As a sound engineer working in the concert and corporate event markets, I’ve found it useful to identify my primary (most important) audience for every gig.
Is it the band that hired me? The band manager? The promoter? The people buying tickets to the show? The people that own the venue? The sound company I’m working for?
It can be tough to figure. The easy answer is you work for who pays you, but it can be a bit more complicated than that. Maybe the following experiences can help answer the question.
I toured with a particular artist for several years. We played medium-sized venues in larger cities (Roseland Ballroom in New York, The Warfield in San Francisco, etc.) in addition to being the support act on several arena tours.
At some point, the band started asking me to mix them “as loud as possible” (after completing a record with a producer who monitored at extremely high SPL).
They were already frequently too loud before I put them through the PA.
Sometimes I had a hard time getting the vocals above the ambient level of the guitars, even in larger venues.
I knew their fans - after all, they would talk to me at every show - and they didn’t like it.
They took the lyrics seriously, and would sing along the entire set. The clearer the vocals, the louder the fans sang (and the higher the energy levels in the room).
Although the band hired me, the fans really paid the bills, so I identified them as my primary audience.
If they weren’t happy, the band would eventually hear about it, so I worked to convince the band that the fans really wanted to hear the vocals and understand the words above all else.
Once they understood, the band stopped insisting on a punishing loud mix, and even began turning down their guitars if I couldn’t get the vocals audible over the stage volume.
Figuring out the primary audience at corporate events is even trickier because there are additional audience layers in play, such as event planners and clients.
A few years ago I traveled to Tampa to mix a band at an official NFL party tied into the Super Bowl - a large event (3,000 people) in the main hall of the Tampa convention center.
A local sound company provided a multi-zoned system, with main and delay line arrays, subs, and front fills.