So why do coffee shops that decide to have wonderful live music have such few people hanging out to listen on a Tuesday night? Is it because no one is interested in LIVE anything anymore? Is it because the coffee house isn’t promoting their events? Or has the internet and our need, as a society, to seemingly sit in solitude gaming and downloading MP3’s on our iPods, replaced our need, as a society, for personal interaction?
Last night I went to hear a friend of mine play, saxophonist John Goldman, with some of his friends and it was fantastic; except that they could have been playing in my living room for easily more money because there were so few people there. Last night, with John, I also heard Scott Hesse, on guitar and Gordan Lewis on bass.
Quadrangle has been playing at The Red Eyes Coffee House at 4164 N Lincoln Avenue here in Chicago for about 6 months and how come nobody seems to know they are there??
Now don’t get me wrong, I realize there are 101 things you could do on any given night of every week, and this is just one more of those things in Chicago to occur; but why does this happen as often as it does with really great displays of art? Do you think artists themselves have something to do with it?
Now John has placed in The Reader, our town’s paper of happenings, in the jazz section, his post for this venue and he does the usual stuff sending info about upcoming gigs out in an email. Not all that different then other’s I have seen and yet its not getting traction; not unlike so many other musicians with really worthy talent in interesting eclectic intimate venues.
Ya know, those venues that people later talk about when the artist becomes really well known: “Yah, remember when they use to play at the Red Eyes Coffee House? I heard them there YEARS before anyone realized how great they were.” You remember those days because you were up close and personal; and it was cool.
Do you think we as artists do this to ourselves? Do you think we are so inwardly focused to learn our “art” , and then become so sensitive about our work because it means so much to us, that we have trouble saying to our family, friends, co workers, enemies, daily chance encounters and anyone else we bump into: “Hey, My______ ( insert your art form here) is rockin and you should come and check me out! Bring your significant other and hang out. Here’s where you can see or hear me next _______________ ( fill in venue here).”
Artists, as a bunch, I think are largely introverts when it comes to self promotion and as a result we are creators of our universe!! But even a simple verbal announcement to promote your work isn’t enough! You need to brand YOURSELF just like you brand your genre or art. Find your audience through newsletters, building a mailing list and using it six – eight times a year to produce an interesting read of what’s happening in your world and MAKE your audience happen. If you think its any different in the world of FOR PROFIT; think again. Its all the same stuff and artists will benefit ENORMOUSLY by developing their audience strategically.
After all we are in the 21st Century which is being called The New Creative Economy. Creativity is being valued like never before. Fortune 100’s like MasterCard have built ad campaigns about the magic creative special moments in life create. Their next ad should go something like this:
Terrific hot smokin jazz at 4164 N Lincoln Avenue~ $10.00
A double espresso~ $5.00
Experiencing great live music with your significant other~ priceless.
On Tuesday night’s starting for sure by 7pm, go to The Red Eyes Coffee House at 4164 N Lincoln and check out Jazz saxophonist, and flutist John Goldman and his group Quadrangle.