The Gig Is Up - Getting Those Gigs

By: Artistopia

Time for your music dreams to come true – playing live onstage to masses of screaming fans…or at least a room full of people listening in to your creations. Though the ultimate goal is a good-paying gig, an artist or band just starting out may have to take on some freebies. Consider them as experience. Use this list as a start on how to get gigs, a checklist of the basics, and an idea starter.

The Prep:

Talent – know your style, be solid in your performance abilities before you take on too big a gig

All band mates know their responsibilities

Calendar – create your timeline

Internet - online presence, class ads, forums, press, make friends with other bands

Networking – go to shows of other bands and meet them, create critical allies, rub elbows

Press kit – with contact info, web address

Demo tape/CD with your 3 best songs

Rehearsed extensively

Decent equipment – with backups and spares

Reliable transportation for band and ALL equipment

Funds – who handles your band finances, food, gas, places to stay

Booking agency or manager to get bookings – when affordable and research thoroughly

Sound Technician

Playlist – well shaped, great flow, more than enough for the time allowed, minimal pause between songs

The Places:

Fundraisers, charities, benefits

Festivals, fairs, city free concert venues, trade shows

Music competitions, songwriting contests

Battle of the bands

Clubs, bars, pubs – karaoke, open mic night

Weddings, special occasions, private functions, parties

Country clubs, cruise ships

Restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bookstores

Schools, churches, colleges

House concert

Jam sessions

Online video

Gig trading with other bands of similar style – one band opens the show, the other closes

Getting the Gig:

Attitude should be “how we can help each other"

Understand what is expected of you – don’t assume anything, including food and drinks

Make sure the venue has a good rep for being fair

Be ready if you need to do a live audition during a club’s less busy hours.

Venue specifications, space, sound

Keep your word, build respect, do what you say you will do

Get it in writing, contract

You know it’s up to you to promote your gig, right?

The Promotion:

Word of mouth with enthusiasm!

Flyers, posters – get permission as needed (e.g. parking lots)

Street teams, fan clubs

Internet marketing – events, email, ezines, newsletters, class ads, Blogs, concert calendars, mailing list (online/offline)

Call ALL your friends, family, co-workers, school mates

Press releases to any media available

Newspaper, radio, local gig guides

Bulletin boards, music stores, record shops

Go where your particular style of fan would hang out or work – do your market research

Swap promo with local stores, restaurants, come up with some cool idea

The number of heads through the door is the most important factor for a re-booking

At Work:

A gig is a job – so the same rules apply: be on time, don’t take too many set breaks, be prepared to do your best and be professional at all times. The reputation you create will proceed you.

Sound check, balance, volume levels

Make sure the audience knows the name of your band

A good catchy opening line

Be adaptive to your environment – have a sense of humor

A musician under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a recipe for disaster

Merchandise for sale – CDs, t-shirts, stickers…door prizes

Have someone take good photos (video) for adding to your photo albums later – and schmooze with your fans! Get fan names to add to the photo narrative.

Collect emails, hand out biz cards, promote the next upcoming gig, get references

Something will probably go wrong, think through typical disasters and try to be prepared

Have a great time because you are doing what you love to do!

The Follow-up:

Let everyone know you had a great time and appreciate that they came to see you and thank the venue operators and staff

If you have a band following you, be polite and move your equipment as quickly as possible

Have your pre-appointed money collector do their job

Drop the rock star attitude – don’t get a big head

Respect the people around you and don’ burn any bridges

Learn from every experience

Add any upcoming gig or follow-up press release to your music profile. Show the world what you are about!


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