Is there any business like show?

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One of the many things that emerging performers are not usually taught when they are in training is the deal that lies at the heart of the business. Performers sell their services to promoters and others on that side of the business. The promoters are mainly interested in putting bums on seats, since this is the way that they make money. This observation might come across as banal and obvious, but it would amaze many folks who are not involved in the arts or show business to discover the number of misunderstandings that can emerge as a result of artists not understanding this very simple fact.

Some performers spend a considerable number of years working as side men or women. They either become very comfortable in those roles, or they get employed by a well established organisation that has the infrastructure to take care of business matters. Then they realise at a certain point on their journeys that they want to lead things. They have artistic visions that they would like to see being materialised.

In many cases, these artistes don’t understand that they are starting all over again in a sense. They need to develop the muscles and flair for delivering projects as leaders. Part of that process involves making an effort to get audiences to buy tickets or other products and merchandise.

The pulling power of an artist does not always have much to do with their skill in their art form. In genres such as Classical music or Jazz, one would expect a certain level of proficiency in an artist’s craft before they would be regarded as worthy of the attention, but there are many factors that can contribute one way or another to attracting audiences.

It makes sense that promoters and their organisations are likely to have more time for the geese that lay the golden eggs than they might have for artists with different interests. Perhaps the business would be easier for everyone if the facts of life were spelt out in no uncertain terms to artists at every stage of their careers.

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