You see it everywhere, the VIP ticket options to meet your favourite artists with sometimes prices much higher than they need to be. We are here to show you the good things about VIP-ticketing and the bad sides.
It shows your fans you’re willing to meet them. The die-hard fans will obviously jump at this possibility to meet their heroes.
It’s nice if you give fans something extra. Many bands and artist put a lot of time into thinking of a way to make a full package of the VIP ticket. Try to give them more than just a hug and a picture with their favourite band or artist. Consider giving them something extra like a merchandise package. Give them the chance the chill out with you with a pizza party or something else like this.
You see pop stars exaggerate with the prices and some people will actually pay for it. But not everyone gets the chance to buy them. Fans will feel left out and may get mad at the artist. This is never good, because you don’t want to lose fans. This is the same for concert tickets.
It eliminates the fans with a smaller budget. Of course, it all depends on the age of your fans attending your gig. If the age is, let’s say 12, you wont earn much for VIP-tickets if they are really expensive. You’d have more chance with teenagers of 16-18 year-old. Because that’s when many start earning more income of their own.
All in all, its a good idea to use VIP-ticketing. Just be careful not to do what Ozzy Osbourne did at Graspop Metal Meeting in 2016. He asked $950 for a meet & greet at the festival for 15 minutes before the show. Which is crazy and no one paid for it. Just be mindful of the price for your fans and give them that little extra that will make it the best night of their lives.
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.
Merchandise usually comes as an afterthought to people embarking on the journey of their music careers, but it’s a major revenue stream for many musicians and labels. Merchandise isn’t just a means to make money. It’s how your fans connect with you as an artist and as a brand, show their support and capture memories. Having merchandise allows people to express who they show they are part of your journey
Setting up your own line of merchandise doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to do it alone. You just need the right partners to help you deliver on this aspect of your music business. Before you start, you need to know the five steps to building your line. We’ll walk you through these below.
1. Get your Merchandise Designs Made
Kanye West managed to sell plain white Egyptian cotton T-shirts at $120 a piece, but most artist merchandise needs a little bit of decoration to entice people to buy.
You need to create artwork that captures your values, the emotions you create, your beliefs; your brand, and it needs to connect with your fans on an emotional level. Not to mention your artwork has to be visually appealing and your fans have to be proud to wear it.
Think about what you want done before approaching an artist or designer to create your artwork. The more you can tell your designer about yourself, the better equipped they will be to create merchandise that you will be proud to sell and that your fans will actually want to buy.
2. Decide Which Products you Want to Sell
Once your artwork is complete and you’re satisfied, the next step is to choose which products to sell. Bare in mind, not all products are made the same. There are standard T-shirts and there are premium T-shirts for example.
Every category of products from T-shirts, sweaters and hoodies right through to varsity jackets, backpacks and beanie hats will have various manufacturers and product ranges within them and it’s your job to decide which ones you want to use. Consider the following when deciding:
- Quality of T-shirt; Standard or premium?
- Is the garment easy to re-label?
- How much does it cost?
- Does it fit nicely? Will your fans want to wear it?
- What does the fabric feel like and what is it made of?
These decisions will affect production costs which will impact your retail price. Don’t get me wrong, Beyoncé can sell her merchandise on a cheap Gildan Softstyle T-shirt for £35.00, but she’s Beyoncé. We have to be practical here and choose a product that looks and feels the way you need it to in order for you to feel comfortable selling it at the price you’re asking for.
3. Get your Samples or Mockups Made
Now your designs are made and your products are selected you need to be able to show people what the product will look like. There are two ways you can do this.
Get Mockups Made
This is a more cost effective way of showing people how your products will look. You can put the mockups on your website and use them to promote on social media. We can also provide you with images to produce your own mockups on. Just ask for access to our Google drive.
Get Physical Samples Made
Having a physical item that you can take photos of and promote on your social media channels and at your gigs may be a little more costly, but it’s certainly much more effective at getting people to trust and buy your products. Now they can feel the garments before making a purchase. People won’t buy a product from you if they can’t see it – unless maybe you’re Beyoncé.
4. Set Up your Sales Channels
Once you’ve created your products, you need a way for your customers to buy them.
A sales channel is simply a way of bringing products or services to market to make them available for purchase.
Selling online is essential if you want to reach more customers than you could offline. Get an e-commerce website built so that your customers can buy your products online. Research on the range of e-commerce platforms available and choose the right one for you. See suggestions:
- Big Commerce
- Woo Commerce
Selling Merchandise at Gigs
If you have a gig and you have a chance to take some of your merchandise with you, then do it. This is a chance for you to connect with your customers, talk to them, sign copies of your EP, take photos with them and make it a memorable experience.
If you can’t get a table, then wear your own merchandise. Bring a duffle bag or two and sell your merchandise to people straight out of the bag. After you’ve delivered your performance, people will want to become a part of your brand and your story. Don’t deprive them of this. Not everyone will have cash, so be prepared and get a portable card reader. We recommend the iZettle.
5. Production & Fulfilment
You will need a means by which to produce and distribute your products so that your customers will receive them. There are a few ways to approach this depending on your circumstance.
You can sell your products online without having to get them made in bulk and keep inventory and still earn a profit on your sales. You sell the product first and then we print and ship it to your customer on your behalf with you lifting a finger. It’s a good way to get started on a low budget and test out which of your products are most popular. Learn more about print on demand here.
Ordering in bulk is higher risk due to more cash being spent upfront, but will give you a higher profit margin. If you have a growing fan base and you’re selling regularly, this may be the route for you. Paying £5.00 per T-Shirt and selling them at £20.00 will give you pretty good margins with a relatively low breakeven point. It’s a good idea to learn about the different printing methods as well, which you can do here.
You can choose to keep your products yourself and ship them to your customers manually, but may consider outsourcing to a fulfilment centre when your operation grows.
So now you have everything ready, why not get started?
It can take a while to get everything prepared to start selling your merchandise, but once you’ve reached that stage then you’ve crossed a real milestone. Having the right guidance during the process is essential, and that’s why we’re here to help and offer our expertise.
We believe you should be able to earn a living from your craft and want to help you do that, so get in touch and let us know what we can do for you.
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0116 350 0321.
Written by Kieza Silveira De Sousa from Wear Your Heart Out
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”.
To become a successful artist, you need to work hard on building your fanbase, until you reach a point where you can sell your products to sustain and grow your career. A loyal fan is built from multiple, valuable connections with you. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure you get the contact details of those people who have invested their time in you by either watching you live, liking your fan page or browsing your website. It all starts by building your mailing list.
Firstly, get yourself signed up to Mailchimp. This is a free platform that organises your mailing list and helps you create professional looking mail outs. You can create the best looking content for your subscribers.
At Live Shows…
After your performance, make sure to have a printed mailing list sign up sheet prominently displayed at the merchandise stand, or even better, go round the audience asking people to sign up. If you’re too busy after your set to do this, (or too shy), ask an outgoing friend to help you. It usually helps to have some sort of incentive for people signing up, such as a free demo CD, digital single download code or a badge for example. You’ll then need to add in those contact details into your mailchimp list.
Something that we have found has worked well for larger scale events is a text marketer. This is where you ask audiences to text a keyword (selected by you) to a short number, and they get an automatic text response. The response may contain a link to your website, a free music download or tour dates for example. Think of the old Orange Wednesday 2 for 1 deal on cinema tickets where you texted FILM to 241 and got a code in reply.
Look at www.textmarketer.co.uk which is free to set up an account. You then pay a small subscription fee for a chosen keyword and then purchase a number of credits. For every automatic response that sent is out, a credit will be used up. If you then make it so that in order to access the incentive, an email address is required then you can then collect email addresses for your mailing list too. Noisetrade is a useful site for this.
All of the numbers of people texting in are stored on your account, so when it comes to releasing your EP for example, you can send out a text marketing message with the download link to all of those people directly to their phones.
We highly recommend setting up a Sign Up box to your website. Mailchimp helps you integrate a sign up button into your website easily. Make this prominent on the home page. Add a clear call to action and make it obvious what the benefits are for subscribers.
Use social media to get people signed up to your mailing list. With Facebook making it ever harder to reach your fans without spending money, it is well worth working on migrating as many Facebook followers to your mailing list as possible. Again, use incentives such as raffle give aways, priority on tour tickets etc. You can get creative with this!
What To Do With Your Mailing List?
- Make sure to put out regular, quality content to your mailing list subscribers.
- Send exclusive and engaging content. Anytime you have a major announcement, such as a new release, festival appearance etc – announce it to your mailing list first. They will appreciate being told before anyone else and value the subscription to your mailing list.
- Run competitions exclusively open to your mailing list subscribers.
- Don’t over do it – You’ll see large numbers of people unsubscribing if you’re bombarding them with promotion. Keep things engaging and interesting, which means you have to keep yourself busy doing fun and interesting things!
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!
In an age where music is basically free, the live music industry has become a bigger revenue stream for artists. As music sales has decrease, income from live performances have risen. Therefore, this means you should be striving to tap into this industry. Don’t forget to read part one of this blog!
However, your ability to make money from this depends on where you are in your career. It is all too familiar that artists rarely get paid for gigs, or even have to pay to play! When you’re incurring costs to get the gig in the first place, it can be costly to carry on gigging.
But, the algorithm is simple. Gigs mean new fans; new fans means bigger audiences at gigs; bigger audiences means more interest from venues. The more interest there is the bigger the pay check you could potentially receive. You do have to milk every opportunity you get though. If you do gigs months apart then the interest will fade and you may have to start this again.
Be ballsy as well… don’t always assume that you are playing for free. Don’t be afraid to ask “how much will I get paid for the gig”. If nothing then ask “could I at least get paid for my expenses or get a guarantee that if you’re impressed you’ll pay me to come back”. You could even try and negotiate getting a percentage of the bar sales in the venue! The venue needs to make money and if they pay you and no one turns up that’s a problem. Deals like this mean they can ensure they cover their costs before paying you. At the end of the day, sell yourself!
Making Money from Live Performances
As in the last part of this series, you can earn copyright royalties for your performances. If you are signed up to PRS and perform a song you’ve written, PRS will pay you for this performance. Every venue has a PRS license to cover the costs of paying out these royalties, so take advantage of this. Do your research on PRS to make sure you do what you need to get paid and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re unsure, ask the venue as they should know how it works. They aren’t paying you this royalty themselves so shouldn’t have a problem telling you how to get what is owed. Even if the venue is paying you to perform, you can still get money from PRS too!
As with most things discussed in the industry, promote, promote, promote! You should have active social media accounts and content to show what your music is like. This way venues will feel more comfortable putting that investment into you. If they are unaware of how good you are as an artist then it’s a huge risk to pay you.
Admittedly, when you are just starting out your main source of income will probably come from your intellectual property. However, it is still worth looking into other revenue streams such as live performance.
This might sound like a strange one but bare with me! You’ve booked yourself a gig, you’re (hopefully) promoting it, you’ve put in the practice and perfected your set list. Then hardly no one turns up to your gig or not as many people as you expected turn up. This can be awkward for any performer. Doing a live gig to a half empty room, or less, can be disheartening but it’s not all bad!
Obviously, performing live gigs gives you the chance to build your fan base by showing people what you can do and hopefully turning an audience member into someone who may come to more of your gigs, like your Facebook page or download your music, for example.
But how often does this actually happen?
How many audience members actually end up going home and researching you online? There aren’t many accurate statistics out there to give a definitive answer to this but if you monitor your Facebook likes / Twitter followers etc. before and after a gig you probably won’t notice much difference. Performing live provides more benefits than this.
Get Someone to Take Photos or Videos of you Performing
Just ask them to film from an angle that doesn’t show the empty room! Now you still have content to share with your fans and start building a larger fanbase online.
If you Make a Mistake it Doesn’t Matter
Not many people will see anyway! Use it as an opportunity to play around with your set list, try new material, develop your stage presence. Now you’re ready for a future gig with a larger audience.
Get Some Audience Feedback
Large crowds tend to talk amongst themselves, whereas smaller crowds may feel too awkward to do this – therefore they may actually be listening more intently than your larger crowds. Now you have a chance to ask the audience what they thought of your music, helping you develop your material.
If No One Turns Up to Your Gig, You Can Still Get Something Out of it
Ask the manager if you can still use the space to practice your material and get a feel for the venue. Remember that you’ve still made a contact thanks to you booking the gig in the first place, so you could go back at a later date or ask this person for contact details of other venues or people he/she may know in the industry!
I’ve been to a gig before where there were 3 people in the audience at a 200 capacity venue! The acts still performed, and one of them utilised Facebook’s new live feed feature to record himself performing which streamed live to Facebook and drew in 60 viewers, all interacting through comments and shares online. Therefore he could consider his total audience for that night as at least 63 people, not just 3!
There are many ways to make the most out of a bad situation, its all about your attitude. Think about a plan of action before anyone turns up to your gig in case not many people turn up. That way you can still get something out of it!
Your ears are your biggest assets so don’t take them for granted. There’s no coming back from serious hearing damage or Tinnitus (ringing in your ears). Make sure you protect your ears!
Try to limit your exposure to two hour blocks (not always possible). Then rest for 30mins (do some quiet editing). My Engineering professor would also recommend complete silence for 15 mins if time was tight.
Sometimes I’d even put on ‘construction’ ear protection (the big ones that fit over your ears). After long periods of exposure to loud music the hairs inside your ears get tired and they need a break so they can ‘wake up’ again.
Don’t Mix At Loud Levels
Around 80 to 85 dBSPL is a good average. Use an SPL meter if available. If you can’t get your hands on one, the trick is that the mix level should be quiet enough that you can have a comfortable conversation with someone in your room. Headphones are harder to judge so be careful.
We’re all guilty of blasting mixes until our ears tingle. It’s fun, but very dangerous, like gator wrestling. You should also be careful with “city” listening. City sounds (cars, subways, construction) themselves contribute to ear fatigue. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the tendency is to turn up your headphones to compensate (which is a vicious cycle).
Monitor the levels you’re pumpin’ into your ears. Once those inner ear hair cells die, they can’t be repaired and don’t grow back (unless you’re a frog or a bird). Total Bummer.
The realities of the Fletcher-Munson curve (aka. Equal Loudness contour) will affect your mix too; Mixing at loud levels usually makes for an unreliable/unbalanced mix. Having said all that, it’s sometimes unavoidable to crank it every once in a while so you can really feel the track! Just be careful.
Good Ear Plugs with Protect your Ears
They’re essential for live shows, but also handy in many studio situations. You can easily spend hundreds on custom molded plugs (e.g. Sonomax), but more affordable options are available too (e.g. DUBS).
One last thing about earplugs (and Q-Tips), is that overtime they can push earwax into your ear canal and eventually create a blockage. About 10 years ago I thought I was going deaf in one ear. A quick visit to a local health clinic fixed me right up. They flushed my ear and a nasty slug of wax was dislodged. It was gross, but was also the best feeling ever. After weeks of suffering and freaking out that my career was over, it felt like I was hearing for the first time!
Don’t Wait For Something to Happen to You
You’ll regret it. There are varying degrees of hearing loss. It can slowly degrade over time, or you can suffer from one loud sound (e.g. Captain Kirk got Tinnitus from an explosion on the set of original Star Trek and he still suffers 45 yrs later).
Too many concerts (or even one bad one) without ear plugs cause harm (the ringing you hear after a show is not a good sign). Many don’t even notice their hearing loss.
I’ve worked with tons of musicians over the years and I can tell the ones who can’t hear certain things anymore. They ask me to crank certain frequencies because they can’t hear them. It sounds terrible and painful to me, but they love it. I correct the EQ later and the neighbourhood dogs are happy again.
Protect your ears now and you will be thankful further down the line.
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.
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.