Ways to Make Money at Live Shows
So we've done a lot of talking about a lot of different ways to make money with your music and obviously worth merchandising were beyond the music. Now we're into the zones where we're talking about other sources of income and if you think about it, what is one of the most stable sources of income as a musician? Frankly it's really hard to create that because you sell an album, you're done it's hard to know how much you're going to make after each album, but live shows are one of the few things that's under your control because you can book it it's something that tends to have a stable income and compared to most things well, historically, this is where musicians made their money right. This is actually where it's got a very simple formula. It's not hard to calculate the more people you have showing up at your shows, the more money you make and it's one of the this area where it's adam's not bits that's not just about selling things, it actually is partially about giving your fan and e...
xperience, which is something that people would rather spend money on, then things anyway, it's certainly something that has all the markings of something that could really help besides all of this you can actually also sell of your merchandise and music and everything else the same event now not every musician plays life we realized this but this is for the ones that do for the ones that don't and you're just sort of on the fence we're here to tell you yep time to have a live show we're going to tell you how we're going to tell you how to make money off of everything that you could do on it and we're going to actually tell you how to make the kind of life show that makes people come back again and again so first of all let's just talk about the ways that you can make money from shows long list quite a bit and we're actually going to talk about each of these and break him down some of them were going to spend less time than others actually it's probably worth mentioning a few these right now oh cut of the door revenues is obvious and merchandise this is one that we're not going to spend as much time on but it's actually become a new revenue source for some pans especially especially if you could take a feed off the live aboard you get a very clean audio signal you could turn that into a product that you could sell right away either maybe on a usb key drive or something like that or a cd the press right at the time certainly at the end of a show when you've already given on this great experience and they want to actually remember it not just have a t shirt toe remember that they were at the show but hear the music it's really a great time to be able to do this kind of thing we can't get in the mechanics of it because you know, we want to focus on a whole lot of other topics right here but I think you see what we're talking about selling a video of the show is something that could happen immediately after a swell charged for special access we're going to talk about some of these video options a little later today the next session we'll talk about video options you'd be surprised at how within reach these are commitment remember of photo book we talked about last time and of course there is getting sponsored to actually talk about things from the stage we're going to talk about that and how to get sponsorships tomorrow the next day so like I said, we're really going to be pretty comprehensive and most of this stuff we will be talking about how to get affiliate sales right from the stage for now let's just talk about the basics booking that's that's something that's on a lot of people's mind so if it's your first show you're just getting started, we're going to have to point you to the indie band survival guide because like we've talked about it many times through this this is really an intermediate to advanced type of course that said, just off the top of my head, the easiest thing we can tell you is you have to start with open mikes, you have to start by opening for other bands, establishing yourself in a state in getting the trust of a venue who knows that you don't have a draw yet, and they have their own draw people to come in just for the open mikes, and then they ask you to come back, you build it from there pretty straightforward there's, a bunch of other techniques that we have in the indie band survival guide that are worth checking out, hooked onto that lots of little things you, khun d'oh, once you're established, though, one of the key things that you need is a dedicated booker, a dedicated booker. This isn't just somebody in the band who it can't be somebody in the band who handles booking, but you can't say, ok, it's your turn to book this week and it's your turn to book this week. The reason is this is a relationship business, it's the kind of thing where you established trust that you are the business face off the artist or band that's behind it because they don't want to worry about the fact that the drummer didn't show up, they're not going to be the one on wants to get him to wake up because they overslept uh because they were hungover throughout the day and then just took a nap I mean, this is the kind of thing that happens they no what they want one person hold responsible who's responsible they want one person to take the money because you know what they get yelled at when the germans like I'll take the payment then they run off why did you give him the payment he's just gonna run off and you know take it and my drum live by drums just terrible we hate that uh this type of thing is the way this business is about it's also about doing negotiation it's about hanging around the afternoon having drinks with the whoever's doing the booking which could just be a bartender there's a lot involved with it there's another aspect to it that's a practicality that's and we had the hardest time with this because we have an eight person band what is the date where everyone is available? What are the dates when people aren't available that's what a dead date iss you really need to put that out there and then once you've actually open dates, dead dates and then books show dates so that everybody knows to show up I mean this is where you're going to use all of your calendar ring tools to put it together this is where things like google calendars shared calendars really help because it shows up on your calendar along with your stuff, but it's in a shared place that only one or two people can edit, right? See what we're talking about, setting that aside of some practicalities, let's talk about booking tips, you can do this without any services to help you. But of course, throughout this course for also giving you websites and services that can really help make this stuff happen the right way, sonic bids is a way that you can bid on various options that are out there. You actually set up a press kit on it and are able to put in you usually have to pay to submit you only want to pay for the ones that you think you have a chance of getting don't spend money on things that you shouldn't but there's a lot of opportunities on their reverb nation actually has gigs and a whole gig area that you can explore and then real quick time back to the last. Listen, what about brandon? I mean, this is where if you're gonna have, if you're gonna have an account on sonic bids and reverb, nation and everything you want to make sure that your brand is accurate and it's the same one that you using elsewhere, um, you definitely want to do that, um I think that's my only point think about the other things you know, and the other thing is I do have another point like they also are now going mobile a lot of these so like things are pitching gigs, opportunities that you could that many bands tried have been for to see well, which one might be the best fit? Who could make the date now that kind of stuff uh some of them are mobile. I know reverb nation actually now has a mobile gig ap, so you could just if you have a smartphone, you could be checking out into what gigs air available now I think they also they're always constantly pitching gigs as well, and the gigs with these services they're not just even live gigs either. Sometimes they're licensing opportunities and radio opportunities and stuff like that so it's just there's a lot to those sites, I should say, and then once you're done exploring those there's a couple other options that are just sort of in people space like a booking cartel now one of the things that you might think that venues like to book bands but it's kind of a pain they just want to get people on their doors to buy alcohol that's really what most of the low end especially low and venues that starting ones or about the larger ones are about actually parking and concessions that's where they make their money most of the rest of money goes to the band into the people who are, uh working everything and it's kind of interesting how all this stuff comes together. Well, when you look at it that way, what about getting in their heads? This is a constant theme throughout this right? You get in the heads of the people that you're trying to sell two and try and understand what their problems are and solved them as much as possible. And yes, it is sort of solving a problem even giving a merchandise that really speaks to that person because they want to wear stuff that actually means something to them but backing up and talking about this, who are we trying to get in the heads of? Well, we're trying to get in the heads of people were trying to book well, what if you have a set of bands and we've done this before was like we'll give you a whole evening of entertainment, we've got it all we've got the whole night figured out we already know we have a decent draw between all of us and all you have to do is talk to one person will handle all the booking for you this kind of thing is really affected very easy to set up this is why you get to know other musicians in your town because you can do this there's a downside to this any guesses? Well, there's a little bit of work involved it's true and you have to arrange it between all the all the artists so that they're comfortable on ones like I've got a much larger draw that these guys, why we should get a larger cut there's that comes in there's one other gotcha though dates, you know, that's a really hard thing is doing the booking, and then I would that's a really good one, and then I would add one more thing, which is that you don't really get in front of new audiences as much you're playing to the same if you draw the same draw amongst all of you. So the only way to really grab large audiences this to actually work with bands that you've never played with and then you get in front of new people, there's still a lot of change over, like in between bands, people still tend to try and see the bands that they want. Tio um, the whole thing is to try and hook him at the beginning of your show, by the way, don't talk about this and other slides, but see what I'm talking about it's like all those stay long enough, we'll hear one song like I'm out of here a lot of here that said the musician exchange can fix that problem so what do I mean by that with this type of thing you can actually find bands in other cities that are nearby using various websites to connect to him whatever way you can and say hey, I got an idea will travel to your city will open for you you've already got a draw there and you open for ours you come in you will be open for us in front of our crowd and suddenly now you're starting the tour in cities near you by working with improving audiences across the board now of course this is something you do after you have developed a live show that's worthwhile but right away you actually got a whole bunch of booking opportunities right out of this finally if you're looking for trying to find places to stay and looking to save money you've never seen couchsurfing dot com it's just what it sounds like you can actually use this to find places to crash in another city you don't have to pay for a hotel something of a few hundred bucks you're making it the night is not getting blown in a crappy motel six or something like that you're actually saving all the money really can work out for some people maybe not for others there's another one which is house concerts and house concerts or another fascinating thing I don't know if you've ever heard of it but it's it's a it's actually a trend in the country it's worth looking into there's, entire books about how to put them on. And from the point of view of a musician, how to actually get booked on this kind of thing, we have known bands that actually tour around the country and play house concerts in multiple places between cities that they go to, and then very often the places they play, house concerts are happy to let the band crash there that night, so they toured, they actually had paid gigs the whole way, they had a place to stay the whole way, and they did the whole thing. The downside, they said, was that they were completely exhausted by the time they got done with their tour, as you can imagine, they're spending all this time playing, but nonetheless, this is the kind of thing that can make a tour actually boost the income from it so much it's really valuable to check out. We talked more about house concerts in the indie band survival guide if you're interested again, we have a lot of topics to get through, so let's, move on and talk about how do you know where you should tour now? We talked about musician exchanges just a few minutes ago, and those exchanges allow you to kind of circle out the traditional way. To grow your audience and to do touring was what they called concentric circles so you tour in your little town and then you know from our point of view in chicago you'd go to milwaukee and indiana you know indianapolis maybe and then you know, you just widen it out a little further there's a problem with this and that is the today's world you're generating an audience all over the world using the internet you've worked so hard to get that fan is interested in you and they're all over the place so the question is then where can you toward these services like these can help you you figure out where you should go let's talk about eventful if you guys play live if any of you play live those of you online or here are already doing this and you are not on eventful sign up especially those in line you could just sign up right now why not it's free doesn't cost you anything they don't make your money their money off of you the musician they make money by basically providing event listings two newspapers and magazines and journalists and also by providing access to the fans who actually signed up for that and say what kind of things they're interested in and basically they have a mailing lists of very targeted actual concertgoers and so it's great it's very useful for that what they have this useful to you is something called a demand widget this is a little bit of html code that you can put on to your website and all of your web presences that lets all of the fans who visit you no matter where they are to say hey I would love to have you play in my city wherever they're located and now when you go to plan your tour now you see how this can work now you see the answer to the question we asked how do you know where to tour you tour where your fans want you to tour it gets better than that because once you actually see the demand you can use their messaging system to mail them they let you have access to their email not so their email addresses directly but to the fans themselves and send a message to them saying I've heard you yep I'm coming out to your city will be here at this date and then they get reminders of it through eventful is automated system is such a powerful technique again it's our favorite price in the world free and there's no reason you shouldn't do it if you're if you're not touring of some kind jonathan colton actually use this right? Yes and I think we should give an example and wei should talk about jonathan coleman who's a very successful d I y musician out of brooklyn um he used eventful er and some of the things that he's so you get the analytics on your fans who demand you you get a map and you can find out where they are located in the country or the world and what he discovered was I can't remember the exact city but hey discovered ok forty people demanded him in let's make up some seattle seattle forty people demanded him in seattle ah and he said okay, I'm gonna give this a shot uh and he booked a gig in seattle when he found was forty people didn't show up eighty people showed up and that's because the people who demanded him are the ones who wanted to see him and then he are they all brought a friend and they also said ah here's your one opportunity to see this guy I have been talking about and then playing his music so he found that the numbers that you actually get on eventful are actually smaller than who would actually show up at your gig that's actually a very good tip to know uh the other thing that he did was he promoted eventful uh he said, look, I have this demand which it and he educated his fans on how to use it like please use this feature if you're in such and such city tell me so I can actually plan my tours and I'll come to you on that actually he drove people to actually use the service, which gave him the analytics, and then it made him actually tour smart, so he actually only toured in those areas that he knew he had a draw. So that's a very good example of of of an artist to successfully use uses thiss system there's one more benefit tio, which is that the numbers of people who demand you to come out of this thing then you take that as somewhat riel numbers, so it makes it easier for you to book now. I mean, obviously, if you're obviously giving the system, don't do that, but it helps it's certainly help. Yeah, it's like a third party verifiable like, ok, you have a draw in the city that's x amount so you could go if you're booker is going talking to local areas like look within chicago, chicago ban er, you know, look eventful says we have one hundred two people or something like that, and I remember this two hundred two people or something, and you can use that because these venues they're so used to ban saying like, yeah, I got tons of people who show up, but now you got something you can point to and say, well, look, you know, this is our eventful demand number and the last thing is, I know you talked about this, randi, but the messaging system is very powerful so you can if you are planning than something to seattle you can just target those people with in seattle and hit them directly and say, hey, good news I'm working on this o r do you know where I should book in seattle and you can ask those questions and just target that rather than sending a big mass communication to everybody so it's a it's a very powerful system and as randi said it's not really geared toward musicians this is a nice byproduct uh that they have on that musicians who tour should be using it it's not just for musicians to know me I don't know those of you our creatives of other sorts that might tour use it for that use it for anything that you want politicians use it it's like anybody who goes then performed right away you could do your book tour based on so it's not the only thing. Ok, the other possibility is to use this site called get my band and get my band is best described his kick starter for touring what do I mean by that? Well you you say, hey, it would cost me at least two thousand dollars for me to go to seattle from chicago and you basically have your fans pre by the tickets or whatever other rewards you set it higher levels to try and get them to donate once you get to that point you'll know hey this is worthwhile for me to actually make this trip and it actually comes together it uses rewards similar to crowd funding and we're going to talk about rewards and crowdfunding in detail in a way that really makes it compelling for people to want to actually get to those higher levels but we'll talk about that later so for show calendars the whole goal of our social media strategy which we can't talk about very much here because this topic is about making money with music but we can just hint at here is you post once you share everywhere eventful lt's calendar show calendar is something that a lot of services will just pick up it'll pull in the r s s and all the syndicate herbal data and post it so you could post too eventful for example and pull the data right into reverb nation if you have a reverb nation profile in fact it's part of the default where it says do you have data uneventfully yes you put in your idea next thing you know polls in your show calendar the same show calendar could be pulled into your website and everywhere else so you really want to solve this once jam basis another thing to look into for this kind of thing now tickets I don't care how big or small your band is. Tickets are something that can be done even if it's something where they just show up at the door. You actually have services like nim bit that can actually let you sell tickets ahead of time and handle ticket sales or cash music, which is on open source software that you can actually install and have running which will let you basically put tickets at a time, collect the money and then you could talk to even smaller venues and say, look, I know you normally collected the door but here's that you can also let him hand in this ticket. Here's what the ticket looks like. You know, those tickets will be shipped right to the right people based on these various services and it can give you an insight about how many you can expect that's really handy so that you can plan on how much merche to bring and everything else bunch of practicalities here let's, talk about basically boosting your draw. How to bring people in the door. This is definitely something that a lot of people asking questions about. Its certainly at the top of the list of things that you need to know about it includes things like posters and flyers your street team. Mailing list radio and media actually let's actually dive into all these they're all worth spending a little bit of time on because there's some really nice tricks you can use with them like posters for example, most people are aware of posters but the question is how can you let them get a sample of their music? You're music I mean think about it for the point of view of a fan who wants to buy your music but we give them music samples online right? They want to get that same thing from poster so how can you do that? I'll give you a hit we actually told you a little bit about how we could do this last session you're under q our coats q our codes actually allow you to do this you have bed the q r code in the poster and then you can link them to whatever you want. You can link him to a video of a live show that you've recorded before so they can get a feel for what it's like or you can send them to a web page that just has the music or you could say you could send him all over the place there's lots of options with this that's not your only option there's actually another one that we like a lot and that's using a site called mixer and why x e r now what mixer does is allows you to, first of all, create a very mobile friendly music page and by mobile friendly, I mean, even those really old phones that have a hard they could just barely type in the url because you just don't have a regular keyboard, it would still look good on that. You could have music available for download right from that page, but that's not the best thing about what their service does. It allows you to create a text code that you khun basically text over sms text over to m y x e r six nine nine three seven so if you actually text beatnik two, six, nine, nine, three, seven, you will get to a page with our music on it, and you can listen to it. So again, you have a static poster, which in this case is not just a poster that's artistic, this one's meant to bring people into your show. We've got a slightly different take than what we were talking about last session, right? And you're actually having music and all kinds of media jumper right out of it and available and there's no reason you can't use both of these methods you can't put both the q r code, which is really easy to use, and this little text method on it mixer is free again, their basic level is free so there's no reason you can't do this and use it to do what you're trying to do there is a paid version the paid version is actually very inexpensive and allows you to sell ring tones and do anything like that so it's well worth exploring any questions about that sometimes I do get questions in this so now we're good ok excellent let's go old school sample cities give people an idea about what you have what you sound like it actually can work pretty well are good friend you fondle has been playing music basically in chicago as long as we have and still going strong they just played the metro or anything which is great so nice big venue there and they've got just tons of coverage and what she would do is leave copies of the music of the venue near the poster and not just at the venue but it actually stores near it so people could check it out boosted the draw now this one cost a little bit more than some of the other methods were talking about you're actually leaving cds around that again you might have some extra cds from when you had a pile of them before more than you could sell so that might be a possibility street team this is going to be important because now you're in the real world or as some people call it meet space everything is much slower right? Everything is much harder to get, teo, I mean, you're going to have to put posters not just in the venue, but it places all over the place if you really want to try and make this work now, we've already talked about how to make posters much mohr useful, the music is jumping out of it now. The media is attached to it now, so now we have a good reason to do it beyond before, which was just some interesting image that hopefully causes them to want to show up on friday night at nine o'clock, which is always a gamble, and we've got a lot better prospect for it. Well, let's get it in things all over the neighborhood stores like cafes and restaurants. Well, you need a group of people that do that. We do talk about how to put together a street team, the indie band survival guide I'm gonna have to reserve any questions to howto build one and do that for the end, if we have time, there's a lot of obvious ways to do it. Obviously, getting people involved is a big question, but there's, one other thing that we've done that has been extremely successful, surprisingly, is just having people right outside the venue this is only working for larger towns like chicago and other places where there's. A lot of foot traffic and just having people heard people in it's like, hey, come on, check out the show. It works. It's it's, like most large venues, do this kind of thing.