3 Tips to Playing Better Shows

The most exciting part of playing live is having a room packed full of people feeding the band endless amounts of energy and the band giving it right back to the crowd. Throughout the performance the band builds a beautiful bond with the audience that’s captured by endless amounts of photos and snapchats stories. Then the night ends with hugs and high fives at the merch table and the fans leaving with a shirt and/or CD to show their appreciation for a wonderful experience. On the other side of that, your band is playing to an empty room to forced claps by the bartender and sound guy, who feel bad for you that nobody showed up.

  You’ve spent tireless hours writing and rehearsing your songs to put on a great performance. We all experience the later at times when first starting out. However, when most of your shows are to empty rooms, why do you continue to crush your souls? There is a better and smarter way to do this. I’m assuming if you’re here, it’s because you’re someone that cares about growing your career as an artist. Now there is a whole lot more that goes into all of this, but here are three things to approaching your live shows with a better strategy.

Childish at Plaza Audience

Don’t Overplay Your Hometown

There are only so many times you can play the same city over and over again until your fans, friends, and family stop showing up, because they can just see you next week. To build a fan base, it’s important to play live, but you can only play the same city so many times a year to have successful shows where everyone buys a ticket to come see you play. It all depends where you are in your career on how often you should play. If you’re first starting out, you have a little more leeway here and can get away with playing a few more shows. Especially since everyone is still excited that you’re playing live shows. However, once you actually build a real following and fans that are not just family and friends before you started your career, you need to dial it back a little to keep your live shows special. The bigger you’re following in a city, the less you should play.

  In spirit of keeping these blogs short, we’ll elaborate more on that in the future. The key takeaway, don’t play every week or even every month. Now if you’re making a full time living playing live shows, there is a difference between the three to four hour bar gigs, and playing an actual show of your original material where someone has to buy a ticket to come see you play.

  Promote Your Shows

Don’t rely on the venue or the promoter to promote your shows. That’s like starting a business and leaving all your marketing efforts in the hands of someone else. Relying on someone else to grow your business, is extremely risky and a formula for failure. You have to take responsibility for your own career and learn how to become a good marketer. There are many great resources on marketing that can apply to an artist. Make sure to join our weekly twitter talks on Tuesday’s at 6pm EST to ask questions and create conversations about the music business. Here are 20 Ways to Promote Your Show from one of our recent Music Business Talks on Twitter.

  Play with Purpose

Don’t just play to play, or because you’re excited to have gotten an offer to play a really cool venue in town. Make sure you set yourself up for success. There have been many instances in the past where I’ve seen a band play a venue and have a terrible turnout, and have not been invited back. When you play live, you want to play with other bands that also take their careers seriously, and will make an effort to bring fans out to the show. Have a story going into your next show. Why should people come see you play again? Have something that makes each show special. Play with like-minded bands that take their careers serious.

  When you take each show serious and make a real effort to promote your shows, the venues and promoters notice. This is how you get those opening slots when the big national acts come to town. The best way to set yourself up for success is to not overplay the same city, promote your shows, and play with purpose. This is just a brief overview on some tips to having better shows. However, if you follow these three tips, you’ll find much more success in growing your career as an artist in the music business.

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