Repost from SonicBids Blog [http://blog.sonicbids.com/heres-a-great-strategy-to-book-shows-in-new-cities-where-you-dont-know-anyone]
If you perform regularly, you’re likely facing this problem right now: you pretty much own your hometown scene and you’re ready to move on to new cities, but you don’t have quite enough fans in those areas to fill up venues yet. But if you don’t play shows in that new city, you obviously can’t develop a fanbase to fill the venue. It’s a bit of a catch-22, and after all that work to climb up the ladder in your hometown, the last thing you want to do is go back to playing open mics and unpaid gigs to get your foot in the door. So what do you do?
There are a lot of cool strategies out there that will help you break into new cities. I’m a big advocate of networking, collaboration, and gig swapping, but for this article, I’m going to share a more nontraditional strategy: house concerts.
A lot of people see house concerts as something completely separate from traditional gigs, but perhaps the best way to use house concerts is to complement your traditional gigs. My friend Fran Snyder recently turned me on to this strategy. If you want to learn more, Fran will be joining me for a free DIY House Concert Workshop Tuesday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m. We’ll be going through everything you need to know to put on a successful house concert. If you can’t join us live, you can sign up to get the replay.
1. It only takes one fan
When you book a gig in a traditional venue, there are a lot of gatekeepers and barriers. Physical venues have a bottom line, and if you can’t bring in a big enough crowd, they will find someone else who can. On the other hand, booking a successful house concert only takes one fan willing to host, making it the perfect option if you don’t have much of a following in the area yet. That fan will then invite their friends and family to the show, and boom – you have an audience.
2. It’s the perfect environment to create new dedicated fans
I’m sure you’ve played shows where the audience seems more interested in their conversations and drinks than your music. Clubs, restaurants, bars, and other venues you might play in the early stages of your career make it very difficult to make that connection with people who may be hearing your music for the first time. They just lack that intimate and personal environment.
A house concert provides the perfect environment for creating new fans. A guest at a house concert is more likely to give your music a chance because it comes with a recommendation from the friend or family member who is hosting. On top of that, house concerts provide a distraction-free listening environment and a chance to interact with the musician, all of which help foster a deeper artist-fan relationship.
3. You’ll have exponential growth
Every time you play a house concert, you’re getting your music in front of a lot of new people. Fran has found that at most shows, the performers will get approached by new fans interested in hosting, and each new host will introduce you to a whole new group of people. As a result, house concerts really create exponential growth, whereas if you play the same couple clubs and venues, you’ll typically get the same group of people there night after night.
Once you book and play a few successful house concerts in a new town or city, you’ll have gathered a large enough group of dedicated fans to be able to fill a traditional venue.