Audience development: the art of creating demand

People go to concerts for all sorts of reasons. The trick is to find the reasons and then they will go to your concert.


One of the worries a seller has is how to get buyers to want your stuff. The things you sell may bear history and laden with value to yourself, but they are absolutely meaningless to a stranger.

Similarly, musicians and concert producers love their music. They too worry whether enough people will show up. How do they get people to come to a concert? Posters and invitations may not suffice.

Audience development means getting people to come to an event. It’s also about creating demand. There are many alternative ways to spend a Saturday evening in a big city. How do you get someone to choose you over other possibilities?

The keyboard and guitar that found new homes
The keyboard and guitar that found new homes

How is this similar to a garage sale?

I spoke to a lady at a yard sale today about how I managed to get rid of my things to free myself to leave London for the Netherlands. I held an Open House, baked cakes and cookies, and invited my neighbours and friends to visit. All four rooms (living room, dining room, bedroom, and study) were filled with things I wanted to sell.

One man’s medicine is another man’s poison. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Nobody wanted to buy my flowery summer dresses or conservative business suits. I had to think of innovative ways to get rid of my stuff.

Spend at least 5 pounds and get the solar calculator for free. The solar calculator and various knick knacks were giveaways at the conferences I attended. I didn’t care about the calculator at all. I did not know that this offer was attractive until I spotted a bassoonist selecting various paperback books to get the 5 pound total. He got his solar calculator.

My friend, the late London-based architect Ayyub Malik desperately wanted a piece of cake. I told him he had to buy something first. There was nothing he wanted except for a piece of cake. I encouraged him to buy an umbrella that he might need (in case his broke). He got his cake.

How do you get people to want something? How do you get people to buy what they do not need? Or what they do not realise that they need or want?

The answer: find out what they really want.

A concert is not just about the music. An economist told me so. “If you think people come to your concerts just to hear you, you are wrong.”

People go to concerts for all sorts of reasons.

The trick is to find and give reasons for people to come to your concert.

[Note: this blog post was inspired by my visit to two yard sales in Maui. People go to yard sales to get things at a discount. Some people go to discover what they did not know they needed. For instance, I bought a shower curtain even though I already have one.]

Author: BLOGmaiden

As one of the earliest bloggers (since 1999), I enjoy meeting people who embrace "out-of-the-box" thinking and fear not the unknown. I believe in collaboration for sustainability because it increases stakeholder value.

5 thoughts on “Audience development: the art of creating demand”

  1. Or give them good reasons to choose from as I feel many people don’t have a clue about their reasons for what they do.

  2. There are a few basic urges that people are always trying to satisfy: the need for food, connection, sense of well-being, etc. The more they think what you offer can satisfy these, the more they will want it. E.g., car companies don’t sell cars, they sell status symbol, image, or perhaps utility. Single men buy flashy cars to get dates (connection). House concerts can satisfy needs for connection (networking), food (serving food/drinks), or even well-being (I’m know about cutting edge entertainment etc).

  3. Thanks for your input, Robert & Chong Kee.

    I should also add that it’s a privilege to be invited to a house concert. Because the space is limited, such occasions are not widely publicised, if at all. When I was invited to my first house concert in Houston, I was curious and felt honoured to be invited. I noticed the same reaction in the colleagues, industry contacts, and personal friends that I invited.

    As for other kinds of concerts (not house concerts), the reasons to go vary. Usually I go because it’s a rare occasion (e.g. premiere), someone I want to see on stage, someone I want to go with, a venue I want to visit, a chance to write a review, the first time to hear a well-known piece, etc…. thus indeed various reasons and not necessarily the obvious.

  4. Really great post. Simple and to the point – economics is the root of all things…got to master the basics. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s