Getting Other Band’s Fans To Stick Around And Watch Your Set
It would be great if every fan coming to the show wanted to stay the entire time and just enjoy every artist on the bill. Unfortunately, most people have a short attention span, a busy schedule, or both--so this rarely happens. If another artist’s fans don’t know who you are--they are even less likely to go out of their way to stick around and watch your set. Rather than just hang around at a show all night, most people want to just see the act they came for and then go meet their friends at a bar or go home. The reality is that most people--except for the most passionate of music lovers--will NOT stay for the entire show. This is true of local, and even national events. HOWEVER, you as an artist can easily change this!
If you can give people a REASON to stick around for YOUR SET--and if you can make a CONNECTION with the other artist’s fans, then you will greatly increase the amount of people who stick around to see YOU play! The key is making a connection, and letting people know WHO YOU ARE.
(Note: do NOT, do NOT, do NOT do this while other bands are actually onstage playing).
Have EACH Band member walk around before the show and during other band’s set changeovers and MEET people at the show that they don’t know. Have each member carry Mailing List Cards, and some pens. Introduce yourself to the people in the crowd that you don’t know and ask them to fill out a Mailing List Card. While they fill out your Mailing List Card, tell them about your music, about your art, and about YOU! Make a CONNECTION, let them know WHY they should stick around to see you play, and tell them what time you will be going onstage.
Then offer them a FREE sticker, button, or 1 song sampler CD if they fill out a Mailing List Card and then return it to you at your Merch table AFTER your set. This will entice them to stay and see your set since afterward they get to come talk to you at your Merch table and redeem their FREE item. Remember that a sticker, button, or 1 song sampler CD only costs your Band about 10-35 cents! This is a small price to pay to make a new fan, get them to stick around for your set, get them to come talk to you at your Merch table, and give you a chance to further connect with them! If EACH member of your group does this, you can easily get to most of the new people in the room! Some people may not want to be on your Mailing List, and that is FINE. Just move on, don’t worry about it, and meet someone else! It is amazing how much of a difference this can make when each member is committed to doing this.
Think of it this way, if YOU were attending a concert to see a band you liked, would you for sure plan on staying for the entire show? Even if you’d never heard of the other acts on the bill? If you answered yes, how do you think non-musicians would respond to that question? MOST people, sadly even most local musicians, would answer “no” to that question.
Most people are not continually looking for new local artists to become fans of. Most people need to be convinced to simply watch you play, and even further convinced to become a fan. So many times, we’ve seen artists make a die-hard fan out of someone who had no intention or no expectation of even becoming a fan! (Remember that Local Artists are virtually unknown by 99.99% of their home markets population! So chances are, most of the other artist’s fans that you play for will NOT even know who you are). Even if the other artists fans have “heard of you” or seen a flier, that is NOT enough to make them stick around specifically to see you play, or to make sure they are in the building and paying attention when you go onstage.
In the above scenario, where you don’t know who the other acts on the bill are, if one of those acts introduced themselves and then told you about what they were doing and why you should stick around for their show--you’d be much more interested to see what that group had to offer. On top of that, if they offered you a free sticker, button, or 1 song sampler you might just end up sticking around to see them play! There is absolutely no way to guarantee that EVERY fan will stay for the EVERY band on the bill. Every venue we work with has encountered this same problem. Venue owners we have talked with have tried putting the best local talent in town onstage with other outstanding artists, they have tried raffles at the end of the night, but none of it has worked well--people still do not stay the entire show for every act. Many venue owners have tried different strategies to get the fans to stick around but no venue has told us of any success stories yet. However, we’ve seen first hand bands who do this at every show, and it works extremely well for them. Venues almost always love to have these bands play because they greatly benefit the venue by keeping fans in the building to buy drinks and other concessions.
So take charge and try this out--along with any other ideas that you come up with to help solve this problem--so that when you take the stage the other artists fans already know you’re name, know what you’re about, and WANT to stick around for YOUR SET! There is nothing that makes a show better than having a good crowd excited to see you play, and only you can make that happen.