Artists love to play live, and that’s normal, after all, Music is made to be played live. Giving emotions, the thrills, the excitement and everything in between, live performances are also a very nice way to show the world what you are capable of.
As a Music Strategist, Advisor and Marketer, I often get questions regarding concerts and how to handle them financially. The truth is that not everybody can handle a full show let alone making money out of it.
But let’s be clear immediately: you should make money out of every single show.
This being said, we will now evaluate your different possibilities to make money with your next live performances.
Good ol’ Tip Jar
That’s the basic of the basics, a tip jar, can be an actual jar that you would put on stage or on top of your piano if you are in a lounge atmosphere. Don’t be too crazy with the jar, people do not like to see you are begging for it, stay classy. However don’t hesitate at the end of the show to make a little joke out of it and to call for submissions very smoothly (if you can).
With Eventbrite, you can now sell your tickets online. You don’t need to be an expert in marketing or an insane promoter about it, the website is taking care of everything. The technique here is to sell your tickets online cheaper than at the door and to offer a MP3 for anybody who shows up with this ticket. People love free stuff and the easier it is to buy tickets, the better. Take advantage of the fact that you can share the page everywhere on social media and bring awareness about it.
Playing a gig is great, but if you have a date, make sure to tour with one or two other bands or artists. This is a very good technique because you will win on every fronts. The first one being the fact that both fanbases will merge, therefore bring more people. The fans of the other bands will know about you and vice versa. Finally, you will create amazing bonds with the other bands or artists and who knows, maybe network more in the future for musical collabs or other gigs. Nothing is ever lost.
Bet on the Ads
This one is tricky, you should know what you are doing and I am generally against ads on social media but if you feel like you’re good enough and that you can spare a few dollars, that can actually be the best ROI of the night. Instagram ads are very good for this when you play locally in small towns, not so much in big areas like New York City or Miami, but if you are in a smaller town, it is definitely a bet I would recommend you. Place a few dollars for the week before the show, make sure to target your demographics and the area where you’re playing. The closest the better. Now you may also want to see if there is a town next door which has nothing to do on a friday night to give them something to have fun with.
Have the merch ready
With an insane performance comes insanely open wallets, trust me on this one. The better the show, the better the sales, so make sure to bring some merch with you. It could be the t-shirts you are normally selling or even better, your physical releases, people love to support local artists and so buying merch directly from them right where they see them live is always a thing. You would be surprised how many people come simply with their guitar and have nothing but their music. That is not maximizing your revenues, so be sure to bring your shop with you.
Partner with the bar
If you are playing with a bar or a venue that sells drinks, team up with the owner or the bartender. Each drink sold during the night, you get a percentage. It may seem strange to you said like this but that is a very common practice that so many bands forget to bank on. The more the people coming for the music consume, the more the bar makes money, the bigger your cut is. That’s a DEAL.
You would not believe how many local or national brands are ready to endorse people who have a live audience. Think about it, you could have a backdrop of brands in the corner of the venue where people can take pictures like if they were at a red carpet event. This is such an insane trend nowadays and I don’t remember seeing people more excited than being in front of a backdrop like that. Make sure you have a friend photographer for the night that will take the shots so people look for them and share them on social media later on. That’s a total game changer because the brands will pay a nice sum for you to have them at your gig.
Do you have other techniques? Let me know what works best for you when you play live in the comments so people visiting this post can take even more good advice!