Be a Hometown Headliner.
Written by James Ussery. Posted in
Are 50 fans enough to book a venue? Biz vet Ari Herstand thinks so.
Herstand says just 50 people are enough to convince a venue to book you. And if you think in terms of friends, family, friends of family and family of friends, you can see how easy 50 people is to pull off.
Find your niche. Who does your music appeal to most? Hard-core rap lovers? Go after college kids. Classic R&B listeners? Play a venue for young and middle-aged professionals. Is it music you can dance to or is it about the lyrics? A club, lounge or auditorium of over-21 urbanites may fit the bill.
And speaking of the bill, having one or two similar acts increases word-of-mouth and turns that that 50 into 150 or more. Just don’t mix up the genre. (Jewel opening for Eminem = epic fail.)
Industry pros say to expect a cut of the house, which can be anywhere from 25 to 80 percent. If this is your first concert at a particular venue, be conservative. Everything’s negotiable, but to start at an 80 percent ask will probably shut the conversation down before it even starts. You can also do your own ticketing and get paid instantly. If you simply can’t find a venue, try creating your own.
Size matters. Unlike other scenarios, when it comes to first-time venues, smaller is better. You don’t want to book a huge room and have 50 people show up. Aim small and fill the place. It’ll make you feel great, make your concert a sold-out success and spread the word that your music is more than worth the price of the ticket.
Finally, venues do not, will not and cannot publicize your event. It’s up to you. And a Facebook announcement doesn’t cut it either. You gotta go offline as well as online. Flyers and posters in the places your audience hangs out and word-of mouth from your circle of influence combined with video teasers of you and the other acts on your bill, tweets from you and retweets and shares from friends, family, etc. cast a wide net. An online contest can’t hurt, either.
P.S. Don’t forget to bring merchandise (CDs, tshirts, etc.) to sell. Ever. Merch sales can—and do—save your fiduciary ass when ticket sales tank.
The music biz is wide open for people like you with ambition and drive. Don’t wait for your big break. Do your own artist promotion. For more info about how to promote my event online, let us know and get started today!
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