7/20/08

How to Promote a Show




I'd love to know how...

I played in Salem twice this weekend.

First, The Dimes had an early evening slot at the Salem Art Fair. Nice gig...the event is definitely one of those family-oriented, munch-on-a-corn-cob-while-perusing-booths-displaying-local-artists'-work affairs, but the pleasant weather and calm-faced families were a nice break from the usual bar crowd. I'd nearly missed the show due to an huge accident on I-5, but I showed up with just enough time to park behind the stage and set up my stuff. The Dimes set was good...we played the usual favorites and had fun. The guys were nice enough to include one of my tunes in the set and I sold a few cd's to people who liked it.

Last night, I played the Blue Pepper. It's a large space, part cafe and part gallery. Derek, the guy who books shows, is very nice, always accommodating, and doesn't freak out about low attendance. It was low...

So, here's what I wonder: What adjustments do I need to make to my promotional strategy to increase the draw? I recognized almost every person from the last time I played there...all repeat customers. Many of them were singing along with the tunes. My tunes. They'd obviously listened to the record more than once! I think that folks generally respond well at my shows, and they seem to like the record. So, what's the missing link?...

This is the very same question that is asked by 99.99999% of all of the musicians in the world. It's tough to get people out of their houses and through the door of the club. Is there something I'm doing wrong? Something I'm overlooking?

Honestly, I think that it is a matter of persistence and long term effort. I know that I can make improvements to my show. I need to keep it fresh and develop an undeniably good set. I know that I can do a little more to promote, even with my limited budget. I need to do this stuff for each and every show...





Still, the weekend was great.
I had fun with The Dimes, fun at The Blue Pepper, fun yard-camping with Anna and Louis (our pup ) last night, and now I'm going to go have fun on my Yamaha XS650.

4 comments:

Heather said...

I thought this was a very clever idea by The Rescues: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=232785168&blogID=412937474

I don't know what the level of participation has been for them, but everything I keep reading seems to point the idea that it's no longer enough to just be a musician and show up, but you need to be like, the president of the club of you, and host lots of fun things that make people want to be involved and participate and get them talking about you as your word of mouth promoters. I don't know if you could send out emails to your current fans before a show with some sort of prize for bringing a person who hasn't been to one of your concerts before? Could be something small if it's for everyone, something big if it's like a raffle of all the newbies.

I think some of it may be education too - just letting your current fans know how important it is to have them help you - but without sounding desperate, heh.

Anyway, it's a big topic, and lots of people thinking and talking about it more these days, I'd say keep your eyes and ears open, which I'm sure you already are!

Heather said...

take two on that Rescues blog link

Ehren Ebbage said...

Thanks for the tip!

Tim said...

Hey Ehren I'm sure it must be hard to show up and not see too many people there to hear you. In fact I really have no concept of what it would be like to put your heart and soul into your art, then not have many people come out to see it. I did just want to say though, keep up the great work you're doing. You are an amazing talent, and if you keep playing with all your heart and soul every night, you will get what's coming to you. Just keep winning over fans a few at a time, and soon it will grow. Besides, even if you don't see that exponential growth that some bands do, at least you will have the satisfaction of knowing you put your being into your art. It seems that's all that really matters in the end. Anyway, keep up the good work, and don't get discouraged. I'm sure you are winning over fans like me at every show, who are going around telling anyone that will listen, about you. You're day will come my friend.