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How hard do you promote your gigs?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bullitt5135, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    Besides the usual posters/flyers, web, Facebook, email, and personal invitations to friends and family, how hard go you guys/gals promote your gigs? It's the same old argument... whose job is it to fill the bar?

    I've thought about extending my classic rock bar band's promotional reach beyond what is typical. I had the idea of mining various social groups (such as Meetup.com) and inviting them to our shows. Another thought is to try and recruit the small distillery down the road from us to do a tie-in event at the bar. On the surface, it seems like a good idea, but the more I think about it it feels like I am doing a lot of work that should be done by the bar manager.

    We have a gig coming up at a place that's new to us -- the manager said he'd like us to bring 30 people (shouldn't be a problem since it's very close to home for us). Since we charge a flat fee (no cover) we don't get paid anything more if we double the number of people the manager expects. The upside is that we'll look damn good to the manager, hopefully secure more gigs, and win some new fans. The downside is that I'm setting a precedent for doing the heavy promotional lifting and possibly setting the bar too high.

    I'm interested in hearing what other cover/bar bands are doing to promote their gigs -- particularly, stuff that may be a little outside the box -- and has it been worth the effort?
  2. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004
    Most of the bars we played did their own promotion. We tried to cover what they didn't through social media andthe local paper and those avenues. Since I knew a few DJs, we had the luxury of having our gigs aired without paying any advertising. That was a good way of bringing people into bars they wouldn't normally patronize. We tried to balance the promotion and got quite good at bringing people in.
    One case in particular, we closed the bar at the end of the night with one beer left in the cooler! We sold so much alcohol that night and became a good draw that we were able to up our rate so our cross promotion paid off.
  3. it depends on the gig.
    If it is a county fair on a saturday afternoon, then I don't promote very much.
    If it is a headlining gig at a club, then I promote much more. Same stuff though, distribute postcards everywhere and leave them in bathrooms and stuff.
    There are many gene-specific websites around these days that I will also use to promote.
    Sometimes the local supermarket has a board to post stuff on, the laundrymat scence, etc. Just depends on the gig.
  4. FWIW: I personally think we should always get as many as we can to attend - period!!!

    It's the bar's job and it's bands job to keep them there!!!
  5. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    It may not technically be "my job" to draw a larger crowd into somebody's bar, but it never hurts to do so & definitely serves my interests. It's good to be known as somebody who goes "above & beyond", no matter what profession.
  6. Hey, it's your band. I'm no expert but it seems risky to me to leave the success of your band in the hands of folks with different priorities.
  7. Depends on the gig. If it's a Thursday night deal that doesn't usually draw a huge crowd I'll blast Facebook and our email list. If it's a weekend and we're given the entire venue for the evening, it's a new venue or we're headlining I'll print flyers, make phone calls, talk about it at church, send FB messages, send emails, but up posters at local places.
  8. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    A band that I work with has an opt-in e-mail list for gig announcements, that never fails to bring out a few fans. Not a huge number, but always supportive.
  9. gard0300


    Jan 10, 2011
    Vandalia, Ohio
    Most of our bar gigs. We print flyers and table cards, usually post on Facebook and our band's email list.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Suspended Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    If the bar has to do a ton of promo work what do they need you for?
  11. KyleMW


    Oct 7, 2013
    It depends on where you play but it also depends on how far your band has gone. The venue should promote as much as possible but if you're just starting out, the band should do most of the work at that point because no one really know who you are so how do you promote that? My band had a show at a bar around when we first started playing shows. We did the majority of the promotion, sold the most tickets and brought in the biggest crowd. The bar has already called us back twice in the last couple of months. At the same time, its a bar, people are going to be there regardless, right? The last time we played there and the bar gave us our tickets to sell, we just gave them away to friends and even some strangers. We pulled in a really decent crowd so I mean whatever you can think of promotion wise it's better than no promotion! If it's a more music-oriented venue, same deal I guess, but usually they'll have promoters working for them, they'll have to promote as much if not more than the band does. Then you can only promote so much and it's up to whether or not people give enough of a crap to go to a show. Long-story short there are a lot of things to take into consideration :p Social Media seems like a necessary evil. get yourselves some random merch like buttons and stickers and do some networking at coffee shops and give them away. Stuff like that, people eat that stuff up it seems. Whatever works! Sorry I kinda went all over the place there :p
  12. Hmm. Well, depending on what they're promoting - maybe they don't need you for anything at all. :D
  13. I only work with promoters and venues that promote, i'll blacklist you in a hurry. but we promote our rear ends off too. everyone needs to be involved if they want success.

    businesses, facebook is free and has millions of people to see your crap, use it.
  14. masterFlash


    Jul 6, 2009
    It depends...
    But I think it's safe to say that for most of gigs we take we should promote our butts off.
    Do you want to play to an empty bar?
    Do you want the venue owner to want you back?
    Do you want the patrons to have a good time?
    Do you want to make money?
    Do you want the venue to make money?

    The more people you bring into the venue the better.
    If you like your band/music/show, you should be pushing your product on everyone you run across during your normal day.

    There's a special synergy that happens when you get enough people into a club, they all let loose a little bit more and have a little more fun.

    If people walk out of your show and they had a good time, success!

    Why wouldn't you promote the heck out of a product that you put that much time and energy into perfecting.

    Letting the marketing fall solely on people that don't know your product and don't care about it as much as you is a bad idea.

    Promote your music with as much energy and passion as you play it.
  15. The guitarist books the gigs.
    The drummer promotes online via website, facebook, email and such.
    I make any posters, flyers, table cards to hand out and leave at the venue.

    We try to promote the little gigs as much as the bigger ones but
    that doesn't always happen.
  16. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    We are a band, we provide entertainment. We are not a PR Firm or an AD Agency. We promote the venue to the extent of promoting our product. (ie: the band)

    We do try to get the seats filled with in reason but let the venues know up front (as was stated earlier in the thread) "you get them here and we'll keep them here." We also let the venues know that we understand it's all about sales whether it's beer & wine; mixed drinks, food, we always push the "specials" all night.

    I'm in a cover band that does 4 hours shows. This foemula works for us very well. As always YMMV ;)
  17. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    I've heard that there is no better promotion than self promotion. Get busy!!!
  18. Hapa


    Apr 21, 2011
    Tustin, CA
    Very hard. I talk with the venue/promoter/owner to see what is already being done and where, with what circulation/penetration. Then ask for a budget, if I get a chuckle then I ask if they will match my dollars or split the cost of promotion, if I get a chuckle then I start with prepping media, flyer or news blast. Internet: Social networks, band pages, pollstar, local news, etc. Usually done in waves for best penetration and repetition. I have stopped many paper ads/flyers stapled/glued/ pinned on walls, music stores, schools (if appropriate), sports fields, restaurants...more a I suppose.
    If I do have a budget I usually go internet radio, flyers/demo cd's for street team.

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