Is Google Holding You Back?

A man wearing fluorescent colored clothing puts a 1980's - 1990's cellular brick phone into his fanny pack, representing state of the art style and technology for that time. Detail shot; horizontal with pink background.

After an unrelenting holiday season that goes from October to Jan 2…with demanding party hosts, constant staff changes due to a germ-filled December, late nights, entitled guests, grateful guests, and nonnnnnnn-stop Christmas music…January is finally here.

I used to think that January was the most boring month of the year, after 3 months of holiday buzz and sugar highs… until I started using that coldest month to reset, recalibrate, and prepare for the year ahead.  Now I look forward to it. I crave it.  I started new challenges, (goodbye sugar! Hello 30 days of yoga!) and started looking at what I was doing in my life that could be easier, bring more joy, and of course, of course! put more money back in my pocket.young man reclining on couch, watching computer wrapped up in cords with pizza on floor. Looks like he's been there a while.

So, if you’re ready to ring in the new year binge-ing on Netflix with your couch – good! You deserve it! The independent live music Venues of America are essentially the main source for bringing good cheer to all – and it’s hard work.  Innnnnddduuuuulllllgge.

After recuperating, the next natural thing is to review the past year and see how you can make this one better.

  • How will this year be different from the last?young man holding watering can, pouring over a model of a house with dollar signs falling out of the can. He looks calm.
  • What do you want to accomplish?

Whatever fulfilling goals you
want to achieve, at their base, most goals benefit from:  1. More time 2. More money.

Live music venues are the beating heart of every city, they’re essential. If you have regular live music, then one of the most time consuming parts of your job is likely dealing with live music.  Everything from the booking to the production, the technology, the people, the managers, the payment, etc.

And, the slide into all-consuming-cobbled-together-google-systems happens more quickly than most realize. 

What systems are live music venues using?

We estimate that:

  • 90% of Venues use some combination of Google calendar/Google Docs and messaging (email/DMs/text)
  • 5% use some other booking tool (we know of only one that costs over $400/mo per Venue that requires CONSTANT manual entry) or bespoke custom-created software
  • 5% use a mix of a handwritten calendar, texting and/or memory.

Because there has never been a good booking system before, everyone has to make up their own.  Until now.

These numbers show that thousands of people are wasting hours in their day. Why? Because Google never once considered the nation’s independent live music Venues when building their calendar or Google docs system. They made a generic system that requires people to be systems geniuses AND spend 25-30% of their time on manual entry….essentially descending them into the 5th level of copy/paste hell.

I’m a Google suite subscriber, myself, so… no hard feelings against the Google Gods that run so much in our country. (Google if you’re watching me, and I know you are, I love you very much.)

Something to consider:  All signs are pointing to a bigger-than-ever year for live music…and since the most time-consuming part of this business IS the music and the management surrounding it, that means that any inefficiencies in your current system (ie: manual entry, copy/pasting, one person who knows everything and then gets sick or leaves…etc.) will be magnified as well, and much more painful. But, when you’re in the thick of things, it will be much harder to change.

But, we believe it should be easier, so we designed a system that allows:

  • creatives to be CREATIVE
  • production people to focus on the minute details that make a good production
  • owners/GMs to have full visibility and control, no matter who comes and goes on the team
  • marketing to get what they need without waiting
  • the booker, the musician, and the team to ALWAYS be on the same page

…no lengthy setup and no project management degree required.

Here’s what AmptUp can do, that even the most well-worn Google systems can’t:

  • Set up an entire professional-level booking system in 15 min or less.
  • Track the status of each booking (approved, changes requested, declined) on your dashboard.
  • Create a single source of truth, update in one place only (for your team AND the Musicians).
  • Book each band in 3 minutes (instead of 3 weeks)
  • Autoflow booking details straight into the calendar
  • Automatically receive Musician marketing assets with every booking confirmation.
  • Eliminate the back-and-forth with Musicians
  • Auto-generate a printable run of show (no data entry needed)
  • Calculate and communicate the sell-out potential (without a spreadsheet)

…all while booking any band you want.

See how it works here. 

So… what? No more Google? 😢

But, if so many people are using Google (myself included), when does it work well?

Like in many parts of the business, you use specific tools for a specific function; the problem occurs for Venues when they try to use gcal/gsuite for all of the functions.

Gcal/Gsuite is great for writing up ideas in a document and collaborating, it’s also great for staff schedules, however most servers don’t use Gsuite to take orders and pass them to the kitchen or close out tabs, and accountants typically turn to quickbooks instead of a Gsheet.

In the same vein, Bookers at independent live music Venues across America are turning to AmptUp to make booking faster, easier, and error free. 

What is AmptUp?

AmptUp is the online booking tool that supports independent music Venues and helps them streamline booking, saving literal hours every week. Whether Musicians contact you, or you find them, with AmptUp you can:

  • Send and finalize booking offers FAST – 3 min. instead of 3 weeks.
  • Reduce the email overwhelm
  • Give Musicians everything they need automatically
  • Create a single source of truth for your team and the Musicians’
  • Get Musician assets WHEN the show is booked
Book fast and clear with AmptUp, so you can focus on promoting the show or running the business.

Make Merry: Stress-Free Venue Management this Holiday Season

white woman overwhelmed during holidays

The holidays are for you too.  Yes, You are the Merry-MAKERS, but you should also be able to make merry yourself – here’s how to do that without the stress. 

With the long hours of December holiday events, the short hours of daylight, and the beginning of sick season where our immune system is unprepared for the onslaught of germs headed our way, you’ve got to be prepared. 

If there was any time in the year to take a few minutes to prepare…that time is now.  Here are a few tips to make this holiday season bright and well, easy…ahem easier.

1.     Get some help early. 

Take a minute – literally just 2-3 minutes – to look back on previous years.

  • Where are the points of stress you experienced?

  • Was there a certain group, or type of group (ie: corporate parties, rehearsal dinners?) that caused more stress?

  • Did you notice more stress around a certain date, or with certain aspects of your life (ie: parental duties or gift buying?)?

Notice when, where, who, and WHY that stress accumulated and start making plans.  Most importantly, line up some help. 

To start: Warn people now! Let people around you know your observations to help them understand the pressures that are coming, and ask for their ideas.

Second:  Ask for help.  Your staff will likely be maxxed out as well, so take a look at your non-staff supports (or staff with minimal duties).  Go to them.  That can be as simple as asking your spouse, a business partner, or your kids to take on a few specific duties.

START REDUCING STRESS – CHECK LIST: write down one time or area that you remember feeling stressed or overworked last year – what is one way you, or a helper, can reduce the burden?

2.     Identify and reduce tension points.

Since your staff may be stretched to the max, and working with lower staff counts as flu season ramps up, where and when do tensions arise between staff or from customers:

a.     Team satisfaction?

b.     Customer complaints on food quality? Speed? Friendliness?

c.     Do certain things get overlooked, like basic maintenance and cleanup, during the busy holiday season? 

One common stress point is having lower staff when someone is out. Before you get too far into December, prioritize your back up plan. The last thing you want is to be short staffed due to illness during a money-making private event.  Invite 2-4 of them to a 1-2 hr training to ensure they can jump in when needed.  This minor cost will pay you back 10 fold. Questions to ask:

d.     Who is your back up team? 

e.     Are their old employees who have moved on, or friends of employees who might be able to fill in last minute? 

START REDUCING STRESS – CHECK LIST: Find your back-up team, contact them, make sure they are trained.

3.     Make sure basic maintenance is not overlooked when staff and resources are stretched thin.  

Accountability is key when things get busy. Go old school and print out a checklist (or hang a white board) of critical items and when they need to be accomplished (pre-open, at closing), with a place for the responsible person to mark their INITIALS. Initialling is an important sign of accountability. If you don’t already do this, now is a good time to start. 

Start as early as possible to ensure habits and processes are in place when needed.

If time is limited, focus on the elements that will most effect customers, ie: 

a.     Who takes out the trash?

b.     Who checks bathrooms, and how many times during open hours?

c.     Who breaks down any custom installations and puts away furniture?

d.     Who tidies up the main areas? (ie: fallen branches or blown-in trash from last night’s wind storm)

e.     Who makes sure walkways are de-iced, safe, and well lit?

START REDUCING STRESS – CHECK LIST: Create a simple check-list and post it in staff areas; discuss it at your next staff meeting. 

4.     Give yourself extra hours in the week by managing live music shows with AmptUp. 

We all know and love Google docs/cal, but it has serious limitations for putting on a show. Most importantly, it requires you to copy/paste, upload, and input constantly to make it function for live music booking. And of course, that increases human errors on both sides (double bookings, confusion on pricing, etc.). 

Get hours back every week with these time-savers:

a.     Put show details in once in AmptUp, and let it flow in where it’s needed automatically.

b.     Automatically receive marketing assets, every time a Musician approves a show.

c.     Give Musicians everything they need, so you’re not answering repetitive questions before the show. 

d.     Give your team everything they need so you’re not uploading, emailing, and updating multiple people each time…especially for last minute changes 

e.     Track the status (and details) of ALL bookings in a single dashboard, so you’re not looking through email threads to get answers.

f.      Automatically download the run-of-show, instead of building spreadsheets.

START REDUCING STRESS – CHECK LIST:  Email the booking link to your marketing or sound people where they can download what they need (marketing photos? Stage plots?). Click “Download Run of Show”, print it, and tape it to the wall or hand it out if needed – for the less tech savvy team members.

What is AmptUp?

AmptUp is the online booking tool that supports independent music Venues and helps them streamline booking, saving literal hours every week. Whether Musicians contact you, or you find them, with AmptUp you can:

  • Send and finalize booking offers FAST – 3 min. instead of 3 weeks.
  • Reduce the email overwhelm
  • Give Musicians everything they need automatically
  • Create a single source of truth for your team and the Musicians’
  • Get Musician assets WHEN the show is booked
Book fast and clear with AmptUp, so you can focus on promoting the show or running the business.
Schedule a demo here.