Getting Contact Information From Live Audiences

© 2010 Vinny Ribas

Congratulations! You’ve landed an amazing gig in front of a large audience! Now how are you going to convince that large of a group to sign up for your mailing list?

 To answer his you need to know 2 things. First, you need to know the audience. Ask yourself, ‘How would this particular audience prefer to be communicated to?” If they are senior citizens, they might not use text or email. You may need to get actual physical mailing addresses. By contrast, a young enough audience might prefer text messaging. Are they executives who are too busy to read your artsy newsletter? Are they mostly male or female? Do they mostly download music or buy CDs?

 Once you’ve sized up the audience, the 2nd thing to think about is[private_pro] the reason you want them on your list in the first place. Is it to send them a monthly newsletter?  If so, you need to get email addresses. Do you just want to notify them when you’re going to be back in their town? Is your immedate goal to get thenm to buy your CD or music downloads? You might be pushing to get them to  pre-order an upcoming CD!

 Now you know who your audience really is, you can choose which medium(s) you’re going to use to communicate with. And knowing the reason you’re asking for the information helps you design an effective pitch. Here are some general ideas. Mix and match them. Customize them for your particular situation.

 Text Messaging:

  • After you perform a song that you know is popular, ask your audience to text you at a specific number to get a free download of the song, or maybe see a video of that performance (if you’re taping, of course). Use a service like for this.
  • Conduct an instant survey from stage. Ask the audience to text you if they think that you should release a certain song as your next radio single. Ask if they want to have you back to that venue or that town.
  • If the band is photogenic, ask people to text your code if they want a picture of the band, or of one of its members.
  • Pass out flyers or cards with your text # and ‘code’ on it. Anyone who simply texts your code to that number will start receiving show updates and news from you.
  • Hold a contest. ‘The first 100 people who text us with this code at this # will receive… Make the prize worth their effort. You can actually give everyone the prize, because no one will be counting.
  • Stand at your merchandise table and offer a free download (or something else free) to anyone who texts the band right now.
  • Include your ‘text the band’ info on your CDs
  • Mention your website a lot, and have your text and email signups prominent on it. Do the same with your social network sites.
  • Have your text info on posters for the show, in ads etc. This serves 2 purposes. 1) your fans will always be able to go back and get on your text list, and 2) your fans will be able to share it with their friends.
  • Ask your fans if they want to join your street team. Have a different text number/code for them.

 Key: Have some way to have the text number and code in big print on stage so they don’t have to rely on memorizing the number and code you rattled off from stage. Why not write a song about it!  Have someone in the band wear a shirt with the text number on it!


Many of the tips mentioned about texting can also apply to emails. However, it is hard to get people to sign up for your mailing list during a show. You can ask, but much of your results will come after the show.

  • Have the entire band stand at the merchandise table after the gig to sign autographs.  Ask people if they’d like to be on your mailing list.
  • Explain what kinds of fun things they will get if they sign up for your newsletter, such as free downloads, song previews, advanced notice for gigs, candid stories, free videos etc.
  • Conduct a survey after the show, and ask for email addresses.
  • Have a very simple but catchy email address for people who want to get on your list. It could be as simple as You can mention this from stage. The main catch is that you will have to input the names personally.
  • Give away free download cards. When your fans go to redeem them, they first need to give you their email address.
  • You can have someone going around the audience getting people to sign up for the mailing list. Just make sure that you introduce them from stage first so your audience feels comfortable that they’re not giving their address away to someone not associated with the band.
  • If it is an indoor venue, have someone stationed at the door to catch people on their way out.
  • Have someone with a mailing list signup at the door either when collecting the cover charge or just greeting people.
  • As they come in, hand out cards to fill out with their name and email address on it (email could be optional) for a drawing some time during the show. Make it a ‘must be present to win’ situation, and do the drawing close to the end of the night. If the prize is worth waiting for, you’ll keep the crowd!
  • Station someone near the rest room to approach people as they come out if they’d like t be on the mailing list. Pretty much everyone goes there once during the night.

 These are just a few ideas. Be creative. The bottom line is that it’s always best to give something in return for your fans’ personal information. Present it before, during and after the show. It could be a free download, a free copy of an old EP, an autographed photo or anything else that would entice them, I know one artist that would raffle off a free house concert for a fan and their friends. At the house concert they would then sell 10 more CDs!

Feel free to share what has worked for you in the comments section below! [/private_pro]

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.