Abbey Arts Survival Guide #1:
How to Promote a Concert
[PUBLIC DOCUMENT: Last updated 1/12/17]
Note: This guide is intended for shows in the 50-300 person range.
Contributors include: Nathan Marion (Abbey Arts), Andrea Friedman (Vera Project), Karli Ingersoll (The Bartlett),
Cody Kilpatrick (Abbey Arts), Elyse Lankford (Abbey Arts)
TOP METHODS: Real life, Video/photo on social, personal invites
Social media is not the only way to promote shows. It may or may not be all that effective in fact. Especially since only a small % of your fans will ever see the posts/tweets. It still helps to post something every day when you have a show coming up but don’t think doing that means you are promoting a show effectively.
Local printers: Minuteman Press 9550 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
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It may seem obvious but don’t book other competing shows in the area. Build up the excitement and focus for one show at a time. If you get booked for festivals or other free events consider not promoting those or listing them even until after your club/venue show. You’ll end up making more $ that way anyhow. For newer bands the spacing between shows generally can be about 3 and consider 2-3 months for an album release show, bigger bands or touring acts. For Seattle plays that would mean it’s ok to play Tacoma or Everett usually but not Edmonds or Columbia City.
Andrea at the VERA PROJECT (Seattle) adds:
“I think my biggest piece of advice is to not be bashful/embarrassed about plugging your own show. TELL EVERYONE!!!! Talk to all of your friends about it, have open communication with the venue about promotion plans, reach out to local zines, newspapers, radio stations, art spaces, etc. etc., post on social media, distribute handbills and posters. Also, connect with other bands in your scene/community and the city at large. The more people you get excited about your band the better!
Bands that start up in Seattle, or are transplanted for that matter, are blessed to be surrounded by such a supportive community. I have never been in a city where EVERYONE cares SO MUCH about music & art and genuinely want to help artists succeed. It is truly special. So don't be afraid to reach out to "music industry professionals"!
THE BARTLETT (Spokane) adds:
“One thing I've found to work pretty well for us in growing social media presence is a monthly giveaway on instagram. I post a pic of our month poster and people can tag a friend to enter to win two month passes. Each time we do it we get a bunch of new followers and obviously a ton of people see the full calendar because they get tagged.”
THE SUNSET TAVERN (Seattle) adds:
“Update your website and all social networking sites. We encourage you to send emails and post bulletins to promote your show. Let the local radio stations and newspapers know and don’t forget… TELL ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS!
Make a poster, bring some to the club, and distribute the posters around Seattle. The sooner they’re up, the better the show! Also, email a web size jpeg of the poster for our website and social network pages.
We also request that confirmed bands not play anywhere else in Seattle within 10 days before or after the scheduled date (2 weeks for touring bands). This will only increase the anticipation for your show at The Sunset and make ours that much better… we promise! Please let us know if you are hoping to book another Seattle show in that time frame as we can make exceptions in certain circumstances.
Please do not send packages to The Sunset that require a signature for delivery (UPS, FED-EX, USPS Certifed etc.).The bar is not open during normal delivery hours.”
Elyse at ABBEY ARTS (Seattle) adds:
“Make sure there’s a Facebook event for your show that you can invite people to. You can reach a lot of people and even though it’s not quite the same as inviting someone in person, I’m always happy to have been invited and will consider going to the show more than if I would have just seen it shared to your timeline. Also, if someone responds with “interested” or “going” Facebook will make sure they don’t forget about your event so it’s not as passive as a post, tweet, poster, etc.”