I remember this from early on in my band career. We had a record out that got some good reactions, the single was R1 Rock Record Of The Week. We toured very hard. The shows were hit and miss, mainly miss. There just wasn’t a demand for our live show.
In our defence, there was no way of knowing if the demand was there, without actually going to the back of beyond, in the vague hope that what little press and radio we had got would have enticed people into the club. Equally, promoters had to take a punt, because they had no way of knowing, either.
In this day and age, with so much data available online, it’s dead simple to see if there is any demand for what a band does. There is nowhere to hide for anyone.
Culture has shifted. We discover new music online, by peer to peer recommendation.
The money a band spends on petrol, food and beer to go play in front of five men and a dog adds up over a year. What if they spent it on a Facebook ad campaign, instead? Perhaps for their latest track, perhaps to people who live in cities close by. Add to the mix some blogs, who discover and champion new music.
You’ll find out very quickly if anyone is paying attention. If the campaign gets traction, you can pinpoint where it’s happening. Then you can book shows in those locations and, who knows, sell a few tickets.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
A small yet significant caveat: the above doesn’t mean that a band shouldn’t tour. On the contrary, they will have to tour hard – at some point. But before you can tour you have to have an audience to tour for. That audience finds you online when they fall in love with a track their mates are getting excited about.