I lived in Colorado from 2008 to 2010. One thing I can say is that even though Denver is a music mecca of sorts, the cities in that part of the country are REALLY REALLY REALLY spread out! don't believe me? Just look at a map!
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That's not the case in Ohio! In fact, it stands to argue that bands in Ohio who are trying to get the word out have an advantage to their counterparts in Denver! The reason for this is that in Ohio, you've got a lot of big cities within a short drive!
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I'll use Columbus as an example! Columbus is in the center of the state, and a Columbus band can reach the other major Ohio markets within a 150 mile drive! Cincinnati is just a couple of hours to the southwest, Cleveland is a couple of hours to the Northeast, Toledo is a couple of hours to the northwest, Dayton is about an hour west…….
But it doesn't stop there! You've got Indianapolis only 3 hours to the west, Pittsburgh 2.5 hours to the east, Huntington WV 3 hours southeast, Louisville KY about 3 hours southwest, Detroit is about 4 hours north……..
Let's venture farther………Chicago is about 6-7 hours from Columbus. Nashville is about 5-6 hours south. Philadelphia is within a reasonable days drive, and New York City isn't far from that!
A band needs to develop a local following, there's no underestimating the value of that. But with all of these other markets so close to Columbus, there is no plausible reason for a band to ONLY play their home town in this part of the country! The proximity of the nearby markets makes it easy for a band to take a weekend tour once a month to spread the word even farther and expand their own reach!
As an example, let's book 3 dates over a weekend. The first date, Friday night, could be in Indianapolis. Then Saturday could be in Chicago, followed Sunday by Detroit……and you're back home for work on Monday! The following weekend, you cater to the Columbus crowd on Friday night and perhaps hit Cincinnati or Dayton on Saturday! Spend Sunday rehearsing and preparing for the next weekend, where your Friday stop is Cleveland, your Saturday stop is Pittsburgh, and your Sunday stop is Huntington WV!
With Facebook and google, there's no reason why you can't find venues to play in these cities. Sure gas is expensive, but you've got to treat your band like a business and do what it takes to get the word out about your product (i.e. your CD's, Shirts, Posters, Lighters, Concert Tickets, iTunes downloads…..ect).
The moral of this story is simple. If you're building a sizable fan base in your home town, and you live in the midwest, but you're not taking advantage of the fact that there is a lot of places to play that are relatively close to you…….you're only going to go so far. You can oversaturate your own market, hoping that you'll catch your big break from home, or you could expand your market reach and expand the number of fans you have by hitting the road!
I'll see you on the road!