Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Local Coffee Shop

How about restaurants, parks, malls or my favourite, the local coffee shops? What I would like to share here is to keep a real look out and be totally aware of the possible gig locations and don't limit yourself. Many musicians complain about the lack of gigs they have, but when I ask them to look closely at the type of venue they are searching, the repeated pattern seems to be clubs, stadiums, concert halls and pubs.

Make it your second residence! Depending on the venue, you can drop in several times and build links with staff and get a feel for the type of customers that come there. Coffee shops are the next link in the chain of great gigs.

Drinking coffee Depending on the type of music, coffee shops represent the perfect venue for musicians to meet with their perfect audience, and if they are your right audience, what must your audiences be doing if they're not watching you?

I personally like these places because it's nice and cosy, allowing you to build deeper relationships with the crowds. It's like the middle space, or the third space. Coffee shops are great place for people who want a break from both work and home.

You can guarantee most of them will be at your event. By placing several posters in the coffee shops were the same people go everytime between home and work, it is something they can't miss, and are definitely going to remember. If people see your name several times, they remember it, and create a link in their mind. Something that works day in, day out is the power of repetition.

So how do you get booked?

It's important to target the right show for the right venue. If you play acoustic guitar and sing with a soft voice, don't go to a coffee where staff shout to customers that their order is ready.

Also pay attention to the peak and off-peak times at the coffee shop as you can use this to your advantage really easily. If you play in the morning when it's peak time and attract many customers for the shop, you'll notice that the lunch area may be very low in customers, so pitched correctly, you could ask the shop management if you could play in the afternoon, and attract the customers that way.

Don't expect to be paid by the coffee shop management, but one way to grow your audience is to collect mailing list signups. This way you can inform them by post or e-mail where you are next because there will definitely want to be a part of your music.

The most important thing is that you have already built up great relationships so that you can emphasise how you will bring more people to their place.

© Kavit Haria, The Musicians' Coach


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