Clutch’s ‘Live From The Doom Saloon’ A Virtual Win For An Adapting Agency

– Clutch
from the Doom Saloon

Veteran rock band Clutch has somewhat quietly put up one of the most notable concert grosses so far during the COVID-19 era, with its “Live From The Doom Saloon” livestreamed event, at $9 per ticket and featuring four bands, selling around 7,500 tickets.

“Artists can make real money this way,” says Tim Borror, co-founder of the Sound Talent Group agency and longtime rep for Clutch. “I don’t think it counts as tour revenue, but if you’re a real headliner and have worldwide reach and market it properly, with a team that can push this in the way we have and the way we’re thinking of going forward, there’s definitely real money in doing this.”
The show, headlined by the versatile rock band that has been a touring mainstay for years, also featured Saul, Blacktop Mojo, and Crowbar, with all four performing from separate locations live May 27 and the show starting somewhat early, with Clutch taking the stage at 5:55 p.m. EST to allow fans from across the globe to tune in. 
“We felt like if we could get more than one band to play together and through one output stream, we could do something different than what was out there,” fellow STG co-founder Matt Andersen adds. “We also felt the advantage for the bands to be able to market the show collectively. We could do career development and artist development at a time when that’s very hard to do.”
While STG organized a lot of the details of the performance, the show was promoted and hosted by LiveFrom (not to be confused with 11E1even Group’s Live From Out There), spearheaded by Alan Rakov and Steve Machin.
Although STG had to adapt quickly to put together a somewhat unique event for the independent agency, it wasn’t beyond their experience, which includes decades of booking and marketing shows.
“We did learn a lot on the fly but we were also very calculated in what we did,” Borror says, explaining the discussions with the band and LiveFrom started in early April. “We basically did a closed-circuit dry run in the middle of April to make sure it was going to work, then spent mid April to last Wednesday for lack of a better term putting our shit together to do this on Wednesday. 
“It was calculated and strategic and planned to the extent that you can plan for the first time for something new and ambitious.”  

Blacktop Mojo
– Blacktop Mojo
one of the bands taking part
STG also gives much of the credit to its in-house marketing specialist, Jackie Giffune, as being instrumental in the show’s success.
Also instrumental, of course, is the band, which Borror has represented for around 20 years and which he is grateful for.
“We wouldn’t be in a position to now present new business to the rest of our roster if they hadn’t been willing to learn with us and take a shot and allow themselves with them to go out on a limb with us,” Borror says, adding that management for the bands were behind them 100% and giving invaluable support. “We’re lucky they were willing to do that. They didn’t need to do that for us.”
Notable takeaways from the show include a better-than-expected ability to sell event-specific merch, with fans eager to support their favorite bands, as well as selling tickets to those who missed the show the first time, which took the initial 6,600 Doom Saloon tickets sold up to the 7,500 mark.
“I don’t think it stops at the stream and merch,” Borror says. “You can do an aftershow, VIP opportunities, there are a lot of add-ons to this that can help push the gross.” 
STG’s next show, with more promised, is ska band The Slackers on June 14, also being hosted by LiveFrom, with a portion of proceeds going to the Navajo Nation Covid Relief, The NYC Libertyfund, NIVA (National Independent Venues Fund) and the ACLU.
While helping bands and charitable efforts tangibly with real dollars, it’s also important to note that these shows keep the bands and fans engaged and enjoying live music at a time when that is much needed.
“There’s lot of people out of work and it’s not time to be greedy,” Borror says. “The ticket price doesn’t have to be egregious. The bands are trying to make money, but they’re supportive and appreciative of their fans in this moment when everyone is hurting,” he says, adding that part of the proceeds from the Clutch show benefited Angel Flight and MusiCares. 
Going forward, those new business opportunities will inevitably vary from artist to artist and opportunity to opportunity, but the STG team says there is much to learn from this event as far as the when and how to do it. 
“Some artists want to do something but don’t know what to do, we have a bunch of ideas of what they could do,” Borror says. “But some artists know very definitively what they want to do and they’re things we haven’t thought of yet. Our job is to try to figure out how to do events they want, how to develop the concept to do it more than one time and keep it interesting to fans so this continues to be something they want to be engaged with.”
Even when live events open back up to some semblance of normalcy, the livestream and the lessons learned from them will prove valuable as well, as potentially “a subscription model or offerings to fanclubs,” Andersen says, making it “just another piece of a artist’s touring revenue.” s