I recently spoke with Andrew Prince who is a VP of Operation at the Venue Coalition, a company made up of 50 small and mid-market arenas in the United States and Canada. Venue Coalition provides its participating members with booking information and research that helps them identify booking opportunities. Prince was recently named by Billboard as one of the Top 30 Music executives under 30 years old. An honor that Andrew jokes that he “Had no idea he was even in the running for.” His company has had some staggering success in 2010; he has booked 100 shows, sold 400,000 tickets, and had $25 million in revenue.
Andrew has always been into music. In college at UCSC he ran a record label from a room in his house. His label became more of a hobby and less of what he wanted to do every day, “I couldn’t imagine starring at computer screens all day” he describes. He enrolled in the program called University Of Dreams, which guarantees if the applicant is accepted into the program will be placed in an internship of their choice. Prince started working for the executive director of the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA. He was able to shadow the executive director and see all aspects of running a venue from booking the band to catering backstage. After Shoreline, Prince really wanted to learn about booking at music venues so he convinced Bill Graham Presents in San Francisco to let him volunteer in the booking department and also in the sponsorship department. From there he headed back home to LA where he picked up a job “to pay the bills” and took music business classes at the UCLA extension. A family friend sent his resume to music promoter Jeff Apregan. Prince hounded Apregan to give him a chance to speak, sometimes calling his office every day. Finally, Apregan agreed to speak with Prince and 3 weeks later he was working as a promoter on the Neil Diamond tour. Prince describes Apregan, “As a mentor.”
Prince says he can’t pick a favorite venue but loves to see the Dave Matthews Band play the Gorge in George, Washington. He recalls booking Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, and Zac Brown Band in Bloomington, IL at US Cellular Coliseum which was the smallest show on their major tour at 8,000 seat venue. It took quite a bit of convincing on Prince’s part to Chesney’s management but they ended up performing. Prince said the town was buzzing with excitement about the show. Literally everyone in the hotel he was staying in was going to the show. The most random show he ever attended was at the Roxy in Hollywood where the kitchen appliance band Hurra Torpedo performed.
Prince has some great advice for those looking to work in the concert industry, “Learn how to market yourself and write a great resume with no typos. You can never know too many people. Always write a handwritten thank you note after job interviews. Always remember to follow up with the people you meet.” He also recalls a great piece of advice from his manager at the Shoreline “Get to know everyone, but always find out who is a talker and become close with them. They will be more willing to give you great advice.”
Many Thanks to Andrew Prince for taking the time to speak to me! For more information about his company please visit the Apregan Group.