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Posts Tagged ‘live music’

I do a lot of hosting for live music in Second Life, and last night got paid a really great compliment by the singer’s manager. She said “Thank you Sapphire for being an AWESOME host, you totally made this an awesome experience”. The way that made me feel proves that compliments really are even better than lindens!

So I thought I’d write a bit about hosting in SL – what the job entails, and how to be good at it. Or at least, how I do it!

Exactly what a host does depends on the venue. I send notices to two groups before the event, and group IMs to them when the even starts and 15 minutes in. At some venues I’m in charge of doing the event listing on the SL website, putting the artist’s stream in, and turning rezzing on and off so they can rezz their tip jars and fan boards.

After that, the main job of the host is greeting people by name as they arrive, and making them feel welcome. Tell them things like where the dance balls are, or invite them to grab a seat and get comfy, and if they’re newbies sometimes offer help like how to use a dance ball, or make sure their sound is on! It also involves reminding people to tip the artist and venue – often enough to get the tips flowing, but not so often as to be annoying. You might also tell them how to get a songlist and make requests, join the artist’s fangroup or the venue group, and let them know what other events are coming up as the event you’re hosting nears its end.

It’s pretty similar for a club event, except there you’re encouraging tips to the DJ, and might also be telling people how to join a contest or something like that.

Whatever the event, the most important things are being friendly, and responding to the crowd. If people don’t want to chat, there’s no point trying to force it, but you can still encourage some interaction by saying when something’s one of your favourite songs, or complimenting someone on their outfit, or whatever. If the chat is flowing fast and free, join in! And match the mood of the audience in tone.

Some hosts use a lot of gestures for welcoming people, encouraging tipping, etc. I don’t like them so much. They’re very handy when there’s a lot of chat going on, to make things stand out, but they’re unnecessary when it’s quiet. Also, for live music I much prefer to mention the performer by name. So I tend to say things like:

Thanks everyone for coming to VENUE this evening to hear PERFORMER. And thanks for supporting live music on Second Life by tipping him/her generously in his/her tip jar by the stage!

I hope you’ve all been enjoying PERFORMER as much as I have today. Please don’t forget to show their tip jar some linden loving!

At some point I generally throw in and of course the venue and I appreciate your tipping generosity too.

And that’s about it. It’s more work than it sounds, especially if a lot of people are arriving and you’ve got major lag, but it can be a lot of fun (and you can make some decent tips from it!). All it really takes to do it well is to be friendly, welcoming, and interact with the performer or DJ and the crowd.

So, don’t forget to tip your hosts when they do a good job! 😀

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The Tipping Point

The music scene is on Second Life is bursting with activity, with a huge range of clubs and live music events on offer every day, some of them offering themed contests to draw in the crowds. Some performers pull in big fees, others do it just for the love and the tips. As one of my regular SL jobs is hosting these kind of events, I’ve grown curious about how people relate to money in Second Life, and what they consider a good tip. And a brief look around the SL blogs hasn’t found me any guides to “tipping etiquette”, so I thought I’d look at the issue a little here.

Tamra Sands and Zachh Cale
Tamra Sands and Zachh Cale performing live on Second Life

When I asked about this on Twitter, the average tipping amount seemed to be L$50 to L$100 with people repeating the tip for a song they really loved, or a particularly great performance (although most people replying were talking about DJs, rather than live performers). This is pretty much my standard tip too – but I also like to tip the host, and often throw in a bit to the venue, so my tips will often add up to maybe L$250 over a couple of hours.

That’s roughly a dollar. Now to me, L250 feels like a reasonably generous amount to spread around, but to someone who makes a good part of their living on SL (and yes, they exist!), that probably feels like almost nothing. If you’d give a dollar to a busker, why wouldn’t you give that to a live performer who you spend an hour enjoying in SL?

It’s hard to find an answer to that one, although of course most people seem to walk past buskers without even throwing them a quarter so I’m not sure the argument really holds! But most of us also just don’t consider spending lindens the exact equivalent of spending real money. If clothes and rent cost us what they cost in real life, no one would be on SL.

Getting big fees, big crowds, and big tips on SL depends on the same things it does in RL – having a sound that enough people want to hear, and promoting yourself well. But SL also makes a great venue for people who don’t care about that, and just want to perform to an audience, even if it’s only 15 people. Similarly, there are “pro” DJs, and then there are many more who do it just for the fun of it. On Twitter, mcgillivary told me “dj-ing is fun for me, I think any tip is ok – to be honest I dont even care for tips as long as I get some interaction going…”

And of course there are newbies who may be discovering SL music for the first time, and might have camped for a few hours just to get L$10. To them, that makes it a massive tip. I once got a $L1 tip from a newbie who said sorry, but that was 10% of what they had. To me that was great, because it meant they’d learned to tip hosts!

Since Solace Beach has the Solace Cove newbie orientation area, we get a lot of newbies, and hence our DJs and hosts get paid a basic rate because we know people coming to parties and trying to win $L100 contests aren’t going to have a lot of lindens to tip with. At live music events I find tips vary enormously. Some performers seem to attract crowds who tip frequently and generously, with others I get very little as a host, and the performers make around $L1000 in tips over the hour.

I also notice a wide range of tipping behaviour from the performance themselves towards hosts. Some remind the audience to tip the venue and/or host, some tip me 200L or so at the end of the show, one manager even regularly tips me 500L!

So really, there’s no such thing as the “right amount” to tip a musician or DJ on Second Life. Any tip shows appreciation, and what’s a tiny tip to one person may be all another person has. But I will say, tip your hosts too, hosting is a lot more work than people realize until they do it! 😉

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