Watch Out For Vampires

I saw on one post you said showcases should require a 25-50 ticket pre-sale, and if you can’t do that don’t bother at all. I would like to think that my band is decent, and we could definitely bring out 25 people to a show but if we booked two shows the same month, I don’t know if we could pull it off for the second show. How do you recommend we build a big enough local fan base to allow us to play multiple shows a month?

Willis–the North Coast

Willis is referring to the Pay To Play article I wrote a few weeks ago, it can be found here:
I’ll clarify my point a little, I understand why venues have presale requirements, but I am  in no way advocating that every venue start this practice. Every venue and situation is different. I can remember my friends in high school telling me about a show they booked in the middle of no where Pennsylvania. It was a solid four hours from where we lived but they were so stoked that someone wanted them to play out of state that they took the gig. However while they weren’t given a presale number, they knew very few people were going to drive four hours to see them play. They had brought a small group of about 12 people with them made up mostly of parents and siblings. The entire way out there they were worried they were going to show up and be told to go home. The venue turns out to be a small coffee house with a stage in the back. As they start unpacking the guy who owns the place walks in and said “Are all these people here to see you?” and ecstatically began to hug each and every one of them. Turns out they had booked mostly acoustic acts and no one was coming out to see them so 12 people was a big deal.
When I booked bands I was very honest in what I expected them to do. If I was booking at a venue that required ticket presales I made sure that the bands knew what was expected of them. If they didn’t think they could meet the number of presales required, I would tell them not to worry about it and I’ll call them again soon. Honesty can go a long way. Nothing makes a booking manager more angry when you tell them that you sold 50 tickets but when you show up you only really sold 9. That’s a pretty quick way to never get a show at that venue again. Even if the venue doesn’t require a presale, you always want to put your best foot forward. The better relationship you can build with a venue the more opportunities you are going to receive down the road. Always be honest and upfront with the booking manager.  Their job depends on how many people you bring through the door. They can tell when a band honestly tried to sell tickets and when they just mailed it in. 
It’s hard work building a fan base that will keep coming out to shows. I think that what bands need to keep in mind is that you have to know your limits. I know it’s hard, but you can’t take every show that you are offered. You need to spread out your shows to give you more time to promote them. A smart business will curtail their growth until they are ready to take the next step and I think more inexperienced bands should adopt this strategy.
I’ve seen a lot of really good bands ruined by what I like to call Vampire Bookers. Vampire Bookers like to pray on younger inexperienced bands who have a decent draw at the gate. Vampire Bookers will make all kinds of promises about opening for national acts and headlining local gigs. Most of these promises they will never fulfill, and all the while he is sucking the life out of your band as you struggle to keep your fan base coming out to see you. Vampire Bookers will destroy your band, stay far away.
So to answer Willis’ question, how do you build your fan base to play multiple shows a month? I think you need to book less to let your fan base grow. People get fatigued paying to see the same set week after week. If you take more time off between shows people are more eager to check out your next one.
So what do you do if your band is overbooked? Well the first thing is once the string of overbooking is over, spread your shows out. Give yourself lots of time to promote your next show. While you are playing your string of dates make sure you have flyers and tickets on hand for your up coming gigs. If the venue isn’t cool about you selling or handing stuff out for other shows you can either sell them outside or keep them at your merch table. Don’t get discouraged if people who would normally buy tickets don’t, they will come back maybe they just need to take show off.
I’m sure we will talk more about this later, if you have any questions email me at

The North Coast


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Where To Book a Show – Venue/Tour List

Everyone seems to ask me where or how they can get a show. So what I decided to do is to start up a list of  places to play. I know there are whole websites devoted to this kind of thing but a lot of them seemed dated. You’ll of course notice that not a lot is listed here, that’s where you come in. Send in places your band plays and we’ll add it to the list. If you know one of these venues is no longer doing shows let me know. I’d like to keep this list as up to date as possible.
Update 3/12/12
Head on the Door – Montgomery, AL
Attn: Brian and Todd, 5028 Vaughn Rd. Montgomery, AL 36116
The Bottletree Cafe – Birmingham, AL
Rebecca Davis –

Ice House Tavern – Phoenix, AZ

The Rogue Bar – Scottsdale, AZ

Maxine’s – Hot Springs, AR

Vino’s – Little Rock, AK
Chris –

California210- Visalia, CA
Christy Canafax –
Angel City Cafe – Bellflower, CA (Christian Venue)
Red – 562-818-4065

Chain Reaction – Anaheim, CA

Chinatown Youth Center – Fresno, CA

Club Retro – Fresno, CA

Club Retro – Orangvale, CA
Austin Page –

Kuppajoe – Fresno, CA
Kennedy Productions –

The Boardwalk – Orangevale, CA
Mark Earl –

The Dome – Bakersfield, CA
Chencho Madera –

The Gate- Barkersfield, CA

The Starline – Fresno, CA

twoHEARTS – Mission Hills, CA
John McCrary –

Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom – Denver. CO
Scott Morrill –

Gothic Theatre – Englewood, CO
Daniel Sax –

Moe’s BBQ
Danny Sax –


Manic Producations
Mark Nussbaum –

The Space – Hamden, CT

The Webster Theater – Hartford. CT


Harmony Grange – Hockessin, DE

MOJO 13 – Wilmington, DE
Jerad –


1982 – Gainesville, Florida, US Booking – Miami, Florida

Backbooth – Orlando, FL

Brass Mug – Tampa, FL

John McHale –

Brewsters Pub & Pit – Jacksonville, FL
Bruce Cataldo

Club 57 West – Orlando, FL

Crowbar- Tampa, FL or

Gasoline Alley – Largo, FL

H2O Live – Orlando, FL
Imperial Booking –

LittleReggie’s Productions – Melbourne, Florida
Zakk Davis
(321) 549-1519
Logan Rivera
(321) 431-2732

The Dungeon – Orlando, FL

The Haven – Orlando, FL

TheMurry Hill Theater Jacksonville, FL (Christian Bands Only)

The Social – Orlando, FL
http://www.thesocial.orgSluggos- Pensacola, FL
850 791 6501 or

The State Theatre – St. Petersburg, FL

Sluggos- Pensacola, FL
850 791 6501 or

Five Star Productions
Bryan Hayes
The Refuge – Macon, GA
Jordan Welsh —
Mike Garrett

The7 Venue / We The People Booking – Douglasville, GA
Justin Meers

The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
Tim  –

THE R.O.C.K. SHOW – McDonough, GA
Tony Smith
The Grail Venue – Coeur d’Alene, ID
Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL
Darren Olsen – dolsen (a)

Double Door – Chicago, IL
Phil Kosch –

Live 59 – Plainfield, IL

Subterranean – Chicago, IL
Greg Wolfson –  greg (a)

The Box Social – Chicago, IL
Jon –

The House Cafe – DeKalb, IL

The Korova – Morris, IL
Jon –

The Lighthouse – Frankfort, IL
Jon –

The Oasis – Grayslake, IL

8 Seconds Saloon – Indianapolis, IN
Please send your promo pack to:
8 Seconds Saloon – 111 North Lynhurst – Indianapolis, IN. 46224
Phone: 317-486-1569

Birdy’s Bar and Grill – Indianapolis, IN
Jeff –

Boney June’s – Evansville,IN
812)421-6767 or (812)421-8492

Radio Radio – Indianapolis, IN

The Bishop – Bloomington, IN

The Bluebird – Bloomington, IN

The Emerson Theater
Dave Hess –

The Venue – Terre Haute, IN

The Vogue Theater – Indianapolis, IN


The Beauty Shop – Fairfield, IA

The Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA


Jackpot Music Hall – Lawrence, KS

The Bottleneck – Lawrence. KS

Southgate House – Newport, KY with “ATTN: Gallery Booking” in the subject line.

The Corbin Tech Center – Corbin KY
Zach Hensley

The Mad Hatter – Covington, KY


The High Ground Venue
Metairie, LA


North Star Music Cafe – Portland, ME

The Big Easy – Portland, ME

Bourbon Street Concerts – Baltimore, MD

Fish Head Cantina – Arbutus, MD
Scott Fisher –

Rams Head Live – Baltimore, MD
Mark Mangold:

Sonar – Baltimore, MD

The Brass Monkey Saloon – Baltimore, MD
(410) 522-0784

The Otto Bar – Baltimore, MD

The Middle East – Boston,MA

The Corner Bar – Kalamazoo, MI
Guerrilla Productions –


Club Underground – Minneapolis, MN (click on the booking link)

Station 4 – St. Paul, MN


The Thirsty Hippo – Hattiesbug, MS
Erik Eaves –
The Celtic – Pascagoula, MS


Cicero’s – St. Louis, MO
The Record Bar – Kansas City, MO
The Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
The Filling Station – Bozeman, MT


Knickerbockers – Lincoln, NE
Pizza Shoppe Collective – Omaha, NE
The Slowdown – Omaha, NE
Val –

New Hampshire
Ground Zero – Sincook, NH
Send half hour set of lyrics to

I’mThirsty Entertainment – Manchester, NH

New Jersey
Asbury Lanes – Asbury Park, NJ Backstage Coffeehouse – Edison, NJ
Zach – 732-947-7893 –

BusStop Music Café Potman, NJ
Francis Corazo

Championship Bar and Grill – Trenton, NJ
Michelle – Nice Guy Booking –

Hanger 84 – Vineland, NJ

TheBrighton Bar – Long Branch, NJ
Jack “Jacko” Monahan

The Crossroads – Garwood, NJ
TheSaint – Asbury Park, NJ
TheStarland Ballroom – Sayreville NJ
TheStone Pony Asbury Park, NJ
TheWonder Bar – Asbury Park, NJ
New Mexico
New York
Arlene’s Grocery – New York, NY

Party Xpo – Brooklyn, NY
booking [at] partyxpobrooklyn [dot] com

North Carolina

SomewhereElse Tavern – Greensboro,NC

North Dakota

Canal Street Tavern – Dayton, OH
Mick Montgomery –

Dirty Jack’s – Cincinnati, OH
Chris Lee –

Mad Frog – Cincinnati, OH
Bryan Billhimer –

Now Thats Class Lounge – Cleveland, OH
Paul –

Peabody’s Down Under – Cleveland, OH
Kimber Weissert –

The Attic – Kettering, OH
Elizabeth Kilby –

The Brewery – Troy, OH

The Grog Shop – Cleveland OH
Kathy Simkoff –
John Neely –
Brittany Schwab –

The Phantasy Concert Club – Lakewood, OH
Manny –

The Trolley Stop – Dayton, OH

Ash Street Saloon – Portland, OR
Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
The Tonic Lounge – Portland, OR

2nd Friday Concert Series
Nathan LoSchiavo –

Champion Ship – Lemoyne, PA

Club 19 – York, PA
Steve – 717.487.7477.

Jimmy’s Place – Allentown, PA
Cody – 610-739-2203

The Bombshelter – Gettysburg, PA
Alex –

The Chameleon – Lancaster, PA

Triumph Brewing Company – Philadelphia, PA

Stephanie –

Vintage Theater – Scranton, PA

Club Hell – Providence, RI
John Difruscio
Jerky’s Music Hall – Providence, RI
South Carolina
South Dakota

12th & Porter Nashville, TN
Justin Roddick • justin (@)

Exit/In – Nashville, TN
Ryan –

Mercy Lounge / Cannery Ballroom – Nashville, TN
John Bruton –
Andrew Mischke –

Rocketown Music Venue – Nashville, TN

Rockettown Coffee Bar – Nashville, TN (Acoustic Shows Only)
Mandy –

The Hideaway – Johnson City, TN

The Muse – Nashville, TN


The White Rabbit – San Antonio,TX
Dave & Jenn –

The Wise Monkey – Lubbock, TX
Aaron –

Third String Productions
Dallas / Wichita Falls Booking
Houston Booking


Kilby Court
Will Sartain

Muse Music – Provo, UT

Velour – Provo, UT


242 Main – Burlington, VT
BOOKING242MAIN@HOTMAIL.COM (Put name of band in subject)

Club Metronome – Burlington, VT
Alex Budney –

Nectars – Burlington, VT
Alex Budney –


Apex Booking –Northern VA
Mikey Raffiqi-
Club Relevant – Virginia Beach, VA
Jamie Cheek

Jammin’ Java – Vienna,VA
David Siverstein –

TheCamel – Richmond, VA


D4 Venue – Summer, WA

Hell’s Kitchen – Tacoma, WA

Flash –

West Virginia
Copper Rock Coffee – Appleton, WI

Marghaels – Fond du Lac, WI

New Moon Cafe – Oshkosh, WI

Rock Island Cafe – Neenah, WI

The Rave/Eagles Club – Milwaukee, WI
Justin Moralez –

TheUnity Lodge – Kenosha, WI
Ruifo – Revival Productions

The Warehouse – La Crosse, WI



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Getting Past A Plateau

Right now, i feel like we’re kind of at a stand still. We don’t have any shows booked, or prospects of having shows booked. We’re in a good amount of debt from our most recent record, but we’re finally writing music that we 100% believe in. A product that we’re very proud of, and would like for the world to hear. But, promotion around here isn’t easy by any means. The scene is way too crowded, there are shows going on almost every day here, with different locals playing each one, three locals per show usually. I know we have to stand out, and I figured this new stuff we’re writing would do the trick. But god knows when we’ll be releasing any of it. Do you have any advice on how to stand out both online and on the street/in our scene? As well as tips for not promoting, but convincing people that our show is where they should be when we’re out doing promo.
We love playing and writing music, and being a band. We just don’t know where to go from here. So any light you can shed on our situation would be greatly appreciated!

A Letter To You

I’m sure to most of you this sounds pretty familiar. You work really hard and do everything that you know how and you’re just not getting anywhere. You’re stuck at a plateau, but the important thing is not to panic. While plateaus can be extremely frustrating they are a normal part of life. A lot of people are under the misconception that the ride to fame and fortune is a rocket. However if you were to graph it out it would look more like a staircase than a straight line. What helps set bands/artists/business/brands apart from each other is how you handle being stuck at a plateau.
Dillon’s story can be pretty frightening. They can’t get booked, they are in debt, and they are unsure of what to do next. While it can be scary, and trust me these situations have broken up many bands, I see it as an opportunity. Now is the perfect time to take a serious look at your band and figure out what needs work to take the next step forward. My father taught me that when you hit a plateau you need to take a look at yourself and take care of any flaws that could cause you problems as you move forward. “Kill them to make sure they don’t come back” is what he always tells me. I’ve always felt a fresh approach is critical to breaking through during a plateau. So what kinds of things can you do to help you move forward?

Make sure your live show is as tight as you can make it.
Start or refocus your street team
Make your social networking marketing more direct.
Work on your on band/artist website.
Try to sell off any old merch just laying around.

There are thousands of things you can do, but to get through the plateau you have to do them. Just sitting around waiting for stuff to happen isn’t going to do you any good. Those were just five examples of things you can do, but you know your band better than I do. I’m sure you can find lots more things to focus on to help you move forward.
Dillon’s band I’m sure is a lot like yours. While you may not be in debt, I’m sure you don’t have a ton of money to throw around. So what can you do when your trying to stand out in a crowd but don’t have any money? I think the best thing Dillon and your band can do is to go out and find where the people who like your music would mostly be and make a connection with them. This could be the mall, a coffee shop, record store, or a concert. It doesn’t even have to be your concert, if you’re a metal band, and you know of a huge metal show going on in the area get some flyers, load your music on your iPod, and go make some friends. People are more likely to actually spend money to go to a show from people they have met and made a connection with than just some random person handing them a flyer. This goes for online marketing too, don’t just send out a billion show e-mails, really try to build a relationship with them. A short personal e-mail will go a lot further than you might think.
Hopefully this will help you to get motivated to get out of your plateau. If you have a question you’d like answered e-mail me at

A Letter To You

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Is This The End of Myspace?

Really great read from Ben Par over at Mashable about what Apple’s new Ping network means for Myspace Music. Is this the end of Myspace Music? Will Ping flop? What do you think?

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Getting Creative With Concert Marketing Videos

I think video is currently a very underutilized medium in which to promote your shows. However as cameras become less and less expensive I think it will become more of the norm. Today I have some videos from the Vamp Group who are based in the PA/NJ area. They are doing some amazing creative videos.


River City Extension                                        

Scott Liss and the 66

cymbals eat guitars (NSFW BOOBS!)

Now I know not everyone can make a video like this, hell you might not even have access to a camera, but someone in your network might. It’s worth a shot to get your hands on a camera and go out and try to shoot something. It might not be as creative as what the Vamp Group is doing but it can’t hurt to go out and give it your best shot.

The Vamp Group

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Concert Marketing Strategies

 Do real “paper” flyers and hanging up posters outside of the venue you’re playing still work?  What about just using social media to promote your shows, is that sufficient?  Can you use one or the other, or do you need both?




I think this is an excellent question and one I am well versed in. During my time working at MegoGlobalMusic Company I became quite familiar with both street and internet marketing. I think both are important however how you go about using them is equally important. Let’s start with Street Marketing.

Street Marketing

It sounds really simple, take flyers, posters, stickers, cd’s of your band and take them to the people. If you’re working with an unlimited budget street marketing can be quite easy, however I have never ever had a client give me a blank check and tell me to blanket the world. Almost always I am told, “You have a very limited budget and I need the world to know about this band/show/product.” I’ve gotten really good at getting the most exposure I can for virtually little money. When you have no budget you need to be creative, but we will talk more about that later.

Given the likelihood that you have a very limited amount of funds and time you need to get the biggest bang for your buck. You need to go where the people who like your band shop and hang out. Most times when I’m handed a similar project I have to spend weeks researching on where to find the best consumer base for my clients. Now hopefully since they are fans of your music, you have a good idea of where those places already are. If you don’t, ask them, talk to them after shows or send out an e-mail asking them to list the top 3 places they go to hang out or eat. Once you know the places they hang out at go to those stores and talk to the people who own or manage them and ask them if you can put your stuff there. It’s important to build a relationship with the people who work there for a few reasons. The biggest reason is you don’t want them to throw your stuff out as soon as you leave. Also they can talk up your band to their customers.

I ‘ve done a ton of street marketing starting at the age of 16 so I spent a lot of time (almost 14 years…fuck!) walking around to stores during the day. For the most part there is not really much going on during the day so I got to know a lot of store owners pretty well. What I found is that because I have built these relationships with these people, that when someone would ask about the flyers or posters I’d left they would talk up the event to them. They were doing my marketing for me, now this isn’t going to work everywhere but it’s a nice byproduct of good street marketing and relationship building.

If it’s your first time going out to try this kind of marketing my suggestion would be to start small. Focus only on the places you know that your crowd hangs out at. Sure a lot of people who like your music are already at these places but that’s ok.  Just having your stuff there can pay off big time, all it takes is one fan of your music to be hanging out with their friends, see your flyers and from that a conversation can go from how much they like your music to a new group of people coming out to your next show.

Social Media Marketing

Marketing your show on the internet can be tricky. So many artists, particularly in the early days of Myspace, just mass added people thinking that it would lead to fame and fortune. We all know that this isn’t the case, even though a few labels lost their mind and thought it was a good idea to sign them anyway. (i.e. brokencyde)  Mass adding 120,000 world wide has some merit. It can’t hurt to try a get your music in front of a ton of people. However when you’re playing locally it’s not going to help you at all. I can’t tell you how many times I was settling with a local band at the end of the night and I heard something pretty close to this:

“I don’t really know why only 8 people came out, we were all over Myspace and Facebook. We have like 50 billon fans between the two pages.”

Since the Social Media explosion happened a few years back I’ve seen a lot of artists, particularly on the local level, get really lazy. A lot of artists seem to be under the impression that just because they listed their show on Myspace and send out a few Facebook messages that they have done their job. It’s just not that simple. Much like street marketing you need to build relationships with your online fan base. Sending out 35 messages a day to someone’s inbox isn’t going to help that relationship, you’re spamming them. I personally like when bands get creative, make a web video or record a song, just doing something different that grabs people’s attention to your gig. People are way more inclined to send a funny or interesting video to their friends than yet another generic posting about your show. That alone can help bring more people to the door.

I think both street marketing and social media marketing are incredibly important to a band. Each one has the potential to reach people the other one can’t. So while you could just  stick to one, I think you would be missing out on reaching a whole section of your potential audience. As we move forward I’ll go into how to effectively create and build a street team that can easily handle a lot of these tasks for you. I’d like to thank Erica for her question and if you have a question you’d like answered please e-mail me at



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Making The Video

Check out these DIY music videos from the Defog. The first one was shot by the band and the second was done by Josh Carter.



This just goes to show you don’t really need a ton of money to make a really good video. I knew of a band that spent a good $7,500 on their video. I’d post a link to the video but they broke up before they were even done editing it. I’m not just talking a simple live shot video either, they had full on costumes and a fucking crane shot!

Now if you’re in a band that can afford all of that, well then by all means have at it. However I’m going to think 95% of you reading this can’t. So if you’re lucky enough to live by a high school or college with a film program you should be able to find lots of students sitting around with expensive equipment dying to find something to shoot.

If you don’t happen to have film students at your disposal your video doesn’t even have to be filmed necessarily. The Josh Carter Downstream video was done in Flash. Just go out and be creative and if you are not creative go out and find people who are, they will more than likely be happy to work with you. As I come across more interesting videos I’ll post them here.

The Defog

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