No one likes talking money ($$ eek), especially when you’re asking someone to pay for seeing you on stage, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting process. While it’s easy to let the venue organise the ticketing and chuck an arbitrary entry fee at them, it may be worth exploring the creative options out there—and not just the cash. Whether you’re organising a themed tour, single launch, album release party or a standard gig, you can be creative in the way you ticket your gig. Just a few ideas to get you started:
- Pre-sale of a merch pack with a free ticket included
- An album upgrade on the checkout page or
- A digital download with the purchase of a ticket.
Gigs are fun, so how about making even the boring logistics fun! Let’s break down exactly how you can be creative with your ticketing.
There’s no rulebook to say how much you should charge for your gig, heck Robbie Williams charges $280+ now, so you can be creative with your pricing. Add-ons, upgrades, VIP experiences, merch bundles and group deals can be included in your pricing structure.
- $15 – standard door entry
- $40 – entry + pin + sticker pack
- $80 – meet and greet + signed EP + entry
Even if you want it to be a $5 gig, you could offer free entry with a tee purchase for $35. If the T-shirt costs $10 to print, you would effectively get $25 per entry to cover costs
The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to be playful with it!
Bundle Your Merch
Hell yeah, everyone likes upgrades! Including merch or limited edition records with the ticket price can be a great way to pre-sell merch and bundle your entry fee into the price. For example, you could advertise a vinyl, sticker and entry pack for $75, instead of selling each item separately at the merch desk.
Here’s what Kilter did for his recent tour:
Source: Kilter, https://kilter.bandtshirts.com.au/ and the ticket listing on Moshtix.
Naming Your Tickets
General Admission is stock standard—it’s what it is, but not all it can be. Be creative with it. Take reference from things you or the band members enjoy, your lyrics and keywords your fans use.
- ‘Let’s talk’ for a meet and greet ticket.
- ‘Lively succulents’ for a ticket with a take-home potted succulent signed by the band.
- ‘Decide my fate’ for a mystery merch and ticket pack.
- ‘Spin it for real’ for a vinyl with an album launch ticket.
You could even write a little story about the merch or bundle, that goes along with the ticket. Give it some character and set the scene, just like you would in a song.
Here’s an example from a band’s merch page:
Source: Tyler Hood
Check the Venue’s Ticketing Options
Some venues, especially larger venues, may have arrangements for ticketing, so ask the venue manager what the options are. If they have an exclusive ticketing contract with Oztix, Moshtix or their own ticketing platform, you may have to stick to the venue managing the ticketing. However, some venues have an exclusive ticketing contract for only a percentage of the events to be sold through their platform, which allows the venue some flexibility to sell tickets by other means.
Smaller venues often have free reign of how they can ticket gigs, so ask the venue manager their preference or what flexibility you have.
Most ticketing sites have the flexibility to price the tickets the way you want, even with fancy names and different options for bundling merch. Some even give you the option of what’s on the purchasing page. Use this flexibility to create an experience for your fans. Work with the venue manager to set this up if ticket sales are done on their end.
Passing on Booking Fees
$5 in booking fees, are you serious?! The industry standard is to pass on booking fees. However, just like some online stores do free shipping, it’s a delight when you don’t have to pay booking fees when buying gig tickets. You want people to buy tickets online so you’re guaranteed of people rocking up, and sometimes booking fees are a deterrent. Think of it like someone buying tickets would, you aren’t charged booking fees if you pay in person, so maybe you’re more likely to buy entry at the door.
Some platforms also allow you to absorb the fees (so the gig-goer doesn’t have to pay), so when setting the ticket price make sure you factor this into your costs. It’s not a must to absorb booking fees, but it’s a nice gesture.
Choosing a Ticketing Platform
With many platforms out there and variables to consider, it can be a big drain on your time to check out all of their features.
Things to consider when choosing:
- How much customisation is there? Images, videos, naming of tickets etc.
- How much are the booking fees for my ticket prices? Some go by set-pricing based on price bracket, others go by percentage, and some are a combo of both.
- Do they let me absorb booking fees?
- When do you get paid? Most pay out the funds 3-5 working days after the event date.
- How easy is it to use for the purchaser? How many clicks/steps do they need to go through?
ALSO: Part 2 of this article will include a ticketing platform analysis to see which platform is best for your gig, big or small.
Platforms Which Are Great for Customisation
I mean, you already have a gig poster, updated your Facebook cover photo and your Instagram is decked out with awesome shots. So how about matching your ticketing page to your style?
With customisation of imagery, background and ticket naming, straightforward purchasing and the option to absorb booking fees, Eventbrite is an attractive option. Eventbrite also seamlessly integrates with Facebook, so purchasers can directly purchase tickets on Facebook without leaving the platform. If your audience is active on Facebook and you’re planning on hosting a Facebook Event, this can be a great option!
A platform to use for higher-levels of custom ticketing is Ticketebo, as it allows you to add content, photos, a video (yes, you can add a video to the ticket sales page!) and custom-named tickets. Since we live in a content-rich world, this is an excellent feature. The booking fees are also on the lower end of the market (more money in your pocket, cha-ching).
Here’s an example of a previous gig on the Ticketebo platform:
Source: Alex Lawton
Having matching/aesthetically appropriate colours, imagery, a picture of your merch and a music video can make a huge impact on the pre-gig experience. Plus, who doesn’t like pretty visuals!
- Watch: Music Design Course Modules
Adding Your ABN/Tax Details to Some Ticketing Platforms
Your band is a business, so make sure you add your ABN and tax status to your account details on the ticketing website. Your ABN and details are important to provide so you can legally collect payment from the ticketing site for tickets sold. If you need more information about applying for an ABN for your band see below:
If you want to create a great experience, sell more tickets and have people buying merch before they even arrive, explore your options before just chucking a $15 entry fee on your next gig. Being creative with the seemingly boring part of selling tickets is easier than you might believe.
If you know a friend who’s planning an awesome gig, don’t forget to share this article! It might just help them get the boost they’ve been looking for.