We now return you to your regularly scheduled content! I told you that I was back!
It should be noted that the articles may not come at a specific time, unless I get back into writing them all and scheduling the publication time. Right now, that doesn’t appear to be happening. Tomorrow doesn’t look much better.
Actually, I might have to do tomorrow’s article today.
Why? I have a show tonight. I may not even make it back home until sometime tomorrow afternoon. I’ve already called and reserved rooms for the band. We’re staying in a hotel tonight.
Can you say party with fans? It could happen!
This ties in nicely with today’s lesson, by the way. See, we’ve played this venue before. This is actually the first time we’ve played the same venue that we’ve played in the past. It will not be the last time.
So, as a quick refresher, I’m writing the various rules for performing musicians. They’re rules that nobody else seems to take the time to write down. They’re lessons I’ve learned, often the hard way, about making money in an industry known for abject poverty.
Following these rules will not make you a rock star. They probably won’t even make you famous. What they will do is give you a better than average (which is a pretty low bar) chance at making an income high enough that you don’t have to beg on the street corner.
If you’d like to see the previous entries on the list, there’s a link in the upper right. It’s not actually complete, by the way. I’ve been slacking and haven’t added the most recent rules.
So, let’s get back to work!
Rule #42: Do some repeat shows!
Tonight’s show is at a venue where we played way back in the spring and, from what I’m hearing, people are coming in early to pay their cover charge as it’s not actually a venue that sells tickets. They’re that eager to see us again.
Going back to old venues is a way to tell your fans that you’re still interested in them. Even if you make it big enough to be doing things like halls and civic centers, you still may want to go back to that dive bar where you got your start.
By the way, doing so will often mean that you’re treated damned near like royalty when you go back to their little bar. Your fans really do have an emotional investment in you. They’re usually pretty happy that you came back to see them.
But, it’s a bit more than that…
I try to do it on a schedule. I’ve already communicated with this specific venue and we’re going to play there once more, in the winter. Then, we’re going to play there the following spring and we’re going to play there again as tourist season comes to a close (more like reaches a lull, but that’s a different topic). Which is pretty much what we’re doing this year.
So, we’re going to schedule ourselves to play there pretty much every four months, as an average. This is great!
This show pays us our absolute base rate – but then gives us 50% of the door. Last time, we packed the place to near capacity – and that was as a new band. So, it’s financially beneficial to play there. It’s even more beneficial if we have fans there who will pack the house.
It’s a win for us. It’s a win for the venue. It’s a win for the fans.
Even if it wasn’t a win for us, it’s still a good idea to consider it. Those are the fans that will drive three hours to see you at a larger venue. If you want to think of it in business terms, you’re advertising and promoting your larger shows.
Fans remember that you went back to their little bar, even after you had larger audiences. That’s where you also make new fans. It’s also where you can let your hair down and really give the audience a show.
There’s also the added benefit of familiarity. I know pretty much exactly how we’ll set up and how we’ll sound. I know how the load in process will go and I know that we have a clear shot at the rear exit to load out. I know, because we’ve been there before.
We’ll do a few small tweaks to see if we can get a better sound, but the last show was adequate. We won’t mic the audience up for this show, ’cause that didn’t work well last time and we’re pretty sure it was due to the acoustics of the venue. It’s also not very productive – we don’t really do much with the recordings. (We can’t sell them, or even distribute them legally.)
This goes on, by the way…
Find some of the shows that you enjoyed (and paid well) and schedule them for the same time next year. Yes, even the larger venues. Remember, you’re not a rock star – you’re a small regional band that’s making a living doing what you love. You’re not going on tour… You don’t even own a plane. Shit, if you’re lucky, you own a moderately used vehicle that’s made in the past decade!
So, if you played Big Town Civic Center in October, consider going back to play Big Town Civic Center next October. Ideally, have it scheduled ahead of the show and tell people that you’ll be back next year.
They love this stuff. They love that they’re important and that you like them well enough to come back and see them again. They’re paying you money. They literally want to be your fans. They want to like you.
Here, when was the last time you went to a concert and said to yourself, “I’m spending this money because I want to have a shitty time and I don’t want to like this new band!”
Never. That’s when.
All you have to do is help them like you. All you have to do is make ’em feel like they’re important (and they are, ’cause they feed you and pay your rent). It’s really not rocket surgery!
Yet… How many bands overlook this? How many bands don’t actually have a schedule published? How many bands don’t revisit venues? How many bands forget that they started in a bar and never go back there when they get bigger?
Do you need to? Probably not. But, it’ll help you get more dedicated fans, more appreciative fans, and greater attendance at your larger shows. It’s a pretty simple thing to do and many venues are VERY happy to schedule things that far out.
Don’t overlook the little things that you can do to make it better. Don’t forget your fans that got you started. Your success is probably due, at least in part, to those same people having told their friends and family about the awesome band they saw this past weekend.
Be that awesome band. We’ve set aside 100 t-shirts to just give away. We’re going to rock the venue even harder than we did last time. We’re going to make them remember our names, so that they come see us again during skiing season and then they come back to see us again the following spring. Until next time…
Shut up and play us a song!