Explore the Links Between Commercial Factors and Production ValuesIntroWithin this case study I will portray the way that Commercial Factors and Production Values are linked, by showing two events that in some ways are very similar, yet in some ways are the polar opposite. These two events will include a renowned punk band playing one of London’s biggest venues, and an up and coming female punk band playing a free EP release show. We will discuss how these two events relate, and how they differ in terms of why they exist and what they aim to achieve. One is purely commercial and exists to make money, whereas the other is free and benefits the exposure of the band.What are Commercial Factors?Commercial Factors are the elements of a live event that contribute to making money. There are a multitude of avenues pursued in order to make money, which vary from each live event. Commercial Factors for a live event could include4:Ticket sales MerchandiseSponsorshipsFood and DrinkVIP Tickets A Commercial Event is engaged in commerce and has the purpose of creating a profit. It is an event that is marketed/sold, and involves a financial transaction.
In this case, Green Day at Hyde Park is definitely a commercial event. Ticket sales ranged from £70-£120, and it had a capacity of 65,000. If we go with the minimum amount price paid for tickets, £70, that ammasses to £4,550,000. Liquor at Birthdays is a non-commercial event. It was a free-entry event, and any financial sales would have been on food/drink/merchandise. Any money made by Liquor would likely be likely be fed back into travel for the performers, merchandise/music creation, and food and drink for the performers.What are Production Values?The Production Values are the combined efforts that contribute to increase the overall quality of a live event. This can be demonstrated within the quality of the lighting, sound, AV, pyro, set, etc.
and can also be shown within the overall experience for those attending the live show. Production Values can rely drastically on the financial constraints of a live event. In order for good production values to be met, you will normally have to have a fairly substantial budget. For example, Green Day at Hyde Park would have a considerably larger budget than that of Liquor at Birthdays, Stoke Newington.
The funds fed into the Hyde Park show would be invested into the best possible equipment, the best location, the best staff, the best promotion and so on. Whereas a small show at Birthdays, Stoke Newington could have average equipment, a smaller amount of staff, less promotion and have fewer amenities than that of an 65,000 capacity show. Event VS Event – compare and contrastLiquor at Birthdays, Stoke NewingtonEvent: Liquor at Birthdays, Stoke NewingtonDate: Thursday 28th December, 2017Ticket price: Free AdmissionEstimated ticket sales: Not ApplicableCapacity: 100Accessibility: Disabled entrance, no disabled toilets on the ground floor.Liquor played a show at Birthdays, an independent bar and venue, on the 28th December, 2017. This show attracted around 100 people.
Liquor are a 5-Piece punk band from Brighton, and have recently released their first EP ‘Wonder’ on Revulva Records. As Liquor are an extremely new band, they have not created a huge fan base as of yet – this means that at present, the individuals they are attracting to their shows will be some of the first fans that they will have as a band. LGBTQ+ and feminism are at the forefront of the majority of their music, meaning that their ideal demographic will probably be towards 16-30 year old individuals, possibly within the LGBTQ+ community.
b. Green Day at Hyde Park FestivalEvent: Green Day at Hyde Park Date: Saturday 1st July, 2017Capacity: 65,000Ticket Price: £70 General Admission 2£120 VIPEstimated ticket sales profit: £4,550,000Accessibility: Disabled area, disabled entrance, disabled parking, charging points for power-chairs, BSL (British Sign Language) interpreter, lower counter for box-office, viewing platforms, accessible toilets, area for service dogs.Green Day played a show at Hyde Park, London on the 1st July, 2017. They have been one of the most prolific live punk acts over the last 20 years, and have amassed an enormous fan base over that time. Since 1990 they have released 9 LP’s. Hyde Park is host to the British Summer Time festival held every summer.
As Green Day have been a band for over twenty years, their demographic reach is extremely diverse. As people have been regularly seeing Green Day over the last twenty years, they have gained a large amount of people who will attend every single Green Day show when they are in their city. This means that they will be used to, and expect, very high production values. With a guaranteed large audience, this means that every aspect of commercialism at the show will be well catered to – for example, the passionate fans will likely pick up an item of merchandise whilst at the show. This show drew in around capacity of 65,000 people.When Green Day started twenty years ago, they played venues similar to the size of Birthdays. Due to their prolific status and their massive fanbase that they have accumulated over the past 20 years, their Commercial value has continued to increase over the years. In 1991, Green Day played their first ever UK show within Top Spot Snooker Club in Huddersfield, England.
First hand accounts say that they played to around 50-100 people – around the same capacity to that of Liquor. On talking about this show, Billie Joe Armstrong (lead singer), was quoted to say “Billie Joe Armstrong: “The first British shows we played were at a snooker pub and a place called Rail in London, which used to be some sort of train station. Fortunately, we’re always able to adapt to any atmosphere or any number of people, even today. We never contracted arena-itis!”1 Green Day’s first London show was at The Rails – a venue that is no longer in use, built into Euston Station. This venue’s capacity was roughly 100 people, and would have probably attracted around the same amount of people as Liquor at Birthdays. At this show, Billie Joe personally sold copies of their newest LP, Kerplunk. (“Bought Kerplunk from Billie Joe as the band were selling the album on the stairs.”3) Similarly, members of Liquor sold their brand new EP after their set had finished.
These first shows were Green Day’s first attempts to grow a fanbase within the United Kingdom, and have people drawn into their band. There is nothing to say that Liquor will not fall into the same footsteps as Green Day, and in 20 years be playing shows to 65,000 people.Do Commercial Factors and Production Values affect the success of a live event?The Commercial Factors within a live event can contribute to creating the necessary funds for the various avenues that make production values successful.In terms of Liquor’s show, their objective was to hold an event that would attract fans to their band, and also showcase some of the songs from their debut EP. This is entirely attainable, even if you don’t have the best/most expensive equipment.
Of course, if they had a huge budget, the show may have had overall larger success, but when it comes down to the solid foundations of a good live show, the budget does not determine the success. If you had a band that can’t play their instruments well, or have a show where the Front of House poorly mixes the sound, then that would contribute to the show being of poor quality. Although, if Liquor had a bigger budget, this could allow Liquor to play at bigger, more accessible venues, with better promotion and equipment, and will diversify their audience further.There is also the concept that small-venues do have a huge appeal among some individuals.
The more intimate setting is simply something that they prefer.Abundant commercialism in a live event can sometimes detract from the whole point – the music. When you are trying to watch a band but are continually asked to buy merchandise or food/drink, it can become starkly evident when it comes down to it, on paper, you are simply a figure of money. You have been drawn to this show, purely for the means of making a profit, and not just to enjoy a set from your favourite band.
This can cause a slight complex surrounding the money side of things, including ‘Would the band be doing this if it weren’t for the money?’ This message can make people feel slightly disillusioned towards the whole idea of what live music means. With the subtraction of profits and subsidized events, you are left with one thing: authentic music, with no other aims than sharing art and having a good time.This is not to say that all commercialised music doesn’t stand for true, authentic experiences. Commercial Factors and Production Values only stand to increase profitability if they are in support of performers who are talented, professional, and continue to uphold the values of their core fanbase.
What is Good Production Values and what is not?Production Values tend to be perspective based. What are good production values for some, may be bad production values for others. They are also completely relative – for example, within the right context, a few Marshall amps would be entirely suitable for Birthdays, but not for Hyde Park.
Pyro and fireworks would be amazing for production value at Hyde Park, but not necessarily within a small indoor venue. Liquor’s show was free entry. The only commercial element of the show was the sale of merchandise. In terms of live music, a non-commercial event is described as having a planned attendance/capacity of 500.
Liquor’s show at Birthday’s therefore constitutes this style of event and it was necessary in their case to put on a low-cost production. This, however, is not to their detriment.Liquor’s show used basic lighting, along with fairy lights strung up in the background in order to dress the stage nicely. This is an example on how you can aesthetically make a production look as if it has a higher budget than it actually does.Green Day, who are not so affected by budget, have been catering to their fans for years and have tried and tested production values such as dynamic backdrops, intricate light shows and pyrotechnics that are guaranteed crowd pleasers. This is excellent production value. Poor production value might include a set or lighting choice that is “off-brand” for their audience or unsuitable for the venue. For example, at Hyde Park you could create the most breathtaking ensemble, but it would be largely disappointing for the people in the back if you didn’t have large monitors projecting what’s happening on stage.
PromotionLiquor’s EP release at Birthdays, Stoke Newington on 28th December 2017 was announced roughly two weeks prior to the event. This was a stand alone show to celebrate the release of their newest EP, ‘Wonder.’ This show was free to the public. This ensured that the event was accessible to both their existing fans and target audience. Culturally, Liquor have a background of radical feminist politics and are highly invested in giving back to a community who may or may not have a lot of money. The themes of their music are largely representative of LGBTQ+ ideas that are underrepresented in the music industry and therefore there is always demand for bands like this. Aesthetically, they harp back to the Riot Grrl movement of the 90s that was visually soft-focused and featured minimal stage lighting.
A larger scale production would not be in keeping with this movement and may actually result in excluding a lot of their fanbase should commercial factors skyrocket in price. There was a large amount of social media promotion from all members of the band. An event was made on Facebook, and everyone on each of their Friend’s list was invited. This style of self-promotion is common with relatively unknown bands in the DIY scene. As a result, they amassed an attendance of 100+ people.Green Day’s show at Hyde Park was announced on the 4th October, 2016, approximately nine months prior to the date of the show.
There was a large social media campaign made by a large number of different groups – including ticket sales websites, the band itself and British Summer Time festival. Alongside this, both television and radio adverts were frequently played, from around a few months prior. It was important that this event was announced long in advance so that the venue could be filled. Although Green Day are now an example of a mainstream punk band, their roots are firmly situated in small room venues and bars. Their aesthetic has remained very consistent throughout years of touring and so have their fans, who largely uphold the core values of the political punk scene. They are nostalgic to their old fans and aspirational for their newer fans.
A massive benefit of Green Day being unencumbered by budget is that their music reaches far outside of the USA where they were realised as a band. They have the ability to tour on a global scale and can perform for fans all over the world. This is, of course, the optimum way in which you can repay fans who have supported you by buying your music and merchandise, but who may not have the means to travel to see a band who are unable to tour outside of their own continent or country due to money restraints. With an event the scale of Green Day at Hyde Park, the style of promotion applies a lot of pressure on the fans to not miss out, rather than just selling enough tickets to make a profit. This is accomplished through their consistently successful driving of commercial factors and excellent production value. The promotion of live events is integral to the audience that attends the show, and without a substantial audience, who are considered when designing marketing campaigns, the amount of money made in the event will drastically decrease.
For example, the chances of merchandise sales will decrease as there will be nobody there to buy the merchandise. Therefore, the better the promotion, the greater the turn out. 8. Is it possible to have good production values on a low budgetGood Production Values tend to go hand and hand with the presence of a higher budget. But, this does not go to say that it is unattainable to achieve good production values on a budget. Low budgets can create a sense of community, wherein everyone within the band and their acquaintances pitches in to raise money, share equipment and bring the gig to fruition They creatively compensate for what they lack in funds.Generally, you will always see a positive correlation between successful commercial factors and the quality of a production, however..
.Prod values = experienceReferences1 Greendayauthority.com. (2018). Green Day in Huddersfield, England – Dec 09, 1991. online Available at: http://www.greendayauthority.
com/tour/show/1738/ Accessed 18 Jan. 2018.2 Greendayauthority.com. (2018). Green Day in London, England – Dec 19, 1991.
online Available at: http://www.greendayauthority.com/tour/show/1739/ Accessed 18 Jan. 2018.3 The Ticket Factory.
(2018). Green Day Tickets | Hyde Park, London | The Ticket Factory. online Available at: https://www.theticketfactory.com/default/online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=bst-hyde-park/green-day/ Accessed 18 Jan.