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The Gig Is Up – Getting Those Gigs
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.
- 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
- 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?
- Word of mouth with enthusiasm!
- Flyers, posters – get permission as needed (e.g. parking lots)
- Street teams, fan clubs
- Internet marketing – Artistopia 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
- 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 online.
- 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!
- 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 Artistopia profile. Show the world what you are about!
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