The Art of Selling Out: How to Fill a Venue
The art of selling out.
No, we’re not talking about doing John Farnham covers for the rest of your
career. We’re also not talking about getting McDonalds to sponsor one of your
shows (although, of course, you could – we’re not going to get all ‘judgy’ about it).
What we’re talking about, of COURSE, is selling so many tickets to your show that
you simply can’t fit any more in. We’re talking about proudly plastering ‘SOLD
OUT’ across your online checkout, your gig posters, and anywhere else you can
So how do we sell out a show? We use our noggins. Sure, your line-up’s got to be
great (we’re going to assume that it is), but as we all know, in the world of music
business, raw talent only gets you so far. So, without further ado, here’s how to
sell out a show!
1. Choose your venue wisely
Thinking about WHERE your show is going to be is a step you don’t want to miss. The perfect venue is the combination of numerous factors.
First, let’s talk location. The perfect location is:
- Easy to get to by public transport
- Centrally located (or at least near your core audience)
- Not in an area where someone might get stabbed.
Next, you want to think about capacity. How many people do think you can get
through the door? Don’t be too ambitious – be real. We’ve all been to those
shows in massive venues with only a smattering of punters. Those gigs suck.
They don’t feel good for the musicians OR the audience, and they certainly don’t
get rave reviews. And oh, the awkward. So choose a venue that FITS your
audience size. If in doubt, go a little smaller! Would you rather sell out your local,
or have your mum watching you in Rod Laver?
Also, let’s not forget about the sound. Some venues are great, and some are just
horrible. Think about the style and genre of your music. Can it handle being
played through a 2003 set of studio speakers? Maybe it can if you’re a folk act,
but it’s still probably not ideal.
2. Think about pricing
If you want to get people in the door, chances are you’re going to have to get
them to part with their money. The best way to do this is to make your show
IRRESISTABLE, but also AFFORDABLE. Be realistic. Are your punters REALLY
going to spend 18 bucks to see two unknown bands on a Sunday? Didn’t think so.
Think about what YOU would spend to see someone else, and compare your
prices to what else is on the market. Again, if in doubt, go a little lower. Better to
have more punters than less if you’re going for the big S.O.
3. Get creative
I see so many band posters I hardly see band posters any more. Get what I mean?
Try something a little different to stand out amongst the crowd. Get your bands
busking and handing out flyers. Give out a cookie with every ticket sale. I dunno,
whatever works, but seriously, do what it takes to GET NOTICED.
Well, I hope you’re one step closer to selling out your show (in all the good ways,
right?) For more tips and the best gigs the country have to offer, stay tuned via
our Facebook page. Happy Gigging!