looks like not too many managers or agents bought into the concept of having the Club Passports competing against their artist’s hard tickets.  I’m not sure what’s going on in the real world, but many of you wrote screaming foul and pointing at Live Nation.  Is it really them?

I’m going to stay out on my limb and continue to say that no matter what, Live Nation’s Club Passport is good for our business.  If it does nothing but generates publicity for Live Nation, that’s still drawing attention to Live Entertainment and Branded Live Entertainment. It still gets a dialogue going about concerts.  How about a few more of you sign-on with Live Nation’s program and see where it gets you?  What are you doing to help after all? 

It is time to innovate…and I for one think we should start with our marketing!  Who is going to have the first TV or Radio spot that looks and sounds like those of “national brands”?  When are we going to see our industry take a serious look at communicating with consumers?  Not talking at them but with them.

Let’s get a movement going!  It can start at our next “Dinner Club”.  The summer is just about officially over now and it is time to get to work.  How about Wednesday, October 7th for our next Dinner Club meetings?  For those who have never been, it is time you came.  Put the date in your calendar and stay tuned for the times and locations in your city (some locations may choose a different date too) or area.  It isn’t so much about dinner as it is drinks and socializing.  Sharing ideas face-to-face.  You know, LIVE!!!

Till then…speak with you soon…

Jim

2 CENTS ON LEFSETZ/CONCERT STUFF

August 7, 2009

The idea of the last LiveWorks Newsletter https://liveworksnews.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/innovation-wins-every-time/ was to point out how innovators like C3, Goldenvoice/AEG Live, Superfly/Ashley Capps/Coran Capshaw, CAA, William Morris, Madison House…and Kevin Lyman have changed the landscape of the U.S. Concert Business through their festival development…and challenges the rest of us to try to live-up to their example.  So when I first saw a few jumping on Kid Rock’s bandwagon to tear Kevin down (in my mind Rock was the only one who should have been dissing and even he admits that he likes Kevin), my blood pressure started rising fast (those of you who know me have seen that before).  But then…Lefsetz http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/ started posting the flood (only way to describe it) of support for Kevin Lyman.

It was heartwarming to see so many bands, managers, agents, promoters, sponsors, fans…everyone say WE LOVE KEVIN… AND THIS IS WHY vs. ARTHUR FOGEL IS A LIAR (which we still saw too much of).  Here are some facts to chew on…

1) The U2 tour is doing very well whether you like their new album or not.  They are an amazing live band, always do groundbreaking production,  and unless you are in the box office counting the drop every-night, you shouldn’t be commenting on other’s ticket sales (unless you are Bob Lefsetz as he is our business’s commentator and conscious…and the reason we have these dialogues in the first place).

2) A new trend the business is seeing, and adapting to as much as possible is seating preferences.  P1 seats continue to sell in this economy.  So do P3’s and beyond.  P2’s not so much.  What you might see in a stadium concert is a show that is 98% sold-out and still has an empty section that looks like it is down-front. Just because the promoter/building/band wants to fill it in, doesn’t mean the show didn’t make money, and most of the capacity sold.  Maybe I’m totally wrong, but if you don’t know for sure, don’t call someone a liar!

3) Like the Festival Producers listed above,Arthur Fogel has changed our industry.  Bono and Madonna think he is the rock star!  He basically owns the top of the box score artists.  If you are talking shit about
Arthur, you are just jealous or pissed!  Me, I would rather do business with him than not. 

4) In case you haven’t noticed over the past couple of days, The Lefsetz Letter has us all talking.  Managers, agents, promoters, lawyers, business managers, label people, sponsors, fans, even rock stars (although I’m not sure if Madonna knows that Bob actually types on a computer and doesn’t write with a pen…but even she is talking about his fishing tackle).  Ok, so he doesn’t always get the facts perfect…but I don’t think that’s the point.  Bob, like the rest of us wants to see change for the positive.  Sometimes he needs to say things in a certain way to piss people off and get them talking (he never told me that but I’m guessing it is the case). 

With the way the world sits right now, our business should be pulling together instead of knocking each other down.  We should be encouraging Kevin Lyman and those like him to continue to innovate and create new vehicles.  It was awesome the way everyone wrote to Bob to tell “Kevin stories”.  We should all encourage and take part in the fun debate that happens as part of the Lefsetz Letter.  We should do the same for anyone who is trying to make a difference!

Hope you have a great weekend…and sell tickets (instead of giving them away)!

Speak with you soon…

Jim