A few weeks ago a new artist called me and asked how he can get more people to a new venue he wanted to play. The booker told him as the opener he had to bring 25 people. Not an overwhelming number by any stretch. The only problem was he was averaging 5-10 people per show.
I asked him what he had done to promote his previous shows. He sent me copies of his emails or should I say, "show announcements." He discovered about 2 percent of his mailing list responded to his emails and he wasn't sure if anyone was ever coming to a show. With that in mind, I told him let's start with a basic idea, go through your mailing list and make a list of fans you feel you can count on to really support you. He came back with a list of 57 people who lived in the area of the new venue. I told him to start calling each one. For the people he didn't have phone numbers for, simply email them a note asking them to call him, nothing else.
We talked in great length about what his conversations should be about and also we wrote a new email to go out to the rest of the list. While he first complained about the amount of time it would take to call everyone, I reminded him of the joy of playing to an empty venue.
To make a long story short, 39 people came because of the phone calls and another 16 came from the new email. Then as life goes, he learned some other important lessons that night at the show.
As the "opener" he brought 55. The person who played after him brought 10 and the "headliner" brought 4. Not only did the booker get mad at the other artists, he gave their money to my guy and told him he would pay him double if he played there next month as the headliner! The other artists asked him how he got so many people to come. They said they had sent out emails like they always did and didn't know why people didn't come.
The comical ending to the story is that the artist sold 21 CDs to the people including fans of the other artists and even one to the writer from the newspaper who always ignored him. The writer told him he was there to review the headliner but came early because he really liked my guy's email about the show. Good thing he called all those people and connected with them more personally then an email!
The moral of the story? Most likely you got someone's email address from talking to them in person. You had a connection with them for them to give it to you. Pick up the phone whenever possible and continue the relationship. You call the bookers to get a show, the press for a story, industry people to see if they reviewed your music, call your fans!
If you need help getting more people to shows, selling more or getting more attention for your music, call me at 951-303-9506.
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".
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