- Published Mar 28, 2013 in The Biz
- Read time: about 2 minutes
Historically speaking, indie bands aren’t exactly rich. Your mission is to maximize profits at every show without selling your soul. It’s easier than it sounds.
You got your ass out of bed. You made it to the venue with at least 4 minutes to spare. You went through all that trouble. May as well get paid for it, no?
The thing is, the owner of the club you’re playing may not have taken his generosity pills today. So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to not only put on a completely awesome show, but make enough money to put on the next completely awesome show. Thus, a few ideas to start moving in the right direction:
1 Advertise on stage.
You are a human billboard while you’re up there. So use it to your advantage. Timing is everything, so pick your moment and go for it. Somewhere around the middle of your set, after a truly great performance of one of your truly great songs is when you strike.
Just letting the audience know that you have merch available is a huge step in the right direction. Most bands don’t even get that far. For extra credit, call out one particular item with some relevance. Something like, “Glad you liked that song. It happens to be on our awesome new record which is available tonight.” Or, “Summer is here and you know you wanna see your girlfriend in one of our skimpy yet undeniably fashionable baby doll belly-shirts.” You get the idea.
2 Avoid "me too", go for originality.
Any idiot can make a t-shirt. Do something different. One-off, limited edition live recordings make a nice parting gift. And drunk people always seem to appreciate panties with your logo on it, whether someone ends up wearing them or not. The point is, think outside the box a little and offer up something useful, charming, fun and worth a few bucks.
3 Make a compelling pitch.
Selling momentos at a Coldplay concert is a no-brainer. But let's face it, Chris Martin doesn’t really need the money. You do. So tell them.
Tell them how incredibly hard it is to swim against the stream and make original music. Tell them how saintly it is to support local original music. Tell them that, unless they want to hear Britney Fucking Spears in their sleep for the rest of their artless lives, they better pitch in and do their part to help unsung hero-esque musical soldiers such as yourself and your friends become the next Nirvana. Otherwise they’ll be listening to the next Justin Bieber for eternity.