Music Biz 101 & More is the only FREE advice talk show in America broadcast & podcast on college radio that focuses on the business side of the music & entertainment worlds. Hosted by William Paterson University’s Dr. Stephen Marcone & Professor David Philp, the show airs each Wednesday at 8pm on WPSC-FM, Brave New Radio.
Cutting Room Owner Steve Walter – Music Biz 101 & More: The Podcast
In this episode of the Music Biz 101 & More radio show, The Cutting Room owner Steve Walter describes the costs of running a venue in New York City, both personal and financial, how he books acts for the room, changes in the NYC live scene, and more. Why listen to this particular show? Here’s a reason:
@MusicBiz101WP finding gigs in New York is such a pain. Tonight’s radio show is so informative. Just what i need.
— timadsongs (@FDiakitef) April 9, 2015
Browse through our recap below and listen to the podcast at the bottom of the page.
Your Intro Theme: The Ally Mac Project – “The World Is Ours”
Don’t forget you can scroll all the way to the bottom of the page for another chance to listen to the podcast!
We make introductions in the beginning and Marcone talks about THIS EPISODE of the show which he missed because he was “on assignment.” We also introduce our producer, Phillip Gorokhovsky, and student co-host for the show, Jess Frank. We praise George Dassinger, PR Guru, for a moment because George brought us Steve Walter, our guest for the night (literally, George drove him out to Wayne, NJ).
At 4:35, Doc Marcone begins with the questions, asking Steve Walter about the “eclectic mix” of music that he books for The Cutting Room.
At 6:45, Walter talks about how bands and agents reach out to him to play at his venue. Then Mr. Walter describes the look and size of The Cutting Room (it was originally a lingerie factory in 1918).
Professor Dave asks Steve about the pitch that’s used to sell the venue to consumers at 9:00. Why would anybody want to see a show there? And who is their client/customer. He talks about how the nightlife in NYC and which timeslots are most popular (8PM vs. 10PM). Then he speaks about his competition.
At 15 minutes, Steve talks about the ownership structure of the club, including the actor Chris Noth (Sex And The City, Law & Order). He then discusses the importance of a room’s sound engineer vs. the sound engineer a band brings with them when on tour.
Around the 17-minute mark, he talks about the hours he puts in (90 hours a week) and the passion needed in order to succeed running a club in New York City. Philp asks about life balance – has Steve been married? Does he have a “life” outside of the club? “There’s a lot of stress,” he says around 20 minutes in. This leads to his talking about why The Cutting Room is such a great place for musicians to play.
Dave asks how he met his investors at 22:40. Steve talks about the importance of having enough capital to run a club. He says a good business plan is important. He fell into the gig and he talks about how he went from zero to sixty with his learning curve. ________________________________________________________________________________________________
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________________________________________________________________________________________________ The question of the Day from Marcone comes at 25:00. “I’m an original artist and I want to play at the venue. How do I go about it?”
You have to constantly reinvent, constantly change, or you’ll become a museum.
If you’re listening at 27 minutes in, you’ll hear about the importance of creativity when running a venue. Then we take a quick break. Go get some high-fiber chips and come right back. ________________________________________________________________________________________________
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________________________________________________________________________________________________ 28:59 on the dot: Listen to Tim Gysin’s jingle for this awesome Music Biz 101 & More radio show/podcast. Thank you, Tim. You are loved deeply and severely. That’s a good thing. Then we come back with Ally Mac at 29:49 and begin talking more music business stuff with The Cutting Room’s Steve Walter. We discuss more about finding silent investors to help support a venue financially. “You have to talk to a lot of people,” he says.
At 33:22, Philp asks about Steve’s budget to pay the performance rights organizations. Philp follows that up with a question about corporate sponsorship (they have a Stratocaster Bar). Jess Frank asks about the age of bands and patrons at the club at 36:30ish. Then she follows up asking about the importance of location when choosing a space to start a venue. Around 41:30, we read our first tweet of the night:
“If people aren’t eating and drinking, I’m losing a lot of money,” Steve says around 43:50. He had just spoken about the myth of the cover charge and the costs it actually covers for a club owner.
We talk about building The Cutting Room brand at 45:55, especially in comparison to the old CBGB’s. Opening a club in NYC vs. LA is next.
The next tweet comes in at 48:45:
@MusicBiz101WP How were you able to book the SiriusXM Radio private event with Howard Stern, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Idina Menzel, etc?
— Valerie Marie (@ValerieEarp) April 8, 2015
Listen in the 50-minute mark to hear all about the minutia one wouldn’t think about when opening a club, from exit lighting to permits to “use groups” of what kind of establishment you’re opening. When they moved The Cutting Room from its old location to its current location, it took them four years because of so many details.
Philp asks about the door split between artist and club at 52:45. National acts will get a guarantee. Marcone asks if The Cutting Room takes part of the merch. Steve Walter says no.
At 54:13, Philp the kind professor asks Steve how he determines in advance if a particular show will make money and be worth booking. Listen to this, because you learn more about how to get into the mind of the customer. For example, if the show has patrons standing, it changes the dynamic of the show, the experience, and how much money a show can bring in.
The thanks pour in beginning at 56:11. Did you know George Dassinger, the PR man, brought his Media Use in the Music & Entertainment Industry class to watch and listen to the show? It’s true. Here’s proof:
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- Karl Guthrie – Entertainment Attorney Extraordinaire
- Dr. Rob Quicke – Founder of World College Radio Day
- Dr. E. Michael Harrington – Copyright/Intellectual Property Expert
- George Dassinger – PR Guru (that means Expert)
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- Dr. Dave Demsey – Coordinator Jazz Studies Program, William Paterson University
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Jane Stein – Performing Arts Presenter, William Paterson University
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- Howard Freeman – Executive Producer Quick Chek NJ Festival of Ballooning & Rock, Ribs, & Ridges Festival
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- Ron Bienstock – Music Business Attorney
- Rob Fusari – 2-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer
- Al Cohen – Founder, ACM Records
- Jim Neglia – Personnel Manager, NJ Symphony Orchestra
- Lauren Marsh – Independent Artist
- Rosie Lopez – President, Tommy Boy Entertainment
- Adam Kornfeld – Booking/Talent Agent, AGI (Artist Group International)
- Harry Weinger – Universal Music Enterprises & 2-time Grammy winner
- James Donio – President, Music Business Association
- Zach Matari/Enki Bello – DIY Artists & Future Stars
- Michael Kurtz – Co-Founder Record Store Day
- Angelo Badalamenti – Film & Television Soundtrack Composer
- Josh Bernstein – Alternative Press Music Awards Show Producer
- Jerry Lembo – Music Business Consultant
Thanks for listening and, as always, Adios!