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Here at Get Sad Y'all, we thought it would be a great idea to interview numerous people in various aspects of the music industry to serve as guides for those that might want to pursue a career.Thoseinterviewscan be found here.
AL: I usually start my day around 6 am with checking emails. I work on booking, promo, and general venue operations tasks until around 4 pm. I take a little bit of a “break” and work another 3-6 hours after that.
How did you get on the path to becoming a venue owner? What made you want to become one?
AL: The first time I went to The Metro in Chicago when I was 10 years old, I knew I wanted to be in a place like that forever. At the time, I didn’t know owning a venue was the answer, but from then on, I was always around live music and musicians. I started working internships and part time gigs at record labels, distributors, and venues. By the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to operate my own venue. All of my jobs, schooling, and free time was geared towards this goal. I also started doing work in live theater operations and festival operations, which really helped me learn to prioritize the customer experience. Making a big ass to do list and scratching things off that list is what got me to my goal.
What is something you've learned about running a venue over time that you wish you had known from the start?
AL: Talent doesn’t always equate to people showing up. I’ve had and continue to have heartbreaking nights where few people show up to see these incredible musicians. Just recently I had a multi-Grammy winner perform to 25 people.
Where should someone looking to run their own venue start their career path?
AL: A small venue lives and dies by bar sales. At the end of the year, we lose ALOT of money on music in hopes to make it up at the bar. Know the bar business because margins in live music venues are scary thin.
What are three key things that someone looking to run their own venue should know?
Know your numbers.
Stay true to your venue priorities. For me, the live music experience is king and everything we do orbits around it.
Be flexible and stay humble.
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