Why Swing Dance Organizers Should Give Up DVDs
Since the beginning of the YouTube Era, as long as weekend recaps and contest DVDs have been available, dancers have complained for having to buy the DVDs. But is there anything behind the desire other than just the drive to see oneself immediately on the big screen, making fools of ourselves in front of tens of people? Is it better for organizers to make money off of these DVDs, or is it better to allow a free-for-all videotaping and subsequent YouTube fallout?
In the wake of this year’s ILHC videos and Yehoodi livecast (Full disclosure–I work for ILHC), the answer is obvious (In less than a week, Todd and Ramona’s routine had over 10,000 views). While making money off of a DVD often offsets the any losses of a moderately (or even well-attended) dance weekend, positives of allowing for personal video recording far outweigh the possible losses.
Allowing anyone to videotape at an event is a good thing?
Yes. Yes it is. For improving event turn-out, fostering community involvement, rewarding all competitors, increasing event loyalty, and of course, adding to the event’s bottom line.
Allowing Videotaping is a Good Investment
Possibly most important to events, I want to address the money problem. The single most consistent complaint I hear from organizers is: “but the DVD makes us a lot of money.”
Is a DVD a sound investment? Time to crunch some numbers.
Hang with me. If an event makes $70 off of every $100 DVD (with $30 in production overhead), then they are banking $7,000 if they sell 100 DVD sets. For organizers, this is no small chunk of change. It can close any gaps in moderate turn-outs, or help to pay for the thousands of hours they’ve put into the event. But, let’s think about the actual cost-benefit analysis.
DVDs are mainly a staple of Balboa events, so I am going to try and put them in perspective of what they could have if they followed the models of successful Lindy events like ILHC and ULHS.
If the biggest competitions who have the reputation of allowing video-taping (such as ILHC) get 15,000 views on their Balboa videos in a year then the best Balboa competitions (such as ABW) are missing out on this wonderful marketing option. By developing a culture of having videos up, ABW or EBC could at least get near 500 views or more per video, that’s five times the viewing potential of 100 DVDs. With an event price tag of $150, if only 10% of people who see the videos as a result to go to your event (ahem…EBC or ABW or [insert DVD dependant event here]), that’s the 50 new registrants who you need to achieve the $7,000 you were counting on from a DVD.
So: $70 x 100 DVDs = $7000
or: $150 x 50 new registrants= $7500
And imagine, if the same number of registrants as DVDs: 150 x 100 = $15,000
That’s half as many people registering as you’d need to buy the DVD! And, with 50-100 more people at your event, the floor is fuller, the classes are stronger, and you get a greater buzz, more competitors, and overall a better vibe, and possibly a spark of more loyal people for future events. Ultimately the “money” is better spent investing in registrants than producing a DVD, and by having videos online doing the work for you, then you can more easily achieve this goal.
And, this isn’t to say an organizer couldn’t also produce a DVD for class recaps, persay, but there are some other stumbling blocks there…
Out with the Old
From a technology standpoint, DVDs are becoming obsolete. Many computers don’t even build in DVD players anymore, and we are turning to outlets such as YouTube, Netflix and Hulu Plus for movies and shows. Why invest in an increasingly outdated technology?
At least for the near future, YouTube (and other video sharing sites) is invested in maintaining its users and library of videos for the long term. It will continue to grow more efficient and useful, while DVDs have reached the limits of their capacities.
Reinforcement vs. The Waiting Period
In the past few years, it has taken almost five months or more to receive DVDs from some Balboa dance events, far past the honeymoon phase of afterglow. This is a problem for organizers. Let’s take a look at what having the immediacy of YouTube can do for events.
1) Loyalty–The sooner an event video is up, the more likely it is to be seen and shared by more people. This increases the possibility of virality, solidifying psychological connection between the participants and event.
2) Immediacy rewards those who were at your event, and encourages others to want to be there. People have had YouTube viewing parties for events like ILHC concurrently with the contests, which has Patrick and Natasha furiously uploading videos nearly instantaneously. Again, this is a group of people watching your videos who couldn’t be there, wishing they could be, solidifying their passion to see the contests live in the future. To really “be there.” Take a look at Camp Hollywood. Half-way across the world, the Koreans were blogging the crap out of videos (along with Jerry Almonte, of Wandering and Pondering, among others). They gave a whole new level of visibility to the event, and they weren’t even there!
3) Social Media! If a video of a comp is uploaded within a week, people can share the videos on their personal blogs, Facebook, twitter feeds, Google Plus, and the next new-fangled whatchamacallit. DVDs do not allow for viral sharing. Obviously the more sharing that happens on the interwebs is positive for your view count and marketing to future participants. Social media of multiple videos keeps the event alive and fresh in the minds of an event’s potential registrants.
4) Ease: If you find a reliable source to record your event (such as PatrickAndNatasha), then ultimately it is low-involvement on your part to edit a video, and you can set expectations for when you want videos up by.
5) We love sharing videos of ourselves online. You can count on your participants to promote your event for you if you put up videos. More people who see and hear and watch things about your event=more people will come to your event, period. Events can harness this excitement through allowing videotaping during the weekend. That way people can continue sharing videos of the event throughout the year to keep it fresh in the minds of friends and possible participants.
YouTube Diagnostics: The Power of Statistics
By seeing which videos generate the most views, you can see how the general population is receiving your event. Do you need to post the video on Facebook again to get more views? Do you need to encourage friends to share with their friends? Jerry Almonte keeps a nice record of the trending videos each year, which includes a variety of events.
The Ultimate Lindy Hop Championships was the true trailblazer of the YouTube phenom. In 2006, with this video, ULHS videos changed the world, making ULHS the place where Lindy Hoppers had to be. I remember it. The pull was incredibly strong to go—all because of a YouTube video. When I saw the fast dancing competition, I shared it with every student and friend I could. It now has over a million views and inspired a movie reproduction in Toy Story 3.
ILHC and ESDC are newer events who have adopted this policy to tremendous viewing results. In less than a year (as of 7/31/12), the Champions Strictly Lindy Alone has had 117,000 views for ILHC. ILHC started small, but now sells out with over 800 dancers. This exponential growth is founded with a great team with a vision, but also from the library of hundreds of videos from the event, continuously shared and traded by dancers and enthusiasts.
Strong Community=More Participants
As a community of dancers, we don’t want to see just the 1st place dance, we want to see what was beat. We want the chance to make our own decisions about the aesthetics and techniques used. Some events, like All Bal Weekend, choose to only show the first placement. Ultimately, that practice holds the dance back. How?
1) Seeing more dancing begets more dancing. More innovation, more unique couples allow for a broader spectrum of dancing. More people might be inspired to start dancing Balboa if there were more videos of a range of couples.
2) Seeing only one facet or one placement (first at ABW for example) hastens the homogenization of our dance (as does only hiring the same set of instructors ever event…cough cough). Seeing only one output of dancing (such as the 1st place winners) limits the world to seeing only one facet of the beautiful dancing that happened over your weekend. And, without context, the dancing is less impressive.
3) Sharing videos is social. It’s an act of community. Commenting on videos and engaging with the art that someone has produced generates an important bonding part of our community. The video to Snowball from Lindy Focus is a prime example:
4) People feel rewarded for competing when they can watch themselves dance. By uploading videos of them competing (even in prelims), you as an organizer are encouraging them for their participation and courage to compete.
5) More videos of dancing allows for more means of inspiration, which then often turns into people wanting to be more invested in the dance, which means they are more likely to invest in coming to your event!
6) International folks have to pick and choose which events in the US they go to. In the world-wide recession, many of us are also in the same boat. Would you rather go to an event in a foreign country for which you’d seen videos, or one you’d seen nothing about?
Out with the Old, in with a New Hope
Dancers are incessantly connected. For better or worse, Facebook connects us all. YouTube is a staple of our community. YouTube builds visibility for the dance that we love, and though I’m not arguing that videos haven’t changed the way we think about the dance, hopefully allowing more videotaping will help build stronger, more rewarding events (and blog posts) for organizers and participants alike.
This is an open letter suggesting that all events allow for open-source videotaping.
Questions, comments? Please type away. There are so many things I didn’t get to say in this post, but I would welcome addenda.
23 thoughts on “Dance Dance YouTube Revolution”
Well, we will all find out what happens when ABW goes DVD free next year and allows video taping. 🙂
I like this comment a lot!!!!!!!! Excellent, Val!
Go Val! 😀
Does this include the video notebook as well? As a student, I would prefer to have a DVD or online access (paid) for class content. Seeing the instructors reviewing class content, professionally or semil-professionally recorded, is far more valuable than any video I can take of a peer or myself “reviewing” the class material. I still go back to DVDs from 2005 for inspiration.
As a competitor, however, I would like rapidly uploaded, single camera, full body, unedited (unless for some audio sync issues) of all completions during the event; much like Lindy Library or PatrickandNatasha do for ILHC. IMO, multiple camera angles edited together don’t offer much other than a “wow” factor.
Overall, I would like to see videos, whether DVD or online, be made available within a week or two of the event (max) to gain any value out of the class material or contest review in preparation for my next event.
I fail to see the correlation between a significant or even moderate uptick in attendance based solely on the number of views or number of videos made available publically. Most people base their event attendance decisions on whether or not their friends are going. If anything, public videos are great memory cues and reference material, while generating some excitement about an event, but it’s questionable how much that generates in new registrants.
As a marketing tool, events have been using highlight videos on YouTube for years. I’d be interested in hearing from promoters how that has helped new registrations, as opposed to traditional print and web media as well as word of mouth.
So happy ABW will be online next year! As international dancers we are strongly influenced by what we see, mostly on FB, and ABW hadn’t hit our radars before this year. Because we haven’t seen any footage it doesn’t inspire us to go.
I think it’s valuable to start with the goals you have, then find the tool that best fits. In the Mac vs. PC wars, it ultimately comes down to “What are you trying to accomplish” and picking the right tool. To date, neither a PC nor a Mac ever made me dinner.
I agree with many of the points you bring up in your blog, but I don’t think that open-recording is the only way to accomplish social sharing. For example, to rephrase, “something like Youtube” is a great tool to accomplish the goal of social sharing, whether it was a open-recording video or a paid videographer video.
There are positive goals that a typical DVD production includes which should be carried on in a transition to a new medium.
* Someone responsible for providing complete quality coverage of all events. This means the couple nobody knows in Jack & Jill, even if they dance bad. That couple after all, is a friend to many regardless of showmanship and by chance may have unique style.
* Organization of the multitude of video clips. Granted DVDs aren’t the best at this, but the producers endeavor to do this. Open recording by itself does not require organization.
There are goals that are not inherrent in the current DVD style production:
* Ensuring that each couple in an all-skate gets complete full-length multi-angle coverage. I dislike it when the final video cuts from one angle to another because the action is hard to follow, and often does not include any couple for the full duration of an all-skate. I equally dislike it when the “not wide enough wide-angle-lens” needs to pan a couple I am watching out of the picture. I’d rather be able to choose a full length video from any angle of any couple.
* And much of the content you posted already
We obviously have our current disconnects (often for good reasons):
* A DVD production could include full-length multi-angle videos. But they don’t.
* Youtube could have a better way to organize videos, even when the uploader doesn’t give a hoot about proper tagging or descriptions, but it doesn’t.
* We could require the official videographer to bring hundreds of cameras and cameramen, but it may not be feasible.
* We could assign audience members a couple to record from each angle, providing equal coverage of all. But many may rather “just watch” rather than “work”.
I think that “money” is a tool to producing a better delivered end-product, be it recruiting human help or getting better equipment. And “Free” doesn’t help that part. Who do we assign to single-handedly “Sacrifice” multiple paychecks to acquire a better camera to provide someone else a better video?
In short, the “ultimate solution” is not simply picking between Closed and Open Videotaping, Paid and Free distribution, or Youtube and DVD. What we want is something that does not yet exist as a single entity.
Perhaps paid-professionals + open-recording + some other tool to organize + some way to get funding to produce a great product would be of value to all of us.
The take-away I’d like to offer is that in order for us to all get what we truly want, it’s still prime time to keep our minds open.
Well said. I think that the most successful events make sure that there is professional videotaping available that will be quickly uploaded. That is not necessarily “free” — in fact, it never is — but it is “free” to the audience.
Oh, and I believe fully in compensating your videographers, if you should have a professional crew. I just think that should come out of your marketing budget, and not be compensated by DVDs. Ultimately, I believe the visibility, when properly plied, is worth the cost.
May have missed something you wrote during my writing of my reply, but yes, we are in agreement. 🙂
And the one year a photographer had his flash equipment blocking the videographer’s ability to record Mickey and Kelly @ Bal Rendezvous… I thought, “I’m paying for a video a photographer’s flash????”
1) Open videotaping would have taken care of that. 2) A videographer who paid attention and cared enough to reposition would help. 3) Some way to communicate to the photographer how to get out of the way would be nice. 4) A cooperative audience in general.
Again there is no one best answer… it’s somewhere in between.
” as does hiring the same set of instructors etc.” and using those same handful of couples to judge I couldn’t agree more. I am so happy someone had the balls to say this out loud. It has the appearance of a “good ole boys” network. It may not actually be that way but it sure does look like it.
Homogenization of the dance is a big problem in my mind. Things are visually boring at this point. Same old same old everywhere 😦
“I am so happy someone had the balls to say this out loud.”
Speaking up the dance world is always a risk, especially when it has to do with the hiring practices. How do we, as consumers and participants, facilitate change within this tight network of teacher exclusivity? What “allows” someone to “join” the network?
I agree at the visually boring–particularly when it’s the same people doing 1)instructor demos, 2)invitational j&j, followed by 3)performing, and 4) competing in couples strictlies, not to mention teaching at the event. At that point, I wonder why as a participant I am paying so much money to see the same thing over and over again.
And, I wonder, why is there a correlation between the nature of competition with our hiring practices for instructors?
I’m not 100% sure what the main complaint here really is… I think most events look at various things such as top of field, drawing power, costs and other logistics, etc… when making hiring decisions. Does this exclude some instructors? Yes, but not because of some good ole’ boys network.
As for judging, it’s also comes down to qualifications and respect. For example – I think most competitors would feel more fairly judged by Sylvia Sykes than say someone new to judging and that just started teaching. Based on that, Sylvia is probably going to judge more than most.
There’s the catch-22 of full time instructors/competitors winning competitions most of the time. Well, if it was your job and you practiced all the time and got paid for it, you’d most likely be a better competitor/teacher so the skillsets reinforce themselves at that level creating a sort of closed loop. It’s very hard for the part-timer to compete on a level playing field with someone that does it full time, and those that are able to do it are quite the exception.
All that said, I think EBC more than many other events recognized the closed loop being created and has instituted many practices to allow other instructors to get spotlighted. We still hire those who are considered to be at the top of the field while considering factors such as costs, drawing power, etc… though. We also expand our teaching roster to spotlight up and coming instructors that might not be getting as much exposure due to the aforementioned factors. Not only do we do that, but we also invite more local/regional instructors to take part in EBC as an instructor via our practice sessions where they are seen in an elevated teaching capacity at an international event. EBC had over 30 instructors last year. We also expand the judging to include most of our instructors, as well as the instructor jam/cabaret, and other event elements to continue to highlight those instructors in a teaching capacity such as participating in the level testing as instructors. Not only does this help give the up and coming/local/regional instructors the chance to be seen as instructors in a larger international event, but it also provides that training in those areas by being able to piggyback those with more experience.
Each year we also put out a survey, much like many events. Every year people praise our instructor choices and one question specifically asks if there are any instructors we should consider for future years. Very rarely are other instructors outside of our normal scope mentioned/requested. 99% of the time it’s the same instructors that are requeted back for the next year aside from maybe one or two making mention of some local or regional name because they might be a student of or friend of theirs.
As for the correlation between competiting/performing and being hired as instructors – there are two factors that stand out to me. 1) By competing/performing well and being judged to have done so by peers, those individuals have demonstrated they posess the skills and technique generally believed to be important to that dance. It’s very similar in scientific circles with peer-reviewed studies. 2) Visibility – those victories provide more visibility for those individuals.
So if the complaint is that X & Y instructors aren’t being hired or that Z is hired too much? Either way, it might be better to look at all the contributing factors than to fall back on a conspiracy theory.
What a great article! That makes so much sense! Hopefully people actually do it now! When I went to my first few dance events I checked YouTube for the first three weeks hoping to see some of those awesome dances I witnessed and wanted to drool at all over again and show off. I was so excited to relive the glory of the dance events. After those three weeks I completely gave up hope because I finally realized that they were never going up. I was very sad about it because I talked about it to so many people and they all wanted I see them too. I have even had dancing friend say that they would love to attend an event after I talked about it so but they still haven’t ever made it happen, maybe those videos (DVDs that I can’t afford, as I would MUCH rather invest it on another dance event) would push them over the edge and get them so pumped up that they couldn’t help but finding themselves signing up as the next year rolls around! I really hope your article encourages people to take the plunge, even if it takes a couple years, in the end it will likely pay off!! =]
Since EBC was directly mentioned, I unfortunately feel a need to reply to this.
We are investigating options such as posting more videos on YouTube (there are already videos there), only posting on YouTube as opposed to DVDs, producing the video notebooks separately on DVDs or some other format, etc… That said, there is a cost-benefit analysis to be done as I don’t think the numbers represented here are entirely accurate, and they tend to paint things as somewhat skewed to Aba’s YouTube wishes.
While I am glad that based on the numbers represented here that ULHS now has seen an attendance level boost of 49,000+ since 2006 based solely on their YouTube views…
Yes, that would be the 10% increase of attendance based on YouTube views that was mentioned in this post based on the 4,991,700 views the Fast Swing Dancing video received according to Jerry Almonte’s tracking site that Aba linked to. Maybe I’m missing something, so let’s just look at some of the 2011 numbers shown there. 111,978 views were mentioned for ILHC 2011 on the same site. Did attendance increase by 11,000+? Doubtful, but I wasn’t there this year so let’s drop that expected ratio down to just 1%, did attendance increase by 1,000+ since last year based solely on YouTube views? Should we go to .5%, .25%, .125%, etc…? Why haven’t the EBC and ABW videos there already, generated these incredible attendance boosts?
No, those metrics are not accurate at all and can’t feasibly be used. The truth is that there isn’t a dance event that has real metrics that can say if you get X YouTube views, you will have an attendance gain of Y. Even with Camp Hollywood switching from DVDs, Hillary didn’t note increased attendance as a result. Just less hassle from doing the videos herself. There are a lot of people that like to think that YouTube views will instantly translate to stadium sized attendance at dance events, but the truth is that once you look at the numbers the logic falls apart. Much like in other utopian thinking that always seems to begin with the phrase “if only…” – as does the reasoning stated here with the statement “if only 10% of people who see the views as a result to go to your event…” – we can easily see the fallacious logic at play.
Also, the fact is that there are already videos up on YouTube from EBC and ABW and there have been for several years. Neither event has seen those staggering increases of 10% of views attributable to YouTube in addition to the normal year over year growth rates.
For further consideration, we’re also comparing apples to oranges in many ways. The comparison was made between ABW/EBC and ILHC/ULHS. Balboa dancers are not as plentiful as Lindy Hoppers. It’s just a fact of life. A large Lindy Hop event is much more likely to have a larger attendance than even the largest Balboa events – and costs range differently for those that don’t offer classes. That said, the two events mentioned also filled a gap during their creation having to do with some feelings toward ALHC that I won’t get into during this discussion, but that can also be attributed to a larger attendance base from the start. Also Lindy Hop events, such as Lindy Focus, ILHC, ULHS etc… have greatly expanded their base and numbers by including Balboa, often to the detriment of the Balboa events in question. My VA attendance levels (VT & UVA students specifically) dramatically dropped when Lindy Focus started offering Balboa since those college students can get both their Lindy Hop and Balboa there now. The same can’t really be done for Balboa events – including Lindy Hop would probably make them Lindy Hop events with Balboa and just a poor imitation of those other events.
Now, in addition to already having a much larger pool to draw from, let’s look at what those larger numbers actually mean… Let’s use the Boston Tea Party (BTP), they get around 1200+ people. You might say wow, their costs must be through the roof, but that’s where you’re wrong. At specific points in attendance levels, your costs go dramatically down, hence BTP being able to only charge $95 for the weekend pass.
As most know, at certain levels your ballroom costs drop from several thousands to $0 (if negotiated properly). As more rooms are sold, and your food and beverage minimums get filled you have more negotiating leverage with the hotel. Floor space grows, but not at the same costs due to personnel, trucking, and the rate drops to a lower per sq ft amount. So a larger event, especially one 3+ times the size as the ones being chided for dependence on the DVD revenue stream, have an even less pressing need to sell DVDs.
As a further example, our current hotel space could easily hold another 200+ attendees with only very minimum cost increases. That said, I’m paying almost the same for space/instructors/etc… with the current 350-400 attendees as I would with 550-600. An extra 200 attendees with no significant cost increase would allow me to do a lot more such as lower registration costs, not be dependent on the DVD revenue, etc… As it stands now, with EBC we’re still at the point in our new facility where the costs are pretty high. Fortunately all I apparently have to do is put the videos up on YouTube though, and just get 2000 views and all my attendance issues will be solved! Just kidding. 😉 Events such as ABW, BR, or TCBal suffer similar issues. Add to that, many teachers raising their rates by 50%, increased hotel costs, etc… and their costs go up even more while fighting for the same dance dollars as other events – a comment here noted that the poster would rather spend that money at another event than a DVD.
Mainly I wanted to dispute the numbers presented as they can be somewhat misleading once the rubber meets the road, as most people that are looking in from the outside don’t consider the full picture and just want what they want, so they’re more apt to believe such things. The argument has come up before with ABW and EBC being singled out and it’s been somewhat misleading to represent it in a fashion that would supposedly directly correlate to increased attendance based on YouTube views.
The video notebooks are another question. Not producing competition DVD footage, takes away some of the time delay and costs, but instructors probably wouldn’t be too excited about posting the footage online.
Regarding technology, yes most Mac’s don’t include DVD players now. However, PCs do, and Blue-ray player’s play DVDs. It’s been that way for years so I’m not sure of a relevant change aside from an increased drift to online viewing but I guess it still bore mentioning.
All that said, I do agree with the soft intangible benefits that were also listed as well as many more that can serve as indirect boosts to levels and community – which have contributed to the impetus of us exploring what we can change.
Chris, I had the same thought you did when I read those numbers: “That *might* be a tad optimistic.” It’s not like it’s Step 1: Allow open videotaping, Step 2: Profit! ILHC videographers for example works their asses off during the event. So there must be some strategy involved.
I think the most important argument against selling DVDs is that you’re chasing an outmoded technology. Better to keep up to date, perhaps even offering people what they want before they know they want it. Sounds like you’re considering what that might be. I’m sure it will be a creative solution, as EBC is one of the most creative dance events I know of!
The other option is to sow ill will as dancers realize you’re not keeping up with their needs and expectations. Yeah, that’s death to any business.
There’s always a trade-off. If it means not being able to afford to have the event vs giving dancers what they want in every case, I think the dancers would readily compromise.
As noted in another comment, many still want DVDs.
ABW has always posted videos online and on youtube. We usually do post more than just first place wins. We don’t post very many non first place wins, but we usually do post at least one or two.
Everyone has brought up really good points for event directors, attendees and instructors to consider.
Next year ABW will allow all of the competitions to be videotaped by the public. Not sure what is the most feasible thing to do about the lessons. We also have to respect what the instructors feel most comfortable doing. Speaking of instructors, here is a list of people who have taught at ABW over the years: Jonathan Bixby, Sylvia Sykes, Nick Williams, Denise Phelan, Randy Maestretti, Kara Britt, Marty Lau, Jen Lau, Tise Chao, David Rehm, Marie Nahnfeldt, Sylvia Skylar, Erik Robison, Dean Raftery, Bart Bartolo, Bernard Cavasa, Anne-Helene Cavasa, Bobby White, Kate Hedin, Peter Loggins, Mia Goldsmith, Mickey Fortenasce, Kelly Arsenault, Jeremy Otth, Laura Keat, Carla Heiney, Andreas Olsson, Jason Herron, Andree-Anne Herron, Jacob Wigger, Adam Speen, Nelle Cherry, Teni Lopez-Cardenas, Marty Klempner, Joel Plys…and Jonathan Stout and Kyle Smith and myself. Every year we switch things up a bit regarding instructors, judges, classes, lectures and competitions. You can expect a few more exciting changes next year as well.
We would still like to provide high quality Balboa videos for online posting, but how do we take care of that and not increase the price to event attendees? If there are any professional videographers out there who would like to attend a 4 day Balboa event and work for free or as close to free as possible please contact me.
I am really interested to see what answers can be found for all of these opportunities. 🙂
And I actually don’t expect anyone to work without being compensated. But something has to pay for their compensation.
In addition, those wanting videos just posted online are often times not considering the true costs. Take the ficticious numbers about the DVD sale values mentioned, that’s $7,000 you are asking an event to just give up. Dependent on the size of an event, that can easily be 10-20%+ of revenue. That would easily break many events as that can well exceed the profit on smaller events. In addition, there is the need for additional videography work of having someone do minor edits and dump the footage online which will add additional costs.
What about the other rising costs that promoters incur and try to minimize what they have to pass on? Many instructors have recently raised their fees by 50%. Did you note any event increasing their registration fee by 50%? Hotel costs have risen, floor costs go up, costs of flights is way up currently, meals are up, and it goes on and on. T-shirt profits are minimal and suffer from cost increases.
In addition to giving up the revenue stream of the DVDs, the event must now pay more for on-side video work. There’s a reason why events that have 600+ people can do many things like this where smaller events are unable to and that’s due to reaching a critical mass with increasing margins and diminishing costs as noted earlier.
As noted, YouTube has not generated the tremendous growth of 10% or even 1%. Where would those wanting smaller non-Lindy Hop events to make up the revenue in order to continue the event? As noted with Lindy Hop events becoming the Wal-marts of the space by adopting Balboa, etc… in their growth plans, and using increased numbers to allow things like increased video options, how would you run a Balboa event and keep it alive? Are you happy with getting your Balboa in at Lindy Hop events and possibly losing Balboa-only events?
I make my living elsewhere, so I’m fortunate in that I don’t have to fully depend on event profits to eat, but many promoters do this as a full time gig or as a significant part of their income they’re depending on, especially so given the amount of work that goes into an event. Please bear that in mind when telling promoters what they should be doing, especially if you’re not a promoter and don’t get the see behind the curtain.
When having these discussions, it’s helpful to realize that the event promoters are not just being greedy and making out like bandits (there’s no way many smaller promoters could live off their event profits, if they’re even profitable). They’re not just chasing supposedly outdated technology, or are able to do something just because another event does it. Often they’ve thought of and continue to think on these things and how they can provide as much as possible while still keeping the event afloat.
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