It’s Your Gyrl, Ms. Carmen aka Platinum Voice PR bringing another relevant topic to you!
Touring as an indie doesn’t mean getting on a luxury bus and having a tour manager handling logistics,
accommodations, and meals. We’re talking about getting your indie band on the road, maybe for your first gig
ever. Or you may be searching for a strategy to help you build your band’s reach by playing gigs in new towns. Or
perhaps it’s time to hit the road for a multi-gig tour that spans hundreds of miles or more.
There are plenty of books on the subject, and hundreds of details to keep track of. What we’ve got in this guide are
bits of good advice culled from loads of blog posts and articles we’ve published. These highlights should get you
thinking about the variables involved with getting your show on the road
1) Do you have something to promote?
A CD is the most obvious thing to promote when you’re striking out,
but there are other angles you can push when promoting your shows.
Did you place a song on a TV show or movie?
Open for a national act?
Win a song contest?
Find an angle that local press can latch
onto, or something to add to your flyers, posters, and press releases
to give people a reason to look twice.
2) Do you have a road-worthy show?
Don’t strive to be ordinary onstage. If you want to command the attention of a room full people who have never seen you, put yourself
in their shoes. What would you want to see from your band on stage?
Before you work on a stage show, take a long hard listen to your live
performances. Audio tape them, video tape them, and study them.
Are your songs good? Are you performing them well in live settings?
Where can you improve a performance or arrangement? Does the
set flow, or are there minutes of awkward silence in between tunes?
Before you hit any stage, you’d better work hard at playing your
songs well, and presenting them well, too.
3) Plan a strategy
There’s a focused and unfocused way to go about booking and playing gigs, and the difference can spell success or failure. An unfocused
approach might include booking gigs in towns you’ve never played
without doing any research into the club you’ve booked. Or it might simply be booking yourself too often in the same area or booking too big a room.
A focused approach will help you establish goals and work toward
fulfilling them. In time, you can gauge your success by how you measure up to your goals.
Are you playing to bigger and better crowds?
Are you playing better rooms than you were six months ago? Broken into a new city?
4) Solo Road Trip
If you’re a singer/songwriter who typically plays with a full band, doing a tour without the band could be an option. It takes courage and dedication to grab your guitar, a few changes of clothes, and get in your car and go. But traveling as a single person (having a co-pilot is always nice) is certainly less expensive and less intense than putting four or five people on the road. If you can swing it, a solo trip playing house concerts or coffee shops can pave the way for a full-band tour later down the road.
1) Think Small
Whether you’ve brought 75 people to a 150-seat club, 300 to a 600
seat theater, or sold 5,000 tickets for a 10,000-capacity arena, those vacant chairs are going to weigh on you and your audience. A concert promoter is not going to pat you on the back for bringing in enough fans to fill half a venue. Conversely, “SOLD OUT” has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?
Even if you’ve only sold out a coffee shop that holds 30
people, the venue will want to have you back, and word will spread
that you packed the place. Maybe it sounds counterintuitive when
you want to build a fan base and make money, but some well-placed sold-out shows in smaller clubs can go a long way.
Plan the big gig in your town’s A room
1. Get familiar with the venue’s calendar. Look for clues. Do they have a standard number of bands on the bill every night
Is there a night where they tend to give new bands a shot?
2. Look for holes. Once you pick up on a club’s booking patterns, you can find holes in their schedule where they need an act.
3. Make sure your music is a match. Once you’ve identified the shows where the venue is possibly looking for bands, narrow it down to the show where you music is a true fit.
4. Target that specific show in your email/phone pitch. Now you are prepared to approach the club booker in a way that potentially helps them out. Put the show name and date in the subject line of your email and let them know you would be a good fit to round out that bill. Your chances of getting a response–and a gig–just went way up!
The Five-Pointed Star Strategy
Before you book the big show at the dream club out-of-town, consider Martin Adkins’ (author or Tour Smart and Break the Band) five-pointed star strategy. Before you book your big show, book five shows in smaller cities/towns surrounding your big gig, all within manageable driving distance. Do everything you can to make fans and friends at these shows, and get email addresses everywhere you go. Maybe this process takes two or three attempts before you’ve got enough legitimate fans, but once you do, you’re ready to book that big club and use your new-found fan base from all five points as a draw.
4) House concerts
A house concert is just what the name implies: a concert in someone’s home. Typically, a house concert is an invitation-only event presented by a host, with all the proceeds going to the artist. As a general rule, House concerts are:- intimate shows with 15-50 people sitting close to the performer $10-20 per guest performed by solo artists or small groups with little to no amplification likely to house and feed the artist for the night.
Sprinkling house concerts in between club dates can be a great way
to fill out your itinerary. It does take coördination to connect with a host and organize the event, and you are relying on your host’s ability to get enough people in the door to make it a success. But house concerts can be an excellent way to personally connect with fans, sell merchandise, and make decent money
- BMI Live Allows Artists to Get Paid Performance Royalties for Live Gigs (platinumvoicepr.wordpress.com)
- Charlotte NC Live Music Events Calendar, Band News & More 05/16/12 – 05/23/12 (charlottemusic.typepad.com)
- Summer Music Preview: J.Lo, Enrique, Demi & More! (huffingtonpost.com)
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