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.
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”.
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.
Getting far in the music industry can be a hard slog. But if you make the effort to do the research, make contacts and develop your craft you will be able to define what path you need. Usually one contact can lead you to another, and one gig booking can lead to another and so on. But this only happens if you really grasp the opportunities presented to you in your music career.
1. Develop your sound!
Define what kind of artist you are. A singer/songwriter? Band? Do you only perform covers? What genre would you place yourself in? Or perhaps you believe your sound is unique and can’t be defined by a traditional genre. In that case, how would you define your music?
Come up with a description for what you do. This will help you figure out what route to take in the development of your music career e.g. what venues are suitable to perform your music in? What blogs/social media pages post about your style of music and therefore may post about you? Etc.
2. Create some content!
Now that you know who you are, you are ready to set up social media pages to promote yourself. But, how do you expect to draw interest without any content to share?
Social media gives you a chance to share your music and your interests, so get creating! You don’t have to fork out to record in a professional studio (a lot of home recording equipment and software is very affordable nowadays) – you don’t even have to create tracks at all! Just recording yourself performing your songs at home will give potential audiences an idea of what your music is, and also what you would sound like performing live at a gig.
3. Book some gigs!
You don’t need a manager to book gigs, you can do this yourself. You can find venues in your local area that may be open to showcasing your music. Your social media sites give you something to show these venues to help them decide to ask you to perform. It is useful to search for any acoustic nights or other themed music nights that are going on so that you can experience other artists performing.
These artists and venue staff may have contacts at other venues that you haven’t thought of yet and help you book yourself gigs at these places. Make sure you network! Don’t forget to utilise these opportunities by getting yourself photographed and filmed at these gigs for added content online… Just don’t upload blurry videos with awful sound quality and heads bobbing in front of the camera as this won’t be a very accurate or professional representation of your music!
4. Search for other opportunities!
Don’t just limit yourself to small venues in your local area. How about venues in cities/towns further afield to develop your fanbase? Or perhaps a small festival? Festivals are a great way to perform alongside other, sometimes more well-known / developed, artists. A lot of festivals have unsigned artists perform, and some are even programmed by the venues in their local area – which is why building up these contacts first is important to open up other opportunities like this!
For example, Simon Says festival in Leicester is programmed by the venues Firebug, The Donkey and The Musician who take artists who have performed in their venues and put them on a stage at the festival which draws around 1500 people every year! Research what is available to you and potential ways to utilise these opportunities.
5. Keep on top of things!
It’s all well and good getting yourself gigs and festival slots but these opportunities can be wasted unless you really milk it! Use the opportunities as a talking point on your social media sites, upload videos of yourself performing at home or at previous gigs as a taster of what people can expect at the gig / festival you are now promoting, use the gigs / festivals as a chance to promote your sites (e.g. using business cards with your links on them).
Amongst all these steps there is always time to get your songs recorded either professionally or through your own at home equipment and software. Get them uploaded online and also burn them to disc and hand them out for free at gigs. No, you won’t make any money from this, but you’re more likely to get them handed out if they’re free, therefore providing people with a reminder of your music after they’ve seen you perform. It can be easy for people to forget you with the plethora of talent out there!
Use these tips and move ahead in your music career.
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.
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.
It is important to spend at least 10 minutes to warm up before singing. Just like an athlete wouldn’t go and run a race without stretching you need to think of your voice in the same way, you don’t want to strain it! Here are some simple yet effective warn up techniques to help you become a better vocalist.
Useful Vocalist Terms
Belt: When you produce a well supported powerful sound. (Think Whitney Houston ‘And I’ from the song I Will Always Love You.) Even though it will be loud it should not be forced. If you are belting correctly it should be comfortable. This is the reason you are able to produce a loud and powerful sound.
Chest Voice: When you sing in the most comfortable part of your range. Singers often find the sound vibrations resonating in their chest and throat. Most of the time Pop/Rock singers are aiming to use this sound the most.
Head Voice: You naturally use your head voice when you sing in the highest part of your register. The sound is a lot lighter than chest voice. Female choral/classical singers use head voice a lot.
Blending: When you transition between head and chest voice smoothly, therefore they aren’t as obviously different. The spilt between chest and head voice for males is E-Gb above middle C and for women around an Ab-Bb above middle C. Blending is when the transition between chest voice and head voice isn’t really obvious.
Mixed Voice: When you have a good blend between head and chest voice.
Larynx: Another word for the voice box.
Soft Palate (Velum/muscular palate): The top part of your mouth.
Become a Better Vocalist
Breathing: This should be simple right, we all do it everyday? However as a vocalist learning when and where to breathe is essential to the expression of the song. A vocal technique to help you sing through phrases is the counting technique. What you do is: breathe in for 1 count, hold your breath for 1 count and then exhale for 1 count. Then you increase this each time. It will seem easy at 1 count but you will start to notice it becomes more difficult with each count. This will increase your vocal stamina and the ability to sing through phrases. (Obviously never go too far so you pass out, because that definitely will not help your vocal technique!) A good number to aim for is around 10-12 when you first use this technique but build up to this gradually.
Diaphragm: One thing you will come across as a vocalist is people telling you to support from your diaphragm. So it’s important to know where it is! A quick way to find where you diaphragm is and what it feels when in use is to make a harsh “shh” sound. When doing this a few times in a row and you should be able to feel it working. The aim is to have this feeling every time you are singing. Using your diaphragm is so important because it supports your voice. If you are trying to belt but are not using your diaphragm you will end up pushing from your throat which is NOT good and you will not have as much vocal stamina!
Smile: Smiling stops you from going flat as the action of turning up the corners of your mouth slightly sharpens the note you are singing. Also when you are smiling it is more appealing to your audience. No one wants to watch someone who looks like they don’t want to be there. At first it will seem unnatural but when you watch yourself back it will probably seem like a natural expression. As a singer/performer it is always important to record yourself and watch/listen to yourself back.
If you feel like your voice is tight DO NOT push from the throat as this could potentially damage your vocal chords. A lot of singers with bad technique can produce a loud sound but are straining their voice. The general rule is if it feels like a struggle then your technique is wrong. The most important thing to remember when singing is to be as relaxed as possible in your throat. Humming a song or scale doesn’t put any pressure on your voice so is brilliant if you need to rehearse but you are feeling a little under the weather. Singing is very psychological, if you think you can’t sing a part of a song you probably wont be able to! That’s why it’s important to use vocal exercises to remind yourself that you actually can sing the song!
One psychological technique is picture some stairs in your mind. Every time you have a high note picture yourself singing to the bottom of the stairs. The worst thing you can do is think about reaching for the note because by thinking about reaching you will probably end up singing/straining from the throat. Most of the time, the reason vocalists can’t sing a section of the song well is down to the fact they are using incorrect technique. However, singers tend to think “I can’t sing” if this happens.
Below are a few techniques to try out. The aim of these is to make you more relaxed in the throat and improve overall vocal technique with the ultimate aim to improve your confidence in your voice. Become a better vocalist with these techniques:
Singing with an ‘Open Throat’:
Sing an ‘ah’ – like you would at the dentist with your tongue out – to a scale. It might look a bit weird sticking out your tongue but it is a simple way to stop yourself pushing from your throat when you can’t quite reach that high note. This also will make you realise what it feels like to belt without pushing from the throat therefore you can transfer this to how you sing normally. The aim of this exercise is to have a raised soft palette and lowered larynx.
So this one is hard to describe but when you were a child you most likely did an impression of a zombie or monster by using this vocal technique. It sounds like a sort of crackling buzz. Vocal fry is great for extending your range and if you are finding it difficult to reach lower notes in your register.
Sirens is great for extending your range and making it easier to hit those high notes. They work well on sounds such as ‘eee.’ All you need to do is start at the lowest note you can reach then slide up and down (mimicking a siren.)
Taking vocal lessons will improve your voice massively. Below are some great vocal coaches with online resources that can help you become a better vocalist (also look at a previous blog for vocal coaches around the UK):
A tour manager is an offshoot of an artist manager they are usually someone completely different from the band manager. In some cases it can be the same person performing dual roles depending on what level the band is at. The primary role of the tour manager is to coordinate the band while they are on tour. They should make sure everything runs smoothly and that the band and the people working with then are happy.
What Does the Role Involve?
A tour manager will get involved with a band once tour dates are in place. In smaller tours the tour manager is usually the same as the band/artist manager. In terms of bigger artists though the tour manager will work alongside managers/agents and promoters to create an Itinerary. They will be responsible for employing any crew (sound, lighting, backline). They will also be in charge of finances on the road and making sure everything is accounted for.
The main responsibilities include booking flights and accommodation, ensuring all needs are met and overseeing any press or promotional activities. Most importantly they work with promoters to make sure the artist gets paid properly and the gigs run as planned. On larger scale tours they can be responsible for sorting out guest lists and dealing with press or media enquiries. They also ensure all the relevant paperwork is completed and any promotional material or merchandise is on display. The tour manager is the first point of contact for everyone while an artist is on tour.
Making Money as a Tour Manager?
If working with a big name artist, a tour manager will be paid a set fee. If it’s a small band the tour manager will be taking a cut of what the band makes from each night.