I was going through the forums at AcaNetwork [Great network, email me to get in], and a topic piqued my interest. There was/is a discussion centering around whether there could ever be a millionaire artist originating in the church of Christ. Well, my first thought was of course, what about Brandy? Okay, seriously, my thought was, there is always that possibility, and then, my immediate thought led me to research [that’s just what we do here].
Well, first a quick lesson in Marketing:
The first thing you’re taught in business school, or even high school marketing classes for that matter is the Marketing Mix; Product, Price, Place & Promotion. Now, for the purposes of this article, we’re going to just assume that all things are equal here, that being, the artist is of magnificent quality, that the overall market can bare another music artist, and that there is indeed an audience for said artist.
I previously brought up the idea of the Marketing Mix because there is an inherent lacking in one area that would prohibit the millionaire artist idea; Place. Place, that is, the proper distribution channels necessary to accommodate demand for the product being offered. Once a clear barrier for any artist outside of the industry model, now not so much. But, once again, for the purposes of this posting, I’ll assume that this could be worked out.
So, you want to be a millionaire Christian acappella music artist? Well, let’s play with some semantic ideals first. Let’s assume:
- This entire journey is going to take place as a mechanism for one album – We’re not counting cumulative success, nor are we looking at the basis of longevity.
- The Million Dollars is Gross – I think it gets confusing when we start looking at the US Tax Code, or if we look at post expense net capital functions [see, that already sounds drawn out]
- We’re looking at a single artist – Groups are great, but a little research will uncover the fact that in gospel music the biggest acts are solo artists who generally hire local nightly talent while touring.
There are so many that assume that the road to a million dollars is going to come by selling a million albums. Not Gonna Happen. The reality is that the road to building a million is going to begin with an immaculately planned strategic ground game, meaning, there is going to have to be, somewhere in your organization, an immensely talented marketing strategist working in the background along with a worldclass support team.
Alright, let’s get to it.
More realistic is thinking plan first. There are fifty states in the continental United states, but we’re only going to work with 40 of them. Any 40, you pick. Now, in each state we’re going to concentrate on selling 1000 albums which is going to give us a total sold of 40,000 albums sold. Now, if we look at the going rate in the church of Christ of $15.00, the, let’s look at the numbers:
40,000 albums sold x $15.00 = $600,000.00
Well, we’re already 60% of the way there. This is all assuming that you hit your maximum amount sold in every state. In every state you would have had to have sold 1000 cd’s.
$1,000,000 – $600,000= $400,000 remaining
Now, this is where the real work begins. Remember, we’re looking to build this million with this one album campaign, so, we need to create supplemental income around the album. The most likely route is the touring route. The idea here is to be proactive and plan the concerts yourself, controlling the gate and setting your own revenue model.
For this model, we’ll suppose that, of the 1000 in each state who purchased the album, around 56% end up attending the concert.
1000 x 55.56% = 555 attendees
Now, it doesn’t matter how the 555 get broken down, be it 2, 3, or 100 concerts in each state, but, the price must be set at a constant $15.00 rate. At this rate we’ll be looking at a gate of $8,325 in each state.
555 attendees x $15.00 admission= $8325.00
Quantify this in the 40 states and it adds up rather quickly.
$8325.00 (gate) x 40 states = $330,000
Now, if we’ve been good stewards and haven’t been dipping into the cookie jar, you should have a substantial amount of income from album sales and touring.
$600,000 (album sales) + $330,000 (touring)= $933,000.00 gross
Okay, so now we’re at $933,000 with a somewhat modest base (by general standards) of 40,000 fans. Let’s see where we’re at on the road to millionairedom [new word!]
$1,000,000.00 – $933,000.00 = $67,000.00
With $67,000.00 left to accumulate on the road to millionaire status, merchandise is the most viable route and also the one least sought after in the real market of Christian acappella music. Sure, every artist puts out the $15 cd, and everyone goes out on the road, but, how many actually have extension items [souvenirs] ready for distribution? Looking back at our concert formula with 555 attendees in each state, we need only 66 of those to purchase a souvenir t-shirt at the ever modest rate of $15.00 each.
$15.00 T-shirt cost x 66 purchasers = $990.00
We can expect to generate $990.00 in each state we tour in, but remember, we’re quantifying this by the 40 states we tour in.
$990.00 shirt revenue x 40 = $39,600.00
After we add these numbers up, we are now even closer to achieving our stated goal.
$933,000.00 gross + $39,600 added revenue= $972,600.00
And then we subtract….
$1,000,000.00 – $972,600.00 = $27,400
27,400! This is where it get’s kind of interesting. Why? simply put, if we were to reverse things and follow the current standard of pressing a thousand albums and selling them at the standard rate of $15, and if we did a concert say, every other weekend, covering costs and taking home a tad less than $500 for each show, then this is the number we’d be looking at come years end, and in truth, this is more realistic than the million dollar number, but, since we’re here to build a model, let’s look at the last component.
With 27k and change left to generate, we look to the time tested tradition of the poster. I mean, when I was a kid I had nothing but Four Christian Stars posters in room, but then again, I got them for free and i generally drew on the back of them. But, for most people, the Poster is a great way to commemorate the experience.
At the current industry rate, we’re going to say that 18% of all concert attendees will purchase a poster, or about 100 in each state. If we set the price at a very marginally sound $6.00, then we can expect about $600 at each location. Once again, we’re looking to quantify here, so..
100 sold x $6.00= $600.00 x 40 (states)= $24,000
$972,600.00 current gross + $24,000= $996,600.00
And Furthermore, The remaining amount.//
$1,000,000 – $996,600.00= $3,400.00
Money left on the table
Well, we end with $3,400.00 needing to be accumulated. Why haven’t I build a function to gain this money? I think we should leave a little amount that would most likely be gained through appearance fees or some other function not seen here. One would have to suggest that If you came this close to $1 million dollars in a year, that you would probably end up finding a bevy of ways to accumulate other revenues, be it through the sale of ringtones, of through licensing or publishing, or most likely through extended album sales.
So, what have we learned throughout this whole thing? Well, the question of whether it can happen is an astounding yes. The more realistic question is whether it would happen given the fact that it hasn’t been done. The more appropriate question, even still, is whether there will be an artist who will take the time and effort to actually attempt to build a grassroots effort that would bring any legitimate amount of success?
What Do You Think?
Okay, the last week found us in Nashville, Tennessee for the first leg of the Power of One Tour, sponsored in part by NACAMA. It was an exceptionally great concert, with Durant, Straight Company, The Committed Acappella Chorus, Southside Singers, C3, and Dorian Paul Williams. We got there Saturday morning after taking a 5:45 am flight out of Fort Lauderdale and made it there in time to get to the hotel and rest up a bit before the events of the day.
Overall, It was a great trip that allowed us to see the premier talent that will most likely fill the matinee shows at CAMA 2010. On another front, the decision was made to limit our marketing efforts to 2 separate advertisements in the Southeastern Lectureship booklet, as we won’t have anyone from our contingency in attendance. This gives us a little more time to fine tune our collateral that we will most likely try and distribute at the Northside Church of Christ Homecoming in November.
Early production work has begun on the Official CAMA podcast which should coincide with the debut of our new website in early November.
We’ve reached a general milestone in the planning of the 2010 show – our 6 week planning progress stop. Quite a lot has happened in the last 6 weeks as far as the planning for CAMA is concerned. In addition, we’ve made some great strides when it comes to the overall strategic push we look forward to readying for next month.
In terms of task planning, there have been quite a few stops along the way for us when looking a what exactly we are going to undergo first.
In terms of developing a true operations strategy, we’ve decided to develop a few RFP’s to deliver in the next month or so. When completed, we looked to try to contract for a show producer, a vendor relations manager, as well as a printer.
In the short term, there is the Power of One concert that we should be attending on the 26th of this month, as well as the Southeastern Lectureship that should have representation.
Until then, Good Times!
And so, the dog days of summer are nearing a close, and that means that we’ll be in full-scale working mode in the next few weeks. Until then, however, we’ve begun looking at various projects to take on while we are planning our Fall/Winter marketing rollout.
A couple of drafted Ads were submitted this week to the Southeastern Lectureship, happening next month in Valdosta, Georgia. Plans are also being finalized for the printing of simple promotional pieces. I’m beginning to work on developing our color scheme and possibly a logo set for the CAMA 10 show that will coincide with the website. But, we’ll see. In the mean time, I am planning to continue to develop the master list of committees and projects that need to begin coming together.
In last week’s post, I ran down the list of accomplishments for the week, looking at the things we had begun to do in the planning of the 2010 Christian Acappella Music Awards. This week, I figured I’d write about the things we didn’t quite get a handle on, and our ability to reconcile those problems that are seemingly on the horizon.
In terms of show planning there is generally a sense of wanting to simply take the formula that worked and duplicate that over and over again. The shows in 2006 and 2008 were overwhelming successes in terms of planning and execution, and so there is that desire to place the same emphasis on those things that worked for us. The main problems with doing so are 1. The Logistics suggest that we’re playing with a different beast in Atlanta, and, most importantly 2. Show #10 has to be our best. I state point number two, not because it’s seems over the top, but because there really is no room for a slip up in planning or executing CAMA 2010. It really does need to be our best program.
I’ve begun to dissect the map of Georgia [click graphic to enlarge], breaking down every one of the 159 counties and developing a strategy for marketing in those areas that have the highest concentration of congregations. I plan to develop similar maps of Florida and Tennessee, though those will be secondary to the Georgia map and rely primarily on information that I already have stored. In the past 6 months I’ve been able to collect an extensive amount of information on churches in the South and Northeast regions of the United States and hopefully this will suit us in our future planning.
Now, going forward, there is a need to begin looking at the management of the promotions at The Southeastern Lectureship as well as some local marketing opportunities in Jacksonville in November and other concerts in the northern part of Florida. As I continue to develop the protocol for submissions for 2010, I already know that there will be 30 categories in 2010, including the Rubal Lifetime Achievement Award, Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year. Outside of those, I think every other category is in play at this point as we look at the best fits for 2010.
As I continue to redevelop the new Media guides for 2010, here are the guides from 2006-2008. They’re in PDF Format, for easy downloading
In addition, I also produced a first edition music ministry guide on the behalf of NACAMA that was not released. We decided to continue developing material and produce a greater volume. But here is what was created.
At the close of the week, I figured I’d post some sort of update on the status of the 2010 Christian Acappella Music Awards. The past 2 weeks have been very productive in terms of overall strategic development.
In short, the following are what have been accomplished this week:
- We’ve secured the site for the 2010 show, and, in addition have also worked out plans to have a backup site in the event that we need extra seating.
- The Hotel contract has been signed. The event will be held at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
- A Tentative weekend event schedule has been written, and a more substantial event schedule is currently being produced.
- We’ve begun mapping out our marketing strategy for the weekend.
- We’ve decided that 2010 CAMA Marketing campaign will debut at the Southeastern Lectureship in this October.
In addition to those things, I began looking at a pretty simple pricing strategy, based on single priced tickets and tiered pricing for various dates of tickets purchased. Just like 2008 where we gradually raised the price of tickets as the year went on, I think a similar strategy will work fine on 2010. The one major concern will be the distribution and the processing of ticket orders in 2010, but we’re still a few months away from that being the major issue going forward.
Overall, I feel that we’re off to a pretty decent start. Seeing that we have a little more than 14 months to plan and manage the entire weekend, I like where we stand today. The next week will see hopefully a couple of things occur, namely, our first drafts of the advertising for the ’10 show [’10 just doesn’t feel the same as perhaps a ’09, or an ’08… Oh well] as well as a possible reworked pricing structure for the entire event.
I am working on revised copy of the CAMA Media Guide with information from the ’08 show reflected, and this should be completed by Tuesday at the latest, in addition to a couple of changes to the official site before we totally redesign in for November, ’09. So, we should be busy for a few weeks until we get the committees together who will work on the show. Until then, God Bless.
Well, It’s October 9th and I am finished with the CAMA nominations listing, i’m finished with ’08 show script skeleton, I’m finished with the CAMA Performance list, and I’m finished with the master planning grid. So, what now?
As the title implies, I think it’s time to move in a new direction. I can’t say right now, but I believe it’s time for a significant change in the way I do things. I’ve been reading a lot lately about time management and i’ve been wanting to delve a little into the design of a personal planning system for myself.
Hopefully I can begin some work on new projects and follow that well into December post-CAMA as I look at Law schools.
Good Times //