Now, Some Do’s and Don’ts

This is the last part of what’s turned out to be a three-part semi-rant about bands, live shows, and more…The bands can all play their hearts out, from openers to headliners, local to national acts, but without fans, listeners who not only like their music but care enough about it to tell others, they’ll be relegated to playing forever to friends and family members.

So here’s where I tell you to get out there and spread the word about your favorite music if you want it to survive–every scene has passive audience members who come and go, but there need to be more people out there who tell others about what they like in ways more compelling than just posting Youtube videos of classic rock songs.

I’ve spent years in sales jobs to support my music habit, so I tend to approach this from that perspective. If you eat at a good restaurant or have a positive experience at a retail store you’ll usually tell people about it, right? Well, supporting your favorite bands, especially those on a local level, should be no different. You don’t have to put up a blog post per day like me, but sharing those event links on Facebook is a big help to bands trying to get a crowd out to a show. posting pictures, fan videos of live shows, even sharing mp3 files with friends, all of these help.

Think of a band or artist as the center of a circle, that circle being the close friends, family, and others who they can count on to be at every show. for this example, assume that’s twenty people. If every one of those people do one of the things I mentioned above, they might convince a few more people each to come out to the next show, which then has sixty in attendance. repeat this process and the exponential potential is huge, obviously.

The biggest question I get is the “how” one….how do I get those people to talk about my music, repost my events, etc…? It’s a simple answer, really–play your music so well that it turns heads, pulls ears out of bar conversations, and generally makes people pay attention. That’s accomplished through practice and perseverance, usually years of it. Even the twenty-something ‘prodigy’ act out there has done something such as taken classical violin lessons since she was four.

I’m usually not a negative kind of person, but here are a few ‘Don’ts’, too:

Don’t expect to put a band together one week and sell out even your local watering hole the next week, month, or even year…Don’t take your crowd for granted, wring your hands when they don’t show up, and wonder why you don’t get booked on a Saturday night again when you only drew thirty people…Don’t complain you get no local media coverage when you don’t send your town’s newspaper music editor a CD, demo, or even a link to your web page until two days before a show…Don’t play a show under-rehearsed, under-prepared, or under-committed to playing your best because you’ll always have people out there who are seeing you for the first time–it’s up to you to convince them it won’t be the last time.

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One thought on “Now, Some Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Wow Kevin. Well put! Thanks for the vivid reminders of what it takes to be successful in music world. The dynamic of live music has certainly changed since the glory days of the mid nineties. In so many ways, technology has made creating and promoting music so easy that anyone can “be a band”. What’s missing is authenticity and true passion for the process of creating sogns, recordings and presenting live performances. “Music is a fair and glorious gift of God.” professed Martin Luther. We’d do well to remember where honesty, creativity and talent truly come from.

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