What To Do If No One Shows Up

By: Martin Atkins
Photo Credit: Kara Hammond, Courtesy of Recording Academy, Atlanta Chapter

It’s happened to the best of us, but better to be prepared!!

1. Close the balcony before doors open (or any other side rooms if possible) to reduce capacity and keep everyone downstairs- create a sign if you want “closed by management” and tell people there is a leak. Don’t piss people off, but you can do a little crowd control.

2. Add tables– for no reason! They take up room!

3. Quickly walk around a three block radius and give out tix to people hanging out. Offer to buy a beer or two (I’ve done that!). 20 extra people helps a catastrophe become just a nightmare — those extra 20 might keep the people who actually wanted to come at the show longer.

4. If you are band #3, on last, ask to borrow an amp from band #1 and a bass from band #2 — now they have to stay until your set is over! Buy them a couple of drinks so as not to be a total wanker.

5. Vow to apply all the techniques put out through this newsletter and in Band:Smart to use before you fail again!!!

This #TipTuesday brought to you by Band:Smart! 600+ pages with 150+ contributing professionals from across the industry giving their best advice on how to create $ucce$$ on your own terms.

Biography: Martin Atkins is the definition of entrepreneurial activity in cultural arts endeavors. His over three decades in the music business spans across genres, borders and industries. Having experience in nearly every aspect of record production and promotion has given Martin a unique perspective not only on where the music industry is currently, but where it is going in the future.

After playing drums in a variety of English bands, Martin auditioned for and subsequently joined Johnny Rotten’s Public Image Limited in 1979. His first contribution to the band was co-writing and performing on the song “Bad Baby” for the revered Metal Box LP. After touring the world with P.i.L and contributing to several more studio albums Martin left the group in 1985. Over the next five years, he played with and managed Killing Joke and toured with Ministry. In 1990, while on tour with Ministry, he formed his own band, Pigface. He also worked with Nine Inch Nails, performing on the Grammy award winning “Wish” and appearing in the “Head like a Hole” video.

Martin began working on the business side of music in 1988 when he formed Invisible Records and then Mattress Factory Studios in 1996. Over three decades Invisible has released over 350 albums and has had placements spanning from the original Miami Vice to Showtime’s Queer as Folk to Robert Altman’s The Company.

In 2003, Martin began teaching “The Business of Touring” at Columbia College in Chicago. Martin wrote his book Tour:Smart in 2007 and has since spoken around the world at the Midi Institute in China, Drumtech in London, NAMM, SXSW(11 years in a row) , Brasilia, Santiago Chile, Medellin Columbia, By:Larm in Oslo, and many more.

He is now the Music Industry coordinator at Millikin University in Decatur IL, and earned his Masters Degree in creative media in 2018 from Middlesex University. He has spent significant time in China recording, signing, and producing bands. His 2006 visit spawned his first documentary 16 Days in China which documents his experience. He is a father of four boys and lives with his wife, Katrina, in Chicago.

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