We have a popular venue in our home town that has amazing live sound. The owner of the club is known for being a bit difficult to work with, yet I also know that he's been in business for over 25 years and has had countless big name acts on his stage throughout the years. I used to go there to watch bands and think, "I wish I could play here some day. But how?" Playing there seemed far out of reach for me and my band.
So one day I got the courage to send an email to the club.
When I first emailed the venue owner I thought to myself, "there is no way we are going to be able to book this venue. We suck. Nobody knows about us. There is no parking at the venue. People won't go all the way downtown to see us." My list of possible reasons to explain why we would not book this venue seemed endless.
Even if we did book the gig, how would we get people to come see us? How could I guarantee that enough people would pay for a ticket to cover the cost of the sound tech, venue use, bouncer, not to mention the money I stuck into merch. This particular venue is definitely in the "premier" category but also came at a premier price. More specifically, the club owner requires bands to guarantee a $300 fee to secure the venue, whether you have 10 people come and see you or whether you pack the house. And $300 to a new band is a lot of money!
But I had to try...
The venue owner replied to my inquiry by asking, "Can you guarantee enough people will come and see you to cover the $300 fee?"
Uh oh. My self doubt spoke out again...how are we going to get enough people to come and PAY to see us?
"Yes, no problem" I replied.
Fast forward: We booked the gig, played the show, and got invited to come back again...which we did 7 more times! The strategy I'm about to share with you is how I got over 100 people to come out and pay $10 per ticket to come and see my amateur band play live music.
So how did I get over 100 people to come out to see me play even though our numbers were dropping and (in my opinion) my music sucked?
This is exactly what I did to get over 100 people to come see me play music.
Pre-sale + Added Bonus/Benefit
For this particular show, I decided to print tickets ahead of time. I communicated this to the venue owner and he referred me to a local graphic art/print company that he's worked with in the past.
I emailed the print company, gave them the details of my show, and they printed 200 tickets for about $25.
Then I contacted a bar/restaurant that was close to the venue because I knew they were known for their world class brats! Yes, I said brats. The place offered me a party package where they would cook X amount of brats for our guests at X amount of $$$, all of which was going to be included for my fans who pre-paid for their $10 ticket to the Jake Paul Music Show. BTW: I paid about $250 for this package (which is equal to 25 ticket sales).
So we set our time (pre-show) to meet and greet the band, eat a brat, drink beer, and then walk over to the music venue for a night of live music. We had approximately 60 people at the pre-party.
After the show, the routine there is to sit with the man who worked the door (also provided by the venue) and go over the total numbers. He broke down how many people came in with a ticket already in hand and how many people paid at the door. The long and short of it is that we had about 60 people pre-pay, 50-55 people paid at the door, all costs were covered, every band member walked out that night with cash in their pocket, we got invited back to play, built a reputation in our town, sold a few albums and T shirts, and we are now able to say we played our town's premier night club 8 times, which looks great on our band resume/press kit. And to think that I used to believe that we could never pull this off successfully.
Did I mention since then we've play Summerfest 5 years in a row and got radio airplay worldwide?!?!
SUMMARY POINT: turn your band's event into more than a live music show.