• Set Change Over

    When rock stars stroll out on stage there isn’t an eye in the crowd that isn’t glued on them, and when they ask their audience to scream with them, there isn’t a soul that doesn’t scream ‘til their throats bleed.  One thing that all musicians have in common is a larger-than-life stage presence. Another thing is that no stage performance happens without the artists and their team adhering to the general rules pertaining to set changeovers. Everyone’s time is of equal value; the promoters, the venue owners, and your fellow artists, included. In this article we will offer several tips that will help you to master the art of the “set changeover”.

    1. Preparation: As noted in our recent article, “Event Promo Checklist” (http://musicadvice101.com/eventpromochecklist/), if the band is not already familiar with the venue, a thorough walk-through of the venue and a meeting with the sound tech is recommended as part of the preparation for an efficient set changeover and a great show. The band should have as much information as possible in advance; i.e. stage diagram, direction the stage faces, pre-staging area, load-in area, etc. Having a stage plot for your band’s set up to share with the sound tech and venue manager can be a valuable tool in getting set up quickly.

    2. Organization: Every band should be ready at least 15 minutes before their set time. Make sure band members are not hanging out at the bar, in the parking lot, or in the bathroom.

    Sarge Tip

     

    Before going on stage make sure all instruments are tuned and have all outboard gear pre-wired and functioning. Also, be sure to change out all batteries.

    It is a wise idea for the drummer to have as much of the drum kit assembled as possible in the pre-staging area. The drummer should get all gear on stage first. If any of the band members have extra equipment or if the band has their own props or lighting, make sure there are extra hands to help.

    Sarge Tip

     

    Sometimes the backline is provided or is rented. If so, do not assume all is working properly. Make sure you allow time to test the equipment.

    3. Pre-wire all equipment and outboard gear, so they can be plugged into one outlet. This not only saves time, but it eliminates loose wires and gives the artists more room to move around on stage.

    Do not overload outlets, most are 20 amp. Know how many amps your equipment requires. This is especially important if you have additional lighting. Be sure to check with the sound tech before adding equipment that may be unnecessary. You definitely don’t want to be popping breakers in the middle of you set.

    Sarge Tip

     

    It also saves a lot of time if you have used the restroom, applied your make up and have your drinks ready and waiting for set up along with your equipment.

    4. Have a game plan for moving everything off the stage in a timely manner so you don’t hold up the band behind you. Make it a habit to show your professionalism and courtesy by offering to assist the band before and after you in moving their gear.

    Toward the end of your set invite your fans to meet you at your merch table after you have finished striking your equipment. This will encourage them not to rush the stage to talk with you, and it also feels more like a personal invitation to meet you and buy some merch.

    5. So now that you have mastered the art of the changeover, you’ve got more time for the critical sound check, and more time to pay attention to the sound guy, leading up to a lot better set all the way around.

    Compiled by Rose’s Damned Opinion

  • Successful Presales

    Like it or not, every band is responsible to help bring the crowd to the show; however, not every band participates in presale shows.  For those who do, understand that the presales help support the expenses that may include venue rental, sound technician, door person, security; pre show production costs like flyers, ticket printing, fees for advertising and promotion, ads in local publications and radio, booking fees, insurance costs, production costs for staging, equipment rentals, labor, port-o-lets, perimeter fencing, city permits, photographers; and post show costs including video editing, attorney fees, licensing for cover music, and any additional production costs. 

    1. Know Your Sales Goals: Be sure you know up front (and don’t be shy about asking) just how many tickets your band is expected to sell to fulfill your commitment to the show. Work out the details among your bandmates, set goals for each member to achieve on a weekly basis, and an overall total. Keep in mind that it gets easier to sell tickets closer to the show date, but don’t let that keep you from selling from the start.

    And it may hurt, but be honest in assessing the number of tickets you can actually sell at this stage of your band’s career. Do not commit to selling more tickets (just to get booked) than you can realistically sell. New bands often have to buy their way into a show by bringing in a set number of people; and the promoter will expect that you can bring in the number of people that you say you can. It’s just bad all the way around if you promise what you cannot deliver.

    Don’t be afraid to ask the promoter for tools to help you sell your tickets. They should be happy to provide you with fliers or other materials to assist you in getting tickets sold.

    2. Facebook Marketing: Encourage online sales and use all social media outlets available to you. Event pages on Facebook, promote it on your own Facebook page, blog about it on the band’s website, and Tweet it to the world. Just be sure to always include your contact information; email, telephone numbers, etc. Find out how many they need? Encourage them to bring friends by offering a special for multiple ticket purchases. And don’t forget to ask to be added to the official event page so you can send invitations from there.

    3. E Mail Marketing: Send direct messages to the fans that come out to your shows. You want them to come back and bring more people with them. The personal touch makes them feel appreciated for the time and money they spend to see you. Send them an email, text, or personal facebook message. This definitely helps you build that loyal fan base…. People want to be appreciated for their loyalty to you and your music. 

    Sarge Tip

    For tips on creating a good email list, check out our article “ Build an E-Mail List” – http://musicadvice101.com/buildanemaillist/.

    4. In Person: Reach out to family, friends, and everyone else you know. DO talk to strangers! Talk about your show! Offer tickets to people you encounter at school, work, parties, and people around your neighborhood. 

    Go check out the venue one weekend in advance. Mingle with the crowd that night. Convince them to come back again the next weekend for your show. Offer them a special price or a premium price that includes a free CD or merchandise item if they purchase tickets on the spot. People are more likely to buy while they are having a good time.
    Go to open mic nights and other shows in the area to show your support for other local artists. Networking at other people’s shows is cool as long as you are also supporting their music. Talk to the other bands and invite them out to your show as your guest.

    5. Make it Easy for People to Pay and Receive Them

    Have the option to accept credit cards. Use a reader or app on your phone to make it easy for them to pay on the spot. Pay Pal is another good way to make it easy for them to purchase. Do some research on Eventbrite or Ticketfly; using an outside source can help people buy online a lot easier.

    Remember it is your responsibility to get the tickets to them! It’s true that mailing the tickets to everyone who pre purchases will take a little time and some money for postage; but, snail mail still makes people feel special. And you have the opportunity to include something extra in the envelope; flyers for your next show, a postcard picture promoting your album, maybe even a drink ticket to be redeemed at the bar the night of the show. Be creative with what you can do to promote future shows within that envelope that you are taking the time to mail out.

    Another way to get the tickets out to the people ahead of the show; is to call arrange a meeting place to pick up tickets. Make it a mini-event at a centrally located coffee shop, music store, or pizza place. Your fans will appreciate the face time with the band. It’s a way to get tickets delivered to a number of people at one time and it makes them feel like a part of something bigger than just one show. Work with the shop ahead of time; give them the opportunity to offer something to the folks that gather to pick up their tickets. They may want to have some kind of special or discount coupons ready for them.

    6. Make it Fun, Give Them A Reason to Want to Purchase in Advance

    Make it about the crowd, not just about seeing your band. Find out if anyone has a birthday or special event coming up. Promise (and deliver) a birthday song, or VIP seating/area, bring a cake with their name on it. If you make it a party for them, they will bring friends and people that don’t know your band yet giving you the opportunity to reach new ears.

    Sarge Tip

    Utilize Facebook to find out your friends birthdays, anniversaries, or other occasions that can be turned into a happening at the show.

    Offer VIP passes that have extra value to them… sometimes a limo ride to and from the show, dinner or drinks with the band, autographed CD or t-shirt.
    Make it an event. Connect with a non-profit organization or a fundraiser; whereby a percentage of each ticket sold goes to the cause. This also opens up the conversation when you are talking to people at school, work, etc. about your upcoming show. Connecting with a non-profit or fundraiser can also be really good promo for the band. Often, the organization will send out newsletters, Facebook messages, website ads, etc. promoting your upcoming event.

    Connect with the sponsors… they may possibly foot the bill and pay for the tickets, then you can offer them for free.

    If you are the one producing the show, align with a financial sponsor who may assist in footing the bill for tickets and in exchange you will put them on your website, social media blasts, Facebook and any where else they may be promoted.

    Keep an eye on what other bands are doing. Learn what is working for them to sell and distribute their tickets.

    http://www.thundertix.com/ticket-trends/how-to-sell-presale-tickets-metallicas-orion-music-and-more/
    http://www.grassrootsy.com/2011/03/09/how-do-i-get-my-fans-to-buy-pre-sale-tickets/

    Compiled by Rose’s DamnedOpinion

  • Event Promo Checklist

    It’s pretty disheartening to know how good your music is and you still end up playing to an empty house. So we’ve compiled a “Must Do” list for both the promoter and the band to maximize attention and get the people out to see you. And if looking at these lists looks like a lot of work, you’re right! It takes a lot of time and energy to let the world know who your band is and why people should not miss your next show.

    For the Promoter:

    1. Establish the show date with the venue making sure that your date is not conflicting with other shows or events around town that may pull your crowd away.

    2. Ensure that venue fits the band’s needs; i.e. stage requirements, lighting, sound, etc.

    3. Do a thorough walk through with the venue manager. Get the specifics on load-in / load-out, parking for the band’s vehicle(s), the location for the band’s merch table, stage dimensions, available power sources for stage, and merch table. Also, know if there is a green room for the band and if wi-fi is available.

    Sarge Tip

    Take an outlet tester and check every outlet in the venue. This will ensure that you have the correct power sources, and avoid possible equipment damage from plugging into broken sockets. Always check breaker boxes. Make sure you have enough power!

    4. Negotiate the terms with the venue; including any guaranteed dollar amount for the band, who handles the door person, does the venue have their own sound tech, are any food /beverages included for the band (if not, find out what food places are nearby). A written venue agreement is the best way to avoid complications and misunderstandings for all parties.

    5. Check out the venue’s website, Facebook, and any sources they have for promoting the shows. Scout for sponsorship opportunities for your event.

    6. Talk with the other bands to learn how they are promoting the show.

    7. Get your promotion in order by reaching out on your social media pages. Use them to promote the date, and follow up on all inquiries and comments. Get good flyers prepared and have them posted in strategic locations and at the venue itself. Do a newsletter announcing the show. Utilize e-zines and online calendars to get the word out.

    8. Make contact with local ticket outlets like music stores and Ticketfly.

    9. Team up with non-profit organizations if it fits your event. A benefit for a local charity organization can be very helpful in promoting the event.

    10. Do a promo video for YouTube. Use it in your online promotions.

    Sarge Tip

    About two weeks in advance, make contact with the venue again to be sure that they have not double-booked or forgotten to book your date.

    For the Band:

    1. A performance agreement for the band is a good idea. If the terms are in writing between you and the promoter there is be no room for misunderstandings from either side.

    2. Be mindful of your Blackout dates. Do not over saturate one area by playing too often in the same places.

    3. Be sure the entire band is informed of show dates, venue, and location. All band members need to be aware and active in promoting the show.

    4. Get your show booked far enough ahead of the date to utilize any and all promotional opportunities; social media, interviews, reviews, flyers, and word of mouth advertising. Organize press and media outlets. Read Music 101 Article on Cultivating Press for the Media.

    5. The band should also do a walk-through of any venue they have not played before. While the promoter should have already visited with the venue manager, this is your music; be responsible for knowing the stage, lighting, sound and available power sources.

    Sarge Tip

    During your walk through, think about the lighting in terms of fans taking pictures with cameras and cell phones.These days everything is shared instantly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and you want the pictures to look good!

    6. Find out in no uncertain terms if there are comp tickets for family & friends, and exactly how many.Know how many people you are allowed to invite and avoid embarrassment to yourself, your band, the promoter, and the buddy who didn’t bring enough cash to pay the cover.

    7. Utilize some of those comp tickets to offer some kind of press pass for potential reviewers, blog writers, photographers, magazine and radio people. The more of those folks at the show, the more coverage you will get afterward. It’s important to know who they are and follow up with them.

    8. Pay attention to the other bands that are booked for the show, and make contact with them. If they have played the venue before, they may have some valuable insight about the place that the venue manager may have left out during the walk-through. Ask the other bands what they are getting out of doing a show here.

    Sarge Tip

    Promote, Promote, Promote! Make sure people know you are playing and get them excited about the show! Coordinate a contest in conjunction with the show….where the winner must be present at the show to claim their prize.

    9. Make the show a happening by promoting a birthday, anniversary, EP release, holiday, or other event that draws a crowd. Arrange a flyer for your band; remember to include sponsors, promotor, and the other bands. Get their logos. Be sure the promoter has these materials as well. Organize your street team to drop flyers in the weeks before the show.

    10. Create an event page on Facebook, make sure it is in line with the show. It needs to be as good or better than the promoter’s event page. The page must include show date, times, age restrictions, and other artists with web links for all bands on the bill. Select an official administrator for the page. The administrator is responsible for answering all messages, texts and posts generated on the page, in addition to keeping the page updated with the most current information on the show.

    Sarge Tip

    Do Talk to Strangers! Respond to all e-mails, comments, phone calls, etc. within a few days before the show.

    11. Take advantage of networking at the venue in the weeks before the show. Get a feel for the crowd that the venue itself attracts. Introduce yourself with flyers and pre-sale tickets.

    12. Organize a photo and video shoot for the event.

    Sarge Tip

    Pictures are worth a thousand words, but sound is sooooo much better. Do a video for YouTube, your event page, band page, and anywhere else you can post it.

    Compiled by Rose’s Damned Opinion

  • The Job of a Manager for an Unsigned Band

    In general, the band manager’s job is to take care of the business side of things allowing the artists’ to create and perform their music. The duties of the manager for an “unsigned” band vary depending on the stage of the artists’ career. Typical responsibilities include promoting the band and marketing materials like EP’s and assuring distribution to the proper press and media outlets. But, a manager may wear many other hats working for the band in a multitude of ways.

    Sarge Tip

    Whether signed to a record label or not, you need to have a written contract outlining the responsibilities and role the manager will play in your career. A formal agreement will keep miscommunications and surprises from happening later.

    1. Financial Management.
    The manager is responsible for handling the financial affairs of the band they represent; this may include everything from ensuring correct payment is received from the venue to paying the bills for promotional materials and hotel rooms. Another large portion of the financial management aspect is to actively pursue funding opportunities for their artists, such as a kick starter or fundraising for tours.

    2. Networking.
    This is nearly a 24/7 responsibility of a good manager. They should always be on the lookout for networking opportunities to meet new contacts and introduce their band to a broader listener base. In one word the manager is the mouthpiece of the band and an integral part of the band’s success.

    Sarge Tip

    The manager should have business cards and press kits with them at all times as well as have their “elevator pitch” prepared.

    3. Promotion.
    A manager should be an active participant in exploring potential promotional opportunities as well as determining the best activities for the band to participate in. Should they play a “free” show or be booked for a fundraising event? Should they stick with playing only events booked by a well-known local promoter?

    Sarge Tip

    In some situations, the band manager’s role is to oversee and delegate promotional tasks to the band members or others in their camp. For example, the lead singer may have the duty of keeping up with Facebook, the bass player may be in charge of distributing flyers, etc.

    4. Booking Gigs.
    The manager can help reduce pressure on the artists by ensuring that they are getting in to the right venues at the right time. For instance, booking venues where they are ready and able to play, and with shows that suit the genre of their music. Over-playing in the same place to the same crowd should be avoided. The manager should play a large part in getting the band good exposure in as large an area as they can penetrate. However, the band manager is not always the one to book the dates in conjunction with a large tour. Most large tours with headlining national acts have touring managers and promoters taking care of the dates and bookings. In this case, the band manager is only in charge of the needs of their own band.

    5. Negotiating.
    Acting as a liaison between the band and the venue and / or the promoters; some of the manager’s responsibilities may be to ensure that the band is playing for a fair percentage of the door revenue or a guaranteed flat rate for the show; and that there is water, beverages, or food provided; as well as proper recognition on the flyers and advertising pieces for the event(s).
    The manager is also responsible for signing all performance agreements on the band’s behalf.

    6. Coordinating / Scheduling.
      A manager should be the glue that holds the band together, staying in contact with each member and scheduling rehearsals and studio time that make sense for everyone.  Solidifying load-in and load-out times, making sure everyone and all equipment arrive on time for every show.  Scheduling promotional photo shoots and other public appearances is also an important part of the coordinating duties. Like a show or rehearsal, this will include making sure everyone can get to the location. The manager will probably also have a say in the photographer being hired for the shoot, as well as the overall look and theme of the shots.

    7. Technical Assistance.
    Depending on their own background, some managers have more skill and knowledge than others in this area. But every manager needs to have a full understanding of their band’s technical requirements. At times, this may require them to be in contact pre-show with the venue, the sound and lighting technicians, etc.

    8. Media.
    While social media has taken the world by storm, and most artists have their own pages with thousands of opportunities for self-promotion. The manager should definitely oversee all media outlets to ensure that the right message is being sent out across the internet, radio and publications relating to the music scene. A manager should always be working to get the band featured in local print media, online magazines, and radio stations; maintaining social media sites and keeping the fans updated about the shows is a very important task of a manager.

    Sarge Tip

    In some cases, the manager works directly with a publicist who is hired to handle all media relations.

    9. Coach.
    Although it is business, a supportive manager can make a huge difference to band members when a little life coaching is needed to keep them on the right track; the manager needs to be prepared to take on the role of counselor and therapist when needed.
    A manager must possess the skills to handle everything from diffusing quarrels between band members; to step in when band members need help to overcome drug and alcohol addictions; to give support during personal family crisis; or to be a shoulder during a bad break-up with a girl friend or boyfriend. Other coaching roles include always seeking out new outlets to get the music out there, like Spotify, Sound Cloud and I-Tunes. And also to give coaching advice on the band’s stage presence ensuring that they look as good as they sound, and are projecting the correct image to suit the band’s style.

    10. Send out demos to labels.
    When the time is right, and the music is ready, one of the most important jobs a manager does is to get those demos out to radio personalities and record labels. This will help increase the probability that the demo will actually get a listen! When assisting with the business side of an emerging band, the first priority of the manager is to get the band heard by the masses.

    Sarge Tip

    With a band manager… you get what you pay for. While it might be financially easier to have a family member or buddy in charge; they may not have the skills and know-how to take you outside your own backyard. At some point, you will need to hire a professional manager

    Compiled by Rose’s DamnedOpinion