My question is this: Do you believe there’s another way? I don’t think we’d have any of the success we’ve had — however much that really is — if we had not been tenacious and desperate enough to consistently meet our ticket demands. Yes, we’ve had to hunt down friends and family, and yes, we’ve had to pay off batches of them in the past. But now we’re beginning to headline, attracting the blogosphere in bits and pieces, planning to tour, and other such Awesome-Almost a Real-Band stuff. Furthermore, at the same time we *do* treat our band like a business, albeit it is not currently a profitable one.
I’ve been playing in this scene for almost seven years and it has revolved around locals selling tickets in a very significant way. I am wondering if you feel I’ve been duped, or taken advantage of… and I am also asking you if you think there’s a way we can capitalize on just how long we’ve been reliable ticket sellers.
I think the more important question is do you feel like you have been taken advantage of? I think your a rare success story, a lot of bands would have given up long ago, let alone keep going on for 7 years. Your hard work has paid off and now you’re starting to generate buzz and getting some headlining gigs. You should wear that like a badge of honor.
You as a band/artist need to decide if selling loads of tickets to anyone you can find is really worth the effort. Is it really such a great trade off to meet all of these ticket demands if you’re big opening gig is for some washed up headlining act who can’t draw anymore. (Hence why you’re being asked to play and bring no less then 75 people with you.) Personally I would feel pretty ripped off if my big break was to open for the latest incarnation of Whitesnake (now with one original member!)
Darryl’s band has proven to be a reliable ticket seller can they capitalize on that? I think if you have been playing the same few venues and you’ve always drawn well you have some leverage. If opening for Whitesnake isn’t something you’re interested in doing, ask what other shows are available. More then likely they will have other dates that need openers and if you are reliable you should be able to come to some kind of agreement on a show that works for both of you.
Now while you have some leverage there are a few instances that no matter how many tickets you can sell you’re not going to play the show. If you know the show is sold out or going to sell out, chances are the venue isn’t going to need your band. I’m sure it would be a huge break for your band to open for Blink 182 but the venue really doesn’t need the 75 people you can bring out. There also is the instance where you want to open for a touring act, the venue would love for you to open for the touring act, but the tour refuses to allow local openers. There is nothing wrong with asking to open for a band, but if the answer is no don’t keep trying to sell the idea to the venue, it’s really annoying.
If you’re playing a new place it can be a little difficult to capitalize on your prior selling abilities. While some bookers may talk about local opening acts this is a very “what have you done for me lately” business. So pretty much when you play at a new venue you are going to be starting over from scratch. Don’t let that discourage you though, everyone has to start somewhere and hopefully your ability to bring people out to a show will follow you to new places.
Selling tickets for every show you play sucks, so what can you do about it? Thankfully there are plenty of places that don’t have a ticket requirement. Take advantage of playing those types of places when ever possible. You could also go old school and throw a backyard/basement show. Those types of gigs can really help build your fan base but also give you and your fans a break from having to buy tickets.
Sorry for the gap in between posts, I got a new job and I’ve been adjusting to getting up early and having to commute. Now that I’m getting used to my new schedule I should have posts up more regularly. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org