What to Consider in Live Music Venue Design

Whether you have an intimate hole-in-the-wall or a massive theater, it’s essential to consider your live music venue design carefully. Single-use venues are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and your venue needs to adapt to modern times.

“Design” doesn’t just mean the architecture or the furniture decorating the space. Sure, those things are a part of it, but it also encompasses how you organize and run your venue. Catering to the evolving needs of today’s music scene requires maintaining your ideal aesthetic while keeping the behind-the-curtain operations running smoothly.

Elements of a Live Music Venue Design

You probably already know what you want your venue to look like and the kind of artists you’d like to have on your stage. But beyond that, you need to figure out how you want your events to run. For your venue to be successful, you need to create an incredible experience for everyone who comes through the door.

For the Artists

Whether a large or small budget, a live music venue design should be flexible and ready to meet the various needs of your incoming bands. Artists have been dying to get back on stage, and they’ll likely be looking to build relationships with their favorite places to play, so they have multiple opportunities to perform.

When considering your venue’s design, you need to think about what would make the artist want to return to your stage over and over again.

Catering to the artists can look like:

  • Crafting a posh, comfy green room for them to hang out in backstage
  • Having the best sound and lighting tech available
  • Providing a seamless booking process
  • Making sure they get paid quickly

For Your Staff

Your staff members are the heartbeat of your venue. Without your staff members, your events wouldn’t be what they are. Your live music venue design should do everything to make their lives as easy as possible.

Think about what you can do to help everyone–from your ushers to your artist liaisons. Can you update your calendar system? Rearrange the seating arrangements to make ticketing easier?

If you’re unsure of what would benefit your staff, you can always open the door to suggestions. Listening to what your employees have to say will show them that you appreciate their hard work and care about their well-being. Not every employee suggestion will be the right choice for your venue, but it’s a great start and can improve staff morale.

Related: Concert Marketing Guide – The Short Version

For Ticketing

COVID changed the ticketing game. The mass postponement of live events forced us to reconsider the typical “no refunds, no exchanges” policy. If you’re rethinking your current live music venue design, your ticketing system must be a top priority.

Your revamped ticketing system should make it easy for people to reserve and exchange tickets at your venue. If we’ve learned anything over the past couple of years, it’s that stuff comes up. Make sure that your ticketing system can accommodate a high level of flexibility.

Additionally, you should design your ticketing system so that fans don’t necessarily have to go into your box office to buy tickets. It’s 2022—your tickets should be available to purchase online directly from your venue.

For the Audience

What will keep people coming back to the venue again and again? Your audience members spend their hard-earned money to see a show, but it’s crucial that they have an incredible experience at your venue so that they’ll want to learn more about your other upcoming shows.

Think about what you can change about your current live music venue design to ensure your customers are blown away by their night out. Can you expand your concessions offerings to include more food or alcoholic beverages? Can you create a VIP club with perks for patrons who come to shows frequently?
Can you set up an Instagram-worthy photo op station so people can post about your venue online? Can you make it so that people can have their tickets on their phones? 31% of audience members are already on their phones during half of a show or more, so the more you can do to embrace fans’ connection with your venue through their smartphones, the better.

Front and Center

You want to make your venue feel like an immersive experience. When people walk through the front doors, they should be transported. Are you a small grungy punk club with Sharpie scribbles all over the walls? Or does your venue feel like an upscale lounge?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, single-use venues are out. When considering your live music venue design, you need to think about how you can expand your venue’s offerings.

Yes, you’re always going to have your niche, but if you want the revenue stream to stay bountiful, you may need to broaden your horizons.

Can you increase the amenities in your space so your patrons have access to everything they could possibly want for a night out, all under one roof? Can you create a multi-use space to host open mic events, trivia nights, karaoke, or something to drive traffic?

Are you making the most of your space—both indoors and outdoors? Can you host pop-up events outside of your venue to increase brand awareness within your community?

Another consideration in live music venue design reaches to the social aspect and how to engage your audience members digitally. Over half of all social media users experience the “fear of missing out” (FOMO) when they see others doing something exciting. Facebook users experience the highest level of FOMO (72%), which is not surprising given the size of the platform and the sheer number of Facebook Live events.

Your venue can use FOMO to your advantage because let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to go to a fantastic concert? If you can make your venue look enticing to people browsing online, they’ll be more likely to buy tickets for the next show to try it out. Of course, the rest is up to you and the live music venue design choices that work for your venue.

Related: What You Need to Know About Music Venue Profitability

Behind the Scenes

Aside from having a killer space, you need to make sure your venue is designed to run like a well-oiled machine. The easiest way to ensure smooth sailing for all parties involved is to have a foolproof behind-the-scenes system that keeps your operation chugging along.

For starters, you need a robust calendar system that automatically updates when you place new holds or need to move some dates around. Your team members should be able to access it anytime, anywhere to avoid double-bookings and to find opportunities for new contracts.

The more you can keep your team members on the same page, the better. One of the most effective tech developments is integrated software solutions that centralize all of your essential documents so you can pull files with a few clicks. Just think about it—you can revamp your venue’s event management process to eliminate searching through a thousand emails to find one bit of information.

Another thing you can kiss goodbye with the right design is manual math. You can employ a venue management system that includes automations and tracks your expenses in real-time. No more spreadsheets, no more hoping you punched the numbers into the calculator correctly; it’s all done for you.

Owning a live music venue should be exciting. You shouldn’t feel bogged down by tedious paperwork or frustrated when something goes wrong. The right design will give you the organization you need to get back to the more glamorous side of working in the live music industry.

A software solution will take care of the paperwork and the math. Look for a solution that enables branded templates for contracts and invoices, so you just have to drag and drop the pertinent information.

Better yet, opt for a solution that consolidates all event data into one folder so you can click on a tile and see everything you have listed for that show or the artist performing. That way, you can look at how well the event is doing, check contracts, or remember whether the artist wants green or yellow M&Ms in the dressing room effortlessly, without panicking.

When it comes to venue management technology like this, more is more. Look for a single system that enables you to execute your live music venue design vision, and don’t settle for anything that falls short.

Live Music Venue Design and Organization

Regardless of the physical and practical design features that make your venue a can’t-miss attraction, some things will need to be consistently tracked and monitored, such as staffing for the location, venue booking (especially if your design includes multiple stages or other elements that allow for multitasking), and more.

Prism is a live music venue management platform that can help with all this. Prism was built by live music venue owners for venue owners like you. After years of dealing with spreadsheets and sticky notes, we knew that there had to be a better way. So we created one.

Discover how Prism can help you redesign the behind-the-scenes of your live music venue and get started today.

Take back your weekend.
Let Prism settle your shows.