5 alternative places to host live shows


Live performance is an important part of the marketing mix for artist. the problem sometimes though, is where to host shows. In this article I’ll share 5 different venues ideal to host your shows.

School auditoriums

Many schools have small to medium sized auditoriums, that can be used to host concerts. These spaces may be booked for tours across the country. Also, these tours are perfect for targeting music fans in that age group.

The advantage is that they already have basic facilities to host the show. This include bathrooms for patrons, a stage, back entrance, and an enclosed area to suitable for ticketing and payment traffic. Additionally They have security on campus, and you would only need to supplement their security.

Most schools have a PA system, but to ensure that the music sounds good, you will need to hire a live PA system. This takes you several steps ahead with planning, as you’ll only need to confirm the rental of the school facility. Overall, the total production cost will be cheaper, compared to when using other facilities.

Drama Performance theatres

Theatres that host plays can be another venue to host shows. These venues vary in size as well but generally, the holding capacity tend to be under 1000 persons (that’s in Jamaica).

For an intimate set up, these places can work and they already have an excellent sound system, for their performances so your only cost would be renting the facility for the evening.

The only drawback is getting the date booked during a time they don’t have performances going on. They also have an area to buy food which can also be negotiated. So if you are looking for an intimate setting for a live show consider a drama performance theatre.


Churches are another venue to host shows. These also vary in size, and the same consideration for the school auditorium, will apply. They will have basic amenities such as bathroom, parking , etc. .As for a PA system, there may be need for supporting equipment

Something to keep in mind though is that when working with churches, belief system might be a problem because not everyone will be open to renting their facilities to an outsider. Meaning someone who doesn’t share the same belief system as the church.

Sports arenas and stadiums

Sporting arenas and stadiums are on the larger side of the spectrum. They will cost a lot more money to rent, but you will have more space. This can be great for hosting larger concerts which will bring in artist with a lot of pulling power.

Eg: The promoters of Unity in the city hosted the show at Jamaica’s National Stadium on the field. Not many shows are hosted there locally, but it was a good look to see someone do it.

The size of the stadium, will determine the number of persons for the venue.

Large Car Parks

Many corporate spaces have large outdoor parking areas or fields, that can be used to host events. A Lot more is required for the planning of an event, to be hosted at that venue.

You’ll be dealing with an increased production cost. For instance, you will need a stage, live sound system, instruments, power, lighting, barriers for the backstage, security and bathroom facilities and so on.


This list is not conclusive, but I do hope it gave you some ideas as to various places where you can host live shows.

Instead of pitching event promoters do this

Performing live shows is very important to for your career as an artist. It will go a far way in growing your fan base and helping you earn money. But to get live shows one has to wait to get booked. Or even go out and try to convince a promoter to put you on their show.

What it if you don’t have to do that and take matters into your own hands and host a few live shows of your own. In this article I will be sharing why doing so can be an advantage.

Expose your music to other artist fans

One of the main advantage is exposing your music to other artist fans. When putting together the line up for your shows, you can book other artist that has a similar fan base to yours. This can be a way for you to cross promote your music. This will help you gain more followers and increase your earning potential. This is even great when you are trying to break into a new market.

For example, in Jamaica there is a show called Unity in the City. It is a gospel music event with a mix of local and international gospel recording artist. The promoter I believe is Jermaine Edwards. This is no confirmed but he has been on the line up of the show since it started a few years ago.

The international artist booked are from the United States of America. All signed to a major label, with a fan base worldwide. There is an advantage for the local artist sharing stage with international acts. The fans of the international artist will want to check out the music of the local other. So it’s a win win.

Promote yourself as a headliner

The next advantage to hosting your own shows is to position yourself in the market as a headliner. This is huge because you are sharing stage with headlining artist. Their name can pull people to the show and help boost your image.

When you promote the show, ensure you position yourself as a headliner. That way you will be seen as a headliner by the concert going public as well. You can give yourself a longer time to perform and expose the people to more of your songs.

Positioning yourself as a headliner, can have a huge impact on your career. More persons will want to book you for shows because they see you as a headliner. Your name can pull more persons to shows overtime.

So what this means for Jermaine Edwards and the other local artist on the show?. This can open them up to collaborations on future projects. Also position themselves as international headliners in the same light. Which will only boost their careers for the future it is a genius move and brilliant marketing.

Diversify your income

Last but not least is the diversity it gives your income. Because you are the one hosting the event and producing the show. Part of the profit goes into your pocket. Think about it, you are not only an artist but a concert promoter. This will help to boost your income in the long run.

They are other spill off effects as well. This includes boost in music sales as more persons are discovering your music. Streaming platforms make it easier for persons to listen to your music. There’s no big upfront commitment. If they like your stuff they will listen it more than once.

Unity in the City has establish their brand as a local gospel event of quality. With a quality lineup of performers and will have fans that will visit the event every year. And overtime will be able to stand on its own two feet to get even more international artist.


Hosting your own shows can remove the shackles of depending on promoters to book you for shows. This will put the power in your hands to grow your fan base and increase your income.

What makes a song successful

In high school a friend of mine introduce me to music production. Before that, i was making mixtapes using PCDJ silver recording it through music match. It was a fun time but making beats or riddims as we call them in Jamaica was different.

I got a copy of FL studio 3.4, and started to make beats as i knew then. It was fun, i had many weird ideas, drum patterns and melodies all thrown together. At that time i knew nothing about arrangement all i cared about i had an idea and i just created a pattern. I would draw out the pattern for 3 minutes long and that was my beat.

When I started sharing my work with my friends, the comments were not as encouraging. Plus when i compare them to popular tracks they just don’t sound the same. They were nice but different. Something was missing and at that point in time he shares with me that my beats needed a bit of structure. This would be useful so artiste can write a song to it.

One of the questions some artiste I knew at the time would ask me is when does the chorus start? Where is the verse? How long is the intro? I was clueless to what they were talking about. Luckily my friend knew some well known producers and they explained everything to me, that I’m about to share with you in this article.

For songs to be useful for both listeners and DJ’s they have to have a certain structure. Meaning the songs must be arranged in such a way when played against another track it doesn’t sound weird or different. That’s if that what you are aiming for.

Popular music has a familiar feel to it and knowing this structure makes it easier for you as a producer to make music that artist can use. The most popular format being used by songwriters and producers is the ABABC format. This is also known as the verse – chorus – bridge format. There’re many variations to this but essentially it bowls down to this.

The A or  verse section

This section of a song is calmer and less busy. The reason being is that you want your listeners to get connected to the heart of the song and move the story along. All songs tell stories in some form of way and the verse is where you get all the details.

For example in Bruno Mars Grenade, in the verses it’s only a piano, a basic drum beat.  The lyrics talk about the details of the type of person he was in a relationship with. The way he pens the lyrics gives us the details of what was happening and a little more into his perspective and what he was feeling at the time.

From a production standpoint as the song moves throughout the verse the anticipation builds to a point where we expect something else to happen and boom the enters the pre chorus. This builds more emotions and changes up the music a bit to lead into the next section of the song.

The B or chorus Section

The chorus is the heart of the song. It’s also called a hook. This is debatable because I have read in book where the author teaches songwriters that every song must have a hook and the hook can be a line in the chorus or the chorus itself.

For a producer this is the section of your beat that’s hype, very busy and has a main repeatable melody. This is what you use to differentiate the verse from the chorus and it helps the artiste and listener knows that the music has changed.

When arranging songs and beats these two are the most important section for any song and as you arrange your ideas utilise them to your advantage.

To build on Bruno Mars song Grenade, the chorus is obvious and it stands out from the rest. The way he sings changes, there’s more musical elements in the background and background vocals thrown in to fill out the spaces and make it interesting and memorable. These little things when added together makes the chorus stands out from the verse.

The C or Bridge section

The last component of the song is the bridge. This is noticeable by the chord changes and at times can be dramatic as well. This section is often useful to give a different feel to the song and make it even more interesting and less boring.

Not all songs have a bridge, and this section is used a lot in pop music as well as r&b and country. Genres like reggae and edm don’t use it a lot. So don’t feel like you are a slave to use it in all your work, you don’t.

Those are the components of a song hope they prove useful to you and your productions as they did mine.

How often Should an Artist Release Music

How often should you release music

The question as to how often a singer should release new material is up for debate. But in this week’s blog post we will look at the EP campaign, and the results,  following the launch of the THUG EP project by Dawit Jeffery and how it, assisted his career, as a recording artist.

What better way than to show a real-life case study as to one way to release music.

In a singles-driven market, it is recommended that you release songs every 6 to  8 weeks.The frequent release of songs can be tied to the release of an album or leading to a show.


In 2012 Dawit Jeffery and I linked for the first time, and he did a song “Nuh worry Wi” in collaboration with Jason Ramsey (J’Son). This was the first song recorded by Dawit.

The general idea is that you release 4 to 5 singles from the album, leading up to an event. All this is the link to a larger campaign.

To release the first song, we decided to release a lyric video and posted it on youtube, facebook, and Twitter. This was shared with friends. Additionally, the song was sent to a compiled promotion list of  DJs. We also used Soundcloud.  that was basically the campaign.

The second song ” I call on Jesus” was released about two months after the first release, and the same steps were taken. This too for the third and fourth singles, which saw the final release, January before the EP event.

In between the release of each song, work continued to complete the production of the album.


About March or April following, we launched the EP. The location was  Dawit’s church in the south side community. The event featured collaborating acts on the album and other supporting friends.

A band was hired to for the event. they were given the instrumentals for the tracks to do a few rehearsals.

Entry to the venue was $JMD300. You enter the venue along with receiving the EP.
Persons received a printed CD, packaged in a designed cardboard sleeve casing. ABout 50 persons turned up to the launch.

I Noticed the crowd’s response to the songs performed. The majority knew the songs word for word. Nothing significant was done as a full-on promotion, and the results were good.


From the launching of the EP,  Dawit has received a number of bookings for events, such as concerts, leading praise and worship sessions, and a number of speaking engagements. Recently he was invited to share at a book launch.

Persons have become more aware of his music and the other things he has to offer. This has propelled him over the past four years, as an artist and as a  brand.


When looking to promote an album, or you just want to know if it is wise to do so, you can examine the results of this case study, and other case studies like this.

Frequent music release allows a buzz around your brand. Note you can be easily forgotten. Over time you get support for your music and your fan base grows as a result.

How to use an album as a marketing tool

When you look at the music landscape over the years to now, it can be said that the album as a format, is dying, or probably is dead. Nobody is buying albums, or singles, instead, you find persons streaming. 

The question is,  what’s the purpose of doing an album as an artist, and how can an album be used to maximize the potential of sales, and be used as a marketing tool for self-promotion?

The song selections affect the sound
The music you select will represent you as an artist and will influence the type of persons you want to attract to yourself, such as who will book you to perform.

When putting together songs for your album, you should structure them in a way that is well -fitted for a performance set. When you are booked for a 45 minute to an hour set, and perform live as a headlining artist, you should have a group of songs to perform, representing a complete performance, leaving the audience satisfied.

The group of songs is for you to showcase your sound and style.You may send your songs to persons, or when they discover you online or otherwise, can listen to the songs that you have, and this can lead to one deciding to book you for an event. 

eg; A person may decide on getting Joe Artist for a show, because of their liking for his music, and believes that others will appreciate his sound because he embodies that pulling factor for reaching audiences or drawing a crowd to a concert.

An album is can get you media attention

The music itself is a marketing tool for you to get more shows. This can be what you issue as your flyer, business card to prospects.

Outside of the songs being what they are,  songs are a way to get media attention.

eg: Say you send a single to an editor. the single on its own, would not necessarily get the traction needed. The situation is dependent on the genre, and market. So if you are an established act, you probably would get the media to talk about it, whatever their spin which in turn, would warrant media attention.

The release of the album itself can be an event launch enabling media attention. The album launch may be considered a manufactured event for press coverage. With the media at hand, you are able to give them a press release. This includes the packaging of the album, your photograph, biography, and other related info. With this done, granted that you reached out to the right media contact, you will be able to get write-ups for the different editorials. So with the media attention, is added value to you marketing your work.

Along the lines of hosting an event, say in this case a mini-concert, you could consider inviting other artists who are considered established or are similar in sound to you., and whose audience is similar the same.  

 eg you’re a reggae artist., and your sound is similar to a Chronixx, protoje, or perhaps a gospel artist like a Jermaine Edwards, what you can do, when putting out your album, is invite these persons to the event. This allows you to share the stage with them. Their fans will come to your show. so when you launch your album with these persons performing alongside yourself, persons will pay attention to you, and if your music is likable, persons may buy your album and support you the same.

Can be used to book shows

As an independent artist with 6  to 7 singles, outside of the secular arena, you can do one song and get a break, with a follow up of consistent bookings. For gospel, it’s different.Yes, it can work for others genres as well. However, when you have one song, persons are skeptical of putting you on a show for longer than 10 minutes. if you want to perform for 30 minutes to an hour, with an album out, you’ll be able to showcase a catalog of songs, that persons like, and will keep a crowd entertained for an extended period.

With a catalog of songs Persons are able to decide whether you are an artist they’ll have on their show, or maybe you would add value to supporting a headlining act on a show. Additionally,  you can promote yourself as a headlining act based on the fact that you have a catalog of  work to promote your sound as an artist


  • Your song is your business card. It speaks for how you want to market yourself.
  • You showcase and self yourself through building your song catalog.
  • The album can be a means to get media attention.

let me know whether this information has been helpful. Share your questions and comments.

How do you get your music on iTunes

After you have recorded your song, have it mixed and mastered the next thing you will need to do is have your music in places for them to buy it. So how do you do that when you live outside the USA or don’t have a distributor? I look to answer that question in today’s post.

Being outside the United States, or Europe, in order to get your music into music stores, you need a distributor. There are various distributors that you can get access to. You can use, eg. VP Records, Universal Records and such like. These entities have distributors, and their job is to get the music into stores.That may be the physical or digital format.

Independently as an artist, you can’t  get direct access to let’s say iTunes. To do so, you’ll need an aggregator. The aggregator is to see to it that you meet the criteria for the music distribution. eg.  they make sure the song title is ok, and so on, and then get the music to the stores.

Here are some aggregator options:
  1. cdbaby
  2. Tunecore
  3. Routenote
  4. Distrokid
  5. ReverbNation

Personal Experience with some aggregator


Tunecore cost 29 to start per album. $9 per single and a  yearly subscription 49.99 and no fees are deducted. Additionally, your music is put up on iTunes within 24hrs. The disadvantage to this arrangement comes if you earn less than $50 for the year, it can prove very costly due to the yearly subscription


Cdbaby costs approximately $49 to have your music up on iTunes.You pay this fee once on subscription. There is, however, a percentage deduction hereafter.


Route note will have you put up your music charge free. That’s if you sign up for the free option.15% is however taken after sales. To get all sales proceeds, you  may sign up for the premium option, at an approximate cost of $49


You pay $19 per year, and upload as much music as you like. ie: Distrokid is the best option. Besides that, if just starting out as an independent artist without money, you may use RouteNote. Over time as you build your career, you may transition to the other services such as Distrokid, as it would be the most cost-effective, compared to the others.

Analytics for DistroKid is real time. You can see purchases before payout. The same can be said for TuneCore, though more costly. 

The Overall Basics to Getting Started

1. High-resolution album artwork size and specifications are given and must be a square and should not include costing and other details.

2. Track Title
Name of each track is written by the given specifications and featured artist, are also written in like format.

3. Upload music
TuneCore- WAV files

RouteNote and Distrokid  High-quality 320kb mp3  or wave 

What do you do after your record your first song

Create a marketing plan to promote your music. A marketing plan is a plan of action to get persons to listen to and buy your music.

There are various components of a marketing plan to take into consideration.

Who is your target for the music you create
For example, say you do reggae music, your target would be people who listen to reggae. If it’s dancehall, you’d do the same, gospel, etc.

Other questions to consider are who will buy your music, and where are they? Where do these persons go to find out about the music that you do?

What are the different channels, are you going to use to promote your music?

eg. persons may listen to the radio – sending your music to DJs

In your marketing plan,  you will look at the radio stations you’d want to target. These would be the most likely ones that would play the music you do. eg. You may now consider a radio station that plays only contemporary gospel, but you do reggae/ dancehall. You’d know then that station should not be placed on your options.

In addition, to live radio, you may also target online radio as well. There are shows that will align to your kind of music, the DJs will play your music, and expose their audiences to your music. You may also target podcasters in a similar light.

How can you use video, to promote and market your music?

You’ll first want to get a music video done, and then getting it played on review shows, and live TV. Another option where the use of video come into play comes with live performances. eg. morning TV shows, that you can target, to perform your music live. Then you have the internet. this is where you can upload your video, without you depending on TV station to allow the opportunity for exposure.

Live Performances a part of the marketing strategy.

eg. You may be booked for about 5 shows for a period. For each show, you’d consider performing the song, you want to be promoted, in addition to other singles and covers.
So if you’re promoting a song, it would not be wise to do a new song for each show, and not perform the song you want to promote, at the given time.

Print Media

you’d send your press release, and promo kit,  to the editor of the entertainment section of the media outlet. What you are hoping to achieve, is for these outlets to publish your release, or contact you for an interview, and so on.

In addition to print media, there are online media, such as blogs and review sites, where you’d send your music to them, for them to review it, as well as share with their audience, and expanding your reach.


At the end of putting together your plan of action. the next step is to execute it. So you’re going to now contact all the radio stations to get interviews, and the shows that you’ve identified would play your music. sending your print media info, once completed, getting to the producers of the different TV shows, to get things going. Also performing the song you want to promote, a choice among your set list. All these steps take you to where to go to next, after recording song, and you’ve received the mastered finish.

Should an independent artist get a manager

A manager’s purpose is to help manage your career and to make sure you make as much money as possible, as an artist. That’s their purpose, to manage your career. They bring you to the next level in terms of exposure and earning money. If the manager you have is not making you money, get rid of him. Let’s examine the Pros and the Cons, of the matter.

Yes To Self Management…?

Managing your career by yourself, means you think about the long term, that is, where you see yourself, five / ten years from now. Where are the places you want to perform? And what are the type of songs you want to do? Also, how are you going to monetize your career? These are the questions, that you need to think about.

Most managers – the ones that are effective, they utilize their relationships to get you exposure to push you in the right direction to help you have a sustainable career.

In order for you to get one step ahead on your own, there are some things that you need in place to ensure that you manage your career effectively. Let’s  say you are pulling strings together on your own, you need a team alongside you.The manager would normally work with a team to help push your career forward, just the same.

The first person you need on your team is a booking agent. The booking agent really is to ensure you get as many shows and expose you to live performances. They are key to making sure you are continually on a stage to perform.

The next person on your team should be the publicist. The responsibility of this person is to get you media exposure.They assist with executing your marketing plan.They get you on talk shows, radio interviews,  and write up in the newspaper and magazines.

Important, and often left out is the lawyer. Should there be a contract for signing, the lawyer ensure that details are clear  and that you are protected. They also see to it that your brand and your image are protected.
Finally you need an accountant. You need  a system that will keep track of your income and expenses and to manage it well.It’s ridiculous to  earn $1000 this month, and you spend it all. The accountant helps you manage your money, help you ensure everybody is paid  and ensure you have more money in your pocket as well.

No to Self Management….?

Having someone  to handle the day to day activities of your career means coordinating activities, around your marketing plans. Also there must be  liaison re talking to alot of promoters, ensuring that the logistics are worked out, that you have transportation to go to the shows, that you reach the venues on time, that you have everything that you need to feel comfortable to perform and that all things necessary,  are in place  to push your career forward.

All this can be done by yourself, but after a while it becomes draining for an individual. Therefore there is need to delegate the task to a manager. The manager coordinate the activities of your team, so that you may be able to think about the important thing, you need to think about, and that is, working with your producer to make great music.

For a while you can self manage, but after a while you delegate to a team. If you are in a group, one person can deal with the activities of managing the group.

Managing yourself can be done, if you have the skills to effectively  organise yourself, but overtime you might not be able to  get all things done.


Th manager is the person responsible for managing the activities between you, and your team. They  ensure that your career move forward, and things work out to your favor. A manager  who is not able to help you move forward, in terms of where you see yourself, will not be helpful to you.

To manage your career effectively, you need key persons within a team to help with that.
Booking agent to get you shows to perform, a publicist for media exposure, a Lawyer to handle legally binding arrangements and an Accountant for managing your money.