My Brother, My Brother And Me: MBMBaM 446: Face 2 Face: The Cupture
February 13, 2019 5:00 AM - Subscribe

Here's our live show, presented before a profoundly rowdy Birmingham audience, in which sensitive issues are discussed. Drink deeply of this episode, lapping its precious nutrients out of the palm of our upturned hands.
posted by Tevin (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I was here! It was a super fun night. The MBMBAM portion was shorter than I thought -- I'd always figured live shows ran long and they edited out the filler -- but it was rounded out by Warm-up segments for Sawbones (Justin and Sydnee talk Alabama medical history) and Shmanners (Travis and Teresa explore the history of "sir" and "ma'am").

(Also, we as an audience were privileged to enjoy one of the last great "69" jokes before Trump ruined them.)
posted by Rhaomi at 11:50 PM on February 13, 2019

How full up is an audience that's 69% full?

I have no sense for things like this. Is that a pretty successful show? Or pretty unsuccessful one? Or middle of the road?
posted by meese at 7:53 AM on February 14, 2019

> How full up is an audience that's 69% full?

Not full? I think MBMBAM shows in larger metro areas sell out very quickly. The 69% thing is just a way of making the lemonade from lemons or whatnot.
posted by tjgrathwell at 1:17 PM on February 14, 2019

On the flip side of them selling out metros fast, they also sometimes move shows to larger venues to accommodate more people when they sell out, so it could be that.
posted by neonrev at 4:02 PM on February 14, 2019

The general rule I was taught was to budget at 66% full house so 69% should make some money but not a lot.
posted by Uncle at 4:22 PM on February 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

It remains a mystery to me how anyone makes money touring for small crowds. When you account for the house's cut, the costs for travel and lodging, the costs for paying crew, how is there enough left over that you can split three ways and looks like an honest wage? And then one of my favorite bands has like 9 people in it, and routinely plays for crowds of less than 300. How is it anything but a labor of love at that point? How have they kept up touring like that for over a decade?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:38 PM on February 14, 2019

The Alabama Theater seats 2500, which works out to 1725 tickets sold (nice). Ticket prices were ~$35 plus fees IIRC, add in merch sales and it'd be around $65K gross before expenses for a 2 ½ hour show.

I can't imagine it's that expensive of a production to mount, though -- just permutations of six family members at a plastic table with basic lighting, mics, and riffing on crowdsourced content. I can recall precisely one stagehand setting things up before it started, so it definitely seemed pretty minimalist in that respect.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:54 PM on February 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Keeping in mind that about 10 percent of the ticket sales goes to a booking fee, you pay the venue expenses (typically somewhere between 3 and 5k), and your promoter takes about 10 percent of whatever is left over, that size audience is likely to make them somewhere around $35-40k, based on extremely fast back of the envelope math.

Playing for 300 people won't get you a profit, but when you can pull somewhere around 2,000 you can start seeing enough money for it to be worthwhile, even when you're splitting it with the expanded McElroy clan.
posted by maxsparber at 11:55 AM on February 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

And since their opening acts are their wives they aren't really splitting it too much.
posted by bleep at 8:39 AM on February 18, 2019

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