Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Many musicians are upset that DovBear has a blog and they don't.

One after another, their comments are appearing beneath my posts, instructing me to "shut up" and so on. The reason for their ire? They think I am "dumping on them."

But am I? I don't think so. I merely said that any salesman who makes a deep concession on price should expect the customer to doubt the product. A musician, who doubles as his own salesman, seemed oblivious to this simple fact of marketing and was surprised -insulted, even - when a prospective customer was tentative about hiring him after a price reduction of $700. Now, other musicians are using my blog to defend the musician cum salesman's error, and to hurl insults at me, the gentle, sweet-souled blogger who revealed it. I wish they'd register with Blogger, and boil the invective on their own blogs, but traffic is traffic I guess.

Oh, yes, I suppose I did make things a bit worse when I said "most Jewish wedding music is bland and boring, in other words generic. And if you've been to the supermarket, you know the generic brands command the lowest prices and the least respect. "But isn't there something true about this, too?

If Jewish wedding bands weren't interchangeable they would compete on quality, instead of price. Upscale brands, like Rolex. refuse to compete on price. they compete on quality. If Jewish wedding bands are competing on price, it means only that there is nothing distinctive or "upscale" about their work.


PsychoToddler said...

So much for "nothing further today"

Jack Steiner said...

I know all about the argument of not competing on price, trying to claim to hold the value that merits a higher price. And sometimes there is truth to it, but not always.

Sometimes you lower your price because you can see an opportunity for volume. For example, you could sell the service at $2000 and get a one time deal.

Or you could drop it to $1,500 and sign 6 deals. That is a huge difference and not indicative of a question of value.

It is not always about being the low priced leader or the high-end hermit.

DovBear said...

Jack, you're right, if we're discussing strategy, but I don't think we are (at least not in my second point above). We're discussing the state of the Jewish wedding music industry. If they are all choosing to compete on price, it means they can't compete on quality. And if they can't compete on quality, it means they're all the same.

Jack Steiner said...

That is just one aspect of the Jewish music industry. Join the apikorusim.

PsychoToddler said...

There are many reasons why they may be able to undercut the big bands. If they are new, or not well known, then they are competing with heavy hitters and have to offer a discount. More likely they can charge less because there are less hands reaching for a slice of the pie, ie no home office, health care, union dues, etc. None of that has to do with quality.

As far as originality goes, people don't want to hire original. They want to hear what they know and what everyone else has at their wedding.

Originality doesn't make money. I can confirm that from personal experience.

If you want to play music for art's sake, that's great. Someone needs to do it. Just don't quit your day job.

PsychoToddler said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DovBear said...

PT, if a small band with no overhead could compete with the big shop on quality, (ie: go to a customer and say, with credibility, "hire us, because we are better,") why in the world would they use the price argument (and say, "hire us because we're 20 percent cheaper")??

If they could make the first argument credibly, they'd make more money!! But they can't make that argument, which is why they compete on price.

PsychoToddler said...

Many times it comes down to name brand recognition. If you have a choice of a name that's well known, vs a relative unknown, and they're the same price, why not go with the name brand? Why not buy a Cadillac instead of something my brotherinlaw put together? It's an uphill fight, and until you can build your own name recognition, you can't charge the same.

DovBear said...

Nonsense. New luxury brands are launched all the time. Success doesn't happen overnight, of course, but it never arrives if you insist on defining yourself as "the band that charges less" rather than "the band that plays better music."

Even Cadilac offers discounts occaisonally, but Cadillac never competes on price. They compete on quality; as a result Cadilac is a valuable brand that commands a higher price.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Psychotoddler. Dovbear, maybe this guy who has this idea of playing for a cheaper price from a marketing perspective it may be a good idea.
I don't think you should be comparing him to other big name brands. In order to make yourself known, if you give them a good deal at a lower price, they may be receptive to the idea. Then once you become more popular, then you can offer yourself at the standard rate. Now, THAT'S marketing!

DovBear said...

No, that isn't marketing. That's selling. (and the worst kind of selling, too) I'd explain the difference between marketing and selling but my sense is you have not finished high school, let alone business school.

Anonymous said...

Dovbear, Put a sock in it, I was probably finished high school before you crawled. All I'm saying is, and I've said it before. You AREN'T a musician and therefore even though you claim marketing expertise, if you had to compete with the THOUSANDS of jewish bands out there as a musician, you wouldn't be talking like this.
Fact is, most musicians feel overworked and underpaid, no matter how much they charge.

DovBear said...

How about this. Let me manage your little band for one year. Put me in charge of marketing (not selling, marketing. You'll still need to do your own selling.) and if, after one year, you aren't making more money and working fewer hours I'll eat that sock.

And yes, if you agree to this deal, I'll explain the difference between marketing and selling.

Anonymous said...

No thanks, I think I will pass. But the sock offer still stands if you want to take me up on it. I feel again if you were on the "front lines" as we musicians are, directly dealing with clients who claim poverty, yet hold lavish affairs. You claim to be able to differentiate between marketing and selling. Tell me sir, What is marketing? You are selling something to a customer that you feel is worth their while to take a look at.
Even after all your song and dance with advertisements, demo cd's and hearing you live, the client has a myriad of choices. So, as simple as you make it sound for me to hire you and my troubles will be over, I think I will pass on your proposal and do things the good ol' fashion way. In terms of marketing, I will be having my own website being done professionally with videos and sound clips for people to listen to..hows that for marketing!

DovBear said...

I feel again if you were on the "front lines" as we musicians are, directly dealing with clients who claim poverty, yet hold lavish affairs.::

I do not understand this sentance. It starts but doesn't finish. What are you trying to say?

:You claim to be able to differentiate between marketing and selling. Tell me sir, What is marketing? You are selling something to a customer that you feel is worth their while to take a look at.:

No, that isn't marketing. That is selling.
Marketing is the planning and execution of a collection of things - the whole package, or mix - that affect sales results. There are three broad areas: Pricing, Product, and Promotions. Your website, which I am sure will suck, is one small sliver of "promotions." It's part of the marketing mix, certainly, but not all of it. And if you do it poorly, you might as well not bother.

Anonymous said...

Fine, you say whatever you want. My website is gonna suck? you don't have a CLUE whats its gonna be like, but you insist on being right all the time, always berating those who you feel know less than you. Take a good look around you hotshot, you aren't the smartest guy around, and if you were you wouldn't be bothering slamminging other people on a blog, instead you can go around to business and sell your so-called "services" to them. Noone can hear you here, and even if they do, you can be alot more effective griping in a magazine or place where people actually CARE what you think in the dillusional world you seem to live in where everything goes your way.

DovBear said...

I am succesful at business and blogging, thanks.

DovBear is a hobby and a diversion. I do it for fun. But you don't sound like you're having fun. That's too bad. Maybe you should take some time off and see if you can't track down your sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

I do have a sense of humor. In fact, most things I take very lightly. But, I do take my music very seriously, and that is something I pride myself on. I have fun with it, but I work very hard to satisfy my clientele whatever it takes. I apologize if I gave you the impression that I'm a kurmudgeon because I'm not.
I've gone through a loss of employment, divorce, and had to start all over again, but am very happy with what Hashem has given me.
So, please don't judge me, because as you can see I've been through alot, but have made for myself a better life. I do appreciate alot of the things you have to offer on your blog, but some things just came to close to heart, I'm sure you understand, so I apologize if I was hard on you.

DovBear said...

You are probably a good musician. That was never in question.

We were talking about marketing and the fact that all Jewish wedding bands sound the same and occupy the same space.

Here's a tip: Differentiate yourself! (And not by charging less.)

Anonymous said...

Good advice, I plan to follow up on that. A Freilichin Chanukah Dovbear!

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