How (Not) to Promote a Show: What the Club Wants

Can you handle the truth?

After having a poorly attended show, it’s easy to point the fingers at everyone else. The bottom linethough, is that the turnout is entirely your responsibly. As Chris Jackson points out in this article, the only real person you can count on in the music business is you. While it may fly in the face of logic, clubs don’t have a real interest in booking you, because they can always get another band if yours doesn’t work out. And as to the other folks you thought you could count on, the ones that said they’d come out? They might be trying to tell you something, as blogger Elissa Milne points out.

But wait a minute – doesn’t the club have some responsibility in this? Shouldn’t they have regulars?

Yes and no. The club probably does what it can in terms of newspaper and radio ads, plus whatever they do on Facebook and Twitter, but coupons for drink specials won’t pack ’em in like a hot act with a big following. And regulars help maintain profits, not grow them. Face it: your band is part of the advertising budget, and the club can’t grow its business without fresh faces. You’re getting paid to bring in more folks than the club would have gotten by just playing the radio. You’re the interactive jukebox.

The fact is that there is real value in realizing you’re the only one you can rely on to get the job done, and increasing attendance is just as much in your band’s interest as the club’s. Unfortunately, a lot of acts don’t understand that until it’s too late, and by then they’re burned out.

If you’ve had some light turnouts, it’s up to you to ask yourself what you can do differently to turn the tide. (Click here to read about new ways to generate fans.) You’ll be happier, you’ll sell more CDs and merch, and the club that was ready to let you go will be just as eager to book you for the next few months.

Chris’ website is How to Run a Band.


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