In your early stages you won't have fans. You'll have people at your shows. Hopefully.
Why are these people at your shows?
Are they there to enjoy themselves? Probably. Are they there to hear good music? Maybe. Are they there to be wowed. Possibly. Are they there to get laid? Hopefully. Are they there because their friends are there? Absolutely.
You need to give people a reason to come to your shows other than your music.
Every band believes their music is great, but most non-musicians believe that local live music sucks.
What's the disconnect?
Well, most local music does suck. Dear bands who don't rehearse much and exclaim "this will be good enough for the show." You're giving live music a bad name! Please stop. Get good. Practice your ass off. Help your scene!
If you don't suck, then why are people coming (or not coming) to you shows? It's not going to be (initially) because they love your music.
It will be because their friends are there. Or they know hot girls will be there and maybe they can pick one up. Or they know it will be a talked about event at work or school on Monday and they want to be able to contribute.
Once you realize (or create) the reason people should come to your shows, then you'll be able to effectively promote them.
Can people advance their careers being at your show? Can you turn your show into a networking event?
Can people find a date (or get laid) at your show? Can you turn your show into a singles event?
Can you turn your show into a community effort? Contact local organizations or groups to turn your show into an "official" event for that organization. Or sorority. Or company.
Offer group discounts to these organizations directly. Call up the head and talk about how this event (not "show") can be a great outing for her staff and offer 40% off discount for ticket purchases of 20 or more. See if the company will buy tickets for their staff.
+Shows Sell, Events Sellout
Getting people in the door is the hard part. Once they're there, it's up to you to have your show so solid and undeniable that it turns everyone in the house into honest to god (love making) fans.
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"How To Make It in the New Music Business might well be the best 'how to' book of its kind." - Music Connection Magazine