Tag Archives: getting a gig

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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