Every booker wants to know what your draw is. If you have no history in the area (and no online buzz) then your draw is 50. Well, that’s what you’ll say. You can get 50 people out to any show if you’re smart about promo (and team up with great local openers). Locally, once you’re experienced and have a name around town, when you book your big shows every 6-8 weeks you’ll have a pretty good idea of how many you can bring.
+50 Is The Magic Number (Book A Headlining Tour)
When you can, always book a venue with a capacity one person smaller than your draw. Meaning, if you can draw 500, book a 499 cap room. If you can draw 50, look for 49 cap rooms. It’s better to sellout a 200 cap room than play a 500 cap venue and have it two-thirds empty. Sure, it’s cool to put well-known venues on your tour calendar, but it’s better for your overall career to pack people in and give the best possible show to a full house – regardless of the size. Those who get in will be buzzing with excitement that they can experience an exclusive (to ticket holders) event and those who get turned away will know your next time through they’ll need to get tickets quickly.
If you’re a YouTuber with a target demographic of 12-19 you don’t want to play 21+ rooms. If you’re a bar band and need a bottle of Jack on stage with you at every show, you don’t want to book the all ages (dry) teen center. I try to book all ages or 18+ shows whenever possible. I remember what it was like before I was 21 and couldn’t get into any clubs to see my favorite bands. It sucked. I wish more clubs were 18+ or all ages all the time and left the decision up to the parents, but I get it, insurance costs, additional security on and on. The club has to take on more expenses for all age shows (and they don’t make as much money on kids – no alcohol), so most don’t like doing them. But here are some of music’s biggest fans! The money you’ll lose on the deal (to cover the venue’s extra costs) you’ll make up for on merch. Kids buy merch!