Paul McCartney Explains How To Pack The House: Sound Promotional Advice For Music And Business

Kim McLendon

Paul McCartney has always been a great source of information to rising stars. From helping Kanye West write a song to being a great source of inspiration to Harry Styles, Sir McCartney has always been around to help those who seek him out. But what about the ones who don't have the connections to meet Paul?

The Beatles singer/songwriter offered some sound advice through recent interviews with Rolling Stone to help those just starting their rise to fame and those who have been trying to get noticed for quite a while as well. He also shared advice on special issues celebrities face.

"It surprises me that there are some people who don't want to be liked...It's the line in "Hey Jude" about being cool and making your world a bit colder."

Paul McCartney says he was always the one member of the Beatles who pushed it. He believes in getting out there and getting noticed. These days, social media helps, but getting those faces out there to the public by whatever means necessary is a huge part of being successful in music. Promote the music, showcase that business, and build a fan base or customer base. It's no time to get shy.

"In The Beatles, I was very much the guy who pushed it. It's a damn good job I did. No one would have got off their asses to come out from the suburbs into the city to make 'Let It Be." The film turned out pretty weird, but it's a good record."

So what did the Beatles do when their venue was empty but the street just outside was full of people? McCartney tells a story of how to bring those folks inside. A band won't grow by playing to an empty hall. Nothing good can come from empty venues, so Paul says go find an audience and bring them in.

Paul McCartney took the situation into his own hands when playing in Hamburg, Germany. The pub they were playing in had their beer prices posted outside the establishment. It was hard to bring in a crowd with high prices posted just outside the door. There was cheaper beer in other establishments, so the signs drove people away. McCartney had a plan to overcome that.

"A lot of the things we did in Hamburg were instigated by me, then taken up by the other guys. We worked in this little beer hall where nobody came in... The manager of the place said, 'Mach schau' ['Make show']."

Paul McCartney encouraged The Beatles to do a lot more than just make a show. They presented the crowd of prospective audience members in the street with a taste of their product so to speak. They presented a free sample.

"We used to do 'Dance in the Street,' the Gene Vincent song. John was actually the one who said, 'I'll do this – [claps hands] 'Gonna dance in the street tonight! Hey, yeah, everybody! C'mon, c'mon!' That started to pull the students. We figured, 'We got 'em sitting down. Now we'll play our stuff." And they liked it.'"

At Paul McCartney's advice, they took that show out to the street to give the people an idea what they'd be missing if they didn't come in and hear the band. They made it look so fun and inviting that people were glad to pay a little bit extra for the beer.

Today, The Beatles might have made a YouTube video and a Facebook page. They may have even placed promotional ads, but this was another time. In the end, though, they might have still ended up in the streets if all other efforts had failed. The point is to keep trying at every juncture to succeed. Don't be too shy or too proud to do whatever it takes to bring those people in.

Paul McCartney also infers that higher prices should include something extra, whether that be better quality, free entertainment, a nicer atmosphere, or some other reward to the clientele. Giving the people their money's worth is the message. If it costs more, it should offer more advantages that make it worth it.

In hindsight, though, who would not pay a little extra for beer to hear the Beatles perform live in a small concert hall? Considering how things turned out, that would be a memory that would last a lifetime. It's something to tell the grandkids about for sure. No one knew that at the time, though. Even Sir McCartney himself would have been shocked to know how much his pushing paid off.

Paul McCartney knew at the time, though, it was a pivotal point, and that kind of pushing is what made the Beatles who they became.

[Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]