5 Things Bands Need to Do in Order to Have a Thriving Scene with No Pay to Play



**Guest post written by John Safari, President and Co-Founder of Orange County Music League.


"A lot of bands complain about the music scene for one reason or another. In my opinion, most of these bands aren’t thinking of the bigger picture, or outside of their band for that matter. I started Orange County Music League to put an end to pay to play. Bands are not a dollar sign. Here are some things that local bands are going to need to start doing in order to build a thriving scene:



1. Get out and go to at least one local show a week that your band is not playing, or at least share the flyer.

This is how it begins. The people in the scene need to support the scene, not just their own shows. Imagine if there were 6 other bands at each show, that is 20-30 more people. At every show. This also shows everyone who is only in it for themselves. If you can’t physically make it out, post a show flyer and let your fans know there is a great local show that night. It’s not all about you and your band.



2. Promote their brand, music, and shows on Social platforms yes, but more importantly go out and make face to face connections with new people.

Nobody is going to promote you more than you. This is one of the keys to being noticed. If you’re passionate about it, tell the world! World of mouth is the best form of promotion. People can hear all the details and they can see how passionate you are about it. They are more likely to be interested and more likely to want to check it out to support your passion. You can not convey this over a social media platform.



3. Accept playing free shows and making your money that night on merch sales.

There is no better way to brand your band then selling merch at your shows. You can make extra money, personally connect with new fans, and know people are out there repping your band! If you are a serious band, you should be willing to make that investment into branding your band name and spreading your music.



4. Play weekday shows. Bands who only play weekends are hurting the scene.

If you only play weekend shows, you are in a way being selfish, but you are also excluding a large potential fan base from ever seeing you. I have found it easier sometimes to get someone out to a free local show during the week than a $10 local show on a Saturday. The day with the most competition. Obviously school and work may stop a ton of weekday shows, but the occasional weekday show can help build a scene. People go out every night, not just on the weekends. They’re more likely to choose a local show on a weekend if they have already experienced great local live music.



5. Never bad mouth or bash promoters, other bands, venues, or anything of the sort.

You look unprofessional and immature. Even if you have a reason to be irritated or angry, when you bash people on public forums, outside people are likely to not want to work with you - even if your band is good. We are all in this together and if we don’t act like it, nothing will get better or change.


It starts with the bands, but ends with the fans.


Thanks for reading. If you liked what you read, give it a share."




Related Blog Posts:

+Should You Pay to Play

+How To Make Sure You're Booking a Good Venue

+Don't Kill Your Hometown Crowd




John Safari is an event producer from Orange County, CA set out to put an end to the thought that artists are a dollar sign and to bring live music back to the community. This is why he started Orange County Music League, and their free weekly event, DOWN Tuesday's, in Santa Ana, CA.



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