Can You Bring In 50 People?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by mcknigs, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. mcknigs

    mcknigs Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,366
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    When I got to get gigs some place I've never played I often get the question "how's your draw, can you bring in 50 people?" I don't intend this thread to be yet another rehash of the conversation about who's responsibility it is to get customers in the door. It's more about this magic number of 50.

    Is it just me or have others gotten this question? Is there something special about 50? Can your band bring in 50 people to a gig on the strength of your draw alone? I don't think I could, unless it was a really special event. Every single gig? No. I don't think there are many local bands that get 50 people in the door for every gig. I was in a band that filled a 200-person club on a regular basis but that was pretty unusual.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. traviswalk

    traviswalk In the Great State Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,155
    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Location:
    Paradise Valley
    Not every single time, but when we spaced out our gigs and planned them correctly around other events we could bring in a lot more than this.
     
  3. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,715
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    It's related to the magic number of "$100/man"...
     
  4. Tahitijack

    Tahitijack Member

    Messages:
    3,683
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    San Clemente, CA
    So, true.

    Today we are no longer a band...we are there to sell food and beverages. We need to pay our way.
     
  5. mcknigs

    mcknigs Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,366
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    I'm not sure what you mean by this. If you're suggesting that they need people 50 people to clear enough to pay the band $100/man, the places I'm talking about don't pay anywhere near that much.
     
  6. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,715
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    For over a decade, I've heard musicians complain about not getting "at least $100/man" to play a gig. The price of everything keeps going up, the "minimum gig rate" seems to stay the same. Why $100/man? What's the logic that leads to that number, which for a long evening (a couple hours travel/set up, three to four hours of playing, a couple hours packing up and traveling) comes out to McDonald's wages.
     
  7. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

    Messages:
    25,055
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada-GTA
    I was in a band a couple 3 4 years ago that made a BIG deal of our debut gig, promoting it through all the usual channels.
    Might have pulled in 50. Don't recall the count.
    It was a big place and it was not enough.
    Band broke up soon after.

    It's a hobby at the bar gig level. Kind of like playing hockey at the local arena.
     
  8. slybird

    slybird Member

    Messages:
    5,357
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Depends on where, the cover price, and how often we play. My current project only does shows within 5 miles of where we live, $5 or less at the door, only on Friday or Saturday, and only one show a season. 100+ friends, acquaintances, and friends of friends will easily pack the joints. If we break any of those rules we are lucky to have 25 show up for us.
     
  9. misterturtlehead

    misterturtlehead Member

    Messages:
    3,832
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
  10. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

    Messages:
    8,115
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    How many friends/fans do you have on Facebook? How often do you update your timeline? Do you interact with people?

    How many Twitter followers? How often do you tweet? Interactions?

    How many YouTube followers? How many videos do you have up?

    Is your band website up to date and mobile friendly.

    How else do you promote your band's brand?

    One observation I have is that few local rock bands do a good job of promoting themselves online as compared to DJ's and karaoke nights. I even see more online promotion by hip-hop and country acts than rock acts.

    For example, there's a local, rather mediocre, western swing / traditional country cover band that I've seen a couple of times. They regularly draw in 50 or so people a night. They've built most of their following through Facebook.

    It's not the 80's folks. Some flyers stapled to light poles isn't going to do it.
     
  11. misterturtlehead

    misterturtlehead Member

    Messages:
    3,832
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    I usually play for serfs and cretins. I don't really want to invite more serfs and cretins.
     
  12. Belmont

    Belmont Member

    Messages:
    3,470
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver B.C.
    on a typical (for me) bill there's usually 3-4 bands, the load is split 4 ways and hopefully the headliner is the main draw.
    usually though the venue has a built in draw on a friday/saturday so it really doesn't matter, if your band is good you'll be invited back.
    to answer the question, I doubt it.
     
  13. bobbradley

    bobbradley Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,632
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Location:
    Momento mori
    Back in the days of real record deals 200 was the magic number. If you were an original band and had 200 at every show,bam you had a chance. Today If you can't pull 50 you need to be on a muti band bill. If not you are not really in a position to play in a town without a vibrant music scene. If you play covers then it's really a non issue, you are providing entertainment. That is really of no benefit to you outside of a paycheck.
     
  14. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,708
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    North Myrtle Beach, SC
    We play 2-4x a month, top 40/Rock/pop/dance/modern country/classics. I do all of the promotion/website stuff recommended in one of the posts above. If we were to make a very big deal about one gig (and probably not play a month before or after we could draw 50 and possibly a lot more. My mates are all in other projects that honestly seem to take precedence to my gigs to a degree. I'd say since we are picking up speed this Friday will be good test. Local to me club, away from college town and away from city where we normally try and play.
    If we draw 25 to add to hometown built in crowd and KEEP them there all night (which is our specialty) it will be considered a pretty killer night.

    For our city gigs well draw 25 easy and the club itself will have 100 or so through the night because it's a happening spot. Those are the best gigs.
     
  15. kimock

    kimock Member

    Messages:
    12,555
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Where the Palm Tree meets the Pine
  16. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

    Messages:
    20,164
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    tell them no, but i think more close to 8 or 10.

    if you use fb, email updates, you can get good draws. if you are lazy don't expect it to be all on the venue draw.

    most bands around here are kind of lazy. poster goes up a few days before they gig. poster doesn't define the band. band has lame website or none at all. not good.

    your band needs a defining style, needs to look and act the part. if you are lame and stand in one spot staring at the fretboard that's not very exciting.

    around here bands with hot female singers (even if avg vocally) will do better than most others. even if that role is limited.

    if a venue knows your band is engaging and brings the party and not just a side show to food and tv's then you will make $. if you are hobbyists and don't really care (as many of them are here) then you may set the stage for even bigger changes.

    tributes are huge here now for the reason of they want bands with energy and purpose, not basement guys that get out once every 8 weeks. your area may vary.
     
  17. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

    Messages:
    10,401
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Location:
    Encinitas, SoCal
    It is very hard. If you are lucky you find bars that have built in crowds and your only job is to keep them happy (some of these places still exist, but not many).

    If you are an original band you can't push your followers to come to every gig. But you can create special event gigs and invite them to come.

    IMO - Tribute bands are the best bet for getting gigs, that way the draw is for the band you are portraying, not for you. Yeah, that kind of sucks, but if you are going to play covers anyway, this is probably your best bet for getting gigs.
     
  18. mcknigs

    mcknigs Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,366
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    OP here. I'm in multiple bands. They all have pages on FB. We create an event for pretty much every gig. Usually every member invites people to the event. I go through my friends (~800 of them) and invite those that live close enough that they're likely to come. By the time we're through there may be 150-400 people invited. Less when we're playing a place with a built-in crowd. Plus there are the people that "like" the bands. I don't remember how many that is for the various bands. Additionally, two of us will advertise to our own mailing lists. Mine has about 300 people on it -- all local.
    I don't think any of us in any of the bands use Twitter. That's largely a function of our age. Our fans tend to be our age.

    No idea. A few.

    Not particularly, but I don't think people go to the web site to find out what's going on. People use it to contact us when they've seen us somewhere and want to get on the list, and to listen to our music if they've never heard us.

    We participate in local tribute shows that feature multiple bands. This exposes us to new people. Some get on our list or like us on FB.

    Part of the problem with my bands is that our fans are older and have kids and responsibilities and don't get out much. Part of it is that they're spread out around DC, which has notoriously bad traffic making it difficult to draw from the far side of town. I admit we could do more to add to our mailing lists and FB likes. I don't honestly think that would have much of an effect for us.

    That said, my original point is still that bands, even younger bands, bands that promote heavily and tribute bands, have a hard time getting 50 people out to any gigs I attend of theirs, such that I question how realistic that 50 number is for single bands playing clubs under 200 capacity or so. When I go to see a band that drew 15 people, to a place where I never see more than 30 people, and the booker says we have to be able to bring in 50 people for him book us, I have to wonder how firmly based that is in reality. We both know it's probably not going to happen. Is he asking me to lie?
     
  19. Stu Cats

    Stu Cats Member

    Messages:
    15,279
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Location:
    Jiangsu, China
    Yes, but I would be too tired to play after carrying them in.
     
  20. BigSB

    BigSB Member

    Messages:
    1,493
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Not every gig, but I guar-an-flipping-tee that I (solo) or we (when I have a band) will make the patrons already there notice and enjoy. Ain't a person alive doesn't want to move to a good groove.
     

Share This Page