Why Do We Ask Artists to Sell Tickets?

Afton has produced thousands of events and booked over 15,000 acts since 2004. In our experience, it is obvious that having acts sell tickets for our shows is THE BEST way to ensure a good turnout.
Shows with a low attendance…

  • Are not fun for the artists.
  • Hurt the club and their ability to pay their bills.

This is why we do everything we can to ensure that our events are fun and well attended. When a local show has a low attendance, nobody wins.

This page explains why we require our artists to sell tickets if they choose to book with us, and why we encourage all artists to pre-sell tickets for any show they play.

HOW DOES SELLING TICKETS MAXIMIZE MY DRAW?

Anytime you pre-sell tickets, you will maximize your draw for that show.

WHAT WE HAVE FOUND:

On average, acts that utilize ticket selling as part of their promotion draw almost 7 TIMES MORE FANS than the acts that don’t.

WHY IS THIS?

Because if a ticket is NOT bought in advance, your fans are much more likely to flake out last minute and miss your show.

When a fan buys a ticket in advance, they have financially invested in you and your performance!

  • They already paid for the show, so they will make sure to be there
  • They already paid for the show, so they will make sure to be there
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
  • Acts that DO NOT pre-sell tickets draw significantly fewer fans than they could have
  • Acts that choose to sell tickets have a much higher draw per show
  • Acts that do not sell tickets in advance end up vastly under-utilizing their fan base
WHY THIS MAKES SENSE

Think of the last time you “planned” to do something but then ended up changing your mind last minute, or doing something else instead! THIS is why all major sporting events, theatrical performances, and concerts emphasize Advance Tickets. Selling tickets in advance is the best way to maximize turnout for an event.

Just “hoping” fans will show up at the door, instead of taking the initiative to pre-sell tickets, will always greatly reduce your draw!

No matter how many fans “promise” to be at the show, if they don’t buy a ticket in advance, only a fraction of them will actually show up to the show.

FANS BRING FRIENDS

Most fans do not prefer to go to shows alone. By selling a ticket to one fan, that fan may potentially bring out another 2-5 of their friends to listen to your set, especially if you are offering special deals to your fans if they bring friends! (http://aftonresources.com/fans.html)

Fans are more likely to invite their friends to the show if they’ve already purchased a ticket.

HOW DOES SELLING TICKETS BENEFIT ME?

Most artists wish to be booked at desirable clubs in their city.

SELL TICKETS BECAUSE…

A strong fan base is key for being booked for the shows you want.

  • The larger your draw, the more you are going to be paid, and the easier it will be to get rebooked
  • The best shows, at the best clubs, on the best dates are always given to artists who have a solid draw
  • The larger your draw, the more you are going to be paid, and the easier it will be to get rebooked
WHAT WE HAVE NOTICED
  • Without fail, artists have more fun playing for a big crowd.
  • Playing to an empty room is not fun for anybody
  • If you do not draw well, you are going to frustrate the acts you play with that do bring out a crowd
  • High drawing acts do not gain fans by playing with you, if you do not bring people out to the show
  • These acts want to play with other artists that will help to make it a big event
  • Our most reliable acts ask that they be booked only with artists that will work to bring out a good crowd
EVERYONE BENEFITS

By drawing a crowd. You are not the only one who benefits, if you are an act that is reliable and will work hard to bring out a crowd every time you play…

  • Venues will love having you play their stage
  • Other artists will be eager to share a bill with you – since you’ve made an effort to contribute to the show
  • When local artists are consistently drawing well, it helps the local music community as a whole
  • Local artists that don’t draw well hurt the music community because venues are unable to cover costs
  • Venues are less eager to book local artists, in general, when they find them to be inconsistent!

When “local acts” in general have a reputation for drawing poorly, and being flaky or unreliable – it makes it harder for everyone in the music community to get clubs to give them a chance on-stage.

FANS AT THE SHOW HELP YOU

You can create an impressive “buzz” about your act by having your fans there in front of the stage to cheer you on. You must realize that the most effective way to ensure your fans actually show up‚ is to sell them a ticket in advance. By doing this, they are committed to coming to the show!

Don’t underestimate the importance of drawing well. When you bring out a crowd, everyone involved with the show benefits – especially YOU!!

IF I INTENT TO DRAW POORLY, WILL OTHER ARTISTS CARE?

Yes! Any musician undoubtedly wants to play for as many people they can. If other acts on the bill work hard and bring out a good crowd, they are not going to feel like you did your part in contributing to the success of the show unless you get out a decent crowd.

ARTISTS WANT TO EXPAND THEIR FAN BASE

Artists that are drawing well and have built a solid fan base are interested in EXPANDING their fan base. Playing well-attended shows helps accomplish this, so acts that draw well want to be put on a lineup with other artists that will draw well.

No matter how good your music is, an act that draws well would RATHER play a show with an artist that has a solid draw…

  • There are thousands of local artists out there with “GREAT” music.
  • To set yourself apart, build a sold fan base, and consistently bring a crowd out to your shows.
THINK ABOUT IT THIS WAY

By playing with an act that has a strong draw, YOUR fan base may increase after the show.

  • Return the favor by bringing YOUR fans to the show, so they also have a chance to gain fans!

Before you take a show at a nice club, YOU should first develop your fan base

  • After you build a solid foundation of people to come see you, the clubs and other high drawing acts will be HAPPY TO HELP YOU!!!
  • BUT, at first, you need to do the work for yourself.

Nobody is going to ever be able to promote your music with as much passion as you can. No one will ever care as much about your music career as you do!

DO YOUR PART

Nobody appreciates being the only act on the bill that generated a crowd

  • Please realize that you need to treat others the way you would like to be treated!
  • Nothing is more disappointing for an act than when they draw 100 fans to the show only, to find the other acts combined brought out 15 people!
  • Such a difference in work ethic is simply not fair and should NOT be accepted by the local music community!
DON’T TAKE A SHOW YOU CAN’T FOLLOW THROUGH WITH

If drawing well and building your fan base is not important to you, that is fine. It doesn’t have to be. The point is, you should not hurt all ages clubs, or other bands on the bill, by taking up a slot that could have been given to an artist who would have contributed to the show and worked hard to get their fans out.

Are your actions helping or hurting local music? To build a strong local music community, everyone must work together!

WHY DO CLUBS NEED TO RECOUP OPERATING EXPENSES?

If a club does not meet their operating expenses each month, fact is, they will go out of business!

ALL AGES vs. BAR SHOWS

Clubs that allow ALL AGES shows struggle to survive because far lower revenues come in at the bar.

  • Not many all age venues exist, and many all ages clubs are forced to switch over to 21+ ONLY
  • Everyone wants more all ages show and more all ages clubs… do your part to keep them in business.

Many times the 21+ only show opportunities in a market greatly out number the opportunities for all ages events, and there is a reason for this!

Here is the Difference
  • An underage fan represents door admission plus $2-$3 (IF that fan buys a pop/candy at the show)
  • A 21+ drinking fan can bring in door admission plus $10-$30+ depending on their drinking habits

This is WHY the 21+ only bar shows are able to have a lower cover, and pay artists more on average, then the typical ALL AGES show

ANOTHER EXAMPLE

A 21+ only bar show with an attendance of only 70 “drinkers” will often bring in a lot more revenue for the club (and bands) then an ALL AGES show with 200 in attendance

  • Because of this, the “draw” per act on an all ages show is more important, and stressed more heavily

THE REALITY IS…

  1. If the club is NOT making ends meat with all age shows, they will STOP DOING THEM
  2. If a club finds that local acts are not bringing in sufficient revenue… They will STOP booking local artists
REMEMBER

If you choose to play an all ages show, it is expected that you focus more on bringing out a crowd

  • They open their doors to you, return the favor and help fill the room to ensure operating expenses are met for that night
  • You may only play that club one night out of the month, but the club is there EVERYDAY
  • In most cases they are struggling to meet their monthly expenses
WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO SELL TICKETS?

There is both a constructive and destructive way to make ticket selling a part of your promotion.

THE DESTRUCTIVE METHOD

If you only plan on selling tickets to the same fans EVERY show, your fan base will dwindle over time. That is a destructive way to sell tickets, which we do not recommend!!

Many “battle of the bands” companies, festival showcases, and some clubs have given ticket pre-sales a BAD NAME. There are negative connotations when artists are only encouraged to “sell the tickets,” instead of taught how to constructively use ticket sales to GROW their following.

THE CONSTRUCTIVE METHOD

Instead, focus on using ticket sales to maximize your draw for each show, and from there your fan base will virally GROW through your existing fans!

By maximizing your draw for each show, you ensure your crowd’s presence, and create a “buzz” so that people seeing you for the first time take notice. Understand this concept, so that you don’t hurt your chances of success in building a solid draw each show.

Afton has resolved to educate artists on what is going to help them the most. For more information on how to use ticket selling the right way, click here.

WHAT IF I DON’T CARE IF I DRAW OUT ANY FANS?

If this is the case, you should NOT play all ages shows.

WHY?
  • All ages shows always have much lower bar sales than the usual 21+ ONLY bar show
  • Thus, the primary way for the operating expenses to be recouped by the club is door/ticket admissions from the fans!
  • Anytime an all ages show happens with low attendance, it hurts the club and makes them less likely to continue doing all ages shows
IS AFTON INCLUDED IN THIS?

Yes, if you are not interested in drawing out fans, or you do not care whether or not your fans actually show up you SHOULD NOT play Afton shows. We focus on all ages shows, so drawing out fans to see you play is more of a necessity than the usual “21+ ONLY” show at a small pub or bar. You drawing poorly or not doing what you say you will do is unfair to our staff, the club, and the other act’s on the bill.

STICK TO 21+ ONLY SHOWS

If this is your mindset, stick to 21+ ONLY bar shows, where the club’s drink sales can make up for your lack of draw.

It is fine to expect to just “show up and entertain” the drinkers already at the bar, for a 21+ ONLY show, but in the all ages arena, your draw directly influences the club and the longevity of all ages shows.

OUR RECOMMENDATION

We encourage artists to use ticket selling as a PART of their promotion for every show they play, whether it is our show or a different event.

  • We’ve seen first-hand that making ticket selling a part of promotion is the best way to ensure a good turnout.
  • Most of the Afton staff has personally used ticket selling for their shows and strongly recommend it.