Musicians, Venues! Should you start earlier?
I hate going to late shows. When I was younger, it was all I wanted to do.
Younger audiences may get more excited about music, while older audiences may have more spare capital to spend on music.
It depends on who you’re curating shows for. A fair amount of bookers for venues don’t look at demographic information from a band’s social media profiles, or who commonly RSVPs. This information would give them a better idea of what time to book shows.
As a musician, I’m biased. I’ve gone to too many shows. I do not care anymore. I’d rather your show started at 6:30 so I could drop by for your set and then leave. A younger me paid $100 to stay up late, see the Foo Fighters, and go drinking afterwards. Now, I wouldn’t pay $100 for a single show, but I might pay $25/wk to see bands I really like. If the show started at 7:00, I would probably impulse buy those tickets. A younger me had much less money.
I already know a few venues that do this, but they do it for folk music, for a middle aged and older population. Opera houses and theaters do this as well. Even movie theaters do this. They all curate good shows, charge the right price, start at the right time, and have a reputation of being consistently good. I can show up with reasonable expectations to get entertained and then leave with those expectations fulfilled.
Pricing, location, and timing have huge impacts on how an audience responds, especially in relation to the specific audience and age group you are catering to (All of their fans work in food service? Sunday or Monday night are probably better bets.)
A bigger question people don’t really ask is “Why should I come to your show?”
Chances are no one knows who you are, or they have better things to do. If you haven’t figured this part out yet, it doesn’t matter what time your show is, no one’s coming.
Focus on telling people about your show. Put up flyers. Get the word out. Get better at your instrument. Make great music videos. Be exciting on stage. Record your live shows and watch yourself. Are you interesting?
Do everything you can to be someone that you would pay money to see.