My buddy’s band was just starting out. They’d practiced in his garage, played some family events, and gained a following after booking gigs at small clubs, usually as the opening act. They had fan pages on Facebook and MySpace and were growing their base. They’d recorded a couple CD singles to pass out to music-lovers, critics, local radio DJs, and others in the music industry and had just put together a full-length CD. They were ready to move on to the next level. They wanted to book and promote a live concert on their own terms—a CD release party—for their fans, and make it all about the music. They worked, begged, and borrowed to get the cash to invest in themselves. They would reserve a space, take care of their own publicity, and, they hoped, make their money back in sales: from the concert tickets, the T-shirts, band stickers, and posters, and, of course, selling their CDs.
It was a controversial decision, but they chose to handle their own ticket sales, including designing and printing their own event tickets online. That part was easy, since anyone can find an online ticket printer, choose a relevant design, and fill out a ticket template. The template even reminded them to add all the important details: who, what, when, and where. Some readers may be interested in their process:
When and Where
As with any event, they needed to consider the best time and place to have the concert, limited, of course, by the number of suitable local venues and available nights for shows. You must consider times and places that would give your band the best exposure and best turnout. If there is a festival or fair in the area where your concert will be, decide whether this would add or detract from your event ticket sales. Sometimes other events can assist you in securing a large turnout, or they may hinder turnout; these are factors that must be considered in choosing a time and a venue.
Printable: Your Customized Event Tickets
Once they chose the time and place and booked the space, they began to design event tickets for the concert. As I said, they used online event ticket templates to create their own unique custom tickets. You may want to add your band logo to the ticket in addition to the information about the concert, and many ticket templates let you upload an image right from your hard drive. You can also choose a design that signifies your musical genre: a saxophone for a jazz quartet, an electric guitar for a rock band. After the tickets are designed, you should be able to generate a ticket proof. Some companies will send you free samples of their tickets so you can check out the quality, but for the most part, the proof should show you exactly what your ticket will look like.
Price of Admission
You’ve got to take into account what concert tickets cost in your area, and my friends considered all their expenses in deciding on a ticket price, including factoring the cost of printing the tickets, reserving the venue, and the venue’s minimum bar guarantee (some clubs will ask you to pay extra if your fans do not spend a certain amount on drinks!). One the one hand, you’re an artist and you want to create something beautiful, but on the other hand, you need to make profit from the concert. The exposure you receive is important, but if you don’t break even, you can’t repay your investors or promote another show, so consider a reasonable amount for the tickets that will also result in a profit for the band. Selling merchandise—T-shirts, posters, and CDs—at the show should earn you money, too.
Distribution: Get the Tickets Out
Gather your friends, family, and fans and get the word-of-mouth network going. You can sell face to face, but you should also consider an online ticket sales application. My friends had great success with a new site called Eventgroove, where they could sell e-tickets at no cost to themselves. Use all your networking tools to advertise: website, email lists, Facebook and Myspace, music forums, newsletters, and blogs to promote your concert. Make sure everything knows where they can get the tickets to your concert. Distributing tickets via a local radio station along with local and indie record stores will also help you to reach out and attract the audience who most desire to attend your concert.