3 Ways to Pack Your Live Shows & Rock Your Local Music Scene by Bob Baker

Posted by Drew Stoga on February 14, 2012

Rock showGuest post by Bob Baker, www.TheBuzzFactor.com

Admit it. You want butts in seats and feet in front of the stage. The venue requires beers in hands and lots of transactions at the bar. And the promoter needs to see bodies through the door and lots of ticket sales.

The solution to meeting everyone's needs is simple: Get lots of people to show up and spend money at your live shows.

But the question is, how are you going to get them there in sufficient numbers?

Of course, you can slap up fliers in all the usual places, spam everyone on Facebook, and stalk all your friends until they buy tickets out of guilt. But long term, this strategy isn’t going to work for you.

Eventually, your friends will stop responding to your emails and texts, and Facebook and fliers will only get you so far. If it was that easy, wouldn’t every show be a success? Acts that consistently draw fans do more than this.

Look at the performers in your city who are truly creating a buzz. Chances are, they are doing three things that you’re not.

1) They promote more than just themselves

Whenever they do put up fliers to promote a show, they ask how they can help first. It’s not just about them. Instead of pestering local businesses for free exposure, how can you give them back something of value? Build relationships with those who are willing to support you. It’s human nature to want to help someone who wants to help you first, especially when you genuinely like the person and they show their appreciation.

Can you offer to do some cross promotion with a local radio station or business that goes to bat for you? Maybe you could print their logo for free on your fliers, or give them shout outs at the show as a sponsor in exchange for their support.

2) They tell people about other artists' shows

Don’t just bombard your fans with information about your own shows only. If you already know they like to attend concerts, why not tell them about other great shows going on that they might enjoy? The great thing about this is, when you promote other artists' gigs they’ll often return the favor.

It may take some time to build these types of relationships with other bands, but it can pay huge dividends in the long run. The best thing is, it doesn’t cost you anything when you promote other artists' shows. Offer to hang a few fliers or post some updates online about other cool shows in town. Help others first.

3) They support other bands and go to their shows

This means buying a ticket and standing in the crowd - not just asking to be put on the guest list then lurking by the bar all night. Yes, support other artists the way you want to be supported. As long as you appreciate their music and like them as people, show up and support them. They’ll do the same for you.

If you’re lucky, they might even give you a plug from the stage. But be there as a true fan for them, not because they might put you in the spotlight for showing up.

Bottom line: Quit making it all about you. As an artist, if you help others build their empires first, many of them will eventually return the favor. When the heavy lifting needs to happen, they’ll show up for you. But you need to make a lot of deposits into your “good will account” to earn it.

I know this may surprise you, and many reading this may have conflicting experiences and beliefs. If other artist and local businesses aren’t supporting you, ask yourself when the last time was that you truly helped them grow first? Also, don’t keep score. There will be times when you give more than you get; that isn’t the objective.

Work hard to support your local music scene and the businesses that foster its growth. Build relationships that aren’t one-sided. Relationships are what lay the foundation for a thriving music career. You need to nurture and build them slowly and genuinely.

Yes, it is about who you know (and who knows you). But what have YOU done for these people? How have you helped them and brought value to their lives?

Focus on what you can do for other artists and cross-promotion partners first, and before long you'll find more doors opening and more people coming to your shows to support YOU!

Do you agree? Disagree? I welcome your comments.


Bob Baker is the author of “Guerrilla Music Marketing Online,” Berkleemusic’s “Music Marketing 101” course, and many other books and promotion resources for DIY artists, managers and music biz pros. You’ll find Bob’s free ezine, blog, podcast, video clips and articles at www.TheBuzzFactor.com and www.MusicPromotionBlog.com.

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