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Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Well I thought I would follow up with where I'm at today. I have to say, it's not much better than yesterday unfortunately. My way of thinking right now seems pretty narrow and I am trying to broaden that. I have had a discussion with the lead singer of the band this morning and we both have very different views on this - but I do understand where he's coming from.

Basically, he is saying that unless we have a major marketing campaign backing us, then playing live is pointless - nobody knows you, nobody is going to pay to see you. Let's face it - that's how the big guys do it - saturate the airwaves with your tracks. However, major campaign = money, and that is something we just don't have at this stage after investing in the studio gear to record these albums. I, on the other hand think that playing live is where it's at. I'm not saying it's as good as a major marketing campaign, but I think it's the next best thing. The part that I am not sure about is this - no matter how much you promote a gig, how can you expect people to come along and pay $5 to come and see a band that they have never heard of before? Simple: you can't. Therefore, you need it to be free entry. Now, if it's free entry - then how do you cover costs?? i.e promoting, PA (if the venue doesn't supply) etc.

Is it just a matter of playing live and letting it cost you money until you build up a small fan base in that area? Or is there a better, smarter alternative to this? Do you get other bands involved and make a night of it? What if there is no other band that would be willing to play for free? Let's face it, if you're a band that is doing really well locally, and have a fan base, then you're probably past playing shows without getting some reward. Especially if you're that good.

These are all just things that I'm focusing on right now and that are going through my head. I have a couple of idea's that may or may not work, they need work but as soon as I get them in order I will let you know. But I think all these points I have bought up are valid points - especially when it comes to getting attendance at gigs. I think that's a major factor. Then again - there's always the way that Bon Jovi did it, Jon said that at their first gig they played to about 5 people, the next gig at that same place, they played to about 10 people. After that, it started to grow... until they ended up selling out. My question is, that was 20-30 years ago - is that still the way now? Or, again, is there a better, smarter way.


Danny Brown said...

Although the Holy Grail is to have a major marketing plan behind you, playing live will ALWAYS be the bread and butter of any band. It's where you can sell merchandise and get people to leave their email ads for follow up news on gigs, CD's, etc.

Today's industry is a far different beast from even 5 years ago, never mind 20. Hard album sales are down, and without the profits these make for labels, even some of the biggest bands are struggling with marketing their new stuff.

Hook up with support gigs for bands - even bands outside your musical niche. Then blow the crowd away with a tight set that leaves them thinking "Wow, who the f*ck was that?!?". Have EP's ready to sell (if possible) and print little flyers out to let people take away (pretty cheap form of advertising).

Look at college gigs and college radio as well - they're always looking for new sounds.

The key thing is to play live as often as you can in different venues - you'll soon start to get a loyal crowd, and then you can start to move up the live ranks.

Good luck!

Rokchic said...

Hi Danny, thanks for your comment. I do agree with you in the fact that playing live is where the money is and is one of the best ways to expand your fan base.

I think that sometimes there are hurdles to playing live - especially that new bands on the scene encounter. For example, the bandI manage aren't known too well locally by the general public. Their fan base is currently spread over the world via the internet. Out of all CD's sold, the majority have been to the US. So, really, here we are just starting out.

Here in NZ, venues don't pay unless you're a covers band or unless you're well known, so any gigs cost you. Putting a cover charge on the door is a great idea, but who's going to pay $5 to see a band they never heard of when they could go to the bar next door where it's free and they know the music because a DJ is on.

And example of this is at a recent gig the guys played there was a $5 cover charge on the door. We got about 25 people in.. give or take... I took the charge off teh door and the place was packed as the guys were finishing!

We've done a lot of brainstorming on this subject and did come up with a strategy on how a new band could sell out a show. Not sure if you checked it out or not, but would love to hear what you think.
You can check it out here.

Thanks again Danny for your input,