When it comes to entering a battle of the bands contest, most bands are clearly thinking all about themselves - the prizes, the venue, the judges and all the rest; but what about the fan appreciation?
Yes, the fans...remember them?
When it comes to most BOTBs, the fans are an afterthought and often get the worst of the experience. They become 'bodies in the venue' or 'tickets sold' or 'cheerleaders' as opposed to real people who need to be valued or potentially lost forever.
So what is so bad about inviting your fans to a BOTBs competition? For the last time I'll say that it depends on what the quality and reputation of the event is. For the most part for a BOTBs gig your fans will have to:
- Travel farther to see you perform
- Watch you perform for a shorter set
- Pay double or triple what they'd pay to see you at one of your own shows
- Feel obligated to stay and cheer for your band
- Endure barrage of bands, most of which they'll have zero interest in
This is especially the case if you live close to a major city where a big time BOTB event is being held. I live about an hour away from the biggest city in Canada (Toronto), and inevitably all the bands within a 3 hour square radius want to do a gig in the "Big City" where they can be "discovered".
In this instance, they have to travel to the city, pay outrageous parking fees (plus find a place to park) pay the cover charge, wait until "their band" hits the stage, buy food, avoid buying too many expensive drinks, get the heck home as soon as possible afterwards.
And all for what? For the bands to feed their ego to perform on the 'big stage' in the 'big city' for the 'big prizes'.
Is it any wonder why most bands have to beg and plead to even sell enough tickets to get some asses in the seats? What's in it for the fans?
Unfortunately, until bands stop looking for shortcuts to fame and fortune and start paying more attention to their audience - they're going to continue to walk all over the few fans they have to hopefully win the favour of a 'mysterious stranger' who will wave their magic wand and grant them a record deal so that they can live happily ever after.
The funny thing is that without the fans, all the showcases and meet n' greets with the 'big shots' isn't going to get you very far. When you have a pile of dedicated fans that are willing to actually pay for your music and shows, the big shots will start taking notice anyway.
So the next time you're considering being part of a Battle of the Bands competition, battle of the bands showcase, band wars or whatever name they want to call it next, consider how it will affect the people that you're leaning on the most to 'win' at the competiton