How to Establish a Music Club

  1. Plan for a minimum of 12 months of consistent programming to develop an audience. Musicians attract people to a restaurant or bar. That’s not their job. They just do that in the process of performing their music in public. A well-informed club owner knows this and invests in publicity: print, radio and TV to promote his or her club. Do not rely on the fan base of musicians. Some owners are consistent, hiring the same band for a night a week, a weekend, a week, a month, etc. Others offer musicians one or two nights a month or a year. It’s the proprietor’s choice as to how musicians are presented. More often than not a consistent band brings in lots of new people, especially if they are crowd pleasers.
  2. Musician fees and marketing expenses must be included in the 12 month budget. If you can’t afford it, wait until you can or DON’T DO IT! Too many people are affected by your inability to pay musicians, advertisers and staff. It’s your place and you are responsible to pay your staff, not the musicians and advertisers. Be professional. Understand that it’s not just a party. It’s a business that can draw hundreds of people, all of whom have their own agenda and a multitude of venues to choose from. Yours is just one in a multitude. Develop partnerships within your client and supplier connections for win-win outcomes.
  3. Have a simple menu with few choices. Make sure your food is fresh, tasty and smells good.
  4. You need professional waiters and bartenders. They are the ones who get customers to come back.
  5. A consistent internal marketing and data capturing program must be in place BEFORE implementing a music program.
  6. Musicians work to pay their bills like everyone else. Thinking that you should not pay them is disrespectful.
  7. Advertise in your community. Fliers in the door of every resident let the community know you are there. It’s your backyard and those are the people who benefit most from your presence, if you cultivate a relationship with the residents. Word of mouth is a powerful promotional tool.
  8. Have an affordable minimum that patrons must pay or have a cover charge at the door for entertainment. The first choice is most comfortable because people can eat and drink and fulfill a $15 minimum that includes musical entertainment.
  9. Be friendly to your guests. They are your stockholders. They invest their entertainment budget in your establishment. The way you treat them encourages them to tell others about you and your place.
  10. Promote, promote, promote! Hire a person to promote your club. You don’t have time to do this, personally. You need a face for the place that people in social circles recognize. Do social networking on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Ning, Diggs, Google, Yahoo and other networks online.

So, You Want To Own A Music Club?
©2011 Joan Cartwright

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