When clubs don’t have any more slots available or even just turn you down your only choice left is either to resign or to organize your concerts all by yourself. The latter can either end up in a catastrophe or even prove to be very lucrative if it’s done right. Here you will find a few basic tips that will help your self-organized concert become a success.
Reach the right Audience
If you expect some random people to show up at your concert then you are expecting everyone and nobody alike. So it is mandatory to clearly define your audience before you start planning. This requires you to once again decide for a stylistic niche to be in, label yourself – and your audience. Is your music for Death Metal fans? Gothics? Discomaniacs or Flower Children?
With your target audience in mind you can look out for the most appropriate venue to stage your concert as well as for the perfect media channels to reach and attract exactly that audience. Again, it is important to sell yourself not to the average Joe but to the die-hards in your stylistic scene.
In simple terms this means that as a heavy metal act you better hand out flyers outside of a metal bar rather than advertising in your local newspaper.
Unique Selling Point
The regular concert audience prefers attending shows at their regular live clubs. With just another live concert to offer it will be difficult for you to draw such people out of the woodwork.
Give your concert some special feature and turn it into an event. Then add some extra value. Whatever suits your style you can perform crowdsurfing contests, set up a casino with poker tables or look for the next headbanging champion. Whatever it is, make it different from an ordinary band concert.
Finally give your event a name, because “Headbanging Championships” will definitely sound more interesting than just “Forsaken Hypocrisy, live this Friday”.
Pricing your tickets is a tricky thing, a two-edged sword. You will need to find the perfect balance between covering your expenses (add 20% on top to be on the safe side), offering appropriate ticket prices and attracting enough people to actually cover your expenses given what you charge per ticket.
Juggling with expenses and prices is a challenge and requires you to constantly go back and forth. Charge a Dollar less and use less lights instead. Want the full light show anyway? Then advertise more to get more attendance.
In order to succeed here, get an idea of local ticket prices, attendance numbers and, of course, the costs for the venue, pa, lights, advertising, transportation, personnell – the list goes on.
I highly recommmend offering advance ticket sales. Even a time-sensitive pre-sale at a discount is what you should consider. This will give you a chance to monitor sales and thereby test certain advertising methods and adjust your advertising accordingly. If enough ticket orders are coming in you will also sleep a little bit better.
Provide your guests with a way to purchase tickets online. It definitely makes it easier. Use a professional checkout system, e.g. PayPal, or collaborate with a professional ticketing service. Having potential concert goers contact you via eMail to ask for a ticket and your banking information will make them more likely to jump off.
Start your ticket sale about six or eight weeks prior to your event and use the first half of it for your discounted pre-sale.
Sponsors whose products or services are of interest for your audience can help cover some of your expenses with their contributions. Offer a few sponsoring packages at different prices that include e.g. their logo printed on all posters and flyers, banners and displays on site etc.
Partner deals are usually barter deals. While you provide your partner with the same benefits you also offer to your sponsors, they will help you market your event in return. This is where local publications, websites and radio stations come in since they usually have the widest reach. Ask them to promote your event through their newsletter (at least two or three times), in their publications or on their websites.
Even special fashion stores that cater to your audience (e.g. hip hop fashion) can be a good choice for a partner. You don’t have to limit yourself to one partner only. Get as many as you can.
It’s not unusual to have friends and family help you with the organisation on site. You will need someone to help set everything up, clean up afterwards, eventually some service personell and someone at the box.
Let’s sum it up. Target the right audience (and noone else), offer additional value and thereby turn your concert into an event. Learn about local ticket prices and concert attendance and balance that information against your expenses. Use sponsors to keep your expenses low and have partners provide you with free advertising. Most importantly, dedicate yourself to the task of promoting your event and don’t let anything distract you. I know from organizing the MusicBiz Madness Conferences that staying at the wheel for a couple of weeks is mandatory.
Here’s to your success…
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