Payola, in one form or another, is as old as the music business:
Labels pay radio stations to broadcast their music, producers pay DJs to spin their records in the club, and promoters ask live bands to pay-to-play at their event.
And it’s always been a hot topic amongst musicians.
So if you’re an artist, should you ever have to pay-to-play?
Here are two ways to look at it:
Do you sometimes feel that your band’s draw is languishing? Are you tired of seeing the same people at your shows and want to play to a new crowd, even in your hometown?
If you’re like most musicians, you know that you absolutely can do better, that you have more fans out there than who actually show up at at the venue, and despite always receiving positive feedback, you don’t know why more people aren’t showing up. Here are some tips on building some momentum back into your tour dates so you can increase your band’s draw:
1. Find a Different Angle for The Show: It’s easier to get more people to show up if it’s your band’s first show, when you’re releasing a new album, it’s a tour kick off, or when it’s your final gig. Obviously, it’s because your fans realize those as special occasions and want to be there.
So rather than making every local show the same, find creative ways to make them more enticing: film a live music video, let fans write the set list, do special covers, play acoustic if you normally don’t (or vice-versa), record a free download of a live track, etc. In other words, give your fans a compelling reason to show up. Answer: Why will this show be different than any other? What makes this exact show special?
What is the secret to being successful in the college entertainment market? Here we provide tips and tricks of how to assure that you are playing to a full house, and that your name is spread positively to potential repeat business, or better, recommendations!
KNOW YOUR ROLE
There is clearly one large mistake that many musicians make once they have landed that coveted college gig: once they secure the gig, they think their work is done. Sadly this is not true. You cannot assume, or worse, rely on the school to promote your act. Remember that you are dealing with students who work in the campus activities department part time. They are not professional event planners, and for the most part, are learning the proverbial ropes themselves. Although they may be well intentioned, their ability to successfully promote your event is like a crapshoot. Therefore your job is to promote yourself, both on and off campus. (Read that again.) You are also well-advised to make the job of the campus activities staff easy, and when possible, educate the students on how to complete certain tasks, especially surrounding promotion of your event.
On-campus promotion is characteristically an area where artists fall short. You’d be wise to turn yourself into an on-campus promotional machine. Granted, this task may seem a bit daunting, so here is a great list of effective on-campus promotional techniques.
Watch highlights of our SXSW showcase featuring JotDog!, Mr. Bleat, Telebit, Mr. Pauer, Il Abanico and Candy!!!