How To Screw Up Your Gig Before You Even Show Up.
**Guest post written by Jonathan Sexton, CEO of Bandposters.
"Touring and building a fanbase is hard, and its a ton of work. It takes a lot of organization, dedication, and hard work to be the band that rises above the rest. The fact is, there are so many things that can go wrong, and it starts from the time the show is booked until the time that the gig is over and you are trying to re-book the club. After years on the road, I think I made every mistake possible at some point. This is a 3 part series about everything NOT to do before the gig, while you are at the gig, and after the gig is over.
1) Think you are the only game in town.
Almost everyone you know has better things to do than come to your show, not because they are jerks, but because life is busy and there are so many options. For any given show on any given night there are 50 other shows to go to, and that does not include going to the movies, parties, or staying at home watching Netflix. This is critically important for 2 reasons 1) You have to earn people’s time, you have to work for it, you have to ask for it, and then you have to deliver once you get it.
2) Assume everyone knows about the gig already because you tweeted about it.
It should not be a secret by now, but just in case you don’t know: Just because you post something on social media- does not mean that everyone who follows you sees it. There are fancy computer algorithms at work making sure of that. Partly because its possible, and partly so that you’ll buy ads. Regardless, posting something online and expecting that to do the trick is a mistake, you have to promote cross -platform, online, offline, phone, text, email, beg, borrow, and steal.
3) Assume one band member handles promoting the gig
Basically everything I said above, about begging, borrowing, and stealing except EVERYONE in the band has to do it. Divide and conquer is really important. Everyone should have a different responsibilities in the band, but promoting the gig is EVERYONE’S job, no exceptions.
4) Assume the venue is going to do the promotion
I see this mistake more than any. It is not the venues job to promote your gig. There is a minimum baseline of things they need to do like hanging your poster and make sure you’re on the sign out front and the website, but most venues are promoting 20-30 shows per month, and as a result there is only so much they can do. The rest is up to you. If you want to play in front of people, I suggest you bring your own crowd. It is also the best way to make sure that the venue has you back again. Occasionally, if a venue has a marketing budget, they’ll use it to make a big show bigger, but you have to prove your worth that. If you can pack the place, you put yourself in a position to ask more more support. If you haven’t played there yet, or no one comes, its your fault, not theirs.
5) Assume the “other bands” are going to bring the crowd
Just last night I saw a 4 band bill, the 2nd band brought the crowd, and that crowd didn’t stick around for 1st band or the 3rd band (and I didn’t stay for the 4th). Its always good to win over other bands crowd as your fans, and it will be important for you success to do so, but you absolutely cannot depend on anyone else to do the work for you. You need to always be the band with the biggest crowd there and you do that by bringing your own crowd, and adding to it with great shows, not by being lazy about promoting a show because you think some other band is going to have people there.
6) Don’t Advance the show
Advancing the show is super professional and stands out to all club owners for young bands. Call ahead and confirm all the details, load-in, set time, directions, ask for press and radio outlets, as well as, cheap places to stay and other best practices for promoting in that market. This helps build rapport with the venue as well, which is really important as you build your business, and dont be late.
7) Don’t Send Posters
Not only because Bandposters is awesome and saves you a bunch of time, but because most people learn about the next show they want to come to at a show they are already at. Avid concert-goers usually frequent establishments that have a reputation for great music, and they are always looking for the next great show to see. You want them to know you are coming to that venue, and the best way to catch them in the bathroom line is with a super-slick poster."
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