Here at SAMI we take a data driven approach to our mission to elevate the Springfield Music Scene to destination status. In the course of our work, a few things have become apparent:
- We have a wealth of fantastic bands and musicians!
- We have a great abundance of incredible venues!
- We DO NOT have a large enough market share of regular live music event attendees to support points 1 & 2.
On a given weekend we keep an eye on approximate draw for live music events (of which we average close to 30 per weekend, with big weekends easily getting into the 40+ range,) and we average somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 regular event attendees. That’s about 1 percent of Springfield’s population regularly attending live music events. A Big part of our mission then MUST be to endeavor to grow that number.
It quickly became apparent to us that while we do need to focus on converting those that “AREN’T” interested in attending live music events… there is already a huge market share of people the ARE interested in attending live music events, but dont. The reasons they don’t run a gamut, but essentially boil down to this fact:
WE HAVEN’T MADE SPACE FOR THEM IN OUR TRADITIONAL MUSICAL SPACES.
Who is this magical market share of ready made attendees? It’s simple, think about who would not feel safe or comfortable attending a live music event on their own, and there is your answer.
- People of Color
- Our LGBTQ siblings
- Differently Abled folks
- The elderly
- Folk’s whose sobriety is threatened by our traditional musical spaces
So, we end up with a whole subset of under-served communities who would be likely to attend our events if they were safe, comfortable, and allowed.
The plan to exploit that opportunity...
- The objective is simple in it’s design, but turns out to be relatively complex in its execution.
MAKE SPACE FOR UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES IN OUR TRADITIONAL MUSICAL SPACES.
Sounds simple right? But here’s the rub. We as an industry have largely written off these communities. Our venue staff can be less than accommodating, our bands and musician’s rarely make a point of seeking out and attempting to appeal to those audiences, and frankly… they dont trust us to care about their safety or their comfort. NOR SHOULD THEY.
- Women are routinely victimized and objectified at shows (with several bands and venues incorporating that objectification into their promotional material.)
- Staff are also known to “look the other way” when harassment is taking place, especially if the harasser is a “regular.”
- There are confirmed instances of venue staff “outing” trans women, and making fun of and bullying our lgbtq siblings.
- ADA accommodations are often an afterthought, and only implemented to ensure compliance, if at all.
- Most venues have almost nothing to offer folk’s whose sobriety is at risk, other than soda.
- Most venues cannot or will not allow minors entry, and when they do, they face the same problem those who are struggling to maintain their sobriety face… limited or no options for refreshment other than a soda.
We could go on with all the hurdles we face when it comes to earning back that trust, but we would rather focus on solutions. First, and foremost, we must acknowledge that winning over that market share will be a two way street…
So, with the opportunity (not enough demand to support the market,) and one solution (win back an entire market segment we’ve largely written off,) in front of us we can really zero in on ways to address the problem.
- Develop a program to increase sensitivity and awareness of the needs of that market within our venues and bands.
- Actively court that market where they are, and attempt to win back their trust.
SAMI is doing both of those things with our #makespace program.
We have been fortunate enough to be able to hire and deploy musicians to go and play in non traditional spaces to #makespace for live music where those markets are at. To date, we’ve hosted several events, including playing for the elderly at Elfendale retirement center,
and playing for the youth at the GLO center, and at the NOVA discovery center for autism awareness.
This hits multiple objectives in our mission:
- We are creating opportunities for our musical community to be seen as the harbingers of goodwill and community spirit that we all know they are.
- We are seizing the opportunity to lead by example and provide equitable pay to musicians for their skilled labor.
- We are developing a network of contacts within the communities we seek to win back to our traditional musical spaces.
- And we are opening up new markets for live music performances.
Additionally we are planning a #makespace summit for later in the year. We will invite all venue owners, band leaders, managers and promoters. We will assemble a panel of representatives specifically from those markets we are hoping to win back, and have them present a de-facto “list of demands.” Essentially, they will lay out exactly what steps we as an industry need to take to win back their trust and attendance. We will also provide all attendees with literature on how to incorporate those demands into their training practices, their promotional material, and their overall policy and business plan going forward.
If you would like to sponsor a performance or our #makespace summit please contact us, donate directly or consider becoming a sustained supporter.