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  • Writer's pictureAdam Kellum

Help Wanted

How many big name Artists have you seen in concert? I've seen about 15 National Artists. I love going to see my favorite Artists in concert. It's always a great time! When was the last time you went to a "local" Artists show? I do my best to make it to one at least each month. Most recent I was able to check out LEEBO which is a local Country Rap artist. Now, personally Country Rap isn't my thing but I respect him for doing his thing and doing a very good job of it! If you haven't heard of him, check out his Facebook page! Now if you noticed the big Help Wanted sign above, you might be wondering what/who needs help. Local Artists! Local Artists struggle to get people to come out to shows. Below are several things that may contribute to the lack of audience. The idea of this blog is to open eyes from all sides.

First, what's the disconnect??

Why is it that local music isn't being heard? Well, it could be a lot of things. It could be a lack of marketing, a bad marketing strategy, a lack of promotion, or even a lack of interest. Of course, there's always the chance that your band really isn't that great and no one has the heart to tell you. Honestly there are so many possible reason that I couldn't list them all in three lifetimes. Here's the next bit of truth, usually if a few of the big problems are covered the rest will fall into place easier.

Let's go ahead and talk about the Elephant in the room. Everyone has been to a local venue that had a band playing and they just aren't doing that well. The singer is off key, the drummer can't keep a steady beat and the lead guitarist is way too loud / didn't get the memo that he shouldn't shred out a solo during the chorus..... We've all seen it. Sometimes you have to face the music, maybe no one is coming because the music isn't good. Consider these options, get the singer some lessons or find a new one. Get the drummer a metronome. Just fire the lead guitarist, he probably has an ego problem as big as his pedal collection anyhow. On a serious note, practice and get better. That is something you can control that can have a huge outcome.

Another possible cause is the venue. How many people normally visit the venue? Some nights can be slow but if it's ever only 4 to 5 regulars hanging around, maybe there's more to it. Do they serve food and drinks? If so, is the kitchen clean? Is the food any good? Is it over priced? Do they serve alcohol? More importantly, do they over-serve alcohol? No one wants to deal with the rowdy obnoxious drunk. Maybe they have a really great staff and the food is wonderful but every time there's live music the place clears out. How's the sound system? Do they have a stage? Are there stage lights? There are a lot of variables that can turn people off to a venue. Even just a single "bad experience" one time 10 years ago can keep people from coming.

We'll stop hitting on the faults of the venues for now. Let's get back to the Artists. Are you performing cover songs or originals? Are you booking the right places? If you're performing Death Metal in Country venue you're probably not gonna get a great response from the average customer. (You probably also lied to the venue owner to get in there... haha). Are you reaching your fans? How many people are on your mailing list? What are you really offering people when they come out to see you perform? Did you even take the time to invite anyone? These are things that may seem laughable but happen every single day... Now the next subject I'm gonna discuss is really the problem. It is THE problem 99% of all musicians and venues have low numbers ever.....

You have to market your business venture...... A little louder for the ones in the back??


Alright, sorry about that. This is the biggest part of any business but somehow the most skipped over step! Especially when it comes to musicians... In today's world it has literally never been easier to market to TONS of people at the same time. Don't just use one of these tools, use them all. Use all social media platforms, use all music promotion platforms, use google, and I can't stress this enough, MAKE YOUR OWN WEBSITE!.. It costs about $100 a year tops to operate all of these. Plus the time to do it of course. Depending on what website builder you use, you can set it up to post to ALL of them from one single post. That can be a big time saver.

Always market your events. Make sure you include the date, time and location. If you don't get people to come to your show then there will be no one there. Now of course I believe the venue should promote the show as well but it the grand scheme of things, they have at least one act a week performing so they will exhaust their fans if they continuously promote every show to everyone.

Through your marketing you have to convince your friends and family along with total strangers that not only would they enjoy your music live but also that it is the place to be! It's a challenging job. The music business is not for the faint of heart by any means. Design a good marketing strategy that works for you and stick with it!

Now here's where our conversation from earlier about National Artists picks back up. There are other factors that could keep people from coming out to shows. More than a few times I've performed in the same town or city on the same night as a National Artist. I understand people want to see their favorite Artist perform, I'm right there with ya. On nights when you don't have tickets to see them, go check out some local talent.

I've had people tell me that a 30 minute drive was too far to drive to see a free show from someone that wasn't famous. They could've gotten supper there at the venue and parking would've been free as well. I've also seen the exact same person drive 2 hours to an arena to see a National Artist perform where only snack food was available and you'd better have a good bit of money for those. Not to mention the ticket price was nearly $200 for their seat.

I'm not calling for people to stop supporting National Artists. I'm asking people to support their local and regional musicians as well. When the local band you like is playing down at that bar, go on down there and have a drink or two and support them. When the regional band you really like is coming to town or within an hour or two, go see them. The ticket will probably be around $30 to $50. Support them. That's the only way they'll be able to continue forward with their career!

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