May 2019 Chatter

Posted at 30/04/19 - 04:40 PM

I don’t know whether it is a coincidence, but over the last 6 months or so I have had conversations with a number of magicians who have been bemoaning the fact that the number of shows they are doing these days is less than they have had in previous years.

Often these magicians seem surprised at the downturn and have attempted to either come to terms with the new reality, or have wanted to understand what is causing the reduction in bookings in order to try and arrest the decline.

My feeling about this is that there may be a number of contributing factors coming together and causing this malaise. I certainly feel it’s unlikely that there is one simple, single cause, so when looking for an explanation we probably need to think widely about how things are generally at the moment. Here are some suggestions for what may be causing the downturn.

Economic Climate. In the UK the ongoing Brexit situation has caused a great deal of general uncertainty with the result that both individuals and companies are not planning with any conviction for the future. People may be worried about potentially losing their jobs if their employer moves abroad, and this has had a knock on effect in the housing market and elsewhere. Booking entertainers—always a luxury—may be suffering too from this situation.

Insufficient or Inappropriate Marketing. Getting to grips with the new reality with regards to show publicity has, I’m convinced, been a major reason that many performers are working less. These days the requirements for advertising your shows are quite complex, and in many ways specialised, and since most entertainers do their own publicity, I suspect their efforts are either a bit misplaced or are almost non-existent. Simply having a website will not work!

Outmoded Offering. Public tastes move on and change, of course, and it could be that the type of show we are offering is no longer the flavour of the month. I certainly feel this to be true of children’s entertainment. For over 40 years it was pretty much a given that young children would have a traditional party and that a magician would be required to provide some professional entertainment. Nowadays this is not so common as there are so many places offering party activity packages, that children’s workers are now often overlooked.

Increased Competition. With the amount of magic dealers now out there offering magic of all different types, it has never been easier for just about anyone to put together an act and start to offer their services for money. Magic is one of the easiest skills to master to a basic level, and those who see the fees that can be received for shows, are lured into trying to get some for themselves. This has led to  a race to the bottom in terms of fees as people reduce their prices in an attempt to get booked.

Natural Drop Off. Many of us get gigs either via a personal recommendation from someone who has already engaged us, or through someone who was actually present at a previous booking. The less shows you are doing, the less exposure you and your show are getting, which in turn means this source of potential show recruitment is having to be generated from a decreasing previous booking pool.

Author: Mark Leveridge

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