Marketing music events

14 replies
Hi all,
I am interested in your ideas in relation to marketing music/band events.

Let me illustrate my current situation:
- I arrange a number of rock and roll bands to play at a bar.
- In this case I have made negotiations with the publican to put an entry fee on the door. The bands keep 100%.
- I especially want to attract people who are aged around 20-28 for their beer guzzling properties . The problem is: the majority of them go to the local nightclubs to drink; however, I predict a small percentage of this population might enjoy rock and roll bands given they knew about the events.

Some ideas I have thought of:
- designing a poster for each event to put up on local businesses' walls and windows.
- building relationships with radio stations and their presenters to gain exposure on the radio waves.
- putting posters up at schools and universities.

Any help would be appreciated. I'd love to hear some strange approaches.

Thanks,
Josh Lobley
#events #gigs #marketing #music
  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    When the bands are playing for all or part of the cover charge, they have to do their part of the marketing. They have to pump their social media and email marketing. Perhaps pay for part of the print advertising if the bar is not already doing print ads. (Maybe all your bands could co-op display ads that way).

    I knew a mediocre band with a good promoter. He bought an old passenger bus, painted it up with the band logos, and would bring the bus full (75 people?) of their fans to every venue they played.

    I've seen bands hand out mini-discs - like 4 songs - of their music all over the area before they play.
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    • Profile picture of the author Josh Lobley
      Originally Posted by bizgrower View Post

      When the bands are playing for all or part of the cover charge, they have to do their part of the marketing. They have to pump their social media and email marketing. Perhaps pay for part of the print advertising if the bar is not already doing print ads. (Maybe all your bands could co-op display ads that way).

      I knew a mediocre band with a good promoter. He bought an old passenger bus, painted it up with the band logos, and would bring the bus full (75 people?) of their fans to every venue they played.

      I've seen bands hand out mini-discs - like 4 songs - of their music all over the area before they play.
      Thanks bizgrower,
      I like the idea of the bands/bar/event organiser chipping in for advertising/print costs. Love the van idea too!!
      Maybe printed usb sticks could work well in this day and age?
      Good stuff.
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      Josh Lobley Music
      Psychedelic Rhythm & Blues music
      https://soundcloud.com/joshua-augustus-lobley


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  • Profile picture of the author clawHAMMER
    Many moons ago I purchased Jack Spencer's ebook about booking/promoting rock-n-roll shows at clubs and venues. I used to be a bus driver on rock-n-roll tours so I had an interest in the behind-the-scenes end of the entertainment business at the time.

    I ended up hitting the road again shortly after buying Spencer's ebook and never got around to utilizing what I read. Always thought about it but time wasn't of essence and you need adequate time to promote a live event.

    I could write a book on my experience as a bus driver for bands on concert tours but that was way back when in the mid-90's and I've moved on. I just have the good 'ole memories now.

    But if you really want a good in the trench's read on how-to promote shows of different sizes in the music business, get Jack Spencer's program. He started out in the early 80's w/ Stevie Ray Vaughn and has probably done 1000's of shows over his career so he knows what has to be done and breaks it down in understandable format.

    I don't know if he's still around or not honestly, it's been along time ago for me so you'll have to Goog his name and do your research. ConcertPromoter.com I believe was his site at the time but if you want a nuts-n-bolts blueprint of booking/promoting rock shows this guy's knowledge opened my eyes.

    Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author Josh Lobley
      Originally Posted by clawHAMMER View Post

      Many moons ago I purchased Jack Spencer's ebook about booking/promoting rock-n-roll shows at clubs and venues. I used to be a bus driver on rock-n-roll tours so I had an interest in the behind-the-scenes end of the entertainment business at the time.

      I ended up hitting the road again shortly after buying Spencer's ebook and never got around to utilizing what I read. Always thought about it but time wasn't of essence and you need adequate time to promote a live event.

      I could write a book on my experience as a bus driver for bands on concert tours but that was way back when in the mid-90's and I've moved on. I just have the good 'ole memories now.

      But if you really want a good in the trench's read on how-to promote shows of different sizes in the music business, get Jack Spencer's program. He started out in the early 80's w/ Stevie Ray Vaughn and has probably done 1000's of shows over his career so he knows what has to be done and breaks it down in understandable format.

      I don't know if he's still around or not honestly, it's been along time ago for me so you'll have to Goog his name and do your research. ConcertPromoter.com I believe was his site at the time but if you want a nuts-n-bolts blueprint of booking/promoting rock shows this guy's knowledge opened my eyes.

      Good luck!
      I bet you've got some wild stories from your bus driving days clawHammer!
      The Jack Spencer course looks good - the website you mentioned - concertpromoter.com is still offering the course. I'll be thinking about it!
      Thanks for the heads up.
      Signature
      Josh Lobley Music
      Psychedelic Rhythm & Blues music
      https://soundcloud.com/joshua-augustus-lobley


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  • Profile picture of the author onehalf
    Hi Josh! You can also create eye-catching tshirts for the upcoming music event/s with the event details printed on it.
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  • Well, i can relate to this actually. I organize events as well and have my own band too. But we are mostly a metal production team. Anyway, i would do the following

    1. Establish connections with local radio stations and request for a plug (any one can do this, trust me. but make sure your plugging in on the right time. choose where the most listeners are)

    2. Have the invited bands pump ads on Facebook, twitter, etc. (They will have to do this part as well, so if they have a local fan base that would seriously bring the horde)

    3. Make them bring band merch and other sellables (if thats even a word) Advice them to make a little promo for their merch like for the first 20 people they get %% off their purchase.

    4. Traditional way bro, post posters and flyers.

    5. Digital Way, Group messaging, posting links and digital posters on niche groups.

    6. Set up an rsvp event. in that way you get a headcount on those who are coming then add your own margin of error.

    7. The venue should also do its marketing but this is optional.

    8. Its all about why should they go to your gig? To answer that. come up with something unique or a promotion. hell, try giving away a few freebies. or have a minigame in-between the bands playing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Discord
    I used to run an alternative nightclub and did live music promotions for a music magazine, all before social media so we had to do it old school. Just curious, if the band gets the door, how do you get paid? Do you get a cut of the bar?

    Ultimately it is all about the bands. You need to scout them out to make sure they can draw and cultivate a relationship with them. Look for bands with female fans in particular. Find every source of free advertising you can: Facebook, Twitter and other social media; local music publications that publish show listings; local radio sometimes does local show listings, etc. If you want to do radio, offer the option to the bands playing that night but only if they chip in a little from their cut of the door.

    Someone else mentioned a merch table. That usually works well. Use a service like cardincluded.com to create a digital download card with a sampling of tracks from each band playing that night and offer it free to people that pay at the door. Looking into services like Eventbrite or similar to sell tickets in advance (people tend to punk out at the last minute for local shows but if they bought the ticket already they are more likely to go).

    If you book shows on different nights of the week, use off nights like Wed or Thur to try out new artists and if they do well then rebook them at a later date for a Fri or Sat.

    Be sure to invite down local press, blogs, radio and other writers who review music to get some write ups on the shows. Offer them free admission.

    If you have a DJ spinning music in between bands include CDs of local artists to give your audience of taste of bands that might play there live.

    A way to save money on flyers is to have a sponsor get an ad on part of the flyer. My old club would sometimes charge a local tattoo parlor to get an ad on our flyer and to come to the club and do piercings on premises. A good option is an appropriate clothing store or local late night restaurant people might go to after shows.

    You can use Teespring or similar to create a branded t-shirt of the bar or if you name your live music night, share the revenue with the artists if they promote it on their websites and social media.
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    • Profile picture of the author rritz
      Hey there, I know where you are coming from :-) I owned a bar myself and we had live gigs once a month.

      What really worked best for me was
      coupling the live music event with some special offers in the food / drink section

      for instance I had a Scottish singer / songwriter and offered special deals on Scottish beer and offered Scotch tasting - we had about 20 different Scotch Whiskys and that was a draw.
      I also had a Latin music night and we offered special Cocktails only for the occasion and some South American food stuff easy to prepare

      You can get really creative with this, have dress up nights, or offer 50ies style food, or whatever seems fit. Make it a kind of party.

      What I also did, always had all my live music events listed (for free) in all the newspapers or weeklys that did this kind of thing, both offline and online - event calendars, "what to do tonites" etc, you know what I mean. My events were all free to attend, so I also listed them in special communities for free gigs, I always got a lot of people to attend that way.

      A poster outside the bar is a must, make it bold and catchy to get attention from passers by. Have it up well before the event.

      I also always printed flyers and left them in colleges, universities, music conservatories, other pubs and bars, at a friend's recording & rehearsal studio, and other business friends places. Some tobacco shops were even so nice as to let me leave flyers with them.

      And don't forget to take pictures or make videos on the nite and post up on facebook. Include shots of people who attended and tag them in the pics. There's nothing like a good presentation of past events to get a draw for the next one.
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      • Profile picture of the author Josh Lobley
        Brilliant advice there: "Make it a kind of party".

        Agree with putting videos of the night on FB with attendees tagged. I'll definitely leave a flyer at the tobacconist next time around!!

        Thanks for all the great replies everyone. This gives me great ideas for the next show I promote. Really appreciate it.
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        Josh Lobley Music
        Psychedelic Rhythm & Blues music
        https://soundcloud.com/joshua-augustus-lobley


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    • Profile picture of the author Josh Lobley
      So many excellent points made there Discord. I like the idea of giving free digital download cards out to people as they come through the door.

      Also love the idea of inviting writers down and making t-shirts about the night and sharing revenue with artists.

      By the way, the bands get paid a set amount by bar and/or a cut of the door takings. I've heard a percentage of bar takings during bands is a good choice.
      Signature
      Josh Lobley Music
      Psychedelic Rhythm & Blues music
      https://soundcloud.com/joshua-augustus-lobley


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  • Profile picture of the author Digital Traffic
    Use proximity marketing at all of your bands locations.

    Build your own SMS list for you, and promote it to the bar for them to use for marketing purposes.

    Half off drinks or two for one for the next 30 mins, free cover etc..
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    The pub's not going to want to pay for any marketing. In their eyes, the band drawing a crowd is the pub's marketing. The onus is on the band.

    I take it these bands don't have a big enough following to fill a weekend night? Then the thing to so is build that crowd.

    A filled room of drinkers is what the pub owners want most, isn't it? If Band A can bring in 300 people and Band B can bring in 100, who will the pub most likely book?

    So I'd focus on that to build the band's cache.

    Will it take handing out a reduced price admission ticket to lots of twenty-somethings to get them in and the band performs for hardly any money? Perhaps... but then, just for the first booking. One way or the other, it's going to cost the band something to market themselves, whether it's time or money.

    But then the pub sees their room filled by that band and better terms are negotiated for the next gig and a different offer is made to your new database of twenty-somethings to bring them in.
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  • Profile picture of the author james flynn
    Originally Posted by Josh Lobley View Post

    Hi all,
    I am interested in your ideas in relation to marketing music/band events.

    Let me illustrate my current situation:
    - I arrange a number of rock and roll bands to play at a bar.
    - In this case I have made negotiations with the publican to put an entry fee on the door. The bands keep 100%.
    - I especially want to attract people who are aged around 20-28 for their beer guzzling properties . The problem is: the majority of them go to the local nightclubs to drink; however, I predict a small percentage of this population might enjoy rock and roll bands given they knew about the events.

    Some ideas I have thought of:
    - designing a poster for each event to put up on local businesses' walls and windows.
    - building relationships with radio stations and their presenters to gain exposure on the radio waves.
    - putting posters up at schools and universities.

    Any help would be appreciated. I'd love to hear some strange approaches.

    Thanks,
    Josh Lobley
    Putting up posters in universities always work. Especially if you involve student unions throughout this whole process they will definitely help you spread the word. Best way to do is to create an event page on Fb and promote it on different universities textbook exchange and student union fb groups.
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