Easy Steps to Get a Music Gig

Playing live is one of the best ways to build your fan base. Bands sometimes find themselves in a difficult spot: You need an audience to get a gig. But, an audience is not the same as a gig.

It takes planning to overcome the paradox and get your band seen in front of a crowd. You can start by landing a show. From there, you can build your bar a whole tour. This requires you to know how to promote your brand to potential venues and do business. Here are six things you need to keep in mind.

Think Locally

Your backyard is the best place to look for gigs. Learn about the local music scene. What venues and promoters will give up-and-coming bands a chance at success? What bands are playing live in your area and may need support? Are there touring bands in your area?

It would be best if you kept local radio stations, music podcasts and entertainment writers at local newspapers and websites updated about your activities. They are always welcome to all gigs that you book.

All of these factors are important to get a gig. You can approach the right venues to open doors. There is strength in numbers, so it’s worth working with other bands in your area. You can also share your gear.

The Promo Package

To help promoters and venues have a standard package prepared. This package should be concise and easy to use, much like the package that you use when sending a demo label. A demo CD and a brief bio (or one sheet) to introduce the band should be included.

Instead of approaching people via email, copy and paste the information into an email body and include a link that will take you to a website where your music can also be heard. Avoid attaching attachments as people are unlikely to open them.

Approach the Venue

Call to book a gig directly with the venue. Send them your promotional package. You may be told by the platform when you should contact them again. Give them about a week and then follow up by email or phone. Continue to try until you get an answer.

You can get on a bill with an established band if you have never played live. If you book with a venue, you might be responsible for promoting the show and paying rental fees unless you are invited.

Approach the Promoter

To get a gig, you can approach a Promoter. You can send your promotional pack to the promoter, and they will follow up as you would with a venue. A champion will usually book the platform for you and help you promote it. However, you might need to send them promotional posters that you made.

If they don’t want you to go on your own, ask them if there are any shows that you could open for. If they refuse, remind them that you can support the act.

Research the Deal

This is often the most difficult part for bands. You may not make a lot of money from your shows when you’re just starting. You may even have to pay out of pocket. It doesn’t mean you didn’t make any money. Building your fan base will allow you to make more on future gigs.

Don’t Pay Money to Get on a Bill. And don’t trust anyone asking you to do this.

You can either make money by having a deal that you are paid a fixed amount regardless of how many people show up, or you can have a split door deal. Both values can be fair and acceptable. It would help to focus on your audience, not the money at the beginning of the band’s existence.

Play the Gig

Although it may seem obvious, how you conduct a gig can make a difference in your chances of getting future shows. It would be best if you arrived on time for the soundcheck. If other bands are playing, please take your time and allow them to soundcheck.

Please do not push it with guest list promoters. You may not have enough space on the guestlist if you are part of a bigger bill. Use what you have, and don’t waste it. Do not try to get 50 of the closest cheapskates into every show.

Keep it professional. There will likely be complimentary drinks available, but everyone is there to hear your music and not test your ability to handle a beer. Do not showmanship shaming yourself by appearing unfit but ready to put on a great show. If you put on a great show and are professional and courteous, you will have more opportunities to get show offers.


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