Big Fish, Small Fish


Have you ever thought about which one you are?  The big fish or the small one?  Here are some thoughts how to promote yourself based on where you live.

Small Fish, Big Pond
By default, big towns are where all the action is (or so we’re told). When you hear of a band doing an east or west coast tour, you’ll likely hear of stops in major cities such as New York, Philly, Portland, and Seattle. You’ll rarely hear of stops in smaller, unfamiliar towns. Why is this? It’s because everyone wants to be part of something big. We’ve all got friend who’ve moved to Nashville or LA to pursue their dreams, even though there are thousands of other people in the same market. 

Being a small fish in a big town actually has its perks. While your market may be over saturated with friendly “competition”, there are likely more opportunities and more outlets to pursue than in the average small town. Here are some ways to get ahead in a large market

  • be intentional about building community: this is alot easier in a small town, but in a a larger you have to work to build a community of devoted fans and fellow artists.  Check out these posts: Creating a Music Community #1 and Creating a Music Community #2
  • build a team: find 2 or three other groups or fellow singer/songwriters who are interested in sharing the load.  I’m not talking about co-writing or splitting shows. I’m talking about groups who really want to share marketing ideas with each other, promote shows together, go on the road together, and share their leads. Believe me, everyone wins this way. Check out this post: Executing Your Ideas

Big Fish, Small Pond
Being a big fish in a small town has its pros and cons. For one thing, its alot easier to make moves when there isn’t alot of competition. You can get ahead pretty fast and its usually a smoother climb up the ladder of “fame”.  At

  • take advantage of your lack of competition:  If you live in the city, head to the small towns on a regular basis.  I had a show in a small town last weekend and I was reminded of how easy it is to pack a coffeehouse when there’s nothing else for people to do. If you promote the show, people will come.
  • take advantage of your network: If you do live in a small town, there are probably fewer major venues. Go for intimate gigs, house shows, and other unique events that might be easier to pull off in a small town. Check out: House Shows – Small Crowd, Big Return
  • be aware of what’s going on: Don’t schedule your show on the same night as a football game or other major event.  Small towns always seem to have that one big event that everyone goes to.

Other things to Consider
What if you’re a small fish in a small town?  If that’s not where you want to be, then re-evaluate what you’re doing and work on practical ways to change this. And if you’re a big fish in a big town, then you’re probably ready for a record label (if you don’t have one already).

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2 Comments on “Big Fish, Small Fish”

  1. Danami Says:

    Great advice for what I’m experiencing now.

  2. […] 2. Small cities are still where it’s at. Everyone always wants to play out in the bigger cities, but i still hold to the opinion that you get more bang for your buck in smaller cities. There’s less going on and more interest. It’s easier to get media coverage, and more people will come out because news travels fast(er). More on this: Big Fish, Small Fish. […]

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