Bands that were forced to cancel gigs during COVID are looking to book gigs at great venues to make up for lost time. And after the disappointment of having to live without live events for 18 months, you can bet that the fans are as ready as the artists to get the show going.
The music scene started enthusiastically making its way back in 2021, and it only continues to strengthen. As a venue owner or manager, your current goal may be strategizing about how to attract the best bands to play at your venue.
How to Find Bands to Play at Your Venue
There are a few ways to optimize your strategy for identifying and booking incredible acts, including considering your venue’s current demographic, building better relationships with agents, and ensuring your venue is a phenomenal place to play. Let’s talk about all three.
Finding Bands that Fit Your Venue’s Demographic
Any successful business knows that identifying a target audience is essential for success, and live music venues are no different. Unless you’re offering access to virtual concerts, your target audience will primarily consist of locals. If your venue is in a more urban area, you can expand your target audience to include tourists or those willing to travel for the right event.
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of how to find bands to play at your venue, you need to understand the people who would be buying tickets in the first place. Demographics are the top consideration for artists and agents searching for the perfect venue.
According to Robert Brecht, target audience demographics can be broken down into GGRAMS:
- Geographic location – look at the people who live close to the venue and the location of people willing to travel to your venue—are they more urban, suburban, or rural?
- Gender – are your patrons typically more male or female, or does it depend on the event?
- Race/Ethnicity – what is the ratio of different ethnicities in your geographical location?
- Age – What generation makes up the majority of the population in your area?
- Marital/Parental Status – Are the people attending shows at your venue looking for something fun to do on date night, or do they want a family activity? Are they attending shows alone? Are they going to need a babysitter?
- Socioeconomic Status – How much will your patrons be willing to pay for tickets?
The more you know about your audience, the more you’ll be able to craft a lineup that will appeal to the different niches within your community. At the same time, having a comprehensive picture of who’s buying tickets will help you propose your venue as a great option to artists and their booking agents.
Understanding your audience will help you identify the best bands to reach out to. Chances are that most people buying tickets for Billie Eilish aren’t the same people going to see Billy Joel (we’re sure there’s some overlap because who doesn’t love Billy Joel, but you get our point.).
The beauty of music is that there’s something for everyone, but you need to know which acts will pack your house. The more events you host, the clearer a picture you’ll get as to which genres excite your target audience. It’s better to start with a niche and later expand than to throw a bunch of things at the wall and hope something sticks.
Expanding Your Venue’s Niche
As you develop your understanding of what your primary audience likes (and dislikes), you can begin working on expanding your offerings. This expansion could look like opening the door to new genres or subgenres, adding up-and-coming local or traveling acts to fan favorites, or simply offering more within your venue.
If you are going to try out new genres, make sure you have the audience available to make the performance profitable. For example, if you’ve had success hosting mostly pop or country artists in the past, but you have a lot of millennials living near your venue, you could consider trying out some alternative rock bands that were popular when millennials were younger.
Many people’s music genre tastes are intersectional, so expanding your genre offerings should have more to do with the primary demographics of your target audience. Every band will want to pack the house at their gigs, so if you can show that you have the potential to offer them a sold-out show, they’ll be more willing to give your venue a chance.
Depending on your venue’s location, you may want to expand to make your venue more attractive to travelers. For a third of millennials, music is the main consideration for where to go on vacation. If you can offer an experience to people, they’ll be more likely to visit your venue, and more bands will want to play on your stage.
Whether you launch a mini-festival or get other local businesses involved with events, you can increase the appeal of visiting your venue by providing more than just a concert. Hosting multiple acts in one day can be an excellent way to promote upcoming acts or increase awareness about other bands or genres that you’ll be showcasing at your venue.
If you want to start smaller, you can test out potential acts as openers for fan favorites and gauge audience response, or you can expand the food and beverage menu within your venue. The more you can offer your audience members, the more valuable your venue will be to the artists who might play on your stage.
Booking Better Bands Begins with Better Agent Relationships
Now that you know the kind of acts you’re looking to book, figuring out how to find bands to play at your venue relies on building strong relationships with agents. Fostering a professional relationship between your venue and an agent will help you grow your artist network and build a base of fantastic, reputable bands to play in your space.
Most agents represent more than one artist, so if you can build a great relationship with an agent, they’ll want to keep booking their bands in your venue. You can even collaborate with them on which artists on their roster you think will have the most success on your stage.
The easiest way to build better relationships with agents? Make your venue ridiculously easy to work with.
How to Make Your Venue Easy to Work With
Agents and artists alike want a seamless experience when working with a venue. Agents don’t want to wait forever to get everything ready for an event, and artists just want to set up, play, and get paid with ease. If you can go from hold to settlement without any unnecessary headaches, they’ll want to return over and over again.
Having an organized process for concert-related minutiae and fast payments will attract artists and agents alike. Like you, agents are juggling multiple events at once, so anything you can do to make their lives easier, the more they’ll want to work with you.
Streamlining the booking process will make you easier to work with and help you become a popular venue for agents searching for the right venue. Word-of-mouth is a huge deal in the music industry.
The more positive experiences you can offer the people who come through your building, the more agents will speak highly about your venue to other agents or artists. That way, when you find bands that you want to play at your venue, they’ll already know all about your venue’s fantastic reputation.
If you take care of the people who commit to your venue, they’ll want to keep booking shows with you. So the question is, how can you make the booking process as easy as humanly possible? (Spoiler alert: it involves technology.)
Get the Software That’ll Make You the Best Venue in Town
We know you’re a venue management rockstar, but you need the right tools to help you optimize your strategy for how to find bands to play at your venue. You and your team members can only do so much, and that’s where technology comes into the picture.
With elite live music event management software, you can improve your booking process with integrated calendar management, automated reports, real-time expense tracking, and shared holds. The best solutions enable you to create branded templates so you can get event details locked in quickly. And since you’re constantly adding new events to your calendar, you’ll need a system that allows you to run intelligent searches to find the information you need at the drop of a hat.
You don’t have to work overtime to be the best venue around. In fact, you can do less and achieve more if you adopt a solution crafted for venue owners and managers like you.Prism is the only solution in the industry that provides all of the features you need to build better relationships with agents and book the bands that your audience members will go crazy for. But don’t just take our word for it—schedule your demo and see how Prism can make you the best venue for agents and artists to work with.