Bring Your Company To the World
Executive summary for Entertainers:
Know your fan base, age range, salary makeup, how much beer they drink, do they always bring their parents? The more you know the better. Use that information to get bookings. A website and mailing list are central to this, and gathering information about who your fans are helps you sell yourself to venues!
Marketing for musicians, entertainers, and sports figures. What every successful musician knows or has done for them!
I recently had a conversation with a musician who has been in the business for over forty years. While he had some understanding of how to market himself I found that he had been overlooking some vital selling points and tools that he should be using in order to get jobs and event bookings. I decided to sit down, and write up a brief checklist and explanatory document for entertainers so they have the right mindset and understand the perspective of potential employers, record labels, and venue owners.
The first thing a musician or entertainer needs to understand is who are his customers and what is his product. You would think this is obvious! My customers are the people who listen to my music, and my product is the music! Wrong. Partially anyway. Not only are your customers your fans, but it is also the venue owner, the record label, the restaurant owner, etc. Why? Because they are the ones who have control over your gigs, and they are the ones who cut you a check! Without them, you don’t work. Unless it is for free in the park somewhere for change.
Look at this from the perspective of the restaurant owner being approaching for a gig. He has the choice between two piano players that would be appropriate for his restaurant. John and Steve are both fantastic piano players, play appropriate music, are nice to the guests, and are not a hassle to work with or have outrageous demands. John is asking for $500 and Steve is asking for $1000. Steve has a fan list and sends out a weekly newsletter to his fans telling them where they should go to see him. He also knows that he has 500 people on that list, that they are between 30-60 years of age with an average income of 70k and most importantly that at least 20 of them show up to every show he does in the area. John doesn’t have a website, a mailing list, or a fan base that he can tell you much about. He does have some friends in the area but he can’t tell the bar owner with any certainty how many will make it out on Friday nights. The bar owner knows that for every person who shows up he makes $100 of profit on average. Steve is going to bring him $2000 worth of business on that Friday night for $1000. John isn’t going to bring him any business since he doesn’t have a fan base. If you were the bar owner, would you hire Steve or John? Steve of course! John isn’t worth $5 and is charging $500, and Steve is worth $2000 and only charging $1000.
What are Steve and John really selling? Is it music or a demographic? The answer is both. The only way to get a fan base is to have good music, but in order to get paid, you have to get a bar or restaurant owner convinced that you have a fan base that will show up and spend money in their restaurant or establishment.
The entertainer who knows a lot about his following has a major advantage over those who don’t. It makes it easier to book gigs, it makes it easier to get endorsements, and it makes it easier to get more fans! It’s way more important than having good music or actually being entertaining! Everybody can think of 20 examples of an entertainer who “Isn’t very good”, but I guarantee you that they know a lot about their demographic. Why did Brock Lesnar get a title fight in the UFC with a 1:1 record? He has the largest fan base of any fighter ever to step into the octagon, six to seven time larger than any other fighter in the UFC. Justin Bieber may not make music you like, but I’ll bet that Usher taught him a lot more about the music business than he ever taught him about dancing and he knows more about 13 year old girls that like cheesy music than you ever will.
So start a website, get your fans email addresses, keep them updated on where you are going to be at and find out who they are. When you go in to try and get a booking, make sure you understand what the establishment owner is really looking for. Rarely is it ever you, it’s your fans that he wants, and the more information you can tell him about who will show up if he hires you the more likely you are to get a booking.
This may not be a surprise to successful entertainers, musicians, and sports figures, but it has surprised me how few people actually understand this! If you have a good manager, he has already been doing this for you. If he hasn’t, time to find a new manager. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to discuss how any of this effects your pricing, let me know, I’d love to hear your comments.
MBA Washington University
Owner St. Louis Integration