7 Reasons Nobody Goes to Your Shows

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by QORC, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    repost of an article i found on the net. There is much to agree with here. Not all, but a lot.

    7 Reasons Nobody Goes to Your Shows

    1) You suck

    Maybe you’re just not that good. Sorry. Most bands aren’t. Most bands are starry eyed and spend more time bitching about the breaks they’re not getting than in the rehearsal space tightening their show. Get good first. Record your rehearsals AND your shows. Do you LOVE listening to your live set? If not, then why do you think other people will?

    I’ve been in the room with bands who listen back to their shows recorded from the board and they actually hear how poopy they sounded. How off key they sang. How the bassist missed the bridge. How the harmonies were off. But they pass it off as a bad board mix. This is sad. Get your poopie together. Double your rehearsal schedule and double your at home practice time.

    You do not deserve to be paid if you suck. That’s what all these musicians who bitch about how little they are making at live shows miss. Maybe they’re making nothing because they deserve to be paid nothing.

    Stop making me pay to see your poopy band!
    If you charge me $10 to come see you suck I’m going to be pissed and never pay again.

    People tell me they hate live music. It hurts my soul to hear this. Live music can be spiritual. But too often it’s a chore. A burden. A favor. Because bands don’t take performing seriously enough to rehearse.

    2) You Play Out Too Damn Often
    Even if your favorite band played your city every week, you wouldn’t go see them. You wouldn’t make it a priority because you could always just “catch the next one.”

    If you’re great, you can charge a ticket price and people will happily pay.

    3) It’s Not An Event
    You are not going to get a music reviewer to care about a 4 band bill show on a Wednesday night. You should turn every show into an EVENT. By spreading your shows out, you actually can come up with a theme and title for each show and make it a fun, talked about event.

    Title Your Shows
    I once organized and played a show in Minneapolis (when I was living there) called “The Unknown Order.” I got together 3 other buzzing bands in the city (none of whom had sold out the acclaimed 800 cap Varsity Theater for any show prior). The idea behind the show was that 10 minutes before the first band started, the emcee would pick a name out of a hat and that would be the first band to play. No one (not even the bands) knew the order of the acts for the evening. After each band finished, the emcee picked another name.

    The idea was to get everyone to the club at the start of the show and to put all bands on an equal level – no headliners or openers. The show sold out 10 minutes after doors opened and about 200 people got turned away.

    4) You Aren’t Selling Advance Tickets
    You always want to try to have advance tickets setup so you can encourage people to buy them and COMMIT to your show. Make them cheaper than the actual door price (if the venue allows this). If you can get hard tickets printed out, try to sell them or ask the local music stores to sell them. It gives people a fun activity to go pick up tickets to your show. DO NOT PAY TO PLAY. Don’t work with shady promoters who give you 50 tickets to sell and if you don’t, you have to pay the difference. This is different. This is working with the venue/promoter to have a packed show.

    5) You Think The Venue Will Promote
    So many bands believe it’s the venue’s responsibility to do 100% of the promotion for their show. Just getting a show listed on a popular venue’s calendar will not bring people out. You can’t expect venues to promote every show – they just have too many! If 4 bands play their club every night, 6 nights a week, that’s 24 bands (or 6 shows) a week. Similar to how if you played every week people (even your hard core fans) would stop caring, the venue’s loyalists aren’t going to come out every night of the week, or even most nights.

    Venues put effort into the shows they know they can sell. If you’re unestablished and unknown why should they put their efforts into promoting you. Once you pack their club, the NEXT time you play, I bet they’ll put a bit more effort into promoting your show – like maybe announcing it on Facebook. I’m sure you’ll at least get a Tweet!

    6) You Rely Solely On Facebook
    People are tired of Facebook events. They get too damn many from too many friends they’ve lost touch with. Of course, Facebook can be a great tool to add to your promo efforts, but it can’t be the ONLY tool you use. Hit the promo from all angles: social media, print posters and flyers, press, radio, sponsorships (like local wine or beer companies are perfect). Inviting all your friends to a Facebook event is only step one.

    Print up physical promo materials such as posters and flyers. We live in such a digitized world that receiving an invitation in the physical world is awfully refreshing, especially if it’s given to you by a friend.

    7) You Aren’t Going Out Into The World
    Weeks leading up to any big show make sure to go out more often. Hit up local shows, big shows, bars, birthday parties that you normally wouldn’t end up attending. Anything. Just get out and talk to more humans in the physical world. It will inevitably come up that you’re a musician (or if they know you they will ask you when your next show is) and you can whip out a flyer and personally invite them.

    Don’t be sleazy about it. You can do it in a conversational manner. A personal invitation in person is incredibly effective. Having a professional looking flyer legitimizes the show. You could even follow up with them with a personal Facebook message, email or text message a couple days before the show to remind them (and it won’t seem completely out of the blue).
  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    All true. Especially 1, 2, and 5.
    jugglingfreak and Last Rebel like this.
  3. Last Rebel

    Last Rebel Lone Wolf - No Club Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2011
    Ontario Canada
    Lots of good advice

    Some of those I already do like flyers

    Great post!
    DopplerShift likes this.
  4. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Fix Number 1 or the rest won't matter.
  5. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    This looks like a Martin Atkins list.
    He knows his sh!t.

    Although - and I see this dichotomy a lot in articles like this from industry experts - they live in a world of ticketed events in dedicated venues.
    Not that it makes a fundamental difference in the information posted here, but I wonder how many of us are actually playing ticketed events in show venues.
    I know there are TB members who live in this world.
    I know there are a few venues in this area that hold ticketed events almost exclusively, and there a _few_ local bands I see play them. But mostly the show rooms go to touring pros, and most of us in the 'minor leagues' struggle in the bar / restaurant scene. Some of the advice like 'Make It An Event' and the 'opening act phenomenon' don't apply (as much) when you're doing 8-11 at the Barf 'n' Brew... Sounds like it needs its own thread...
  6. mike57


    Feb 12, 2009
    Our Fair City, MA
    8. You're old, and your audience is old and they don't stay out past 8 o'clock anymore. So a 10pm start is problematic.
  7. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Ah, the ever popular list. I'm in a hurry to crank out a column and don't have a clue of an original idea. I'll package together some old chestnuts that everybody knows and call it a day.

    Way more important than any of these is - You don't play the music people want to hear. Is there anyone that hasn't seen a mediocre band pack a place because they play every song people want to hear?

    No 1 - Wrong, plenty of sucky bands get audiences because they play the tunes people want to hear
    No 2 - Wrong, unless you play in a rural area with 2 clubs, there should be enough clubs within a 100 mile radius that you can play out weekly. There are a lot of bands in my area that play out weekly
    No 3 - So you play out less so that more people come to see you? How about changing up your song list and spreading out your gigs and playing shows with other bands?
    No 4 - I don't know what level he is talking about but most of the clubs I play aren't set up for advance ticket sales
    No 5, 6, 7 are all related to marketing. I wouldn't argue that most bands should probably do more marketing.
  8. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    9) Your band is OK or even pretty decent, but sometimes people simply have better things to do than sit in a bar or stand in the mud.
  9. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    I think the article is talking mostly about original bands.
    jmone, Plectrum72, D.A.R.K. and 7 others like this.
  10. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I got up at 4:30 this Sunday to go rehearse and play in church (and I'm old enough to know I need sleep), so yeah, you invite me to a 10 PM show on Saturday night...not gonna happen.
    dan1952 likes this.
  11. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    9. You play PROG.

    (Ok - I do)
  12. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    disagree. It's not just a matter of set lists. Or covers vs. originals. I think there is great merit in these points
    Waltsdog likes this.
  13. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    00 images2b2.png
    Spidey2112 and dan1952 like this.
  14. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    I agree #1 is pretty important. Far too many bands act like they are awesome when in reality they truly are "poopy". there is vast delusion out there
    blue4, dan1952, joebar and 2 others like this.
  15. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    I was in a 'band' with some guys and they were adamant about not wanting to see any other people perform. No open mikes, no shows... They were totally opposed to the concept that someone else might be doing a better job. A Great Awakening came one night when we had to sit through all the performances at an International Blues Competition regional qualifier we'd entered. I don't think they ever really recovered from that, and they were p!ssed at me when I shared the scores. We eventually booked a gig, but for one reason or another, nobody was available that night, and the project folded soon thereafter. Preconceptions and delusions are powerful things...
  16. bearfoot

    bearfoot Inactive

    Jan 27, 2005
    Chittenango, NY
    Suck not, and go forth.
    Novarocker and Charlzm like this.
  17. My band simply has no shame.
  18. Article definitely pertains more to originals acts, and that should be stated somewhere in it. As @lfmn16 noted, most of these things are not deal breakers for many successful busy weekend warrior dance party cover bands, especially #1, which is a crying shame but true. The whole marketing/networking thing is a different story for cover bands too (covers musicians in general aren't all that interested in networking with other covers musicians, going to their shows, or rubbing elbows with potential "fans" in the real world, most clubs do actively promote cover band shows, Facebook is still a useful tool, etc.). If we have a group of party people, friends, and family regularly attending, if we know how to make talent buyers happy, and if the playlist is on-target for the venues and events we play, we stay busy.
    BluesOnBass likes this.
  19. Hambone70

    Hambone70 Guest

    Jan 31, 2018
    To me, sound quality and fidelity rank right up there with “not sucking.”

    I’d MUCH rather listen to a competent band playing simpler songs with quality sound reinforcement than a virtuoso genius with crappy sound!
  20. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I’d say you’re also attempting to play live music in an era where live music isn’t as alluring as it used to be. You really need to stand out these days.
    Mike Sorr, EdO., ForestFriend and 7 others like this.