My Online Songbook project is perhaps the best example of how pervasively analytical I am. I regular a dueling piano bar in town called The Big Bang (see the Columbus or Corporate page). Dueling piano bars are “all request” so they depend on the audience to select songs and “vote” for them with tips. Even though I visit to relax and enjoy the show, I couldn’t help but notice the implicit process by which songs were selected.
In this case, there was a vicious cycle in place:
- Performers spend a lot of time playing the “top 20” requested songs. This includes “Piano Man”, Journey, and several other popular songs. This is a minor annoyance for regulars like me and an especially severe problem for staff and piano players.
- Customers are extremely likely to hear the same few, popular songs whether they come to the bar frequently or infrequently.
- When (repeat) customers go to request songs, they are far more likely to put a song up that they’ve heard before than place their favorite song on the piano (since the performers are unlikely to know it).
- New customers are often annoyed when they put a song/money up on the piano and the player doesn’t know/play their song. Since the players’ repertoires are limited, it’s natural that songs will be requested that cannot be played.
My personal solution was to write a few of my favorite songs (from each performer) down in my phone for easy reference. However, it occurred to me that the problem was general and that the club really needed an online songbook so customers could actively search for desired songs or favorite bands. After running the idea buy the Owner and Entertainment Director (they loved the idea), I built it.
The product is a benefit to everyone involved:
- Tips should increase as customers place $5 or $10 on a band they love instead of a few bucks on a song they heard before and kinda like.
- The club should see higher sales through improved customer loyalty. This occurs both (1) because they’re hearing songs they love and (2) there’s less “fatigue” with the “top 20”.
- By reducing the “boredom factor,” the club should improve entertainer, employee, and customer satisfaction.
- Entertainers will get to play a much larger percentage of their repertoire, increases the incentive to learn new songs, and contributing to a virtuous cycle of fresh songs.
- The Owner will get insight into the repertoire of the players and their ongoing work to expand their song list.
For now, you can connect to the system through a special link I put in place: songbook.claytondaley.com. Please choose Columbus as it is currently the only active location. We are getting ready to roll the site out soon and I’ll update this information when I can.