Jim Mathis

Friday, November 16, 2012

Jim Halsey

I just got back from a 500 mile road trip to meet one of my long-time heroes, Jim Halsey. Jim started booking bands at the Memorial Hall in his hometown while still in high school in 1949. This was the town where I was born, Independence, Kansas, and I am sure my parents went to many of the concerts he promoted.

One of the bands he booked was Hank Thompson. Hank asked the very young Jim Halsey to be his manager. Jim saw this as his chance to see the world, so he joined Hank and the band on the bus and booked them for 250 dates in 48 states the first year. Jim rode the bus and handled all the details of touring.

He noticed that many of the people buying tickets looked liked that could better use the money somewhere else, like for food or clothes, but when they left the show they were different. For a few hours Hank as his band had taken them someplace where they had not been before, or not been for a long time. Jim realized that taking people to a place of peace and happiness for a few hours was a viable product, well worth the money spent on the price of a ticket.

He soon figured out that if he had a number of people capable of taking people to this place, and applied sound marketing and business principles, a lot of money could be made. And that is exactly what he did.

Hank Thompson introduced him to Wanda Jackson, who introdced him to guitar player Roy Clark, and the Jim Halsey Company was off and running.

Jim told about discovering the Oak Ridge Boys and the Judds, and stories of booking the first country acts in Las Vegas and booking country performers into Carnegie Hall. Jim Halsey bands were the first to play in the Soviet Union which had a big role in ending the cold war.

He has a wall full of gold and platinum records representing over 250 million record sales from the people he has managed. His son, Sherman, now manages Tim McGraw.

Jim is now teaching music business and has a book out titled "Starmaker, How to Make Money in the Music Business." I can't wait to get started reading it. I sure wish I had had access to this kind of knowledge forty years ago when I was first trying to figure out my career. The surprising thing was that the room was not packed with young people anxious to learn how to make their mark. Starmaker360.com