Expand your definition of a live performance

by Bob Baker

(The following article is excerpted from my new audiobook, What Every Musician Should Know About Self-Promotion.)

Let me ask you … What has to happen for a person to be converted into being a fan of your music? There are a number of possible answers, but at the most basic level, one thing has to happen: The person must hear your music.

And there are only so many ways someone can hear your music: on the radio or on television, on the Internet, in a dance club or a retail store, from a friend on a home or car stereo or … during a live performance.

Let’s focus on that last one, because even with all of the advancements in technology, live performance continues to be one of the best ways to connect with fans, sell CDs and prosper as an artist.

Hopefully, your marketing plans include a heaping helping of live shows. But what type of live shows do you plan? The problem is, many musicians get stuck in live performance ruts and fail to think outside the box. For instance, most rock bands flock like lemmings to nightclubs. Most acoustic singer-songwriters obsess over coffee shops and folk venues. That’s fine, but they end the thought process there — and then complain that there aren’t enough gig slots for all of the acts who want to play.

The solution: Redefine your live performance goals. And ask yourself the right questions. If you only ask, “How can I book more shows at clubs?” you’ll rarely look outside that possibility. But if you ask, “How can I reach more of my ideal fans through live performances?” then your list of potential venues is suddenly wide open.

Where can you play in front of more potential fans? If nightclubs is one answer, great — continue to pursue that. But what about community festivals, neighborhood block parties, grand openings, rallies, auto shows, craft fairs, the finishing line of a city marathon, a public beach on a sunny day … anywhere that large groups of people gather is fair game.

Sure, not every option will have the logistics for a sound system, a stage, etc. But any glimmer of an idea along these lines is worth looking into. And I guarantee you, the number of other acts competing for a spot at one of these offbeat events will be much less than the number you find at the traditional live music venues.

So … expand your definition of a live performance, ask yourself empowering questions, and open your mind to the many new ways you have to reach fans through live performances.

Bob Baker is the author of “Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook,” “Unleash the Artist Within” and “Branding Yourself Online.” He also publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a web site and e-zine that deliver marketing tips, self-promotion ideas and other empowering messages to music people of all kinds. Get your FREE subscription to Bob’s e-zine by visiting http://TheBuzzFactor.com today.

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