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Tricks to increase crowd size


Ross Brown

$50 Give-away  

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  1. 1. $50 Give-away

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I am trying an experiment to see what might increase our crowds. I am going to post flyers that we will be giving away $50 in cash and a couple of Tee shirts. This will be for a gig in the middle of August. If it seems to help, I'll do it again.

 

Do you think our crowds will increase in size?

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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I think people like stuff better than they like money sometimes -- unless you're talking upwards of $200.

 

We did a business event at a university one time that was never going to attract students -- until I advertised a drawing for an iPod.

 

Packed room.

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
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You could start the set by asking everybody in the audience to hold their arms out to either side and stand far enough away that they don't touch their neighbors' hands. That should space them out enough to dramatically increase the size of the crowd.
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I've tried this sort of thing from time to time. Either supplied by us (like T-Shirts, etc), or Movie Promo's... Twice now we've been contacted to do movie promos at our shows where we give out free passes, t-shirts, and other giveaways (usually because the movie has an 80's soundtrack or takes place in the 80's).

 

I've never really noticed a difference in the crowd from doing this. We have a pretty good crowd anyway, but no difference on nights we do that sort of thing. I think your money can be better spent on other promotional ideas. My experience:

 

Email List - this seems to work the best for building your crowd. Every show, collect as many email addresses as you can. Every week send a short text email with the weekend's gigs. Put a place on your web site where they can sign up. We're up to about 750 on our email over the course of a couple years from doing this. Think about it - if 15% of those people come out and bring a friend, that's 225 people we've added to the club's crowd.

 

Web Site - This also includes Myspace & Facebook. People have to be able to find you. If someone's not on the list and what to know where you are playing, if they do a search will they find you? You can work your site to show up on search engines based on certain keywords. If someone types 80's Band St. Louis, we're first. They don't have to even be looking for us specifically, just a live band in St. Louis that plays 80's. That helps.

 

T-Shirts - first, make sure it's a design people will want to wear whether it was your band or not. Next, treat them as advertising, not an income stream. If someone is wearing your t-shirt and it has your web site on it, that's a free walking billboard. We sell our shirts at slightly over cost ($10 ea) and have sold a few hundred over the last 1-1/2 yr.

 

Other promotional items - Stickers, Temporary Tatoos, guitar picks with your logo. We do all this and consider it freebe's for the crowd. We lay them out on stage or throw them out. If someone sticks one on their car or at home it reminds them of you.

 

Flyers/Posters - you have to be careful - this can be a big waste of time/money if you don't do it right. I've tried plastering all the cars with postcard sized calendars at a Cardinals game. Did about 800 of them. Took forever, wasn't cheap and probably didn't get much out of it. After all, you don't know if the car is somebody in your target crowd, or an 80-yr old grandma. I do 11x17 full-color posters at clubs we are going to play 1-1/2 week before we are there. That way, they are up for the weekend crowd and they see - "Oh, That 80's Band next weekend". If it's 2 weeks or more, they'll forget. I hang them up in the bathrooms, the front door window, and at the bar. Usually about 10. Seems to do the trick.

 

Sorry for the long post.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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You can hand every body a ticket at the door and have a drawing. The winner would have the band pick up their tab. People will drink more hoping to win the owner will love it and call you back for another gig. :idea:

 

O.K. a risky idea but you never know...

"there ain't no faux mojo" jcadmus
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Change the name of the band to Free Beer.

 

;D

 

Hey, it worked for the Bare Naked Ladies.

 

Seriously the best way is promotion and that means getting the word out. If you want to do a giveaway make sure you promote the heck out of it or you will still be giving away money and t-shirts to some lucky person out of a handful.

Also you will have to do this more than once.

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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I am trying an experiment to see what might increase our crowds.

 

2 words. Cardboard cutouts.

 

 

 

 

LOL!

 

Ats where we come a-ridin inta town, a-whippin' and a-whompin'

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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TBA

 

That way anytime an ad for a bar lists the band as TBA, you can show up and play it. You'll have gigs coming out of your ears. You might get double, triple, and even quadruple booked a lot, though.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Who's putting up the $50? Can band members enter, quadrupling their gig pay if they won?

 

Where we play, it would end badly if someone in the band.... "won" the money....

 

I would put up the money. It is my experiment. I can't get the cheap bastards to pay me the cost of a band tee shirt...

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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e-mail lists are VERY effective IMHO. They get straight to the target. Also if you can create the idea that you are an up and coming band - then giving out some memoribilia (signed photos, signed CDs etc) could have real value!

 

Davo

"We will make you bob your head whether you want to or not". - David Sisk
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I think that using the T-shirt idea is good, not so keen on the $50 thing, it seems like you are paying to have people listening to you.

 

Some beers have caps, T-shirts and other stuff like that and they often have scratch cards to go with,

 

Buy a beer get a scratch card win a cap.

 

You could do something like that, but for every entry. Of course don't give a gift for every scratch card

 

www.myspace.com/davidbassportugal

 

"And then the magical unicorn will come prancing down the rainbow and we'll all join hands for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya." - by davio

 

 

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OK, I'm pulling this straight out of my lower gastro-intestinal tract, but what about getting with a local suds distributor and seeing what kind of swag they have? I'm sure they won't give it to you, but if you can get the venue (read: bar), who is paying you anyway, with the distributor, who want to sell the stuff anyway, now you have a promotion that won't cost you (and possibly the venue) a dime.

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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Good ideas.

 

I see bands around here (when I am not playing)that seem to just show up play and go home. Crowds are smallish sometimes. Our crowds are often just fine but after a good run of biggish crowds they are seeming small. I know we are a good band.

 

I don't want to just show up, play and go home. I like big crowds (I suppose we all do) and I am smart enough to read the writing on the wall. Draw a crowd or the DJs and Karaoke take over... I feel like we have an opportunity to gain a real edge but we have to add something that the other bands don't. Our "following" is increasing but I want to get new folks in the door. Hopefully once they have a good evening where we play, they will "follow" us. When we play out at carnivals and parties we have a lot of "new" folks want business cards and tell us how much they like our band. Some show up at the bar gigs but many people don't like that scene. My proposed trickey with cash give aways etc is designed to get folks to come that might not otherwise check us out. Hopefully they will come back once they have a good time at one of our gigs.

 

I will fork out the money because I am wired this way. I like the freedom to have an idea and try it out. If I ask the others in the band to pitch in I have to give up control.... If it seems to work real well, then I have an argument to continue and ask them to contribute. They still may not, but so be it. I will be smarter and more experienced. I don't mind learning something.... good or bad.

 

I think I will try this out. I'll report back with with the results....

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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I am looking for this type of thing, among others, to make our gigs become "happenings". The music is good, but that ain't enough.... it has to be something that folks don't want to miss.

 

Maybe the naked ladies idea is where it is at.... Probably not, but same idea, I want folks to think something cool happens everytime, not sure what, but something.... besides fights.

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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I've played at a bar on a night when there was a cigarette company promotion. Pretty girls gave out t-shirts and samples of the cigarettes.

 

Ironically, everyone in the band was a non-smoker. Fortunately, we didn't have to endorse the product; it was just an event which happened on a night when we were playing.

 

I know that beer companies sometimes sponsor bands, but I wouldn't want to have to my band's name associated with a brand of beer.

 

Back in the old days, occasionally a club had a wet t-shirt contest. This was very unpleasant. It attracted a huge crowd of rowdy low-life guys, most women who walked into the club looked around and turned around and left immediately. Strippers were planted in the crowd to get things going and then various girlfriends of the low-lifes would get pushed out onto the dance floor to "compete". Ugh.

 

The best way to fill a club is to have a reason for women to come. The men will follow. That's why some bars have ladies' nights. I've seen some club offer "half-price drinks for all women before 10:00 pm." By ten, you've got a club full of inebriated women and the guys come pouring in.

 

How about this idea: contact a clothing company or department store and have a fashion show. That should draw women and men to the club without being a totally sexist event.

 

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I've played at a bar on a night when there was a cigarette company promotion. Pretty girls gave out t-shirts and samples of the cigarettes.

 

Ironically, everyone in the band was a non-smoker. Fortunately, we didn't have to endorse the product; it was just an event which happened on a night when we were playing.

I went to hang out with some ex-bandmates at a bar/pool hall a while back and they were doing a cigarette promo so I got a pack and sold it to some 15 year olds on the corner outside. Well, at least they acted like 15 year olds. In reality they were my ex-bandmates.

 

I know that beer companies sometimes sponsor bands, but I wouldn't want to have to my band's name associated with a brand of beer.

A band I once opened for broke up and their bass player/backup singer went on to front a band called Pistol Boot Randy...so naturally they clung to the PBR thing.

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As far as the cash give-away, that's an easy one: rig the selection process & have some friend be the winner!

 

Otherwise, the best thing is to develop a rep for having spectacular showmanship. Face it, that's what most of your potential audience is looking for.

 

d=halfnote
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I wouldn't really call these things "tricks." Promotion is part of being in a band that relies on audience draw to continue getting gigs.

 

Personally, I wouldn't give away actual cash as a promo (especially not my own cash.) I'd find someone else to give away something with a cash value as a way to entice an audience.

 

Mista Cohen is on the right track here--work on a cross-promotion with some other commercial entity to help draw an audience.

 

For example, I've cross-promoted shows with tattoo parlors/piercing joint where an audience member won a credit (about $60) towards a tattoo or inexpensive piercing at the show. Meanwhile, I worked with the club to provide a table where folks from the tattoo parlor could set up a banner, promote the shop, hand out cards and show off their work. This involved the tattoo shop crew bringing along some of their customers in order to display the tattoos... which meant tattooed eye candy for the people who came to the show. The tattoo parlor also had its own swag to give away at the show--t-shirts, key chains, buttons, etc.

 

Folks who came out to the show got a ticket as they entered the venues. Between sets, we'd call out a ticket number, and the winner got a tattoo shop t-shirt or whatever. We gave away the tattoo/piercing right before the last set of the night. People were happy.

 

Ultimately, it didn't cost us anything beyond our usual promotion costs, the club was happy with the crowd and the tattoo parlor got cheap exposure to a group of people who might not be aware it. The crowd was psyched to get free stuff for showing up. It was win-win-win-win all around.

 

I'm sure you could think of something similar that'd appeal to your usual audience.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Yes - Girls are the Key. Get the girls out, and the rest will follow.

 

As far as creating a buzz and making your shows special... we have done much of this as well and it seems to work. But not by giving away money, by doing something different with the show. We already wear outfits and wigs and all that, but some other bands have started doing that. We have stage props - giant Rubiks cubes big enough to stand on during a guitar solo, a Giant Swatch Watch, a Giant Pacman, not to mention backdrop and other props. At clubs that have house video that I can tap into, I'll run loops of video showing memorable clips from 80's movies, music videos, commercials, and still shots of us and our logo. I burn DVD's for each set to loosely follow the show content. You can also step up your lighting. Spend that $50 on a guy who can bring out a hazer and some movers and run supplemental FX lighting.

 

All of those things will enhance your show and make you stand out compared to the guys standing up there in one spot in their Jeans and T-Shirts all night.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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