How To Build A Live Audience
- 25th May 2018
It’s every artists dream to get on stage and play to an audience of thousands of adoring fans, but that doesn’t just happen overnight, as to build a live audience is a gradual process. Here’s some tips for how to build a live audience!
Start Off Small.
Rather than heading straight for your nearest stadium and trying to sell it out on your own, try something a little smaller. Latch on to a support slot for a decent sized local band of a similar style to yourself, so their audience may be into you as well. Hire out a tiny venue and pack it out with friends, family, and anyone else who wants to come along. If you think you can only sell 50 tickets, hire a small room at a pub and cram everyone in. A small venue that is packed out looks miles better than a large venue that looks empty, even if the same amount of people attend. This then gives you the credibility to pitch yourself for bigger and better support slots.
Put On Great Shows.
This should be a given, but some artists feel that live shows are all about them. A gig is a two way street between the artist and the crowd, its a give and take relationship. So in order for this two way street to run smoothly and free of obstructions, you need to be the one to give. You give a great performance, the crowd responds, which gives you the energy to perform better and the cycle goes on. The crowd isn’t going to respond until they have something to respond to. It’s easier than you think. People want to be entertained. A gig goer doesn’t set out for a gig thinking ‘this band is gonna suck, I’m gonna boo them’, if they have gone out of their way to see you perform, they want you to be good. I cannot stress enough how important your quality of performance is. For tips on how to improve your live performance, click here! You want people leaving your show thinking ‘damn, they were good.’ If you put on a good enough performance, you will attract attention from either a promoter who wants to work with you, or a crowd who wants to see you again. If you want to build a live audience, this should be your first step. This can be quite difficult, as there are plenty of issues you can have during your performance. Have a read through our live show survival guide here! As a side note, one important thing to do on stage is to avoid stage death. Click here to read more about stage death!
Don't Play In The Same Place All The Time.
For an artist who has just found their feet in their local scene, it can be tempting to gig every weekend with the mindset of ‘if we play enough then we’ll get a big audience’, this isn’t strictly true. Yes you will be playing to more people on the whole, but you are also devaluing your gigs. If you’re playing one weekend at a free pub, and then next weekend at a paid gig, anyone who wants to see you is going to go to the free one. The best way to add value to your shows is to not play that often. Play a gig in your hometown maybe three, four times a year. This will encourage everyone who wants to come and see you to actually come and see you. For a fan, it is easy for them to say ‘this band is playing tonight, but they play all the time so I’ll catch them some other time’, and then they never get around to it. Look at the Coca-Cola Lorry that comes around every Christmas. If you want to see it, you’ve bloody well got to go see it when it comes to your town.
Evolve Your Performances.
It’s all well and good putting on a great show, but if you give the same great show to the same audience too many times, they will get bored. Think of your favourite film ever. Now imagine yourself watching it every day. Too much of anything, no matter how good it is, is too much. So what do you do? Adapt your performances each time you play. Move your setlist around to give a different overall effect, play more of a different style of song, or change the arrangement of your songs to fit the environment. Lets compare your set to superhero films, which are currently the most successful type of films being released. Each time a new one is released, it is usually a very similar story (as to not give the crowd something they are uncomfortable with), but different enough to keep them entertained.
Play Far & Wide.
Don’t just stick to playing your hometown. You never know, some village in the middle of North Yorkshire might have a venue packed out with the exact kind of people you appeal to. Try and play in as many different places as you can. When bigger artists tour, they rarely do consecutive nights in the same city unless they are sure they will sell out every night. They play in loads of different places to cover as much ground as possible. Even if the gigs themselves are not perfect, you will be able to say that you have nationwide gigging experience, and that goes a long way with promoters and festival organisers.
Go To Gigs.
The best way to integrate yourself into your local scene is quite simply to go to gigs. Make friends with other gigging bands, go to their shows and meet the promoters. Become a face that people recognise when you walk into a gig. It sounds very idealistic, but if you support others, they will support you. You’re all in the music scene for the same reasons, you want to see awesome bands and play awesome gigs.
So there you have it, a few tips for how to build a live audience. Of course there are many more ways and methods to build a live audience, but these are some fundamental rules to follow. And if you do, you won’t go far wrong.