The problem with artists is that they think their art is enough.
“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.”
Build a better mousetrap, let everyone know about it, and then they might show up is more like it.
So recently I’ve fallen in love with a band called HoneyHoney
They’re a little country, a little folk, but a whole lot of awesome.
I found out about them from the Joe Rogan podcast.
From there I spent $250 to help them tour via Kickstarter and after hanging with them backstage for a few hours I was hooked.
I even went on a business trip a day early and paid a scalper double the ticket price to see them in San Francisco.
3 concerts later I’m ready to get their name tattoo’d on my chest.
But instead of that, I’ll just share how they’re leaving a shit ton of cash on the table and how they could fix it (this applies for any band really).
Here are my thoughts.
I’ll admit it, I’m a big fan. I’ve spent at least $500 going to concerts, buying stuff, etc and I would spend A LOT more with the band if they’d let me.
Let me explain. After the first $250 backstage experience I was hooked. I would have gladly paid that for each concert I saw them at. Instead when I reached out via social media (twitter, facebook) to see if that was an option – I was met with silence.
No response = no cash.
It’s not all I’d pay for.
When I tell people about HoneyHoney, here’s what I tell them:
“They’re an amazing band. Grab their CDs, but for the love of God go see them live”
See, to me their CD’s are eh, but their live show kills and where they really shine. Don’t get me wrong – the songs are awesome, but the lead singer’s voice is so powerful and sounds so much better live than captured on CD.
I’m not the only one who thinks this by the way:
So what I would kill for right now is a HoneyHoney live CD or download.
Don’t believe me?
Ok here is an example – the other night they played a show live and it was streamed through TuneIn.
I not only left my gym early to catch the show but I spent an hour trying to get my computer to record the stream through the speakers.
My computers crashed, I got infected with spyware (stupid BS program) and finally spent $5 on an iphone app to record the stream of their show.
I then re-recorded the show from my phone to the computer, edited it, and then put it on my computer to listen to at 2am (I started at 8:30 pm that night).
TALK ABOUT A PAIN IN THE ASS.
I would have gladly paid the same or more for a copy of a live show as I did the app.
Speaking of live shows, lets talk about that next.
Live shows. This is where these guys live, where they breath, and where they make new fans with each show. It’s also where they make their money.
When I saw them in Midland I told the couple next to me “listen to one song and you’ll be hooked.”
Halfway through the song they leaned over and said “They are fucking amazing. You were right, I’m going to buy their albums right now.”
So the show is over and you make your way over to the merchandise table.
Now for those who don’t know – for a band, merchandise is where the real money is made.
T-shirts, stickers, CDs, water bottles, and …. wait – what? Water bottles?
So let’s talk about the merchandise for a second.
About the only piece of merchandise I don’t own is a t-shirt.
I take that back, I got a t-shirt with the Kickstarter campaign that had a rooster on it and was so thin I could see the wall through it. Not to mention I was afraid that if I put it on I’d rip it like Hulk Hogan did back in the day.
The shirts at the show look similar. Strange designs, poor quality (at least they look like that) and nothing that I’d wear in public or private.
Spend a buck more per shirt and I’d bet that people would eat them up. They’d be high quality and last longer, and they would promote the band in turn.
Remember that couple I converted?
They were wearing shirts for TheChive.
Those guys know how to make a shirt.
They limit the release, make them out of great quality, and sell out in minutes anytime they release a new one.
Whenever I see someone wearing it I always go out of my way to comment.
Bands can and should do the same.
Spend a little more upfront on the shirts – it’s helps justify the shirt cost and people will rave about the quality (like they do with Chive shirts).
But, you know what I really want?
I want something that reminds me of the night I saw them in concert.
How about a better shirt with the tour dates on the back?
Release a new one each tour, limited edition, etc.
I’d have bought one for each concert instead of none of them.
Here’s another idea (and real money maker) – why not record each show and offer it for sale at the end?
Sure I want a CD, but I’d kill for a copy of the show I just listened to.
There is a band that does this – the Ryan Montbleau Band – and I bet it’s pretty profitable for them.
Buy a $15 USB drive and you get the show from THAT NIGHT on it.
Not to mention that band also puts the show up for sale on their website so you have the chance to buy and pay what you want for it there if you missed the show.
Imagine this – 1400 people there for the show (that’s how many tickets were pre-sold in Midland), 5% of those make it to your merchandise table and a lot of them buy your live recorded show.
That’s 70 people at $15 a pop = $1050 potential for that single show, lost.
Now some shows will be more, some less, but without even offering it you’re missing out on any money being generated at all.
Consider that $1,000 lost for every tour stop and it looks like their most recent tour has 21 stops on it.
You do the math.
Want to be really sick? Do the math on what they could have made if they recorded every show since their beginning of the band.
Not to mention they get another benefit from the live recording – content.
Content for future releases, content to help spread the word, and convert the masses.
Speaking of personal, here’s something else I’d pay for – access and exclusivity to the band.
Wanna know why I paid $250 to help them?
A few reasons actually:
1. I love to support bands like this. Their music rocks and I want to do what I can to ensure I’m listening to it for a long time to come.
2, I got personal access to the band and that made me feel privileged and exclusive for being there. Kinda like seeing a show from the cheap seats or front row center.
3. Bragging rights to my friends and family
While everyone else was listening to the main act, I’m in a green room with HoneyHoney talking about business, life, and whatever else.
We played pool, drank an entire bottle of booze, and had one of the best nights ever.
I want to do that again. As many times as possible. And I’m willing to pay.
But I can’t. Here I am, a rich white guy with money (a good demographic of fan by the way) and I can’t spend it with them if I tried.
So not only could they offer a VIP meet and greet at every stop but here is something they could do when not touring – offer a private concert over the internet.
I got this idea from porn.
It’s where I get most of my ideas.
It’s also why I research it for hours a day.
Ok seriously, what if you’re in BFE or live overseas and can’t get to a show to save your life?
It’s $15 and fans get to vote on the set list and talk with the band after the show.
They come on, play for 45-60 minutes, do an hour of Q&A (all questions submitted beforehand btw).
Again, you do the math.
Email their list a few times, make some announcements and they can pay the rent (plus some) from the comfort of their living room without having to stop at a single shitty truck stop.
Now these can’t take the place of the live shows and studio recording but they can and should do these for fans who want to pay for the privilege.
Plus for $5 more I can get a recording of it emailed to me????
Here’s my wallet, take all you want, please leave me enough for bus fare back home.
By the way, lets talk about bragging rights.
That’s huge. Do you think I drove 10 hours roundtrip to do the VIP thing without telling anyone???
Hell no. I told everyone with a pulse, I tweeted, facebook, and might have sent a smoke signal or two.
Bottom line – I went from fan to champion after that show.
I bought more stuff, went to more shows, told more people about them, etc.
Without the VIP experience none of that would have happened so by not offering it they lose out on the immediate cash and the lifetime value of people spreading the message.
Now look, I get it. They’re artists. They want to make music, fall in love, break up, and write about it.
They don’t think about the business side – but someone should do that for them.
After all the chances of making it HUGE (Grammy’s, Platinum Album, etc) might be tougher than expected BUT doing these few changes can make the difference between staying at a 5 star hotel or one that you won’t get shot at.
By the way, if you’d like to hear what HoneyHoney sounds like live check them out here