Examining the current format for classical and contemporary art music performance, there seems to be one primary method this work is done: lots of people sit in a dark room with or without alcohol and watch some performers for an hour or so.
Here’s just a quick brain dump of other ways new music could enter into the lives of audiences:
- Microrecital: one or two pieces stuffed into the middle of a dinner/cocktail party/hangout.
- Salon: an evening of presentations from a variety of disciplines (scientific papers, poetry, manifestos, art music).
- Digital recital: Anything ranging from Periscope to Google Hangouts On Air. No live audience audience just a digital audience of people in the cube farms.
- Exhibit in an art gallery: complete with tags and printed artist statement on the wall.
- Busking: the true test of whether craft can reach out, grab people, and stop them in their tracks.
- Pre-show: before a theater show, as a theater audience takes their seats.
- Double bill: open for another musical event that is very different from your own work, but contains something of the same spirit–a community orchestra concert, a punk show, whatever seems like a fun fit.
Most of these are small. Small enough that one might wonder how on earth it would make financial sense to do them. There might not be any financial sense.
But, on the other hand, if we were to assume that many of the performances we undertake as a matter of course or habit don’t make any sense financially then why not give these a try? If we want to connect to new audiences these (or other ones that you think up!) might be one way.
My evil marketing mind says that there should likely be a “call to action” accompanying these. A simple business card might do. Some time practicing saying out loud what it is you do and why people should support your work would also go a long way.
Instead of monetizing on the live performance, you’d want to monetize on something else (album sales, subscription, merch, future performances, etc).