More and more people are getting interested in providing shared space for musicians. Warning–musicians don’t have any money so do it for the passion and people because your road to success won’t be paved in dollar bills!
Cohere Bandwidth has been open for almost exactly a year so we did a little number crunching. Lessons:
-I vastly OVERESTIMATED our sales in months 3-12. Like by an embarrassing amount. Needless to say, it’s going to take us a minute to be able to actually pay our own bills. Cohere the coworking space is footing the bill for Bandwidth right now and somehow still making a small profit as a whole.
-We learned that musicians are desperate for community. Unfortunately, our space is so automated to save money that we lose out on spontaneous interactions but are going to try harder to bring that through events. We found a cool partner who is doing videos of band’s gear. Musicians LOVE gear. They love looking at it, learning about it, tinkering with it…so we’re going to capitalize on that next year.
-I learned that ALL the skills of a good community manager flow right over from coworking to musicians. Help people, teach them things, connect them to one another. It’s always effective.
-We have had ZERO incidents of damage, theft and fucktardery, which I find heartwarming and hilarious because EVERY nay-sayer when we were opening said, “but what if the bands trash the place?!” Every time something has broken, Shane gets a text within the hour. We usually split the cost of the repair or use our warranty. This reinforces the idea that if you give people shit, they treat it like shit. If you give people something lovely (and make them pay a little to use it) they will take care of it. We did lose a microphone for 2 weeks once but it turns out that it rolled under a piece of equipment.
-Shane is my general manager and he is a drummer and musician and he is absolutely VITAL to Bandwidth’s success. Most of our new bands get to us by texting Shane because they know him. He’s super knowledgeable about all things bands need to know. We’d be sunk if we were relying on me for this part of it.
-I sing the praises of our automated systems every hour. Between Woo Commerce, Woo Bookings, Zapier and google we save about 10 hours of staff time every week OR MORE as we only staff Bandwidth for a band’s first rehearsal and even then for maybe the first 45 minutes. After that, all our bands are left to their own (and our) devices to manage their reservations, door codes/access and practices. If we weren’t automated, I don’t think we could afford to be on this earth.
I have more lessons than this but I want to go home and nap before Cohere social event tonight
Here is the link to the numbers http://coherebandwidth.com/blog/cohere-bandwidth-a-practice-spaces-first-year-in-review/