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#1
the band I'm in has been together for about 8 months but we're kind of at a stand still. We have a ton of recorded material, released an album to good reviews and played a lot of (empty) shows. We can't seem to build an audience.

Let me explain, we've booked a lot of bar gigs, promoted them with posters and stuff, but nobody shows up. Bands we play with tend to come right before they start, and leave afterwards, so we've played a lot of empty rooms.
The places we've played don't have build in crowds and the ones that do ignore our emails. They don't say no, they just don't respond.

We send out lot of emails and mail out lots of stuff, but haven't really gotten anywhere with it. Out of a hundered websites, I think four reviewed us. I've emailed booking agents/labels some songs, they've said send a cd and then I've never heard from them again.

So we're out of venues to play and haven't found any bands to play with. Any ideas what we should do from here? Anyone else ever been in this situation?
Last edited by mzo at Nov 12, 2009,
#5
Mate I think you're doing a tip top job on the promoting, except for one glaring flaw.

Email.

Emails are incredibly easy to ignore. I'll show you how. Click, delete.

Now a guy on the phone, not as easy. You're more likely to give into that guy.

Go phone.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#6
well look. my group is in a similar situation, but we managed to get the attention of a couple small labels. We even had a guy representing the same people Eminem works with come out to one of our show. And we have only been a group since July.

My point is.. You guys dont draw a crowd... and neither does my group. we draw our friends thats about it.. We dont have any solid Promoting going on on account of we have nothing to really sell yet. But anyways.. if you guys are worth a damn chances are youll attract the attention of a couple people wanting to represent your group.

what kind of music do your group play?
#7
we put up posters but they usually get ripped down. Once we got about 6 people to come (from a poster they found on the ground) but they left during the opening band.

Have you ever hired a PR company? If so, did it help?
#8
yeah, emails are easy to ignore, but the venues we wanna play don't have phone numbers. More of the DIY type, you know warehouse and lofts and stuff. I guess we should figure out who runs them.

pepsi1187 - what did you do to get label atttention? we play psychedelic, experimental kind of stuff.
#9
Quote by mzo
yeah, emails are easy to ignore, but the venues we wanna play don't have phone numbers. More of the DIY type, you know warehouse and lofts and stuff. I guess we should figuare out who runs them.

pepsi1187 - what did you do to get label atttention? we play psychedelic, experimental kind of stuff.



well.. this part you might not like. if you want label attention, you have to understand that labels are looking for groups they think can sell records. Bottom line. My group plays a very unique style of rap/rock. Our singers a rapper from Detroit.. and my group plays live rock behind him.. but not in a heavy metal vein most are used to hearing. I use the guitar to get synthesized tones.. clean tones, and hard rock, ACDC-ish tones. And it's definitely more pop/ Hip-Hop/Rap oriented then any group I've ever heard in the genre.

But anyways, what gets the attention of records and potential audiences are gimmicks kind of. Something you do that no one else has seen before. On top of being able to put on a good stage show, which matters alot to Promoters because they do not want to bore the audience/customers when they stage shows... our music just happens to catch peoples attention, because we wrote our music with the intention of catching people's attention.

Now.. I would tell you to ask yourself, does the kind of music I play sell right now. You said you play Psychedelic rock.. how many psychedelic rock bands are out there being managed and supported by a label? By my guess not alot.. Labels are interested in getting their groups on the radio, distributing their CD's at stores, and selling out shows. If you choose to play a genre that doesnt sell and have expectations that you will get attention from a label... then you guys need to find some sort of gimmick or something that will sell for you.
Last edited by pepsi1187 at Nov 12, 2009,
#10
Quote by mzo
yeah, emails are easy to ignore, but the venues we wanna play don't have phone numbers. More of the DIY type, you know warehouse and lofts and stuff. I guess we should figure out who runs them.


The venues you WANT to play? You should be applying to EVERY venue in sight. What about at the gigs you've actually played? Have you talked to any of the organisers? How about going to a warehouse gig and meeting them?

The only thing better than phone is meeting the people. It's called networking, and that's what you're lacking. And you're not drawing a crowd but are picky about the venues you play - that is dumb.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#11
Quote by mzo
yeah, emails are easy to ignore, but the venues we wanna play don't have phone numbers. More of the DIY type, you know warehouse and lofts and stuff. I guess we should figure out who runs them.

pepsi1187 - what did you do to get label atttention? we play psychedelic, experimental kind of stuff.


dude...

...nevermind.


"hey Becky, I found this really cool band that's playing tonight! wanna go?"

"sure! where's it at?"

"this old abandoned warehouse out by the docks. what time should I pick you up? Becky? ...Becky?"
#12
Quote by AlanHB
The venues you WANT to play? You should be applying to EVERY venue in sight. What about at the gigs you've actually played? Have you talked to any of the organisers? How about going to a warehouse gig and meeting them?

The only thing better than phone is meeting the people. It's called networking, and that's what you're lacking. And you're not drawing a crowd but are picky about the venues you play - that is dumb.


I agree with this guy.. It all boils down to what your playing shows for.. obviously exposure, so play as much shows as possible. You might even impress a venue to the point where they repeatedly ask you to come back. Your group apparently has trouble getting shows, so play what you can get.

And yes, I would recommend the most direct communication as possible when it comes to networking.

I would not advise playing venues that you know are going to have an empty house. Try out venues at least once or twice before you make a final judgment on them. In my experience, either two things will happen, playing in an empty house. The owners take interest in you and try to compensate for you playing in an empty house, or the owners don't take any interest and just tell you to have a nice day. Usually, if the owners take consideration to your situation, its worth it to give their venue another shot.

One more thing, just as important, when you go to venues.. make friends with everyone.. that's the best thing to do.. meet new people that can potentially hook you up one day. talk to the other groups you're playing with, the owners, the soundguy, people in the audience.. And just shoot shit with them. .. and my dude... that is probably one of the best things you can do for your group when you play shows. One, cause it breaks the ice with potential customers and contacts. Two, It's good promotion. Three, you're helping out who you're talking to by talking to them, by in turn giving them the props to sell their stuff to you.
#13
Quote by GrisKy
dude...

...nevermind.


"hey Becky, I found this really cool band that's playing tonight! wanna go?"

"sure! where's it at?"

"this old abandoned warehouse out by the docks. what time should I pick you up? Becky? ...Becky?"



dude, If a band was popular enough, they could get their fans follow them anywhere.

ever watched metalocalypse :P
#14
yeah, I know how that sounds,

in new york I guess there are three types of venues:

the big ones, where well known touring bands play

the underground shows/loft shows, where the bands you read about on pitchfork play

and dive bars (most of which we've play once or twice)

A lot of it's over saturation. There are probably 50 different shows a night. When there's that much music to chose from it's hard to get people to come out to see a band they've never heard of.
Last edited by mzo at Nov 12, 2009,
#15
Quote by pepsi1187
dude, If a band was popular enough, they could get their fans follow them anywhere.

ever watched metalocalypse :P


dethlok is not an unknown psychadelic rock band. idoubt op's band would have much luck out in the berring sea.
#16
Quote by mzo
yeah, I know how that sounds,

in new york I guess there are three types of venues:

the big ones, where well known touring bands play

the underground shows/loft shows, where the bands you read about on pitchfork play

and dive bars

A lot of it's over saturation. There are probably 50 different shows a night. When there's that much music to chose from it's hard to get people to come out to see a band they've never heard of.


omg .. yeah, but Your ****ing lucky to live in such a musically diverse area.. What I mean by that is.. Assuming New York has a hippie scene. Like Detroit does. You could probably get a good crowd playing at coffee shops and cafes, places that do like poetry and open mic nights and make friends with the hippies... And I say that because, hippies LOVE psychedelic music.. like i said its a good way to meet people. Don't limit yourself, you want a crowd there you go.
#17
Yeah, I guess what it comes down to is networking. It's just hard because we're not really friendly people.

Is anybody here in a band that gets press or national attention (at least in the indie community), without a record label?
#18
Quote by mzo
Yeah, I guess what it comes down to is networking. It's just hard because we're not really friendly people.


Wow you guys sound awesome.

Is this a troll thread? It seems to include all the worst features of bandleading threads combined;

- Not trying to network
- Complaining about things that can easily be changed
- Picky about venues
- Live in one of the music centres of the world
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#19
Quote by AlanHB
Wow you guys sound awesome.

Is this a troll thread? It seems to include all the worst features of bandleading threads combined;

- Not trying to network
- Complaining about things that can easily be changed
- Picky about venues
- Live in one of the music centres of the world


lol nicely put
#20
Hey Al, I think we need a NY/venues version of Vegas/bandmates?

hmm... although that is where Lenonon was killed... OP, your band's not "politically-charged" is it?
#21
AlanHB:
If I knew how to solve our problems I wouldn't be asking for everyone to write their experience, not just in getting shows but in getting press and reviews.

As I've said, we've played and countinue to play at bars in mostly empty rooms. Putting up posters hasn't really worked and we can't seem to get much press so people can hear about us. I just feel like we aren't making progress playing in the same types bars over and over again and therefore feel like we're stuck in a rut.

I don't understand why you wanna pick a fight.
#22
Yea I agree with Pepsi. This bar in NY asked me to play and they actually required that I bring 10 people into the bar. I had some friends that live in NY and so doesn't my girlfriend so I said yes. I had a dozen people that were committed to go and then only about 6 showed up.

Anywho, there were some local people in the bar and I put on a decent show. I went over and thanked the owner and started chatting with one of the security guys who dug what I was doing. I even had some of the local bar goes come over and chat me up and I made sure to make them feel that I truely appreciated there comments and support. Anywho, I chatted up everyone I could at the bar and by the end of the night when I said thanks and good-bye to the owner he said I coule come back and play there any time.

So chatting up the owners can help you out with getting places to gig.
#23
Quote by AlanHB
Mate I think you're doing a tip top job on the promoting, except for one glaring flaw.

Email.

Emails are incredibly easy to ignore. I'll show you how. Click, delete.

Now a guy on the phone, not as easy. You're more likely to give into that guy.

Go phone.


+1
#24
Quote by GrisKy
Hey Al, I think we need a NY/venues version of Vegas/bandmates?


Unfortunately I don't have that much knowledge about the place to write a funny one. Someone else is free to though. It is very impressive that we get objections to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and London in a week.

Quote by mzo
AlanHB:
If I knew how to solve our problems I wouldn't be asking for everyone to write their experience, not just in getting shows but in getting press and reviews.

As I've said, we've played and countinue to play at bars in mostly empty rooms. Putting up posters hasn't really worked and we can't seem to get much press so people can hear about us. I just feel like we aren't making progress playing in the same types bars over and over again and therefore feel like we're stuck in a rut.

I don't understand why you wanna pick a fight.


I'm not trying to pick a fight, my tolerance is very low for the average UGer is low at this time.

The problem stems from the lack of pro-active action. Consider how many posters you walk by each day without reading them. Also consider how many emails you delete each day.

Once considered, now consider how often you ignore a person talking to you each day, or a random person who calls you on the phone.

Weigh up these two, realise that you need to do more. More pro-active stuff. You are more likely to get a job from a friend than a stranger, so make friends with the people hiring. You can't wait for the people to come, you need to grab them by the balls and get them to follow.

What's the easiest way to get laid? Hit on just one girl repeatedly or approach every girl you see? Obviously the answer is to apply to more venues
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#26
You have to wh0re yourself dude. You won't make any progress playing a few clubs and handing out flyers. My friends band has been together for less than a year and they've already played half of the better clubs downtown, been on several radio stations including late-night interview shows, been in a beer commercial, played on a local tv show, and countless other things. WH0RE YOURSELF. Call everyone and anyone that could potentially get you some kind of exposure, doesn't matter what the gig is. They've been doing this for a year and they've already got an EP, merch, and a following.

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#28
About the posters, put them everywhere. And I mean literally everywhere. For a gig we had 300 posters we put all over town, and people came, even though we were basically unknown and only had two original songs at the time

And believe me, it's hard to make people come to a metal show in a town where everyone listens to shitty indie rock.

The more posters you out up, the more people will see them, and more potential listeners gets exposed.


How many posters do you usually have?
Last edited by Guitarmike123 at Nov 12, 2009,
#29
Quote by AlanHB
What's the easiest way to get laid? Hit on just one girl repeatedly or approach every girl you see? Obviously the answer is to apply to more venues

Quote by Lauren Bateman
+1


I especially like it that the statement gets support from a girl
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#30
Quote by AlanHB
I especially like it that the statement gets support from a girl


yeah, i was wondering if anyone else caught that.

LB, you totally just earned double-extra badass points. I've never seen you, but you're fvckin' hawt!
#31
As usual, I agree with Alan and Grisky. They have a rep for knowing what they talk about, so I'm not going to repeat what they've said already.

I will add this, though....

I see this time and time again. I call it the "indie for indie's sake" kind of band. We're progressive/experimental/alternative/outside the box/underground kind of thing in one breath. You reject the mainstream and make music on your own terms. Good for you.

Now, said band gets on internet message board and complains about having difficulty selling product.

'Nuff said?

I mean, if you want to be an artist on your own terms, great on ya. Call it art all day long and be happy. But as soon as you want others to invest in your music, whether it be booking you shows, paying a cover to attend your shows, buying your CD, or hell... even taking the time to bother getting up off the couch and coming out to a free show.... you have now entered the music business. You are selling a product. Make something that people want to buy, and they'll buy it. Say 'screw the consumer - I'm doing this on my own terms' and the consumer will screw you right back.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#32
I never implied that we're saying 'screw the consumer', just that we play psychedelic rock. Obviously we aren't going the have the same audience as britney spears, but there is an audience out there and they go to venues that feature similar bands. Our problem is reaching them because these venues won't book us. You can't sell a product if the stores won't carry it.

New york obviously has it's advantages. But it can also be a little more difficult, than lets say suburban america. As I said, there is so much going on every night, it's hard to stand out, especially when your advertising is a picture and a band name. You also have people pulling down your posters and putting up theirs. I feel like it's easier to get somebody to a show (no matter what the genre) if it's the only thing going on. But when you can see a dozen great shows every night, you're more likely to see a band you know than give some local band a shot, especially if the cover is 7 bucks.

There's also transportation. Nobody owns cars, so moving equipment around is expensive.

Space is expensive. If one of us had a house, we'd probably just have shows in the basement all the time, and then venues wouldn't matter anymore.

Thanks for the ideas, especially just going to a show and seeing if they'll let us play, (come up with some bullshit mixup story) That would probably work.

Still wondering if anybody has hired/worked with a PR company before? Maybe you could share.
Last edited by mzo at Nov 13, 2009,
#33
Quote by mzo
I never implied that we're saying 'screw the consumer', just that we play psychedelic rock. Obviously we aren't going the have the same audience as britney spears, but there is an audience out there and they go to venues that feature similar bands. Our problem is reaching them because these venues won't book us. You can't sell a product if the stores won't carry it.


i mentioned playing at coffee shops.. whats wrong with that?
#34
Quote by mzo
Still wondering if anybody has hired/worked with a PR company before? Maybe you could share.


PR people basically just publicize and promote your group.. But, if you guys arent good enough to draw the attention of someone that will do it for you.. I wouldn't advise hiring someone.. why pay someone to do a job you can do yourself. Many young bands start off promoting themselves until they get the attention of someone.
#35
Quote by mzo
I never implied that we're saying 'screw the consumer', just that we play psychedelic rock. Obviously we aren't going the have the same audience as britney spears, but there is an audience out there and they go to venues that feature similar bands. Our problem is reaching them because these venues won't book us. You can't sell a product if the stores won't carry it.


One reason venues wont book bands is cause they probably don't think they're any good.. Have you handed out CD's to them. We're they impressed... Venues will judge a band by the CD they give them. The venues that are selective about who they book will usually ask your group for a press kit, which is like a group or an artist's resume kinda. Can you supply them with one that can make your band look interesting? Can you even stand up for your band if asked about it.. what do you tell people about your group?
#36
Quote by mzo

(1)There's also transportation. Nobody owns cars, so moving equipment around is expensive.

(2)Thanks for the ideas, especially just going to a show and seeing if they'll let us play, (come up with some bullshit mixup story) That would probably work.

(3)Still wondering if anybody has hired/worked with a PR company before? Maybe you could share.


1. transportation is VITAL. granted, i don't live in NY, and i know you have traffic issues in certain areas, but what did you plan on doing? loading everything into the trunk of a taxi? solve this issue... it just became one of your top prioreties.

2. 99 times out of a hundred the venue will tell you to **** off. make that 999 times out of 1000. they don't want you disrupting their business after the doors are open with you moving your gear around and setting up. if you were one dude with an acoustic this might not be as much of a problem, but you're a full band, and drum kits are a bitch. if you're going to try this, maximize your return by targeting venues with easily accessable patios (so you don't have to move tables or stumble over drunk people) on typically slow nights of the week, durring times when fewer people are in town (holidays maybe? idk, it's your city, you figure it out). coffee shops ain't a bad idea, but maybe come up with an acoustic set your first time out to subtley introduce yourself to that type of crowd... or something... what i'm gettng at is that people don't go to coffee houses to hear death metal. you get it.

3. now that we know a little bit more about your situaton, i have to ammend my suggestion to hire a PR rep... you can do some of this yourself, and you have (or will soon have) more pressing financial commitments. try this (and i'm diggin' from my personal cookie jar of gold here, just so you know): get to know some entertainment column writers, rock journalists, press in general. of all the writers in NY, i'm certain you can find atleast ONE (one is all you need for now) who digs your stuff, especially if, as you say, it's been met with great reviews (hopefully you don't just mean your parents liked it). schmooze the fvck out of this person! take 'em out to dinner, buy 'em flowers, talk up how pro-active your band is, give 'em a BJ, whatever it takes for you to get them to do a segment on your band. once you have that, you can stop just handing out CDs to venues. now you can start building your *ta-da!* press kit!
Last edited by GrisKy at Nov 13, 2009,
#37
Quote by GrisKy
1. transportation is VITAL. granted, i don't live in NY, and i know you have traffic issues in certain areas, but what did you plan on doing? loading everything into the trunk of a taxi? solve this issue... it just became one of your top prioreties.

2. 99 times out of a hundred the venue will tell you to **** off. make that 999 times out of 1000. they don't want you disrupting their business after the doors are open with you moving your gear around and setting up. if you were one dude with an acoustic this might not be as much of a problem, but you're a full band, and drum kits are a bitch. if you're going to try this, maximize your return by targeting venues with easily accessable patios (so you don't have to move tables or stumble over drunk people) on typically slow nights of the week, durring times when fewer people are in town (holidays maybe? idk, it's your city, you figure it out). coffee shops ain't a bad idea, but maybe come up with an acoustic set your first time out to subtley introduce yourself to that type of crowd... or something... what i'm gettng at is that people don't go to coffee houses to hear death metal. you get it.

3. now that we know a little bit more about your situaton, i have to ammend my suggestion to hire a PR rep... you can do some of this yourself, and you have (or will soon have) more pressing financial commitments. try this (and i'm diggin' from my personal cookie jar of gold here, just so you know): get to know some entertainment column writers, rock journalists, press in general. of all the writers in NY, i'm certain you can find atleast ONE (one is all you need for now) who digs your stuff, especially if, as you say, it's been met with great reviews (hopefully you don't just mean your parents liked it). schmooze the fvck out of this person! take 'em out to dinner, buy 'em flowers, talk up how pro-active your band is, give 'em a BJ, whatever it takes for you to get them to do a segment on your band. once you have that, you can stop just handing out CDs to venues. now you can start building your *ta-da!* press kit!


I Do have actually one question grisky. A noted thing about NY is that if you dont bring a crowd to a venue the first time- you ain't going to be allowed back. They know who can bring and who can sting, and they don't want thier business hurting.
TS, I do have alot of friends in the city. you do have friends right? Really? Take em all to your shows and start generating a buzz. Dont be a lazy asshole and expect everything to come to you.
#38
Quote by Highwaytohell
I Do have actually one question grisky. A noted thing about NY is that if you dont bring a crowd to a venue the first time- you ain't going to be allowed back. They know who can bring and who can sting, and they don't want thier business hurting.
TS, I do have alot of friends in the city. you do have friends right? Really? Take em all to your shows and start generating a buzz. Dont be a lazy asshole and expect everything to come to you.


i think i missed the question. are you talking about my #2? right, I'm saying it's a bad idea (999/1000? that seems like bad odds to me). I'm saying he should do the things that maximize returns. I'm not that familiar with NYC, so I can't say specifically what that entails, but the only bad press is no press. and despite what your pride might be telling you, it never hurts to kiss a little ass to get what you want. i hate it too... facts of life bro.
#39
The problem is that the TS expects people to come to his show if they hear about it. Publicity means nothing if there is nothing to identify the brand. People can see posters for your band everywhere, and they will still not show up. You know why? People, in any market, only go to see shows of bands whose music they know. Now, fortunately, you live in NYC, which has several universities, each of which has a radio station. I suggest you get over not being a friendly group of guys, and go kiss the ass of each and every program director to get airplay on college radio.
#40
Quote by mzo
we play psychedelic, experimental kind of stuff.


As soon as you say something like this ^ , you lose the interest of the clubs and most music-goers. Experimental is nice and all, but it doesn't sell. That's where I got that from.

You will have a tougher time getting people interested in something experimental than in something accessible. If that's what you want to do, great. You just have to confront the reality of what you're getting into. There IS an audience for it, but it is small, and you have to know where to find it.

Where are these venues that book experimental bands, and as a result, have a clientel that expects something more creative and interesting than Franz Ferdinand or the Foo Fighters? That's a big step you have to take.

THEN - you have your target market. Find those people, and market directly to them. Find those clubs and market specifically to them. Don't - to go against what was said above - approach 100 clubs. You're wasting your time because those other 90 clubs aren't booking that sort of thing. Harrangue five of those clubs. Hang out with and get noticed by the bands that play those clubs. Get on as an opening band with one of them.

To use the girl analogy.... You're an introverted, but highly intelligent individual. You can't throw a football to save your life (but you can hook someone up with free internet!! Nerds ARE the new jocks!!) , and you don't own a single name-brand anything. You can't dance, but can talk about global issues all day long. Do you go to a dance club and hit on 1000 girls? Nope. "We don't serve dem folks here." Better bet.... go to a library and hit on two or three. You'll probably do infinitely better.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
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