Tag Archives: concerts

Using Your Ticket Selling Abilities as Leverage

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.

 Thank you!

Darryl

 

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 yourbandreallysucksblog@gmail.com

  

Morning… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.morningband.com 

http://www.facebook.com/morningband

 

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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: http://wp.me/p10S1O-7
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 yourbandreallysucksblog@gmail.com


The North Coast
http://www.myspace.com/thenorthcoast

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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.

Lydia                                                                          

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

www.vampgroup.com

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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?

 

Erica

Ledaswan

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 yourbandreallysucksblog@gmail.com

 

Leadswan

http://ledaswanmusic.net/

www.myspace.com/Ledaswan

http://www.facebook.com/ledaswan

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How to Promote Your Band 101 – Concert Flyers

Through my years of music promotion I’ve seen my share of concert flyers. A rare few actually worth a second glace. If you’re trying to be a serious band you need to look at your band as a business/brand. Everything you put forward is trying to gain a bigger audience, so if you give me a flyer that looks like it took you 5 minutes to design I’m already making judgments about you. If you’re a struggling artist or band trying to set yourself apart from all the other struggling acts is kind of important. So unless you want start wearing clown makeup or becoming a performance art act you might want to take a look at what you’re handing out to people. Does it look something like this?

Side Note: If your band name is WE RAPED SANTA CLAUS not only will I go see your band I will totally buy a T-shirt.

 

Now take a look at this.

If someone is in the business of booking or signing bands I can tell you for sure which show they are more likely to check out. They are always going to check out the band that looks to have their shit together.

So what can you do?

I realize not everyone is an artist. However more than likely you already know someone who can draw, paint, Photoshop, finger paint etc. Sit down with them and ask them if they can help you design a decent show flyer or poster. Also check out local art colleges, most of those kids have free time and the talent to really make some rad stuff. Plus if they are really cool you can print up extras and sell them. (Don’t be a dick and not give the artist a cut too).

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