I can’t count how many times I hear “oh man…THEY were playing? I wish I knew it! I woulda been there with, like, twenty of my friends!”.
Which, oftentimes, is the most annoying thing a concert promoter can hear.
Most times, I try to take sort-of a “soft sell” approach to marketing my shows. I’d rather be polite and gentle about it than annoying and over zealous. Facebook posts usually go up when a bigger show is announced, about once a week for calendar updates and then again the day-of the show to give a last minute reminder. Obviously, every show is different and, depending on how big the show is or how well (or not well) the show is selling, I’ll push it a little bit harder. But more often than not, I’m somewhat conservative with the marketing of Greenbelt Events shows.
Even with the email list, we’ll only put out two or three emails per month. I don’t know if that’s helped or hurt our unsubscribe rate, but we maintain a pretty decent open and clicks percentage.
But we’re thorough. The website is updated daily. Our email list has a solid number of subscribers and a respectable open rate. Our street team hits a 30 mile radius with plenty of posters and handbills. And we do our fair share of print and radio advertising.
So when someone tells me that they didn’t hear about Band X playing somewhere until after the fact, I scratch my head. The public is bludgeoned with information about things to do and places to go almost every minute of every day. Nearly every single THING that happens has an event invite somewhere on Facebook. Be it baby shower, rock show or community art day, each one of my friends probably gets as many event invites as I do…which is a lot.
So how does one sift through the clutter and hear about great live music events coming to their city? Here are a few of my personal favorite tools that allow me to never miss a great show when it comes to town…
1. Songkick – I LOVE Songkick. It works like this – install a weightless little app on your computer, it syncs to your iTunes (or whatever media player you use) and sends you automatic email updates whenever an artist in your iTunes library announces a show coming to an area near you (you specify where you live and what radius you want to hear about shows in). It’s free and simple and pretty accurate. And with most people having dozens of gigs worth of music (har, har), you can specify how often you want to be notified of new events. (I have mine set to weekly).
2. Jambase- It’s been around for years. And oftentimes, I’ll forget just how great Jambase is for finding shows in virtually any city I visit. But the neat thing about Jambase these days is the location detection on the main page that displays concerts coming up in my immediate region. I don’t need to enter my zip code or subscribe to anything (but I still can, if I choose to) and dozens of shows in an area about sixty miles around is displayed right on the main page. Combine that with some live show reviews, giveaways and ticketing services, it’s a nice, robust place to find out what shows are coming to town.
3. Pollstar – It’s bland. And more of an industry go-to site. And considering how much money Pollstar charges for a subscription to it’s print or web publications, one would think the site would be much more slick than it is, but Pollstar is an industry standard for not-quite-mainstream live and touring music news, industry trends and tour announcements. Again, a search by city option makes this site quite useful for even a moderate live-music fan. And despite it’s bland appearance, Pollstar often has more of the commercial and bigger-name acts listed, often many months in advance of the date and sometimes even before a tour is officially announced.
4. Venue Websites, Stupid – There’s always the obvious way to find out what music is coming to your town or city: look at the venue’s website! In this region, Chameleon Club, The Brass Lantern, Reverb, Crocodile Rock, Spy Club, Championship, The Strand Capitol, Whitaker Center, State Theater, Gullifty’s, The Abbey Bar, Midtown Scholar Bookstore, Cornerstone Coffeehouse and dozens more list their events daily.
Obviously, visiting venue websites one-by-one on a daily or weekly basis could become time consuming. So, the final suggestion on this list (and my personal favorite way) of ways to hear about live music events near you is…
5. The good, old fashioned email list subscription – Any venue worth visiting has one. And any band worth seeing is either playing those venues or probably maintains its own mailing lists. Sure, sure…everyone gets tons of email, but with folders now built into Gmail and Yahoo and Hotmail, it’s simple to just add those email addresses to a specific folder in your inbox labeled something creative like “live music email” or “venue emails” and they’re sitting there…ready to be digested by you at your leisure.
Seeing live music is fun and easy and, in most locales, in no short supply. You just need to know where to find it. What are some of your favorite ways of hearing about live music?