For most artists the answer is very simple. Three or four. For successful artists, it's
a question they can't answer until they're onstage during the performance.
The reason why most artists can answer is predictable. They continue to
make the same mistakes they made before, during and after their shows.
For example, using the ideas they got from their fellow artists (who have
not even sold as many CDs as they should be able to), they promote their
shows in two very typical ways. One, they email the same mailing list they
email about every show. Never taking into account that they are trying to
get people who work all day to get back in the car, back into traffic and
away from their television sets, which provides hours of mindless
entertainment. They don't "preplan" their shows, so there is no idea of
which songs they will be doing (except for a hand printed set list) that will
have any value or meaning to their fans that show up. In essence saying
to them, we didn't think of you enough to plan anything to inspire you so
stand there and watch us for 45 minutes and think we are great. Since
nothing was planned or thought out ahead of time, the email will merely
say, come to our next show at this place on this day and time. Boy that
would really inspire me!
Two, when they decide to try to get new fans to come to their shows they
head to the streets with flyers. A piece of paper which states again the
place and day and time of the show. Nothing of value, just a piece of
paper where no one can hear their music. When some artists do give out
CD samplers they forget the verbal tracks expressing who they are as
artists and the value in their music. Again not putting in the time or effort to
do it correctly so it will be of benefit to them and their fans.
When the usual 25 people including friends and family come to the show,
they transform into "rock gods" and play to themselves. Never building
the bond they need to with the audience that will motivate people to want
to buy a CD. They don't talk about their songs or how it relates to the
audience. Of course the volume of the music is an issue and the group
never did anything about the visual aspect of their show to make people
focus on them. Just magically taking the stage after the last three bands have
played and gone over time will be enough. Won't it?
After the performance, it's time to focus on arguing and letting out all their
frustrations. Most groups or artists do this right after the last note of the
last song. Or after they put their gear away. Again hiding from the people
who came out to see them and making sure to break any kind of bond
they have built. And just to frustrate them even more, they will only offer
CDs for sale through a merch table where people have to wait in line.
That will cap off the evening. Of course they have to save their private
time for when they get home to criticize each other for what wasn't done
and how they can do better on their own or better yet, it's just time to quit
music all together.
If any of this is familiar to you, than you need to start over! It's time to start
being a successful artist.
The power of the message in your lyrics and in your songs can't be found
solely in someone hearing it. You have to promote yourself as an artist.
Reach out to new people all the time. Not your current mailing list who
have already bought your CD. New people in your home city. Talk with
people. Get them to learn about you. The person you really are. How you
can help them be more aware of their lives and community through your
music. Express that between your songs at your shows. Redesign the
venue to reflect "you" when you play. Be creative. Be different. Be you.
After the show, step off the front of the stage with CDs in hand and thank
people for coming. Get to know them. Have them buy CDs right then from
you. Learn what they liked about your show and your music, so you can
share it with new fans. Be the last to leave. Make sure you have talked
with and listened to everyone. These are just a few of the strategies that I
teach artists like you. Yes, you are an artist. Start your music career over
acting like one and believing you are one.
If you are ready to make the small jump from 3-4 CD sales per show to
30-40, check out my in-depth seminars like Music Strategies,
or my books like "Tim Sweeney's Guide To Successfully Playing Live". They will help you become the artist that you are. One who can move past self-doubt and
procrastination to being an artist that is self-sufficient.
Author Tim Sweeney is head of Tim Sweeney & Associates, who are entering their 18th year of being, "the only true artist development company in the world."
Tim is one of the music industry's most sought after experts and consultants, and has written several influential books including "Tim Sweeney's Guide To Releasing Independent Records".