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8 Ways To Make Money Off Of Your Next Live Show


While artists will argue that their love of music is there only drive for live shows, everyone’s got to pay the rent. Concerts are one of the most crucial ways to make revenue and you don’t want to miss out on any extra ways to make a little more change. Read below for some extra secrets from Bandzoogle.

“1. Suggested Donation

Ah yes! The age-old suggested donation trick. It’s kind of mandatory but not quite. Usually it involves a range of $10-20 or $5-10. Something like that. No one really gets the suggested donation thing. Some people err on the lower side of donating. But some generously give more than they should.

2. Pass-The-Hat

Let’s take it one step further. Suggested Donations and Pass The Hat are not the same thing. Pass the Hat is even more accommodating, does not involve a specific price point, and asks attendees to give what they are able to. Some can give something, some can’t give anything at all. But it always evens out.

3. CD Sales

Blah Blah Blah. Everyone knows you want to sell CDs at your show. But very few artists are intentional about it. First things first, DONT mention that you’re on iTunes or Pandora or Spotify from the stage! Never do that! That’s the easiest way to guarantee that no one will buy merch at your show! Fans may come over and ask you if they can get your stuff online; and then you can say yes. But just remember, if you give people a reason to not buy your merch at a gig, they probably won’t. And the average person who says they will go home and download it on iTunes probably won’t.

4. Sell Worth

Make your event special. Host a party at your home, sell $20 tickets, and provide hors d’oeuvres. Do a special themed night of Christmas Carols and holiday-themed songs. Do a Joni MItchell tribute show. Sell the intimacy or the exclusivity of the event. Cap it at 50 people. Space it out. Do something like this every 4-6 months so it seems special. It takes a little energy to sell worth. But those are often the more rewarding shows because everyone who understands the value of the show is there.

5. Give Something Away from the Stage

One of my favorite things is when an artist gives a T-shirt away on stage. This technique works best in very large audiences (probably not gonna work in a small crowd). Do you have a T-shirt with a catchy phrase, funny lyrics, or something inspirational that people often gravitate to when they’re at your merch table? Show the shirt on stage, maybe even tell the story behind the phrase, and let people know that someone will win that T-shirt at the end of the night.

6. Pay What You Want

Allow people to pay what they want for albums. Some will pay $1. Some will pay $20. You’ll be surprised what a person will pay when they really love your music. Many artists don’t like the idea of a pay-what-you-want merchandise table. It might not work for everyone or in every setting, but just like the Suggested Donation and Pass the Hat ticketing methods, it seems to work best in more ideal situations. Example: if you’re playing for college students, they’re always going to spend a little as possible as often as possible.

7. Live Performance Royalties

Here’s something most artists don’t know: you can be compensated for playing your songs at live performances. Each PRO (Performance Rights Organization) – ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC offer a way for you to enter which songs you’ve played at each of your live shows. The songs must already be registered with the PRO that you belong to. Yeah, it might seem like chump-change, but after a while, that change will add up…especially if you play out a lot.

8. Think Ahead

Making money at your live shows and making money from your live shows are two very different things. The latter is much more important. Remember: every live show is an opportunity to sell yourself and what you do for the sake of future opportunities.

This means, you let people know they can host you for a house concert. It means you mention your next show in the area. It means you remind the audience that you are doing singing valentines for their sweethearts during the month of February. It means you are passing your newsletter around to increase your artist-to-fan communication. It means you let people know how they can find you on social media…etc, etc.

Each of these things help you to stay in touch with your fans who will in turn host you for private events, buy tickets to future shows, and support you in future album projects. It’s all connected.”

Remember to try some of these techniques out and find which works for you during your next live show.