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14 Ways Musicians Can Increase their Tips

by Bard Marc Gunn
September 29, 2003

I was listening to NPR the other day when they did a report on tipping in the restaurant industry. One they had a list of tips on how wait staff can increase their tips.

That got me brainstorming and surfing the net for other ideas to boost tips. That combined with lots of performances at Renaissance Festivals helped me to develop my own list of ways musicians can improve their tips.

  1. Introduce yourself by name
    Too often musicians forget to introduce themselves on stage. Make sure you tell the audience your band name, but to really boost your tips, you should also introduce yourselves individually. Let people know who you are as an individual and you'll see greater tips.

  2. Go out into the audience with a tip jar
    You really can't be passive when it comes to getting tips. You have to walk out into the audience with some visual reference that says "Tip Me!", and they will tip you.

  3. Meet your audience at their level
    Take the time to talk to your audience members at their level. Holding a discussion from a stage puts a wall between you and them. So instead, go out into the audience and talk to them face to face. Kneel if they're at a table, so you're at eye level. And if you have ayour tip jar with you, you will you will not only gain a fan, but you will also improve your tips.

  4. Make your appearance personal
    We wear kilts to most of our gigs. A kilt adds a very personal touch It links us to a certain culture and makes people take notice. Course you don't have to go that route, instead find some piece of clothing that reflects your personality and you will boost your tips.

  5. Recommend your favorite CD
    If you have multiple CDs, your audience will always ask for your favorite. Tell them what it is. If you only have one, you can do the same by recommending other artists that you like. That adds a two-fold advantage of helping your audience find music they like and helping your fellow musicians.

  6. Smile
    A bright, confident smile will bring fans back again and again with lots o'big tips.

  7. Involve your audience in the music with a joke or game
    Next time you're up on stage, see what happens when you joke around with the audience. Your personality will glow all the more and so will your tips.

  8. Chat with fans by name
    Music fans love nothing more than to be recognized by the bands they love. So do your best to remember their names. They will feel that much more attached to your music and feel like your friend. And these friends will tip you better for the courtesy.

  9. Touch your audience
    When you're out socializing with your audience, touch them (in a non-sexual way). Whether you shake their hand, pat them on the shoulder or back, or just brush against them, wait staff find that that even that will boost their tips 50%. And it will yours too.

  10. Use tip jars with the VISA/Mastercard Logo
    According to studies done in restaurants, just seeing those logos is enough to encourage customers to tip more. I know it sounds crazy, but give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

  11. Give your audience something in return for their tip
    People love feeling like they're getting their money's worth. And many people don't realize you should tip bands. So give something in return. It could be something as big as a sticker or magnet, or as simple as a business card that might include a $1 off your CDs. Or hey what about feeding their sweet tooth with a piece of candy. Whatever the case, that little gift will mean big tipping results.

  12. Draw a picture
    On a similar note, if you give them a business card, draw or make a comment on it. That piece will be more valuable to them and will result in bigger tips.

  13. Make tipping a part of the show
    Why wait until the end of the set to ask for tips. Sing a song about tipping, or get your audience involved in the tipping process by shouting something. Or offer a prize to the first tipper. But integrate it into your show and it won't seem like you're just begging for money, rather you're making it fun to tip.

  14. Thank your audience
    No gig would be complete without an audience. So thank them for taking the time to watch you perform. They will feel the personal touch and respond when you ask for money.

  15. Bonus Tipping Suggestion:
    If the change is five dollars, never return a five-dollar bill. Always give back five ones. This allows the customer to tip you with some of the dollar bills you returned. You will rarely get a $5 tip and returning a $5 bill will turn off tippers. In general, it's good to return all ones if the change is less than $8. You want the customer to have at least two ones so they can give it back as the tip.

Bard Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards has helped 1000's of musicians make money with their musical groups through the Bards Crier Music Marketing and Promotion Ezine and the Texas Musicians' Texas Music Biz Tips. Now you can get personal advice by visiting http://www.bardscrier.com for FREE "how-to" music marketing assistance.

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© 2000-2013 Marc Gunn -- Austin, Texas

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