5 Things Bands Need To Do To Have a Thriving Scene Without Pay to Play.

5 Things bands need to do in order to have a thriving scene with no pay to play.

A lot of bands complain bout the music scene for one reason or another. From my opinion most

of these bands aren’t thinking of the bigger picture, or outside of their band for that matter. I

started Orange County Music League to put an end to pay to play. Bands are not a dollar sign.

Here are some things that local bands are going to need to start doing in order to build a thriving

scene :

1. Get out and go to at least one local show a week that your band is not playing, or at least

share the flyer.

This is how it begins. The people in the scene need to support the scene, not just their own

shows. Imagine is there were 6 other bands at each show, that is 20­30 more people. At every

show. This also shows everyone who is only in it for themselves. If you can’t physically make it

out, post a show flyer and let your fans know there is a great local show that night. It’s not all

about you and your band.

2. Promote their brand, music, and shows on Social platforms yes, but more importantly going

out and making face to face connections with new people.

Nobody is going to promote you more than you. This is one of the keys to being noticed. If

you’re passionate about it tell the world! World of mouth is the best form of promotion. People

can hear all the details, and they can see how passionate you are about it. They are more likely

to be interested and more likely to want to check it out to support your passion. You can not

convey this over a social media platform.

3. Accept playing free shows and make your money that night on merch sales.

There is no better way to brand your band then selling merch and your shows. You can make

extra money, personally connect with new fans, and know people are out there repping your

band! If you are a serious band, you will have merch and be willing to make that investment into

your branding your band name and spreading your music.

4. Play weekday shows. Bands who only play weekends are hurting the scene.

If you only play weekend shows, you are in a way being selfish, but you are also excluding a

large potential fan base from ever seeing you. I have found it easier sometimes to get someone

out to a free local show during the week than a $10 local show on a Saturday. The day with the

most competition. Obviously school and work may stop a ton of weekday shows, but the

occasional weekday show help build a scene. People go out every night, not just on the

weekends. They’re more likely to choose a local show on a weekend if they have already

experienced great local live music.

5. Never bad mouth or bash promoters, other bands, venues, or anything of the sort.

You look unprofessional and immature. Even if you have a reason to be irritated or angry, when

you bash people on public forums, outside people are likely to not want to work with you. Even if

your band is good. We are all in this together and if we don’t act like it nothing will get better or


It starts with the bands, but ends with the fans.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what you read give it a share.

­John Safari

President ­ Orange County Music League




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