This week I had two performances in New York. As a resident of Boston, having New York in such close proximity is a big chance as far as the music scene is concerned. We played in two really cool venues, Shapeshifter Lab and Pete’s Candy Store (which is not a candy store, but a bar!).
So, my duo’s first performance was in Shapeshifter Lab, which is one of the hippest places to play music in the New York area these days. It is a performance space that is run by musicians and it was such a great experience to be able to play there.
The second venue is Pete’s Candy store which is a venue that Artists like Norah Jones, Devendrá Barnhart and many others have played before.
In both performances, our friends and their friends were in the audience to support us. But there were also groups of people in the audience no one knew, and no one knew where they came from. This should not come as a surprise, because we did some marketing and social media work to promote these performances beforehand. And yes, it worked!
Based what we did right and what we did wrong with promoting our performances, here is a list I compiled that you can use to promote your projects as well. So, here are some tips for building an audience in a major city, even if you don’t live there!
- Promote your event on Instagram using location tags and hashtags. I can not emphasize the importance of Instagram when it comes to new audiences. Add the location of the event to your post and use hashtags related to your genre, style and artists you like.
- Utilize touring add-ons on Spotify. If you have music on Spotify you probably already have a following in that city. Spotify has an add-on for Songkick, which is an application to list your future shows. When you list your shows on Songkick it will also show up on Spotify.
- Use apps like Bandsintown. Similar to Songkick, the Bandsintown app allows you to list your future shows and you can add this application to your Facebook accounts, as well as other social media websites.This way when people visit your pages they will be able to see your future shows automatically.
- Reach out to your current Fan base in that City If you’re using a marketing platform like Adva Mobile to manage and market to your Fans, send them text and email reminders, miro-targeting your list to fans living near your performance venue. And don’t send emails or texts to your Fans in Seattle if you’re playing in Dallas.
- Add your event to the local calendars. Whenever people visit a major city, at some point there is a high chance that they will be looking for live music. So if your show will be listed as one of the concerts happening that particular night, you might actually get a pretty decent crowd that doesn’t even know you but simply happened to be around that area. This happens to me a lot and when it happens it is really sweet.
- Make teaser videos so people know what to expect.
- Be proactive! Don’t rely on the venue to promote your event – they won’t. If you’re going to make a listing be sure to write a press release specially for big newspapers and magazines do you need a press release. You can also use Facebook and Instagram ads based on your budget and depending on your genre and style they might work or they might not. Unfortunately, in my experience Facebook and Instagram ads are kind of either a hit, or amiss.
- Keep ticket prices sub-20$ if possible. If you’re catering your music to the sub-30 age group, they are probably on a budget and if you put a price tag of $20 or $30 to your concert, chances are that people will not want to pay that much to an act that they don’t know. I suggest that if you’re a band that is just starting out to keep your price tickets around $7-$15.
- Play on good days. The best days for performances would be Friday and Saturdays, but venues usually reserve those nights for the groups that have the most following. Sunday and Thursdays are the best options in this case, and people do go out on these days as well, so those are good days. Try to finish before 9-9:30pm on weeknights to get the optimum crowd size during week nights.
- Make an email and SMS text sign up sheet. This way you can not only include them in your future reach outs, but also let them know next time you’re back in town. (see #4 above).
What are some of the major cities you played? How did you form your fanbase there? Feel free to comment below!
Adva Mobile is a marketing services and technology company for creative artists. Using Adva’s mobile services, you can let your fans about your latest creative work, run contests, take surveys, reach out to your superfans and engage with them.
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Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new EP ‘Lines’ was released on November 2017 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com