Choosing a Convo Artist

You may be wondering how UPB chose Third Eye Blind, Wiz Khalifa, Gloriana, or New
Boyz to bring to the JMU campus, and what the decision making process is like. Seeing
how these shows were bigger shows brought to either Wilson or Convo, the
Center Stage Committee in UPB mainly dealt with booking these shows. Here’s a little
insight into how we pick the artists.

When Center Stage looks into choosing an artist, we first compare our budget price with
their asking price. The JMU Student Government Association regulates UPB’s budget,
therefore we have a limited amount of money to spend on each show, which includes
paying the artist, marketing for the show, paying for security, paying for lights and sounds and booking Wilson or Convo. We next look at
the artist’s touring dates to make sure it matches the time we want to bring them to JMU.
If an artist’s asking price is too high, and if they aren’t touring during the time we would
want them at JMU, we generally rule them out.

Based on those two requirements, we create a substantial list of artists that could possibly
come to JMU. Using this list, we create the student survey, which separates each artist
into different categories based on type of show (opener/headliner) and genre (hip-hop,
pop, country, etc.). Once the survey results come in, we use that data to determine what
genre and artists ranked the highest for the JMU population, and which artist(s) will
have the most success at JMU. We also take into consideration album release dates for
artists who are making (or will be making) big news around the time tickets are projected
to go on sale. For example, we chose to sign with Wiz Khalifa early in the semester
based on survey results and the fact that his album was being released soon. With proper
planning and marketing, Wiz Khalifa’s show was a huge hit on campus and tickets sold
out within 2 hours! After analyzing the survey results and seeing what ranks highest in
terms of genre and artist, we, as a committee, discuss who we think will have the greatest
success at JMU. Once we decide our top picks, we send our choices to our middle agent,
who deals directly with the artists and confirms the dates and sends them our bid (how
much we are willing to pay them). If our bid is too low for the artist, then we may or
may not raise it depending on our budget, or we may make a bid on another artist. If the
artist accepts our bid, then we sign a contract with them and begin brainstorming for
marketing.

As you can see, a lot of discussion, deliberation, and communication occurs before we
choose an artist to come to JMU. Our choices rely heavily on the student survey, so it’s
important for students to actively take the survey and think about what they want to see
come to JMU!

-Elaine Lichtman, Center Stage

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