Bands, Promoters, or Venues: Who's To Blame When A Show Tanks?
Not to be all Ayn Landers up in this informational yurt, but, the humbling hard work associated with being in a band helps weed out the weak and easily discouraged; it is useful to toughen people up. Being in a band is harder than ever, for a multitude of reasons. Accepting the pure pain-in-the-ass factor of it and embracing the struggle, getting good at the struggle will help bond a band. It also gives a band some much needed perspective and experience if/when they eventually arrive in a place where they can/need to hire someone to do their publicity or manage or book their band.
Do bands need to bring the full force of their promotional capabilities for every single show they play? Obviously some shows are more important than others, but I think the minimum of flyers/posters, Facebook show invites, tweets about it should be the baseline. The other reason to get good at promoting your band (or at least be valiant/earnest/consistent in your efforts) is that it will please the promoters you work with. The world is larded with lazy musicians; a band that has it together to flier their own show and get some posters and handbills to the promoter is going to be a shining beacon of responsibility and consideration. It is an easy way to gain favor, regardless of your draw or sound. I know we all grew up thinking being a musician meant flailing around in your ego and being a dick, but simply being a little helpful and carrying your weight will get you a lot further.
So, dear writer, if you find that the baby bands you are dealing with are just not getting it, put an outline of what you expect and a FAQ on the "booking contact" page of your site. Young bands may appreciate your tutelage on how to do promote their shows--and stay in a promoter's good graces.
(Y'all like how I took this question about booking into a lesson in manners and the value of hard work, paternalistic grandpa style? THIS IS MY LATE-CHRISTMAS PRESENT TO YOU, READERS.)