Venues that won't advertise for live music

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by guy n. cognito, Nov 25, 2012.


  1. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Over the last 6 months, I've encountered a number of issues with local venues that are putting virtually NO effort into advertising live music in their venues. In the most egregious example, we played the Halloween party for a local suburban venue. I created flyers (both print and electronic) and advertised heavily on social media. We learned Halloween specific songs, dressed up, and MCd the costume contest. The venue, on the other hand, didn't even acknowledge that they were having a halloween party....or live music for that matter. They had a decent turnout, but it wasn't packed like it usually is for that date. At the end of the night, the venue owner expressed some displeasure with the turnout, and inferred that "my band didn't draw." I calmly explained to her why their lack of advertising had an impact on the poor turnout, but I could tell she really didn't hear it.

    It seems to be happening more and more. The venue we played last night didn't put any effort into advertising the live music, although they made up some pretty impressive social media posts for the ND-USC game :rolleyes: We drew a crowd, but this venue seats several hundred, so it seemed pretty thin.

    Has anyone else seen this trend increasing, and what suggestions do you have to try to correct the behavior?
  2. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Most venues around here only advertise if it's a certain "caliber" of band. So they'll only mention one out of 4 shows in a given month. I've played a venue that on their website will list the show, but will put the time, the cover and in some cases the details of who is actually playing besides the headliner, as TBD until the day before the event.
  3. armywalaby

    armywalaby

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Location:
    Wabash River Valley
    Yeah, but how hard is it to post an event on the facebook page or put something on the marquee, even if it just says "Live Music 10pm"? bars that are struggling are doing so for other reasons (see management) and just want to put their failure off on to someone else.
  4. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    This venue booked us for one of their biggest nights of the year. Let's just assume we are that certain "caliber." ;)
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  6. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    I've heard quite a few club owners I know talk about the diminishing returns for hanging paper. Even on social media they have to pick their spots rather than hype every show.

    I'd think, though, that for a Halloween show they could at least put the event on their website, hang a poster or two in the club, and mention the event on their FB.

    When the venue won't do that bare minimum, they probably don't believe that they've seen that kind of promo result in improved turn-out in the past. If that's the case, you might think you're calmly explaining about the need for venue promo; but (unless you're presenting actual market research), what the manager hears isn't an explanation, but a claim that she already rejects.
  7. Chef FourString

    Chef FourString

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Texas
    I understand the frustration but if you know they won't/don't advertise then DIY.
  8. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I've seen more than a few venues blame them not taking in as much as they would have liked to on "poor turnout" even though they may have decided to not charge a door cover at the last second, or you had a great turnout but people weren't drinking as much that night.

    Then again I've played venues where the promoter will give the band a little extra out of THEIR own pocket on TOP of free food and drink, just because maybe the band had a longer drive.
  9. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Supporting Member

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    Dec 28, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Maybe, butI find it hard to believe that any business owner would decide that NO advertisement is better than doing something, even if it's a mention on Facebook.

    The venue in question has over 1,000 facebook "friends". Even if they only get 5% of those to show up, that's another 50 people in the door. For a club that only holds 150, that's a lot.
  10. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I did (and I mentioned it above), but there's only so much a band can do to draw people into a club. Working together as a team seems to yield the best results.
  11. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

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    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Nashville
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    What frustrates me is when we go to the trouble and expense of making posters and shipping them to the venue weeks in advance and they can't be bothered to even put them up around the bar. Then the next time we play there they complain that we didn't send them posters this time.
  12. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The only venues that can afford NOT to advertise are those that have built a solid reputation of consistently putting on good music. And they probably got that reputation by advertising ...
  13. niki z

    niki z Supporting Member

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    Nov 8, 2011
    Location:
    Springfield, Missouri
    Curious to know what venue it was. I lived in Nashville 10 years, and know it's a hard city to draw in consistently with all the competition. That said Halloween is one of the biggest nights for bars/venues, I find it ridiculous they didn't do anything to get people out. Did they not even advertise in The Scene?
  14. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Supporting Member

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    Dec 28, 2005
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    Nashville, TN
    I'm not going to name the venue. They didn't even mention it on Facebook, which would have been free.
  15. mellowinman

    mellowinman Not a Clique Member Supporting Member

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    Increasing?

    Man, in Fort Wayne, this has gotten out of hand! We have maybe three or four "name" bands who have a crowd that will follow them from venue to venue, and a number of venues that expect every act they book to draw like that, with NO assist from the club.

    I was pretty upset, thinking we just don't have "it," and beating myself up over it, until I TALKED WITH SOME OTHER BANDS.

    Man, was that eye-opening. The only thing most of us are doing about it is considering hanging it up.

    I will be paying plenty of attention to this thread for suggestions, because, to be honest, I don't have any.

    When you stop playing originals completely, make a setlist filled with tested audience approved hits, practice the hell out of them to make sure they sound great and have energy, and then play them to a largely empty room, the only feeling you have is one of being pathetic.

    Every now and then, we play to an enthusiastic crowd, and remember that we DO have a great show!

    A lady who does bookings asked my wife our minimum, and after they were done talking numbers, I told her that just between her and I, I would play for next to nothing, just to be playing to a big crowd. I know that's an unpopular sentiment in this business, but honestly, I do NOT give a crap about money, and never have. What I want is to ENTERTAIN PEOPLE, and do it well.
  16. niki z

    niki z Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Location:
    Springfield, Missouri
    Fair enough...sorry to hear. Had the same thing happen to us when we played up in STL, after we paid to get posters designed. Nothing was put up when we showed up, and no listings in the local "entertainment" paper. :mad: They did put a list of the bands on the outside of the entrance on a 8x11 piece of paper written with a black sharpie. :rollno:
  17. bassfran

    bassfran

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    Mar 1, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago
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    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    This happens ALL THE TIME. Bad enough when it's on your home turf but REALLY sucks when you're on the road. It's a direct reflection on the venue's overall lack of caring for their business.
  18. Kenner

    Kenner

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    Location:
    The Mini of Apolis........
    "It's a direct reflection on the venue's overall lack of caring for their business."

    Welp..."this" should wrap up this thread.....
  19. SBassman

    SBassman Supporting Member

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    Jun 8, 2003
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    Northeast, US
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    Dealer: PiccoBass Guitar-scale Basses
    A whole lotta venue owners decide to give it a try, take out the loan, open up the place - and think their work is done. It sux, but I see it all the time.

    Besides being clueless, there is a Second reason why some venues do not advertise live music. Believe it or not, they may be trying to evade paying the ASCAP fees.
  20. bluewine

    bluewine

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    WI
    Then the management of that venue might want to start thinking about going into a different line of work.

    When I'm not gigging I'm one of the few musicians that supports and actually goes out to see bands.

    I respond to marquees, flyers posted at clubs and print ads.

    Blue
  21. bluewine

    bluewine

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    WI
    The ASCAP fees some of the tiny bars out there can be as little as $750.00 a year.

    It's a small operating expense. Pay it and be done with it.

    Blue

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