Who are those people who go to see bands at “unsigned nights”? It is very rarely someone who happens to be passing by a venue and just pops in (especially if there is an admission fee). So who will be at your first few gigs?
- Friends and family of your band members – Phone them, text them, invite them to events on your chosen social media platform and get them to the gigs. Promoters will expect you to bring at least a small crowd.
- Those who have discovered the band online and feel they have a relationship with the band – This will happen more as your audience grows but if you are talking to your fans on Twitter and Facebook and your music is great this can happen earlier.
- People at the gig to see another band on the same bill – These are the people you need to win over. Make sure your live act is amazing, rehearse your songs in order and make sure you practice under “gig conditions”.
- Enthusiasts of the genre of music you play – If you are playing a genre specific night such as a punk night or a prog night you may well get fans of the genre turning up to listen. Playing with bands of a similar genre is often a useful way of getting people out of the house.
- Musicians looking for a gig themselves – Often other musicians looking for gigs of their own will make up a significant part of your audience. If you help others and try to build a community amongst local musicians you have more chance of hearing about interesting opportunities that can benefit your band. The music industry is all about relationships, who you know. Start getting to know people from the start, don’t be afraid to talk to people.
- Press/industry people or bloggers – It’s very unlikely they will be at your first gig unless there is a massive buzz about your band, but it is worth a try.
Eventually the crowd at your later gigs should start to include friends of friends and those who have discovered your band through social media and the press. Your audience grows one person at a time, slowly but surely. Building a fan base is not quick or easy but it can be done.