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Band Question


ZeroXtrem

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Ok i got a question. Basically I'm getting kinda annoyed with my band right now here is the story:

We recorded a 4 track"ep" last year made all professional looking made bout 1000 copies. Now at the time we were together for bout 3 months. So now a year later still no sold fan base, so first thing that pops in my head duh we need to build a fan base to actually fill these empty shows....so my idea is to give out the cds and take the hit get posters and postcards printed just like any normal band would....they say they would rather sell the cds (at our empty shows) and when we run out instead of printing any good ones, just make them our selves which doesnt help any with getting fans....now my question is am i crazy? or right for feeling they arent even listening to me and its becoming the stereotipical basssit "role" of standing in the shadows??

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Your idea sounds very practical to me. Of course, everyone wants to make money from their music, but you won't sell many CD's playing to just the bartender and bouncer. It takes time to build a following and without one, you're limited to rehearsals and gigs at empty clubs and if you can't bring peeps out, even those will become hard to get.

 

It comes down to long term vs. short term thinking. If these guys aren't able to see the big picture or don't think of your band as a long term commitment, then I suggest you start looking around (discreetly) to see if you can find a band with more business savvy and the dedication to stick with it over the long haul. As you're a bassist in a major metro area, that shouldn't be too difficult.

 

I think you've got the right idea. Good luck to you.

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It's a good question.

 

Why are your shows empty?

 

If it is because of lack of publicity, giving out your cds won't help. Then all your friends will have cds but they still won't know about your shows.

 

You may need to spend more time and probably money on publicity, the usual postcard, poster, word of mouth type stuff.

 

Maybe you should be opening act for better known bands so that you could get some new fans.

 

If you're shows are empty because no one likes your band, giving away cds isn't going to help much. But we don't want to assume that no one likes your band, if you like the band, than others should. You just have to get them in front of you when you are playing.

 

Maybe if you took over the job as band publicity person and had some success, you wouldn't feel like the overlooked band member.

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Giving away a full-blown, commercially packaged CD for free immediately reduces its perceived value to zero. Basic economics.

 

That said, giving away promo CDs or samplers (2 songs in a CD sleeve) isn't a bad idea.

 

However, none of this will help get anyone to your shows.

 

Why should people come and pay a cover to see your band play? Try to think of a coherent answer to that question. Figure out who your target market is. Attempt to deliver the sentence to the target market.

 

Have someone proofread your sentence, though; your signature could use some proofing. ;)

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A 4 song EP doesn't count as a full-blown CD though does it?

 

I say you should be find giving them away at shows, to record store employees, college radio stations, and to random people on the street you are talking to who seem to be interested.

 

Give your friends burned CDs.

 

As for the posters, you can DIY if you use a little ingenuity. Colored paper works wonders sometimes.

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Its not in a jewel case. Just 4 songs in a cd sleeve with pretty graphics. lol actually my friends do get the burned cds, heh most I just email them the mp3s. yea i tried the whole "lets burn 2 songs to a cd and 2 to other", they didnt like that either, cause it was "to much work". i built and paid for our website site alone. And I do the poster art for every show. Its just a shame, due to lack of effort from the rest of the band, that we play at empty shows. Our "ep" a year later does no justice.
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Originally posted by getz76:

Giving away a full-blown, commercially packaged CD for free immediately reduces its perceived value to zero. Basic economics.

 

 

yep. When a friend of mine's band did this, they would find them in the parking lot being used as frizbees. When they sold them, it was more a matter of pure turnout numbers. You won't lure people into shows with free CD offers.

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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Maybe you allready covered this but if you put up a really slammin' website it's a cool way to get fans interested. On the site, have a forum like this for your fans to goof on each other after the shows and stuff.

 

Also have a guest list at the shows where you sell t-shirts and have the people who sign the guest list provide an email address.

 

Then before each show send out a group mail with directions and everything.

 

You could post a bunch of stuff on the web like mp3 of live stuff.

 

Make a bunch of cool stickers and give them away.

 

I did know of a band in Pittsburgh that developed a fan base by having 3 really hot chicks dance in front of the stage at EVERY show.

 

Guys started coming out to see them.

 

That sounds stupid to me now but at the time I thought it was brilliant.

 

Also don't be afraid to go on the road. People like to get excited about bands on the road. Even if it's just a one night gig in a city 100 miles away, it could help your reputation at home to.

 

But I wouldn't give away your CDs.

 

Oh and one more thing. Your local press might do a write up on you if you get to know them. Sometimes they will write about bands that are in little out of the way places (like the 31st Street pub in Pittsburgh).

 

Hope this helps.

Rob Robitaille

 

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It takes a little money to make a little money. Hand out the first batch for free. If your little scheme works out order a second batch and sell those at your shows (Once people come of course). Word of mouth is a powerful tool, use it, especially in NYC. I know the feeling man it's really hard to get a solid fan base going out here.

 

-Mike

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I listened to your samples on your site. Sounds great, by the way.

 

My initial question to you is this: How is the mixing in your club you play?

 

Your band seems very heavy in the distorted guitar department. In my experience, being too loud or killing the singer seems to be a common practice with this type of music. This can be a real croud killer.

"Some people are like "slinkies". They're not really good for anything;

but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a

flight of stairs."

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I feel stupid making all those suggestions. I realize now that you're band allready has a professional website.

 

And now realizing that you guys are based out of NYC. My only experience is with smaller markets. I'm sure it's extremely competitive where you are.

Rob Robitaille

 

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i like the bulletin board on the website idea. that's a good idea.

 

you shouldn't be the only one promoting the band. it's a group effort and if no one else is working at bringing in crowds then no one is going to show up to your shows and eventually you will no longer get bookings. then what are you gonna do? everyone in the band has to cajole the hell outta your friends to show up and support. then if you put on a good show and only play once every month, people will come out.

 

as for the cd, i'm not sure you needed to make it after 3 months. pack them in a box and wait until you have enough of a following to be able to sell them. until then hand out burned copies of live tracks at shows.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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I've been working through something similar. New band, now how do we promote it. Here are some excerpts of the plan we came up with to try to address that:

 

 

MUSIC ON CD's

 

-2 song promo CD - As we discussed, we can probably do these through XXXXXX. The limit of how many should be figured out by how much promotion we want to do based on what XXX would charge for each CD and design of a basic sleeve with the following info:

 

-Band name

-Song titles

-Contact info, in form of phone # and/or email address

-Copyright info

-Web address

 

-4 song samples timed out to 30 seconds each. These are for the web.

 

 

GIG PREP

 

 

-Practices. A minimum of 2-3 hours per session.

 

-Open-mic appearances. As I mentioned, I know of one open-mic at XXXXXXX in Nyack, NY. Finding one other would be good to do. There's a listing of NJ Open Mic's that are posted here: http://jerseymusic.com/scene/openmics.html

 

-Book a CD release gig. Potential locations include XXXXXXX in Hoboken, NJ. I will look into other locations, but I think Hoboken and Manhattan are the ideal locations to do a release gig.

 

 

PROMOTIONAL PLAN

 

-Web Presence.

 

-First, we should start pursuing getting our own webspace. My personal recommendation is XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

 

-Find a local, reasonable web designer.

 

-Make sure the design allows us to easily update the site

 

-Make sure to get a plan for multiple email addresses

 

-One for general fan inquiry

-One for booking gigs and general business use

-Individual email addresses for each band member

 

-Additionally, we can start something by looking into a number of free music sites. Some of the ones I'm familiar with are:

 

-My Space music, seen here: http://music.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=music&Mytoken=20041230210656 .

 

-Jersey Music.com. You can check out that page here: http://jerseymusic.com/ . It appears that it's free to register and post on this site. We can list general info,

and advertise gigs there.

 

-http://newyork.craigslist.org/cal/ . Even though it's usually used to find musicians, people do surf Craigslist to find out what's going on. We can pursue posting

about gigs there to promote them as needed.

 

-Press Kit.

 

-As suggested, we should have a press kit that can be sent out via email as well as in print form. That's going to entail having the following:

 

-Photo(s)

-Bio

-General resume with gig appearances, recording credits, (to follow after gigs, CD release, etc)

-Promo CD

 

-Promoting Shows/General Promotion.

 

-Send press kits with CD release gig press release info to local print media. Ask them to review the CD, and invite them to the show. Offer guest list passes to any who accept. Send something out the some of these publications:

 

Village Voice

Time Out NY

Aquarian

NY Press

and possibly others.

 

-Send press kits with CD release gig press release and CD's to local radio. Again, offer gig invites to the DJ's, including guest

list options. Send to the following:

 

WNYU

WFDU

WFMU

WSOU

K-Rock's Domestic Disturbance Show http://krockradio.com/localshow/

 

-Send kits and/or gig invitations to local music business people.

 

That's the plan minus some details that apply specifically to my project. Hopefully something along those lines will help you promote in a smart, DIY fashion.

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"My concern is, and I have to, uh, check with my accountant, that this might bump me into a higher, uh, tax..."

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No offense intended but....everyone in the world is looking for something to do on a Saturday night.

 

A big chunk of them are looking to do something different and tired of the same old same old.

 

I don't have any idea how much you guys are working but if it's any amount at all....over the course of...a year and 3 months...you SHOULD have been able to develope a fan base just from word of mouth and an even bigger one just by talking it up around town.

 

After a year plus of gigging if people ain't comming to see you, it's not because they didn't get a free CD.

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Well I finally got a chance to sit down with the friday night and well things went surprisingly well. After the ideas here we arent gonna give cds out so much now. We got a publisist working with us now t get us bigger gigs, some magazine and newspaper work, and overall style issues. As for promoting as NUTT said colored paper goes a long way lol. and bikertrash, no one is coming cause places have been empty to begin with lol
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You still haven't answered the question; why should they come see you?

 

Are you the best band in the area? Do you have the best songwriting in the area? Do you have the best, most entertaining show in the area? Do you have a lot of attractive, scantily clad females attending your shows? Are you playing a place that has a good atmosphere and drink specials?

 

What do you have that other entertainment outlets don't have?

 

Don't forget, you are not just competing against other live-music venues and bands. What about TV? What about a night of bowling at Bowlmor? How about a movie? How about a dance club filled with 23-year-olds doped up on so much E that you could punch them in the face and they'd get off? Or the laser-light show at the Hayden Planetarium?

 

WHAT IS YOUR HOOK?

 

Once you figure that out, you have to figure out how to tell your target audience that. Good luck getting the attention of your target audience; you're trying to stand out in an location that has more interesting things to do than anywhere else in the world.

 

If you're playing in Manhattan, you're talking about people spending about $75-100 to see a show when you consider transportation, door cover, and drinks and maybe a slice of pizza on the way home. That's a lot of coin, even for us NYC folks.

 

PS - Bikertrash; for the reasons above, it is tough to get a fanbase in NY. It's a brutal market. Lots of good bands, but most fizzle due to lack of interest. Too much supply, not enough demand.

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a group effort and if no one else is working at bringing in crowds then no one is going to show up to your shows and eventually you will no longer get bookings.
Winnnahhh! Everybody has to be involved and it has to encompass more than just word of mouth. Get as many flyers out there as possible. Post them everywhere anyone that may dig your style of music is apt to hang. We have even been known to paper other venues at times. :thu:

 

If possible contact the local cable channel and see if you can get an interview or at least get them to mention you guys. Do the same with your local radio station.

 

Good Luck.

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

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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hey getz that is a very good question. And all I can really say is what many have said before me but the difference is that we follow through with everything I say. Basically we bringing something new to the table of rock and roll by mixing in tastes of R-N-B and soul. There is not one band mainstream today that is doing what we are. Maybe, and this is a far maybe, you can compare us to Sevendust but even then you would be wrong because we arent as heavy as they are and they dont go as soft as us.

When you come to one of our shows you have fun. Between the energy we give on the stage and the stupidy and jokes that fly between me and our singer, we always keep the flow going and there is never a slow point until the show's over.

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Are you sure you have the right target market?

 

Take a look at some of the more popular indie bands in New York; Billionaire Boys Club, Dead Blonde Girlfriend, Boobie Trap, Johnny 5, The Cuban Cowboys, The English Department, The Vitamen... they draw big crowds on weekends; each of those bands draw 50-60 without breaking a sweat on a Saturday night. While its not all the same, you can easily draw some similarities between those bands. Very trendy with; Dead Blonde Girlfriend is a great example of what gets good reviews in New York.

 

I play with a funk-blues-soul original act that goes over like a lead balloon in NY, but in Philadelphia folks ate us up.

 

Just a thought.

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Originally posted by ZeroXtrem:

When you come to one of our shows you have fun. Between the energy we give on the stage and the stupidy and jokes that fly between me and our singer, we always keep the flow going and there is never a slow point until the show's over.

No offense, but is that how you guys see it, or is that what the (few :D ) people who have come to your shows say?

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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Originally posted by EddiePlaysBass:

Originally posted by ZeroXtrem:

When you come to one of our shows you have fun. Between the energy we give on the stage and the stupidy and jokes that fly between me and our singer, we always keep the flow going and there is never a slow point until the show's over.

No offense, but is that how you guys see it, or is that what the (few :D ) people who have come to your shows say?
Actually it's based on what i see with the crowd but also are publisist inviewed a few people at our last three shows and they said similar.

And getz i believe you are right about the target because i guess we never really attempted to target on specific audience due to the fact people young and old have been listening to our stuff hell my next door neighbor is 60 and listens to it regiliously, BUT so do some kids we came to know from NYU.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Give out your stuff!

If you haven't made those 1000 CD's already then i would suggest that you put the songs to your computer and burn a bunch of them with a crummy sleeve or cover. You can cut corners that way. (that it what my band did adn still does)

This way, giving them out won't brean the bank. I hit up sotres when they had 50 - 100 CD-R's FREE WITH REBATE or for a couple bucks only.

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BUKKAKE

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Originally posted by getz76:

How about a dance club filled with 23-year-olds doped up on so much E that you could punch them in the face and they'd get off?

yeah, i have that effect on people.

 

try to book a small club/bar with an idinginous crowd with a band you know that has a good draw. just the two bands. promote it as a party. if you rock and the crowd is friendly, maybe they show up to your next show.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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A few things to consider:

 

- Do other local acts fill the venue?

- If so, is it because they have a fan base? (even if I liked a local band a lot, I probably wouldn't make a point to see them more than a few times a year)

- See if you can open for a more established band.

- Try to play a place that's got an audience no matter who's playing.

- See if you can play to a captive audience like a street fair etc., and have someone sell cd's (at cost) while you play.

If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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I have recently been thinking about the "empty shows" thing too. We have played a few local concerts recently with little or no attendance, and these were free shows in good locations. I came to the realization that if you are unknown then people won't make a point to come see you no matter how much advertising you do. So, how to you get known? Well, I have decided what you have to do is play events where there is already an audience. In other words, they are coming to the event or to hear music in general, not specifically to see your band. That way you build a fan base, slowly but surely.

 

Guy

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