6 tips for musicians on getting gigs and promoting them
There’s more competition than ever, and in an environment where many grassroots music venues have been forced to close, it can be tough to get your foot in the door, or rather, on to the stage.
To help you along the way, here are 10 tips for sizing-up your local scene, presenting your band to potential bookers, promoting your gigs and packing-out venues…
1. Find out what’s going on near you
Follow local venues and events organisers on social media and sign up to their mailing lists so if they’re on the hunt for acts, you’ll be first to know. Follow other local bands so if they put a shout out for a support act, you’ll be ready to show your interest.
It’s also worth being aware of regular fixtures, such as Independent Venue Week which comes round every year in January. Perhaps a venue near you runs some mixed program festivals or has an all-dayer with a partial line-up confirmed. If you can identify a particular event or season where a local venue is looking to support up-and-coming bands, this can be a good in-road.
2. Try and identify suitable venues
A lot of venues will offer a varied program of music, but some are more specialised. If there’s a venue that particularly suits your genre and style, you’ll be in with a good chance of making a compelling case for playing there.
Similarly, it’s worth taking note of potential venues’ capacities. Naturally, it makes sense to start small and work your way up. If word spreads that your band played a brilliant sold out gig at a small local venue, you may be able to use this as a springboard for playing a bigger one next time.
3. Make it easy for the person considering booking your band
When you’re getting ready to contact a venue, it’s worth bearing in mind that they probably receive a lot of gig applicants every day. If you can show that you’ve considered what you’re sending, made it concise, informative and easy to view, you’ll be in with more of a chance than someone who has written too little, too much, or failed to highlight the things that make their band interesting and potentially saleable.
It’s a good idea to create a pack or ‘EPK’ containing press and live shots, your logo, a short bio (written in third person) and links to your social media pages. Don’t forget the music. Have a couple of your finest tracks prepared, or better still a high quality live performance video. Chances are, a venue or promoter will prefer to receive these as links, rather than whopping files that might break their inbox. Pick the things that show what you do best, including review snippets and previous performances at comparable venues or with notable acts.
4. Find out who the right person to contact is
Social media has a lot of uses when it comes to gig promotion, but if you approach a venue this way to ask for a gig, chances are you won’t be reaching the music programmer. Most venue websites will list their programmer’s name and email (although you might have to do some digging).
Call them by their name and send an email that is tailored to them, or, better still, give them a call or arrange to pop in for a chat. As with lots of other things in life, booking gigs is considerably easier if you can form a rapport with the person in charge.
5. Don’t dwell on the gigs you didn’t get
Sometimes you’ll get a knock-back from a venue, get told there’s no availability, or (sad but true as it can be) receive no response at all. This can be disheartening, but unfortunately it’s part of the process. Some comfort can be taken from the fact that this will have happened to just about every successful band at some stage in their career.
If a venue offers some constructive points to learn from, great. If not, it’s simply a case of moving on, practicing hard and showing them what they missed later down the line.
6. Manage your financial expectations (but not too much)
Bands should absolutely receive money to perform, so it’s a gargantuan red flag if you are actually asked to pay to play somewhere, as can happen — particularly in larger cities. When it comes to money, there are a few different arrangements you might encounter, which have differing levels of risk and reward.
Bookings with guaranteed fees are ideal because you know exactly what you’ll be getting. Due to the level of risk this may bring to the venue (who will also have to take into account overheads and staffing costs) these gigs can be hard to come by, especially if you’re not an established name just yet.
Therefore, it can be a smart idea to ask for a co-promotion with a ticket split rather than a guarantee. This will show the venue that you’re willing to work to promote the event because the amount of tickets sold directly impacts the amount of money you’ll earn. In many cases, a co-pro will actually work out better for both parties than a booking with a guarantee, which is likely to be on the conservative side to reduce the venue’s risk.
You may be offered the option of hiring the venue. This can be a good route if you are confident about filling the space, but an arrangement like this shifts all risk on to the band, and it’s possible to make a loss if you don’t sell enough tickets.
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Source & Credits — https://www.musicradar.com/news/getting-gigs-musicians