Tips to Draw the Crowd: How Local Artists Can Beat the Struggle

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Adam Young, CEO and founder of Events Ticket Center.  Adam is passionate about live music and hopes to inspire others to get out, see a show and make new memories.]

 

It’s supposed to be all about the music, right? Well, it turns out building a successful band takes a lot more than a decent melody. You’ve been writing, practicing, networking, booking and selling merchandise, and it’s starting to pay off. You’re building up a fanbase and maybe even getting some good press.

This is the middle of the journey, and it has its own unique challenges. We’ve put together a list of some of the most common (and annoying) problems musicians face, and our advice for how to turn them into opportunities to reach new fans and build a name for yourselves.

Struggle #1: The local music scene seems cliquey.

Depending on the size of your city and your genre, it may feel hard to break into the local musician community. Maybe your band just relocated to a new city and you don’t know where to start. Everyone seems to know everyone already and there’s no room for another name on the bill.

Fortunately, you can take steps to make your band known in the new scene. Look for local hangouts where other musicians congregate and introduce yourself. Spend some time getting to know them—after all, you already have a lot in common, and it’s more than likely that they’ll be willing to help you out. Alternatively, you can also connect with nearby bands through social media, which also helps you find potential new fans.

Don’t forget that most bands have been exactly where you are now, working to make a name for themselves and gain exposure. You’ll have to put in some time, but local musicians (generally) love to help each other out. Go see some shows, hang around afterward and introduce yourself. Let the bassist know you really loved his performance. Even better? Plug other bands during your own shows. They’ll be grateful, and they’ll remember it if they’re looking for someone to share the bill with. Community is the key here.

Also, think bigger than just your city. When you meet bands visiting from out of town, offer to host them. There’s a pretty good chance that they’ll reciprocate, and the next time you’re on the road, you’ll have a free place to stay.

Struggle #2: You’re getting low show attendance.

It’s a huge bummer to play to an empty room, especially if you’ve been steadily drawing crowds and record sales are strong. Low-attendance shows can come out of nowhere and really kill your confidence. Of course, there’s so much to say about how to draw audiences, how to market your music and get the word out about shows. Social media is one huge asset for letting people know about upcoming shows, and with the right strategy, it can help you fill a room on short notice. One tip that might be less obvious: Make sure the venue is the right fit before you commit.

Here’s an example: Maybe the booking person at the biggest, most popular venue around heard you play, and they want to book you last minute for a weeknight show. It’s a huge opportunity, and a much larger venue than anything you’re used to. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Your band won’t have the time or resources to draw in a crowd that will fill that venue, and an empty room is not going to get you invited back anytime soon.

Better to fill a small room with fans and energy and gradually build from there. Sometimes the better move is to say thanks and put that contact in your back pocket for when you know you can fill that space.

Struggle #3: People don’t buy records like they used to.

The good news is this is an industry-wide problem, so you’re in good company. The bad news is that there’s no easy answer. Bands make less money from album sales these days, whether it’s digital files or CDs and vinyl. It’s essential to put out new material and have it available for sale, review and airtime. But studio space is expensive, and many bands lose money on records they’ve already poured lots of cash—not to mention hard work—into.

While there’s still a lot of pressure to release solid albums, many bands can’t rely on them to make a living. Your best bet is to diversify. That means any band that wants to be successful needs to:

  • Have hard copies of albums to sell at shows and to distribute to press
  • Sell digital versions and hard copies of albums online
  • Utilize all the popular streaming services out there, like Spotify, Pandora and Bandcamp
  • Promote your music through social media to ensure you reach as wide an audience as possible

Struggle #4: You’re reluctant to accept help.

You may be thinking “I’d have no problem accepting any help that came my way.” And you might be right, but many musicians can get caught up in what they think their musical path should look like. They end up missing opportunities where they could meet new people, promote their music and build their fanbase, all because they thought they’d be able to do it on their own.

I talked with P.T. Banks, a musician from Austin, TX, and he said there’s nothing like your community to help you succeed, if you’re willing to let them.

“I refused some managerial and financial help early on in my career because of pride,” he said. “Working on your craft is the most important thing, but accept help and let people believe in you.”

Maybe that looks like setting up a Kickstarter to get your new album recorded or accepting when friends or family offer to support your music financially. Getting to the next level may be as simple as getting out of your own way.

4 Major Live Music Trends Changing The Industry This Year

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rachel Grate and originally appeared on the Eventbrite Blog.]

 

We’re just one month into 2017 (ed. – this was originally published in February of 2017), and it’s already proven to be a year of big changes — and the live music industry is no exception to the rule.

To stay on top of your game in a shifting landscape, you need a firm grip on the music trends that will shift the landscape in 2017. But don’t take it from us — take it from the nineteen industry pros we interviewed, including Newport Folk Festival, Afropunk, National Sawdust, and more.

Here’s how tastemakers predict the live music industry will change in 2017 — and how you can use those trends to protect your business.

1. Activism will revive the live music community

“Music has recently been more about escapism than activism,” says Jay Sweet, festival director and talent buyer for the Newport Festivals Foundation. But with major political changes coming in 2017, fans may be looking to their favorite artists to take a stance. “I’m excited because I think this could be the year where musicians could… try to affect positive change through music,” Sweet says.

Matthew Morgan, the co-founder of Afropunk, believes fans will look to live music as an opportunity to make sense of the world around them. “We’re in line for some really great art over the next four years, [and] what we’re doing is going to be even more important,” Morgan says. “So many people are looking for things that are positive, that give them something meaningful in their lives.”

“We’re in line for some really great art over the next 4 years.” — Matthew Morgan of @afropunk

In this quest for self-expression, fans and artists will use live performances as an opportunity to build community around shared causes. “Festivals are a place for people to congregate safely — a place to share a common, collective experience,” Sweet says. It will be up to independent promoters and producers to create these safe spaces for activism.

2. Immersive theater will influence live music performances

From popular events like The Speakeasy in San Francisco to the topic of breakout HBO show Westworld, immersive theater made a big splash in 2016. These shows make audience members a part of the performance, and this year, we’ll see their influence begin to make live music performances more multidimensional.

“The world of immersive theater is about to explode,” says Nick Panama, the founder of Cantora. “We’ll be seeing a lot more experiential storytelling, and its influence on live music.”

Panama predicts live shows will expand the storytelling from the music itself to other senses. Instead of relying solely on audio cues or a screen behind them to tell a story, performers will begin to activate the entire room or stadium with immersive sensory details. Using a variety of new technologies, fans will become part of an alternate reality for the duration of the show.

3. Venues will band together to establish more sustainable economics

With rising rent prices in cities across the country, venues are facing a serious financial challenge in 2017.

“Venues will either buy the land they sit on, or they’ll move,” says Brendon Anthony, the director of the Texas Music Office. “We’re not going to see our favorite venues in the same place unless they own the land. The venues that are iconic and last [will] need to control their rent.”

“Venues will either buy the land they sit on or they’ll move.”@Brendon_Anthony of @txmusicoffice

But venues may not be able to crack the code to sustainability on their own. Venues will have the most success if they band together to protect their businesses.

“There are real ways venues can work together to make their margins a bit easier to handle,” Anthony says. In Texas and other states, for instance, venues, bars, and restaurants are all taxed in the same way, even though venues have to put more of their money back into infrastructure. There could be a way for venues to reduce their tax rate, “but for that to happen, venues would have to define what being a venue means, and then go to work to lobby as a group for the change.”

Fighting for this recognition won’t be easy, but it’s the best way for rooms to protect their business. Venues in the UK have already seen success with this strategy, led by the Music Venue Trust and their annual Venues Day, aimed at raising awareness and advocating for venue rights. Venues in the states will need to follow suit, banding together to protect the future of live music in their respective cities.

4. Brands will become even more intertwined with artists

Sponsors spend $1.4 billion on the music industry in the United States each year, and that number is only going up. Instead of investing in large activations or stages at festivals, our experts predict that brands will focus more on building relationships with specific artists in the next year.

Mark Monahan, the festival director of Ottawa Bluesfest, has seen this shift firsthand. “In the last few years, most sponsors want to activate around artists,” Monahan says. “Five years ago in the festivals space, that was a nonstarter. Artists are recognizing the role sponsors play in helping to fund festivals, and are more willing to participate in auxiliary activities.”

Currently, most of these artist activations look like meet and greets, or small, private shows with festival headliners. But these activations will need to evolve and become more natural to succeed in 2017. It is likely we’ll see more activations like last year’s Lady Gaga’s Dive Bar Tour, sponsored by Bud Light. The series focused on one of the most important roles a brand can play for an artist: delighting fans by bringing them in more direct contact with their idols.

But this integrated relationship between artists and brands could be in conflict with another trend — that artists are more openly expressing their political beliefs.

“I’m hesitant about what the branded content space is going to look like in the next year,” Gaston says. “If artists get more politically involved, will that impact how brands interact with artists? It’s going to be really tricky if that spending shifts, especially since brand dollars have become more important to the bottom line for both artists and labels.”

Artist Breakdown: TuneCore Live Atlanta 5/4 @ Music Room

Hard to believe we took the whole month of April off from hosting TuneCore Live events in LA, New York, Nashville and Atlanta, right? Well, maybe if you were at one of our five events during SXSW, you’d understand our musical hangover.

But fear not ATLiens! We’re back in style on Wednesday, May 4th at the Music Room in Atlanta (and yes, Star Wars nerds, ‘the 4th will be with us’). As always, we’re excited to bring a bill of TuneCore Artists who will share the stage for a 21+, FREE show.

Living in Atlanta? Wanna know more about TuneCore? Wanna meet, dance and drink with TuneCore? Or maybe you just wanna wig out on some free music to break up your week? Head over to our Facebook event to RSVP and keep it on your radar.

Learn more about the artists hitting the stage below:

M-City J.R.

M City J.R.
Just recently, M-City J.R.’s single “Addicted To My Ex” has blown up – in just three months it’s video has reached over 1 million views on YouTube. But the Detroit born-and-bred MC knows it takes more than just one song to live up to the city’s legends he holds so close to his heart. We’re excited to have this up-and-comer show us how he plans to take on 2016 with this momentum as he joins us for TuneCore Live!

Kodie Shane

Kodie ShaneBorn in Atlanta and raised between there and Chicago, Kodie Shane AKA “ItsTheDonBaby” began writing songs at the young age of 12. After catching the attention of production team Matty P and D. Clax, she began writing for other hip hop artists and find her lane. Much of Kodie’s lyricism stems from the complexities of life as a millennial, and she aims to control the hearts of anyone who hears her melodies!

Hero the Band

Hero The BandWith no lead singer and no dedication to one single genre, Hero The Band is four Atlanta brothers who formed in 2010. Their energy, bond, vocals and instrumental abilities has all evolved organically, stemming from their upbringing and singing in the church. The four brothers – Jerramy, DJ, Justin and Nick – credit their chorus teacher for giving them the inspiration to learn music and pursue a career in it, and they’ve made a pact to take this journey on together.

Mr. 2-17

Mr. 2-17
It’s always impressive when we see an artist who has achieved success in one lane vow to earn his name in another. Atlanta producer, recording artist and filmmaker Mr. 2-17 has production credits with Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Young Jeezy and Bankroll Fresh. His abilities, notoriety and respect as a producer have sent him on a path to dominate the hip hop world as an MC, and we’re looking forward to his upcoming debut solo album.

Willie HyN

Willie HyN
Atlanta-based MC Willie HyN is a worker. After graduating he committed two years to performing at over 200 open mic and other events with the determination of being discovered. What he did do was establish himself as a familiar face in the Atlanta scene, and opened up opportunities to perform at radio showcases, talent shows and other high-profile events. HyN has 10 mix tapes under his belt, has toured internationally and shows no sign of stopping in 2016!

Levi Johnson

Levi Johnson
A trio not, a solo act, Levi Johnson is comprised of three talented young artists Alex, Kobe and Dre Johnson. Described as a “artistic and harmonious collection of rhythm, dance and authentic cool”, this East Atlanta group was developed by renowned choreographer Jamaica Craft. They’re clearing a path for success as their 90’s-influenced pop and R&B sounds evolve.

13 Tips For Getting the Gig From Talent Buyer Christina LaRocca

Hello music makers!

My name is Christina LaRocca, Founder/CEO of L Rock Entertainment.   As a talent buyer with a decade of experience, I get somewhere between 25-100 requests A DAY from bands all over the country, asking to play the Big Apple or looking for assistance with tour booking.  How do I choose which bands are the best fit for my shows?

First impressions are everything.  Remember you are contacting a human being, so it’s best to treat them like one.  No one is going to reply to an email that says: “My band is awesome you need to book us…check it out man www.weareanawesomeband.com”

With that in mind, here are some great tips to help you get the gig: Continue reading “13 Tips For Getting the Gig From Talent Buyer Christina LaRocca”

Event Recap: TuneCore Live NYC @ Pianos 2/29

As our beloved New York City-area artists and TuneCore Live goers know, at the end of February (Leap Day!!), we switched up locations and took our talents to the legendary Pianos in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.

During a time of extremely high rents and unfortunate turnover in the NYC music community, we were saddened to see the original home of TuneCore Live NYC, The Living Room, closed its Williamsburg doors in late 2015. However, after just one event, we know that Pianos will serve as an awesome place to have TuneCore Artists, staff and fans gather for our future events.

Helping us bring our first NYC event together was Swisher Sweets, Mirrored Media, CeleBuzz and World Arts – and for them we are thankful! Local indie acts Surf Rock is DeadPaperwhite, and Andy Suzuki & The Method brought the tunes for what would be a pleasantly diverse collection of music over the course of the night.

SRID

Up first was Brooklyn-based trio Surf Rock is Dead. Don’t be fooled by their name – the reverb soaked garage vibes that these guys brought to the stage served as a reminder that upbeat, surfy rock music has not gone out of style.

Paperwhite 1

Following SRiD, brother-sister duo Ben and Katie Marshall (joined with new keyboardist Lauren) Paperwhite brought the dream pop power! With Ben managing drums and production, Katie was free to dazzle the crowd with her performance abilities and voice – and she didn’t disappoint.

Andy Suzuki & the Method 2

Closing out the night was the well-traveled and undeniably entertaining Andy Suzuki and the Method. Andy and his band crooned through songs that spanned his career as a songwriter, throwing in the occasional cover that kept the crowd engaged. A lot of energy, a lot of jamming, and a lot of interaction with the audience!

Want more visuals from the evening? Check out our gallery below! If you made it out, thanks for rocking with us, and if you’re hoping to catch our next event in your area, follow our TuneCore Live Facebook page so you don’t miss an update.

Event Recap: TuneCore Live LA @ Bardot 1/20

Last month we kicked off the New Year with a bang by bringing TuneCore Artists Freedom Fry, Blackbear and Trevor Wesley to party with us at the Bardot in Hollywood. To us, there’s no better way to get back in the right mood after decompressing from the holidays than a night of awesome independent live music!

Before the doors even opened there was a line around the block. Not bad for a Wednesday, huh? Fans of all artists packed the beautiful space and made sure to support everyone on the bill. Thanks of course to our pals at Swisher Sweets, CeleBuzz and Mirrored Media.

Freedom Fry6

Up first was Freedom Fry, who started things off by setting the vibe with their smooth indie folk-pop tunes.

Trevor Wesley3

Trevor Wesley hit the stage next, and ramped up the energy with his complete band and back up singers!

Blackbear3

Rounding up the night was Blackbear, whose hip hop infused R&B sound brought all the all the ladies and gents to the front row.

DJ William Lifestyle

And let’s not forget about our guy DJ William Lifestyle who was tearing it up between sets all night!

We’ll be announcing our upcoming TuneCore Live dates soon, so make sure to follow us on Facebook and RSVP when we’re setting up in your neck of the woods next! In the meantime, enjoy the photo gallery from our awesome January evening below.