Here at Groover, we know that all of you are looking forward to not only attend live shows again, but play live shows! During this pandemic period, most artists have dedicated themselves to the creative part of music production, leaving concert planning on “stand-by”. However, planning a show/tour and playing in new cities requires a lot of music promotion work in advance. Therefore, it is necessary to start planning what your return to stage will be like.
Today, we give you an article that will help you understand how to book a show outside of your city, along with some of the important and precautionary measures we recommend you take. This is one of the biggest challenges for independent artists who want to find a place in the music scene these days.
Have you ever wondered what the rhythm of concerts and festivals will be like when the pandemic settles down and the sanitary situation allows for live music? We don’t want to miss your concert either, so check out the list of tips we’ve prepared for you!
The greater purpose for an artist doing a show outside of their city is to get to know their audience. Of course, this may not be the case for every artist, but when an artist is just starting out and wants to stand out in a new place where the independent scene is lively, it is important that they build a loyal audience.
It is quite common for fans in a city to contact you directly through social media and ask for you to play in their city (so pay attention to the people who contact you, they are the gateway to a concert outside of your city!).
In addition, you can also think about some different strategies in order to reach your audience:
- When promoting releases, make your music promotion strategy unique and standout through certain local media (digital media, local and university radio)
- Take polls on your Instagram profile about which city your followers would most like to see your show
- Analyze streaming statistics (search the cities and countries where people listen to your music)
- Create a group with your fans on Facebook or WhatsApp and speak with them directly!
Also, you can look for opportunities in other ways. For example, you might be invited to a show with an artist from another city who already has a more consolidated audience. Another example is participating in a festival, where there will already be an audience for the festival and for other artists. In other words, try to be creative when it comes to building your audience and getting the know them, the relationships you build will be valuable for the day your artistic project travels to different cities.
Groover is a great platform for you to expand your musical promotion into other cities and even other countries. Click on the link below to check out all available curators and music professionals on Groover:
A key step to playing a show outside of your city is to find local producers. It’s no use trying to organize a DIY show outside of your city or with a producer who comes from abroad. A serious local producer knows their city’s music scene, the right venues and especially the local audience.
This is not a simple step. There are two possibilities: the producer is interested in bringing your band to play in their city and will contact you for a conversation and probably negotiate a proposal. Or, because you want to do a show outside of your city you look for a local producer who would be keen to help you out for a commission. Know that the first is more common for obvious reasons: the producer already knows your project and the potential that your show has to make money.
But, if you’re planning mini-tours for your launch, don’t hesitate to contact local producers by digging through other bands’ events on Facebook and seeing who the organizers are or even contact artists directly and ask who they’ve worked with in that city. And if you meet someone who knows a local producer, it will take half the amount of work to take off. Remember, in order for things to happen you need trust on both sides, just as you need to understand that building this type of relationship requires planning and patience.
On our platform you can also find managers, concert agents and programmers of festivals and live houses. Send your music to them!
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Putting on a show requires planning and publicity. However, a concert outside of your city will require even more effort in these aspects. People who know your project and live far from your hometown will likely attend your show. But, it may happen that the information does not reach them. Often, the event’s producer or promoter doesn’t have a lot of money to invest in the promotion and will bet on organic communication.
This whole process of playing in another city is a collective effort, so you should also bet on the strategy that will be most effective for you. Another important point is: make people who don’t know your music come to your show. This is not the easiest thing to do/accomplish. Before, people went to concerts like people go to clubs nowadays. Usually today, people will only leave the house and pay $20 to attend an indie band concert that they don’t know about if there is something extra. For example, a friend who is going to celebrate their birthday, an after party, a date or an invitation from a friend.
For this, it is possible to put strategies in place with the event producer, such as:
- Promotions that offer tickets and merchandising (like “tag three friends in the post, comment and follow the profile and compete for a pair of tickets and a t-shirt”, or rather, “share the flyer, bring 2 friends and get a free shot at the entrance”)
- Invest in sponsored posts on your social media (targeted towards the target city)
- Distribute and post your show flyers with a QR Code directly linking to your music
- Distribute flyers at cultural centers and independent music venues
- Create a sense of anticipation around the show: broadcast a message, post videos of rehearsals, or prepare something special for that show, for example.
- Plan a different show
If you’re starting to build an audience in a specific city, make the show a unique experience and don’t limit yourself to just meeting schedule and ticking off items on your checklist. Try to create something different, for example, a different setlist, invite a local artist to participate in the show, or meet your audience at a bar after the show.
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We know that for the independent artist to bring a team on tour, it can be very expensive considering that most emerging artists don’t necessarily make a lot of money. However, this is essential for a band that wants to become professional to start looking for people who can work alongside them, become familiar with their sound, the people who make up the project, and their work pace.
It is common for an artist’s manager to be able to accompany the artist from every part that precedes the show to the technical part (sound check and stage set-up). All steps are critical. So, if in any of them you feel that you are going to need help, don’t hesitate to call someone.
Also know that having someone from the outside is always important to provide support and not let yourself be overwhelmed by possible disappointments (small audiences, lack of equipment, unforeseen events, etc). In fact, all of this depends a lot on the structure that will be offered (does the venue offer all the equipment? sound technician? roadie? a box office?). It is recommended to have at least one person who knows you to accompany you! As doing a show outside your city is not something that happens every month, investing in all the small details will make a difference in your first experiences.
First of all, it’s important to remember that when talking about independent artists, every step is an investment. Because of this, it is extremely important to value ourselves and understand what is really worth it. Doing your first mini-tour and being able to pay the costs is already pretty good. If you are successful, there will be positive repercussions and consequently more people at your next show.
Therefore, your manager or yourself should write down all the costs and earnings of the shows that you will do outside of your city. This will allow you to clearly visualize where your show’s biggest costs are, where it’s worth investing or saving, and which cities gave the most return for your project! It is necessary to strike a balance between the audience you are building and the amount of work and money invested in putting on a show outside your city.
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One of the key elements to a successful independent music scene is to implement the basis of exchange. The United States is perhaps the best example of this. There is such a solid independent scene over there that we often don’t even notice it because it doesn’t export itself (and that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work). Creating a solid network of contacts is the most important thing to build a culture of independent concerts. So, we suggest that before doing a show exclusively for you in another city, try to get to know the local scene in that city. That way, you can propose a show with an already known artist. There are many legitimate advantages to doing this:
- Strengthen ties between independent artists and build a network
- The local band is already connected with the producers, the venues and the local audience
- Increase your audience
- Offer in exchange a show by that artist in your city
Being invited to perform at a festival outside of your city is always very advantageous. The exchange between artists is more intense, there is usually a larger audience, more producers and a larger budget! But you don’t have to wait for the sky to fall or have direct contact from the festival organizer to make this happen. Always subscribe to the notices! There are numerous websites to check out and find festivals in your city, check this one out!
Another very interesting port is the concerts and festivals organized by the city hall or even cultural centers. In this scheme, it is common for the fee to be higher, as well as the structure offered is usually better. This will bring advantages for you to be able to leave your city with a team and present a quality show.
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There are many advantages to playing a show outside of your city. In big cities there is a lot of competition and bonds are usually weaker or slightly more on the surface. If you build an audience in a central city where the independent scene is thriving, it can bring a very advantageous strength and contact with a slightly more unknown audience. Introducing your art to people from other places is a unique experience. In addition, you will meet new artists, new regional music genres and new dynamics of the independent music scene.
We know this is every artist’s dream! But it’s important to be pragmatic before going out there. The first step is to expand your music promotion outside your city, cultivate good relationships (a faithful audience and/or professional producers) and plan your tour well. It’s common for many bands to go bankrupt because of poor planning. So sometimes it’s better to wait for the right time. The show is the deepest exchange you will ever have with your audience, so know that if you do a show outside of your city, you must do everything within your power to speak with people at least once a year and convince them to have you play in there city!
Finally, all of this is only viable when trying to create true bonds. In addition to the personal determination of the artist and his team, seeking to relate to those who believe in the power of independent music is essential to start performing outside of your city.
– Translated by Betty Gonzalez Gray –