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Old 06-30-2013, 09:03 PM   #1
ironmanben
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Playing to larger local audiences?

If anyone has experience with this I'd very much appreciate any advice...

I'm in a band that seems to be progressing decently. We've played at local festivals/events and some local venues. I'll admit, the people that we draw to our shows at the moment are mostly our friends, but I'm fairly confident that if we were able to play a show with a slightly better known band our draw could increase.

The question is, how do we make the jump to that? It seems most of those sort of shows are run through promoting companies, while the local shows we've done have been through the venue itself (in this case not as effective at bringing in people) and we don't personally know anyone that could help us out. Should I send our stuff to a promoting company, should I seek out someone in a more popular band, do I have to wait for them to come to me?

If I can make it a bit clearer, our goal isn't necessarily to move up venue-wise, but to do shows with bands that draw more so we can play to a bigger audience and start to enlarge our fan base.

We have two professionally recorded songs to work with, as well as decent live videos and some good photos.
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:55 PM   #2
AlanHB
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Make your case to the promotion companies and also attend some gigs of the more established bands, strike up a conversation and ask if you could support them sometime. Also organising your own shows is a good way to control the bill.
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Old 07-07-2013, 02:59 AM   #3
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^this. I'd book my own shows but don't headline, let the better known bands do that
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:48 PM   #4
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Use craigslist and facebook and see if you can find some local promoters, also talk to and try to and befriend some of the bigger local acts. Often they will stick you with a bigger band at a bigger venue. The downside is that you've now entered the realm of pay to play. Meaning that you'll be on the hook for selling a larger number of tickets, if you meet your quota then the promoter will like you and you'll get paid a bit. However, if you don't meet the quota then usually you will have to make up the difference in cost for the unsold tickets, and you'll be on the promoters bad side and they probably won't want to book you again.

It's a hard jump to make. I'm sure you've had to sell tickets before, but now the stakes are higher. You can't rely on all your friends to buy tickets forever. I would probably stick with the smaller venues until you can get about half the crowd to be people who are not your friends before attempting to go to bigger acts.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:34 PM   #5
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^^^^ Why would you be in the realm of pay to play? I'd avoid those things at all costs.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AlanHB
^^^^ Why would you be in the realm of pay to play? I'd avoid those things at all costs.

Absolutely, I cannot agree more that pay to play is the absolute devil. But unfortunately when you get to a bigger level it is nearly always required.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:00 AM   #7
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The advice I always give a newer band (first year or so of gigging) is to play as many shows as possible with as many bands as possible. Make it a point to form relationships with the bands you play with, as well as any and all venues, booking guys, and promoters as possible. Promote yourself through social media relentlessly, and try to generate some sort of following and "buzz" in your local area.

I'm fortunate enough to be an fairly established musician in my area and my current band has had the opportunity to do quite a number of gigs opening for national, touring acts in the past couple years. This is mainly thanks to the fact that over the years I've made and maintained a number of connections with people who are booking these shows or own venues, in addition to having a band with a pretty strong local draw and the ability to entertain a crowd.

I've also never had to deal with pay-to-play. It's utter bullshit in my book, and in the majority of cases, not worth the cost.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:26 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by TNA
Absolutely, I cannot agree more that pay to play is the absolute devil. But unfortunately when you get to a bigger level it is nearly always required.


Pay to play is utter crap dude, and does a total of zero things to help your music career. The nights are not promoted so the only people who show up came due to the efforts of the bands. The nights are usually poorly run.

If you're really keen to pay someone, pay to hire a venue, organise a night and charge door. It will be more successful than pay-to-play and you will loose less money. You may even make some.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Pay to play is utter crap dude, and does a total of zero things to help your music career. The nights are not promoted so the only people who show up came due to the efforts of the bands. The nights are usually poorly run.

If you're really keen to pay someone, pay to hire a venue, organise a night and charge door. It will be more successful than pay-to-play and you will loose less money. You may even make some.



I agreed with you. Who are you arguing against?

I don't know how they do bookings in Australia, but I just know where I live about half of local shows are pay to play. I try not to do them, but at some point you have to. When I say pay to play I am talking about having to meet any sort of quota for ticket sales. Many places while you won't owe them anything, you definitely won't be asked to play there again if you don't bring in enough people. You've honestly never had to sell tickets for your band?
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:40 PM   #10
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^^^ I have usually worked out a deal with the venue, one where I have paid them upfront. If you find yourself in a situation where cannot fill that venue, and they are not happy because they didn't sell enough drinks to cover their overhead costs even with the amount you've paid, you're simply aiming too high. This is not a pay-to-play situation.

A pay-to-play situation would be if I then made a bunch of bands pay me, bring in all the crowd and publicise the event, then blame or penalise those bands if it doesn't work out.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:57 AM   #11
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I'm not sure how pay-to-play works in other areas, but the only P2P venue within a couple hours of me uses P2P to scam local bands out of money to open for national touring artists. This may seem like a good opportunity, however, it rarely is.

The venue I'm talking about makes local artists overpay, substantially, for these opening slots. In most cases I've heard of bands spending $500 bucks to open for what I'd call a "C-list" bands at best. In most of these cases, the venue is nowhere near filled, and bands will never sell enough tickets or merch to cover the cost of the buy in. A band I'm friends with bought in on such a show, lost over $400 even after selling some tickets, and played in front of maybe 100 people.

Oh, and the worst part of this whole thing? This venue often books 5 or more of these "openers" and limits them to about a 15 minute set! These bands pay hundreds (in some cases even as much as $1000) to play 15 minutes, in many cases over 3 to 4 hours before the headlining band is scheduled, meaning the crowd will be decent at best but in no way worth the cost!

Venues who practice this type of business are nothing but scam artists. Nothing more. They're venues who prey off of newer, inexperienced bands who believe they're "investing" in their future. What these bands are really doing is getting royally screwed.

When it comes to ticket-sale based events without a buy in purchase, that's a fine practice in my book. As a matter of fact, I've had success with that pay model when I booked a festival last year. The festival was based around the better drawing acts in my area and a few others from out of town that fit the bill. I gave them each 20 tickets (to start) that were to be sold at $10/per (for a 12 band lineup). The deal was they keep half of each sale, so when people bought tickets from a band, they were putting money directly into their pockets. As an added bonus, if they sold all 20, they got an extra 50 bucks, and could still sell more! Every act walked away with at least $100 and many of them with upwards of $200. Oh, and every band had at least a 40 minute set.

Play to play = Turds
Ticket sales (with no buy in) = Ok, if ran properly.

EDIT - Forgot to put that I've never had to pay to "rent" a venue. I've played for free on a couple occasions at a venue about 10 minutes from my band's practice schedule on bills with national acts, but the owner covered all of our drinks and food that night, plus he pays us very well at our headlining shows there.
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Umm. . .uh. . .your mom touched sjones' dick. YOUR MOM TOUCHED OUR GUITARISTS GENITALS IN A CAMPER AT A BIKER FESTIVAL! truth.

Last edited by sjones : 07-12-2013 at 08:59 AM.
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