Written for Fans for Bands.
In this modern landscape, musicians are trying everything they can in order to scrape together money to do what they love. Well, why not focus on collecting some funds while you’re doing what you love? Don’t neglect the easy wins and remember these following tips in order to collect more mullah from your music…
Use your set
While your rocking the mic and doing what you do, don’t just use the space in-between songs to make awkward chatter while you stand there, all sweaty, panting link a golden retriever. Have a few stock phrases ready to go in order to grab people’s attention and inform them that not only do you have merch available at the show, but there is a fantastic discount, especially for the good people of (INSERT TOWN NAME HERE).
Keep it brief and upbeat, nobody wants to feel like their watching one of those “just £2 a month” charity adverts. However, if your selling EPs, why not play a song off that EP next in your set to advertise your product? Make use of your set time, grab your audiences’ attention, direct them to the product, keep them invested.
Have merch deals / packages
Once you have informed the crowd that you have merch available at a reasonable price during your set, how do you make sure that this actually translates into money in your pocket? Have all discounts / packages / bundles ready to go in order to upsell your products! Somebody caught your set and is sniffing around the merch table to see the prices? Have your prices big and clear on the items/ a huge sign/ a lightbox in order to give people the information they need in a dark music venue.
If your EPs are £5 and your T – shirts are £10, sell both for £13 and give a free badge or sticker away too. This way your new fan feels like they have made a saving and you have shifted another unit of merch without affecting your profits. Bonus Points if you have the correct change always readily available and take a note of their name. This way you can ensure you stay connected after the show, or next time you’re in town and continue to build a connection to somebody that just invested in what you do.
Use card readers
It’s odd that more musicians aren’t doing this despite more and more people carrying less cash. It takes 3 minutes to open an account with izettle. Here you can manage all transactions, purchase a card reader and they only take 1.75% for the privilege of helping you make more money.
We all know that spending that extra £20 is a lot easier after a few shandys never mind when, with one tap of your card you have promptly parted way with what feels like invisible money. Make it easier for people to grab your swag.
Give away free stuff / Competitions
Everybody loves free stuff! A sample of food, a taster of a drink or a free EP, it all has the same positive reinforcement. Whilst a free item won’t be a treasured as a purchased one, this does help your name stay in the mind of your audience a little bit longer along with the positive experience you provided. Get creative! Throw free things out during your set or make your audience compete for a free thing with a dance off ect… It’s amazing what people will do for something they didn’t know they even wanted! Make a fun experience around your item and people will treasure it, remember you and want to buy more.
Have a Fee
If you have an impressive set and built the foundations for touring, a secure way of earning money from your shows is having a guaranteed fee. This is agreed at the time of booking the show with a promoter (and should be reconfirmed before arrival to the venue). While many young musicians ask for their expenses to be covered, depending on your size this is obviously negotiable and a sure-fire way of weeding out the undesirable venues you may once have played for free. Having a fee provides the safe knowledge that you will be earning a baseline amount of money to cover the outgoings of your show; the rest is profit.
This may differ between promotions but selling tickets to your own event and receiving a cut, is another secure method of receiving an income from your show. Tickets allow you to monitor your expected payment whilst selling to your fans directly. Whether its online or hand to hand, staying in touch with your audience and selling your tickets directly not only increases your intake from the event, but it wins over your crowd long before you have even taken to the stage.
Go DIY – Your show, your rules
Why not become your own promoter and throw your own show with your own rules? If you have a budget to rent a space and cover the costs for a PA and sound ect… why not invest that money and run things your way? Whilst this is your own investment, the rewards are also all yours. Any money you put in, you get back if your event is a success. As a musician, you know what your ideal show would be like, so why not create that event and quit waiting for somebody else to do it for you. Add your own supports, work hard, get innovative and experiment in order to retain more money from your event.
Take people to your products
It seems obvious, but after your set people might want to talk to you. Whether its other bands with the classic “good set bro” or your audience who want to connect with you a bit more, don’t waste this opportunity to subconsciously direct them towards your products for sale. I’m not advising to cut them off mid-sentence or frisbee EPs at them until a sale has been made, but by positioning yourself by your merch stand whilst interacting with your audience post set, it reinforces that you have souvenirs for sale following their pleasant exchange with you. Subtlety is your friend here, use it.
Every time you play live and don’t declare it with PRS, you are losing money. Take the time, every few months to correlate all of the dates from your gigs and your setlists and register that data with PRS / Sentric / whoever collects your royalties. This is income from your event that can be easily missed. Whilst it might not be enough to get you that gold jet ski just yet, its yet more money that you can retain from your event thanks to you playing your songs.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. It seems that many musicians assume that acts acquire free gear following a visit from the endorsement ninjas. A crafty collective that are never seen until an artist goes public about their sponsorship. The fact is that many musicians ask for those free strings, sticks, throat lozenges following a useful pitch about their act and how they use these products while recording and touring. Building these relationships not only reduces the outgoing costs of your show, but they provide a framework for your career. A pair of free Ernie Ball strings may lead to a lifetime supply if you can document your growth as an artist and send some recognition their way.
Networking with local brands that match with your act can also secure more funding to your shows / tour. If you’re a Hard Rock band, why not talk to your local motorbike shop or Tattoo parlor to see if they would be interested in sponsoring your tour for £X? In return, you promote their shop, provide flyers at your show, include their logo on your backdrop ect… and share one target audience. Use what you can offer to somebody else in order to secure more money from your show; whilst watching your audience grow at the same time.