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David Goldrake: The Magic of International Exposure 

David Goldrake is a Luxembourg magician. He has made a name for himself in Las Vegas where, he says, a changed business model has made appearing more attractive. However, he warns that expanding internationally requires not only hard work. It also needs the creation of a unique identity and an understanding of the local culture. 

“Vegas had always been a goal for me."

Could you share your story with us? 

My professional magic career began in 1999. I started in Luxembourg and gradually expanded to France, Belgium, Germany, and the surrounding countries. By 2002, I was performing at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, where I became a regular. In 2014, I had the opportunity to perform at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. At the time, it boasted the largest indoor stage in the world. They even have a Boeing backstage - it's massive. When I received positive feedback from guests from Vegas, I felt ready to take on the city. Vegas had always been a goal for me. I'm touring the U.S. and planning something special in Luxembourg next year to mark the 25th anniversary of my first performance. 

How has the different business model in Las Vegas changed things? 

Previously, performers were paid by the venue. However, since 1995 venues realized they could shift financial responsibilities onto the acts themselves, eliminating the need to pay performers directly. This led to the practice of “four-walling” - performers rent a venue, pay the staff, organize advertising, and produce their own shows. They generate and keep some revenue, but they're entirely self-reliant. I found my investors here in Luxembourg. I started with people I knew and brought in a financial expert to help present our case effectively. This allowed us to raise the necessary capital. I ended up renting an 1100-seat room at the legendary Tropicana. We sold tickets through social media, but traditional sales methods were the most effective. 


Could you share the keys to achieving success abroad? 

Success abroad involves more than hard work. Understanding and integrating into your new environment is essential. You need a unique identity and a deep understanding of the local culture. It’s crucial to surround yourself with the best local team who share your vision. Social networks can seem to broaden our connections but are often superficial. Don’t assume what works in Luxembourg will work globally. There’s a phenomenon I call the “Luxembourgish diaspora”: you go abroad with big dreams, but it proves more challenging than expected. We need to observe and absorb what works locally to adapt when we work abroad. We often overestimate how cosmopolitan we are due to our size and location. 

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