This is one of those stupidly obvious things that I only realised once I actually started selling downloads and t-shirts for my band online.
Every musician I know including me spend most of their time marketing their gigs to friends and fans. Getting someone down to a gig in London is no easy task by a very long shot. So respect every single person who does actually turn up and don’t take that for granted.
Travelling and living in London is expensive. If you have a full time job then your evening and weekend time is precious. To attend an evening gig for example you would spare 4 or 5 hours of your free time at the very minimum and plan transport to and from the gig.
Midweek that means that you will be going to the gig after work when you are tired from the monotony of work and prospect of more commuting. Many people actually bail out at this point from going out to a friend’s gig.
Say you get paid £10 an hour for your day job. Then spending your precious free time at a gig for 4 or 5 hours actually costs around £50. In fact free time is even more valuable than day time hours. This is a rather rough and somewhat cold way of calculating the cost of free time in London but this gives you an idea of how precious free time here is.
It is way way easier to sell a 99p download or a £10 t-shirt on your website. I’ve found that the people who actually buy 99p downloads outnumber the people who come down to gigs. I don’t even know most of them. A lot of download and t-shirt sales happen outside the UK, i.e to people who won’t be able to make our London gigs.
The cost of clicking a download button on the website is way less than the cost of attending a gig in person, and it is so much easier to do too.
Even the biggest bands only manage to only get their most dedicated fans out of the door and into a venue where they will only play once a year.
The lesson behind all this?
Focus more on selling smaller products online. Sell anything, even if it is a simple t-shirt but do start selling more than just your gig. Selling a gig is the hardest sell of all. You can set up t-shirt sales using Paypal Business and if you join CD Baby they can help you sell downloads and actual CDs all over the world.