The Importance of Doing Legwork
When you’re in a band a lot of work goes into putting on every single performance, from the minute you’re booked until even after you’ve actually played. As the title suggests, Anthony will give some suggestions on how to promote yourselves before a gig, and how important it can be to go the extra mile when you’re preparing for a show.
We hope you enjoy this issue of the Gorilla Newsletter.
Author of “The 5 Steps to Becoming the Biggest Band in Town”
Vice President of Gorilla Music
The Importance of Doing Legwork
By Anthony Powers
Any musician who has been playing gigs for more than a couple of months, whether it be playing solo shows or performing in a band, is probably settled into a certain rhythm when it comes to playing out.
Maybe you always book shows at the same venue—a certain coffee shop, bar, or concert club—or maybe you always book shows using the same promoter. Maybe you even choose to only play a certain type of show, which could be anything from open mic nights to opening for nationally known acts. Whatever the case may be, once you get in a certain groove of how you do things, it can be difficult to change your ways even the slightest bit.
Well, first off, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. On the contrary, there’s something to be said about fostering your relationships with venues, promoters, and other bands, and taking advantage of what opportunities arise because of those relationships. The point I’m trying to make here is that it’s exceptionally easy for a musician or band to actually hurt themselves by settling into the same routine for an extended period of time.
The real issues arise when you settle into certain bad habits that are extremely easy to fall into. One of the greatest examples that comes to mind is how some bands fail to promote themselves to the best of their abilities. Many bands out there today will get a gig and all they do to prepare for it is practice.
I’m not saying don’t practice. Practice as often as possible—always be working on new material, improving old material, critiquing your stage performance. Work on your music as much as you can. But preparing for a show doesn’t end there. There’s a lot of legwork to be done outside of your practice space or studio.
We live in an age where it’s almost insane how easy it is for bands to network with their fans thanks to websites like Facebook, Reverbnation, and many others. But if you’re simply posting an event to your band’s fan page and inviting everyone you know, that’s only half the battle.
Post to your fans and friends web pages about your show. Start a mailing list and send out an announcement to your fans about the show. If you’re selling tickets to your show maybe include a password in the email that, if they give it to you when buying tickets, they can get a slight discount. Think outside the box on how to convert your fans online into fans in front of the stage. If you’re working with a production company or record label, don’t be afraid to ask them for ideas, too.
There’s also something to be said for going a bit old school. Print and distribute flyers around your city at local record stores, coffee shops, bars, or even restaurants. Most independent businesses in general have a table or cork-board of some kind where their patrons can leave materials such as flyers and the like. Think about what audience you appeal to most and get out there with your tickets and flyers and find them.
Make personal connections with people when you can, and leave something to spark people’s interest when you can’t.
These are just a few examples of the extra legwork that really help your band. Sure, it’s nice when a production company or venue promotes your show for you. But if you’re a relatively unknown act in your market, how much is a newspaper ad with your bands name on it really going to help make your show bigger or better?
Self promotion is always the most powerful kind of promotion, and that’s true whether you’re just starting out or if you’re already a household name. So just remember, don’t be afraid to push yourself. Sometimes the smallest changes in the right direction can help push your band to the next level.