John – Minneapolis, MN – A festival wants me to play for free, saying that my band would want the exposure. Should we do it?
What are your expenses? Are you willing to pay that much to gain exposure? In my experience festivals tend to overstate the amount of exposure your band will receive. Twenty thousand in attendance really translates to a couple hundred actively listening to your performance, with another variable of “walk-byes”. At festivals a tiny portion of the active listening audience buys from your merch table because of all the options for the listener to spend their money elsewhere. If you can financially afford it, proceed with caution, and seriously lower your expectations for the amount of exposure your band will receive. If you do decide to do it, think hard and creatively how you can turn your “exposure investment” into buying customers.
Rebeka – Raleigh, NC – How can I sell more at my merch table after the show?
I will give you a few minor tweaks which may add up to some realistic increases. Without seeing your setup it will be hard to pinpoint specifics. Here are some basics:
1. Be aware of traffic patterns, restrooms, entrances and exits.
2. Make sure that there is good flow at your table allowing people to efficiently peruse your products, and then move out of the way to check out.
3. Humans are strangely are drawn to activity. As the artist, get out to the merch area quickly, as it will draw attention to that area, but don’t disrupt the flow at the table.
4. Bundle your products to turn a $15 customer into a $19 customer, and the $19 customer into a $25 customer.
5. Make sure your product offerings match your audience demographic.
7. Is your performance too long? Always leave the audience wanting more, and they will be more likely to take a part of you home with them.
8. Be bold, and let the audience know that your livelihood comes from the sale of your merch. Consider being even bolder, and put everything on the table up for donation, and let the audience know that their generosity keeps your band alive.
9. Most importantly, take a hard look at your live performance, and determine if it is compelling enough to drive people to purchase at your merch table.
Scottie – Houston, TX – How can I make my video go viral?
I hope I don’t misunderstand the nature of your question, but I am sensing a desire from you to skyrocket to fame, and create an instant audience. I know there are videos out there that have received tons of views, but this is usually because they are shocking. Building a long lasting fan base for your music does not come through shocking videos, rather through an intentional effort to reach out and give legitimate entertaining content to them on a regular basis. I absolutely suggest you use YouTube and other video sharing sites to share your music and message. Do it on a regular basis. If you want to go viral, be shocking. I don’t think it will last long.
Have a question you would like answered in the next column? Post it below in the comments section, or email AMP.
Jared Ribble is a record producer for Advantage Music Production with his work earning him a Dove Award. Additionally he has professionally drummed for more than 20 Grammy, Dove, and other award winning artists. He has made over 50 drumming appearances on FOX, ABC and TBN television networks. You can view his complete resume HERE.