Hard Ticketing and Soft Ticketing

A lot of people don’t know what the concept of hard ticketing and soft ticketing means. Music consumers just want to buy their ticket for a concert or a festival and be done with it. But, they don’t know that selling tickets for concert and festivals can be very different. It each has its own term and its own meaning in the industry. Let’s dive into hard ticketing and soft ticketing a little deeper and discover the difference and how they work.

What’s The Difference between Hard Ticketing and Soft Ticketing?

Let us start with soft ticketing. Soft ticketing simply means that the tickets that are being sold can’t go to one artist. In this case just think of your festival tickets. You might go to the festival for just one artist, but you don’t pay for just that one artist you want to see. So, while you’re enjoying your favourite artist, you might as well just make a whole day of it at the festival. Seems pretty good, right?

Hard ticketing is the opposite. This is when you go to the concert for just one artist. On these events there will be one main act on the bill. Ticket sales will most likely go back to the main act. But times are changing and you never know what kind of deals may be involved,.

Times are Changing

In the modern music industry, some managers are trying to get a percentage of the ticket sales on festivals for their headline acts. The way I see it, this is just simply too difficult to do. If everyone starts doing this, there won’t be much revenue left for the festival, and it may not continue next year.

These deals are being made more and more frequently in the festival scene and if you put the ticket sales on top of that, I don’t think the festivals are getting the best out of the deals.

How to Organise a Music Festival

Organising a music festival can be stressful and there can be many factors which are beyond your control. But there are also many top tips on how to build and organise a music festival.

Work With the Right People

Find people who are really interested in what you are doing and are willing to be hands-on. Then split up the responsibilities and make sure everyone is clear on what they need to do. Organising a music festival doesn’t just come down to the organisers though. You need to think about people who are skilled in other key areas. This includes music, production, bar, marketing etc. try to spread out the world as much as possible, many people may be working as unpaid volunteers so it is important to make sure everyone is 100% committed.

Have a Strong Vision

Festivals are crowded marketplace so make sure you know what you stand for and what makes you different. Will you be a “Fun, Family-Friendly, Feel-good Festival” or will you be the opposite. Define who you are before hand to help you make decisions about what to include.

Get Some Investment

Unless you’re able to pay for everything yourself, the best way to get started is to persuade one or two people to believe in your vision and lend you a few thousand £. Even on a shoestring budget, you’ll probably break even in year 3 and start paying them back in year 5.

Think About Becoming a Company

Putting on a smaller festival for friends is a great way to start, but as soon as you start collecting ticket money from the public everything changes. You’ll need to think about setting up a company and completing your end of year accounts. The gov.uk website is a great resource.

Have a Great Relationship with your Venue/s

Noise complaints, damaged access roads or lack of a proper licence could be enough to close you down. Make sure you take the time to get to know your venue’s management personally. Manage their expectations from day 1. Don’t be afraid to ask early on about noise, access, traffic, litter etc. it will benefit you both in the long run. Whatever is agreed, make sure you seal the deal with a written agreement!

Don’t Do it All Yourself

Trying to do everything yourself seems like a good idea, but that can be time-consuming and stressful. i.e. Day professional to take care of your recycling or you’ll probably find yourself feeding thousands of cans into your local recycling bank. Not my idea of fun!

Take Time to Enjoy it

Until you reach a point where you can turn your music festival into a profitable business this is going to be your most time-consuming year-round hobby.  Make sure you give yourself time at your event to stand back, and enjoy / appreciate the fact that you’re doing what you love and you’ve pulled it off.

Nothing beats the feeling of standing back and seeing a festival full of people having fun and thinking “we did that”.

The Truth About Pay-to-Play Gigs

Pay-to-Play gigs are becoming less and less common (thankfully!) but they do still exist. Essentially they are deals made between the gig promoter and the unsigned band/artist wanting to play at the gig. The band/artist pays the promoter and also pay to sell tickets for the gig and all the money goes back to the promoter – the band/artist only gets money after they reach a certain level or once the promoter has covered a certain amount of costs. This level often doesn’t get reached, and when bands/artists are already incurring costs in order to play the gig (travel, accommodation, time out from work etc.) having to also pay to actually play there just adds to this!

There are some examples we have heard of where an opening act on a tour paid £2000 PER SHOW and all of this money went back to the promoter, not the act. Another band paid £50,000 to join a major band on a UK tour.

In theory, having the chance to support a major artist on tour is one that we all dream of (except being the major artist yourself, obviously!). You have the chance to perform to a huge number of people who have likely never heard of you so this gives you a chance to get some new fans. Right?

Well, how many times have you been to a gig where you haven’t really been bothered about the support act? Or thought “this act isn’t even in the same genre as the main act”? For example, I went to see Muse perform and Dizzee Rascal was the support act… weird! Bands and artists too often pay for a slot on a tour or at a gig where the audience isn’t even their target audience, so it is highly unlikely they will convert these people into fans of their own and in turn monetise these fans in order to one day make back the money they paid to perform the gig in the first place.

How Can You Get a Gig Otherwise?

There are also competitions that bands and artists pay to compete in as they give them the chance to perform in bigger venues than they may normally have the chance to perform in. For example, the Live and Unsigned Competition in the UK provides this opportunity. Often, acts pay to be in the competition but they aren’t actually ready to be performing such large venues so the opportunity is completely wasted!

No, pay-to-play gigs aren’t all bad. If no band or artist ever benefitted from them then they would’ve stopped doing it and these kinds of gigs would’ve been extinct a long time ago. The truth is, there is a reason promoters and competitions feel they can charge… because they normally provide an opportunity that unsigned acts would never normally be able to get on their own. But there are some questions you need to ask yourself before considering chasing these opportunities. If any of your answers reflect the ones given below then you need to consider whether the gig is worthwhile! :

  • How much is the promoter wanting you to pay? Probably more than we can afford or an amount that would take us a long time to make back.
  • What type of audience will be at the gig? Does this reflect your target audience? No it doesn’t, the act we are supporting/playing alongside is from a different genre.
  • Is the size of the venue reflective of the ones you already perform in/larger than normal but a manageable progression? Is it a lot bigger than you normally play e.g. you normally play to 100 but the venue is 1000? It is a lot bigger than we’re used to, we’d struggle to fill it.
  • What are you wanting to get out of the gig? Is it possible to achieve this through performing at this specific gig? I’m not sure what we want to achieve or I’m not sure we can achieve what we want to.

If your answers are the opposite to those above and you feel confident and happy about going ahead, then good for you! Grab it with both hands and milk the opportunity.

As with anything you do with your career, do your research. Whey up your options and make sure you are knowledgeable about what you are entering into before taking the leap.  Otherwise it is very easy to get scammed and taken advantage of!

Get international exposure for your music at Midem

A message from our sponsors, Horus Music.

Are you looking to get exposure in the worldwide music industry?

Every year we attend Midem festival, which is the largest business-to-business event in the music industry. We’ve been attending Midem for the past 10 years, so we have a significant presence while there.

Would you like to take your career to the next level?

If you’ve been trying to get a deal with record labels, managers, etc. this could be your lucky day. This year, we are looking for artists from all genres to represent at Midem.

This means, we will attend Midem on your behalf and hold meetings with top industry delegates. We will be looking to get you the deal you’ve been looking for. Our reputation means that we can secure meetings that others simply cannot. We will create a tailor-made EPK that will include your music, videos, bio and other relevant content that will be presented the relevant contacts and executives.

Why are you doing this?

We’re dedicated to helping musicians further their careers, this is something we do on a daily basis. We know that there is no better place than Midem for helping musicians get the opportunities and exposure that they’re looking for.

What can I expect from Midem?

Each artist is different and we never guarantee any specific outcomes. However, the more high-quality resources you have then there’s a higher likelihood that you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

In recent years, we’ve had artists that have received licensing deals with Detour Records, French and European promotion through Music Media Consulting, management and recording deals with Animal Farm, synchronisation deal wit O’Neill’s surf brand, publishing opportunities in GAS territories, booking agent deal with Kir Tomkinson as well as opportunities to tour Brazil and China.

What happens after Midem?

When we return, we will follow-up with each of the people we met and provide you with a full report detailing who was contacted, what meetings were organised, what comments were made and the outcomes of those meetings, along with other information that could help you when it comes to finalising deals. A copy of the EPK that we used can also be provided upon request.

How do I get involved, and what do I need?

For a small one-off payment we will attend Midem on your behalf and you will retain full rights to your music in this none exclusive deal and will keep 100% from any deals that are made, we will help you make the contacts you need to finalise your own deals.

All you need to do is get in touch here and send us more information about you, as well as links to your music, and if we like what we hear we can go ahead and start preparing your EPK.

Speak soon!

Looking to Tour France? Be Your Own Booking Agency

Below we have a table of venues across different regions in France. This is crucial information if you’re looking to tour France, it’s your opportunity to be your own booking agency (see here how to start a fanbase in France).

The Venues vary in size from just 300 seats to 20,000 seats and so should suit artists of all levels. The term ‘seat’ may also refer to the standing capacity that they hold. Use their contact details to book gigs and be your own Booking Agency.

Information correct at the time of publishing.

Town Name Max. Capacity Contact
Agen Le Florida 750 seats Email: acceuil@le-florida.org
Bordeaux Casino Théâtre Barrière de Bordeaux 718 seats Form to complete: http://www.lucienbarriere.com/fr/Casino/Nous-contacter-Casino-Barriere-Bordeaux.html
Bordeaux Rock School Barbey 676 seats Email: manon@rockschool-barbey.com
Bergerac Le Rocksane 500 seats Form to complete: http://www.rocksane.com/contact.php
Périgueux Sans Réserve 500 seats Form to complete: http://www.lucienbarriere.com/fr/Casino/Nous-contacter-Casino-Barriere-Bordeaux.html
Marcheprime La caravelle 500 seats Form to complete: http://www.la-caravelle-marcheprime.fr/contact.aspx
Bordeaux Le Bootleg 300 seats Email: booking@lebootleg.com
Saint-Loubès La coupole 828 seats Email: e.berrebi@saint-loubes.fr
Pau Auditorium Alfred de Vigny 800 seats Form to complete: http://pau-congres.com/demande-de-devis/
Gerzat  Théâtre Municipal Cornillon 828 seats Email: regisseur@ville-gerzat.fr
Clermont-Ferrand La Petite Coopé 464 seats Email: ecrire@lacoope.org
Brest Halle Penfeld 12,000 seats Email: contact@penfeld.com
Nîmes Arènes de Nîmes 17,000 or 20,000 seats depending on configuration Email: message@arenes-nimes.com
Toulouse Zénith de Toulouse 11,000 seats Phone: +33 5 62 74 49 49
Colmar Théâtre de Plein Air 10,000 seats Form to complete: http://www.colmar-expo.fr/demande-de-devis/
Mulhouse La Filature 1,216 seats Email: info@lafilature.org

Phone: + 33 3 89 36 28 28

Strasbourg Hall Rhénus 8,000 seats Form to complete: http://www.strasbourg-events.com/en/spaces/hall-rhenus
Sausheim Espace culturel Dollfus et Noack 2,000 seats Form to complete: http://www.eden-sausheim.com/infos-pratiques/contact-acces/
Monswiller Espace Culturel et de Loisirs Le Zornhoff 1,400 seats Email: lezornhoff@monswiller.fr
Colmar Centre de Congrès 1,328 seats Form to complete: http://www.colmar-congres.com/informations-congres-alsace/
Strasbourg Salle de Musiques actuelles de la ville de Strasbourg sur le site de La Laiterie 1,300 seats Email: jeanluc@artefact.org
Mulhouse La Filature 1,216 seats Email: info@lafilature.org

Phone: + 33 3 89 36 28 28

Pau Zénith de Pau 7,500 seats Form to complete: http://www.zenith-pyrenees.com/contact/
Bordeaux Patinoire de Mériadeck 7,250 seats Email: programmation@vega-france.fr (ask for the patinoire)
Boulazac Le Palio 6,500 seats Form to complete: http://www.palio-boulazac.fr/Contact,243.html
Agen Centre de congrès 4,562 seats Email: virginie@agen-expo.com
Talence Espace Médoquine 3,000 seats Email: v.sergent@medoquine.com
Mérignac Le Pin Galant 1,410 seats Email: direction@lepingalant.com
Bordeaux Auditorium 1,400 seats Phone: +33 5 57 78 41 19
Biarritz Gare du Midi 1,400 seats Email: gerald.buscemi@biarritz.fr
Bordeaux Grand Théâtre 1,100 seats Email: info@opera-bordeaux.com
Mérignac Krakatoa 1,200 seats Email: transrock@krakatoa.org
Cenon Le Rocher de Palmer 1,200 seats Email: contact@lerocherdepalmer.fr (Patrick Duval)
Arcachon Olympia 1,000 seats Form to complete: http://www.ville-arcachon.fr/contact.html
Cournon-d’Auvergne Zénith d’Auvergne 9,400 seats Email: anne.cherfils@gl-events.com
Aurillac Le Prisme 5,000 seats Form to complete: http://www.aurillaccongres.com/index.php/concert/renseignements-organisateurs
Montluçon Athanor 4,200 seats Form to Complete: http://www.centreathanor.com/demande-de-devis-location-salle-auvergne/professionnels-du-spectacle.html
Clermont-Ferrand La Coopérative de Mai 1,500 seats Email: ecrire@lacoope.org
Dijon Zénith de Dijon 9,000 seats Email: programmation@vega-france.fr
Auxerre Auxerrexpo 5,000 seats Email: angelique.favier@auxerrexpo.fr
Mâcon Le Spot 4,800 seats Email: info@macon-tourism.com
Chalon-sur-Saône Parc des expositions 4,500 seats Form to complete: http://www.achalon.com/Formulaires/Contact
Dijon Auditorium de Dijon 1,600 seats Email: infos@opera-dijon.fr
Chevigny-Saint-Sauveur L’Ogive 1,200 seats Phone: +33 3 80 48 15 15
Nîmes Arènes de Nîmes 17,000 or 20,000 seats depending on configuration Email: message@arenes-nimes.com

Good luck getting gigs in France and becoming your own booking agency!

If any of the information needs updating or changing then please let us know.

Careers – Roadie and Lighting Crew

Roadie and lighting crew jobs are based strictly in live music; they have no part to play during the recording, post-production or sale and distribution of music. Most live shows will have lighting arrangements and in larger shows this will be large and elaborate. The lighting crew is responsible for all aspects of lighting and visual effects. The term ‘roadie’ refers to those employed to help with the set and the equipment. They will also help with any other manual labour that is required.

What Do the Roles Involve?

The lighting crew’s duties involve designing the lighting plot for the performance. They set up equipment, operate the lighting board and the pyrotechnics, lasers, smoke and other special effects. Their priorities are to enhance the show visually and to make sure the artist is visible and well lit.

The job of a roadie is often manual labour before and after the performance. They set up and remove equipment and supervise its storage and transport to the next location. However some roadie and lighting crew act as backline technicians who supervise the instruments, amplifiers, stands and stage set. They will check that all instruments and amps are working correctly and build or fix the set where necessary. They’ll tune the guitars and drums, replace strings or drumheads and aid the performers with any equipment problems.

Making Money as Roadie and Lighting Crew?

Venues may employ their own in-house lighting crew or an outside crew can be hired for a specific show or tour. The more experienced and senior you are, the more money you will make. Many lighting directors often become head of their own lighting company.

Roadies are generally hired for a single tour, experience is beneficial with supervising roles being more profitable. However, it’s possible that artist or tour managers will have trusted roadie and lighting crew to call on each time.

Careers – Music Promoter

A music promoter is the person responsible for putting on and running a live concert. They work directly with managers, artists and agents as well as venues in putting an event together.

Promoters can work on a small scale in their local area or they can work on a larger scale. Working with a promotions company involves working with bigger and better known artists in larger venues.

What Does the Role Involve?

The music promoter is in charge of booking a venue and artists, publicising the gig and distributing posters and flyers. They also arrange sound check and stage times for the artists performing. A large part of the promoter’s job is paying the artists for performing.

The promoter can also be asked to provide the artists with a rider, find accommodation, or sort out the backline. Promoters are responsible for ensuring the safety of the artists and the audience during the course of a gig. The promoter is responsible for making sure the gig runs smoothly and everyone including audience and the artists are happy.

Making Money as a Music Promoter

The pay for promoters varies and depends on several factors. It comes down to the deal they have with the artist and their popularity. Obviously the bigger the artist the more money there is likely to be involved.

Many promoters at a local level do it alongside their day jobs, as they don’t expect to make too much money from it. Agreeing to a door split deal means giving up a set fee and instead shares proceeds from ticket sales. In most instances, the music promoter will first recoup the costs they spent renting the venue and promoting the show. The remaining money is then split between the band and the promoter at a pre-agreed percentage rate. Promoters often weigh these percentages in favour of the band.

For a large scale tour like an arena tour one promoter will invariably promote all dates. Alternatively, one promoter could promote a UK tour except dates in Ireland or Scotland that would be handled by local promoters.


There are several large promotion companies all over the UK.  They are listed here on the concert promotions association website http://www.concertpromotersassociation.co.uk/

How To Make Your Gigs More Successful

Making your gigs more successful is what we would all like to achieve. But how do we do it?


It’s something we’ve all heard time and time again but it really is the key to more successful gigs (after all, practice makes perfect, right?). The importance of rehearsals can never be overstated though; all hard work leads to a confident performance. If you and your band are tight and have good shows then people are much more likely to come and see you. If you paid to see a band live and they were terrible then you wouldn’t pay to see them again. Why would you expect anything different from your audience?

A good place to start is by recording both your rehearsals and live shows and then watching them back. This a great way to spot any mistakes and to see why the audience reacted in the way they did. It is also a better way for working out a set list, if you don’t love it then why will others? This is one of the first steps to making your gigs more successful.

Spread Out Your Shows

If you play in the same area every week then you’re very unlikely to get a growing audience. People will simply view your band as one they could “watch next time.”

If you’re good enough and spread out your shows then people will be more willing to pay to see you play. Allowing more time between gigs also means that you have more time to promote yourselves and generate more interest.

Make it an Event

By spreading your shows you have time to come up with more ideas, including a theme and a title. The theme can be anything and it’s also a great idea if you have a new album to promote. Ideas like this are a great way to make your band stand out from the crowd and get noticed. A different theme each time will get people talking and more people will want to come to your gigs.

Sell Advance Tickets

Selling tickets in advance means that you can get people to commit to attending your gigs. Advance tickets should ideally be cheaper than the door price. If you have a good following, you can hide some tickets around your local town as a scavenger hunt. You can promote this across your social media and your website, Mötley Crüe has done this with great success. It’s the perfect way to make your gigs more successful.

Promote the Gig Yourself

So many bands make the mistake of thinking that the venue will promote their gig; this isn’t their responsibility. Venues put on gigs every week and it wouldn’t make sense for them to promote everything – it wouldn’t be cost effective. They only promote shows that will sell for them. If your first gig goes well then next time they may put in more effort for you.

Don’t rely on Facebook for your promotion either. Many people don’t even look at their event invites anymore because they get so many of them. You should promote through all possible mediums including physical flyers and posters, radio and sponsorships. Having professional looking promo material legitimises the show.

Get Out There and Make your Gigs More Successful

Weeks leading up to a gig are when you should be getting out there the most. Attend as many local shows as you can, visit bars and other places that you wouldn’t normally attend. The point is to reach out to as many people as possible to spread the word.

The main thing is to just get out there and talk to actual humans in the physical world. A personal invitation is much more effective and impactful.

You deserve to play in front of paying customers and these 6 steps should help make your gigs more successful.

Advice for Booking your Own Tour

Have you ever thought about booking your own tour? Before you jump right into it, take some time to consider the important points and you’ll avoid plenty of headaches later on.

Choose a Logical Route

There is no point driving to the bottom of the country after doing a gig at the top of the country, and then back to the midlands. Sit in front of a map and create a logical route. Try not to have a long drive before doing a gig because travelling makes you tired!

Choose the Right Venue

You really need to consider your venues carefully! It is usually better to sell out a really small venue than to play to a large half-empty venue. You also need to look at how much they are going to pay you. Try and find venues that already have a loyal following as it is a great way of finding new fans (especially if it is a town where you don’t have a large following).

How to Book Venues for Your Own Tour

As you are trying to sell your band to the booking person you should try and utilise some sales techniques which are easily found online. Calling is the best way to instigate conversation, ask who is the best person to speak to about booking gigs and ensure that you get a name for them.

Hopefully they will put you straight through but if not then you can use a name next time you call and obtain their email address if they are away. Create a list of all the venues you have contacted and what the outcome was, learn from mistakes to create the best sales pitch you can.

Use Analytics

Find out where your fans are and play to them, don’t waste your time playing to empty venues. In the Internet age this is easier than ever. Your music distribution company should be able to help with this or alternatively obtain stats from your website or social media.

If any of your friends are in bands that have a strong local following, consider getting them to open or close for you to pull in the punters.

Be Consistent

There is no point just playing a city once, you need to ensure that you are going to go back there at some point. This way, if someone has missed the first gig they have the opportunity to see you again. Not only this but it means that hopefully each time you go back your audience will grow and you can eventually play bigger and better venues that will pay you more money.

Collect Data When Booking Your Own Tour

Use the fans that you have on these tours to collect as much data as possible. Ask them what they want and then deliver it! You can easily get street teams, maybe just one or two people, by offering the team free tickets to the show and some kind of incentive. Get creative, this doesn’t need to cost you a lot, what about a meet and greet?

Once you have assembled a street team. Go and get that invaluable data, the first place to start is getting the audience to sign up to the mailing list, as well as some more specific questions such as age, gender, location, where’d you hear about the band? – Whatever you think is useful to you.

Plus, try to get some data that you can’t usually get including how much they usually spend (or are prepared to spend) on albums?

Marketing and Promotion

There is no point in playing a venue with out any marketing or promotion behind you. You need to ensure that your gigs are listed in as many gig listings as possible and try and get in as many music magazines and local press as possible. Keep it relevant though, e.g. if you’re a heavy metal band there’s no point having a listing in a dance publication.


You need need need to budget! Try as much as possible to call in favours from friends and family so you can get a place to stay. No one really wants to sleep in a van and hotels are expensive.

Consider the cost of your overheads – do you have to pay for the sound-man? How much is petrol going to cost? What about food? What about merchandising?

Plan as much as possible before you begin booking your own tour and your tour will be much more successful in the long run.

Important Live Performance Tips and Techniques

One of the best ways to improve your live performance is to gig as often as possible! Why not watch other bands’ performances and use elements that you like. This should help find a style of live performance that suits your musical style. You also need to learn how to gauge your audience so you know which songs work and which songs don’t.

Here are 5 tips and techniques to ensure that your band produces an exceptional live performance.

Tips for your Live Performance

  1. An extremely important part of your performance is having a killer set list. Take your time preparing it, start and finish strong with fast paced and catchy songs. Make sure that you have rehearsed, rehearsed and rehearsed some more! Vocalists should work on their microphone techniques and guitarists and other musicians need to work on looking confident.
  2. Watch the audience whilst you are performing. If they seem like they’re having a good time and enjoying themselves then they’ll be more likely to partake in audience participation. Encourage them to clap, sing along and dance. Don’t try to force people though as it can make the audience feel uncomfortable.
  3. Use your stage; you shouldn’t ever stay in one place for the whole gig, unless you’re a drummer. Even singer songwriters should move around when they’re not singing. If you are performing a guitar or bass solo move to the centre of the stage.
  4. Remember that your audiences have come to watch you so you need to put on a show! You should convey the emotions of the song to the audience and show them you want to be there! It doesn’t matter how tired you are, or how much you don’t want to be there. Look as if your enjoying yourself.
  5. Know how to sell yourself especially if you are playing amongst a lot of other bands; make sure the audience knows who you are! Interact with the audience immediately after the show. Let them know where your merchandise stand is, your up-coming gigs or releases and where they can find out more about you.