Numbers up

Andrew Booker 2007-12-03 22:22:59

Skiddle is a What's On web site. If you have gigs to list, you can set yourself up as a promoter and add them. Basic listings are free, but Skiddle also have a couple of paid services where they raise your listing out of the vast stagnant pool of other events and hopefully attract more people. Once you've dried off a bit.

Over the last couple of months I've been having a go with three Skiddle listings: one for our third gig at the Plough on 30 Oct 07 and two for the Ember gigs on 14 and 28 Nov 07. For the Plough gig, I paid GBP 52.87 for them to send out an eflyer to all their subscribers within a 50 mile radius of the gig. For the second Ember gig, I paid GBP 8.81 for them to display the listing prominently on their site. For the other Ember gig, I just did the vanilla listing. Here's what happened.

listing type cost (GBP) web visits [sic] effective?
Plough 30 Oct basic+eflyer 52.87 6506 no
Ember 14 Nov basic (free) 6218 no
Ember 28 Nov featured 8.81 21320 hmm...

Those web visits are figures from their site. I'm not sure what they mean but I reckon they are the same as GoogleAd impressions, which are a count only of when your ad appears on a page, not when someone clicks on it. Even without knowing what they are, you can see straight away why I won't be bothering with the eflyer again. If it had brought one person to the Plough for every four pounds I would do it again, but I remember that gig as being attended by pub regulars or people I knew, and no-one else. If those really are clicks, I need to do something about my listing content. Unless one percent of that lot really did turn up to the second Ember gig last week but couldn't find the band because we were locked away downstairs.

So, what about last Wednesday's pleasure-cruise of a gig at Ember? It was fantastic. Musically it was great, but then given the lineup of Mike, Os and the Laffsta, that is no surprise. I especially remember the Simon perched on his high-chair next to the kit and giggling as Mike conjured his latest bizarre wobble from the guitar. Besides the playing, there were a couple of small reasons, and one big one, why it was just about the best Improvizone gig to date.

In 2006 I did five gigs. I know, steady on there Andrew. Whereas, this was my fifth gig in November 2007 alone. That may not seem busy to a real professional musician, but even when you cluster them together to a rate of once a week, the anticipatory worries and excitement that you get from playing only rarely start to disappear, whether you like it or not. Yes, I have packed everything in the car. Yes, I have sorted out a lead for everyone's signal. Yes there are enough power cables. Yes, I will easily be there by 6:30pm. Yes, there is plenty of space to park outside. And yes, doing improvised gigs with some effects and a few very clever people around you is a really nice thing to do.

Not having to worry about rehearsing music means I can take plenty of time to sort out wiring and parking in advance. Not having to record is also a nice head-clearer, if not for Os, who was recording instead. If it was a struggle, he didn't show it. He played, he looped, he mixed two stereo outputs and recorded eight channels, without breaking into a twitch. I came away with two DVDs of the AIFFs, burnt while we all wound down with a few half-measures of expensive lager.

Did I say wound down? Like this was a tense, taxing, troubling, tremulous two and a half hours? Get out of it. I know that musically we can do this gig fine, and I know that when people do see it, they like it. I also know that as much as I can do to try and promote them, attendance for the gigs is often the wrong side of uncomfortable.

That is why the real buoyancy agent for this gig was its audience. When I arrived at 6:30, the upstairs bar was packed. While we each drifted in and casually set up, the venue staff were getting more and more anxious for us to please get on and sort ourselves out so they could open the doors and let people downstairs. Faces peered in through the door while we were setting up. This is completely different story to last time. Where did the people come from?

One theory why the place was generally more busy was we were much closer to pay-day than last time. But there seemed to be increased awareness too. One of the venue staff told me some people had phoned in the day before and asked about the music. Although I was chuffed we had won a listings lottery and appeared in the London Lite, that's not how they knew about it, because it hadn't been published the day before. Maybe it was Skiddle? Closer to home, there had been a little Facebooking going on (thanks Daniel!) plus a few attempts by me to get a few people down using traditional methods of... that's right... talking to them about it! And there were even a few people I knew that I had made no direct attempt to bring at all. So it was fine evening.

I'll get round to sorting out some downloads after our Plough gig in a couple of days. I'm stalling firstly because I wasn't doing all the recording, so I have to load all Os's files on my laptop and manually sync them with the MIDI/drums/room mic recordings I did make. I've had a go and it's working fine, and Os has come up with a huge list of good bits, far more than I will end up posting as downloads. Secondly, I have to finish the David Cross album, or it will never get released, and it will be all my fault.

M3M with Cellistica << | >> 12th gig: Wednesday 05 December 2007 at The Plough, E17