A couple of weeks ago, I was in Toronto for the second show in Peter Gabriel’s current North American “So” tour. Just before Peter and the band came out, there was an announcement over the PA telling us that an audio copy of the show would be available for purchase immediately after the show at Petergabriel.com. Cool. Glad I brought my credit card.
Now, I’m not sure if I heard the announcement wrong, if some technical glitch interfered with their plan, or I just plain missed the link, but when I went to the site to purchase and download the show, I couldn’t find it. And, after a couple of days, the afterglow of being at the concert started to wear off and I just sort of forgot about. They had a chance to sell me something that I was ready to buy, but the opportunity was missed because they didn’t make it easy enough.
But the whole idea got me thinking, and I’m sure I’m not the first one to think of this.
It’s no secret that these are tough economic times. Given the abysmal pay scale that many working musicians accept in order to work, tips and selling “fan” items like posters and t-shirts are an excellent way to bring in a little extra dough. So, why not offer your fans what they came for in the first place—to hear your show. But not just any show, why not offer for sale at the end of each performance, the show they just enjoyed?
The first step, obviously, is to record your show. You can do this any number of ways and are probably doing so already so I won’t go into that.
Next, assuming you have some type of entourage (even if it’s just your significant other who travels with you and is at every performance), assign someone the task of making digital copies of your performance onto USB flash drives (which are available online for well under $5 each—2 GB ought to do it). Flash drives are now available in thousands of custom shapes and designs, so along with a digital recording of a great show, they get a usable device that they can recycle if they choose to do so. Don’t worry about editing or cleaning things up, the goal is to get the digital file of your show onto as many of these “thumb” drives as you think you can sell to people ON THEIR WAY OUT of the performance. If they want things all neat and tidy, they can buy your CD. If you already have a table set up where you are selling shirts, posters, and CDs, then this is perfect to add to the mix.
This means (if you are the last performer) you may need to keep the audience in their seats a few minutes after your last song—so that whoever is assigned the task can start getting the copies made. It’s probably a good time to promote upcoming performances, and a perfect time to mention that they can pick up a copy of the evening’s performance BEFORE the leave the venue. Those you don’t sell simply get recycled and overwritten with the next performance.
If, logistically, this just won’t work, another option would be a special “tip jar” where fans can sign up to receive a digital copy of the performance the next day, via a special link to your web site. This way, you have no overhead for the cost of the USB flash drives. You will have to make sure you get the performance uploaded, and the links sent out right after the show, so that they can enjoy your performance all over again while they are still excited about it. In either case, it’s a great way to use the technology at hand to score some additional dough for an evening’s efforts—and a great way to get more people sharing your music with friends.
Want to sell your music on facebook? See NIMBIT