A Guide To Getting Gigs

Gigs constitute the largest income-generating activity for most musicians. Therefore, it should be done often and it should be done right.

What To Do Before Looking For Gigs

  • Have Your Music In Digital Format: Have your best songs available in high-quality audio files, ideally in a popular format like mp3.

  • Have an Active Online Presence: The second thing you need to do is have an active online presence. This is achieved by doing the following; setting up a website, creating an EPK and being active on social media.

  • Build a Fanbase & Connect: There are many ways to grow and build your fanbase. Get to know other musicians and people in the music business. You can do this by attending music conferences or festivals and concerts and online – on social media platforms.

  • Decide on what Kind of Gigs Do You Want: Before you start looking for gigs, you should spend some time thinking about what you want to achieve with your shows:

Do you want to gain experience? Do you want to build a loyal fanbase? Do you want to make money?

Do you prefer to play house shows, open-air festivals, at clubs or music halls?

Would you rather perform late at night, in the afternoon?

Now that you have identified what sort of gigs you want, it is time to figure you how to get gigs

1. Networking To Get Gigs.

Reach Out To People In Your Network

Let your friends, family, coworkers, and classmates know that you're a musician and you're looking for gigs. Ask them if they know any promoters or anyone that works for the management of a local venue that could help you land a gig. Try sending out a mass email with samples of your music to everyone in your network. Ask them to pass it on if they know anyone who could help you out.

Network With Other Musicians

Other musicians are likely to have inside information concerning gigs and how to get them. Try as much as possible to talk to musicians who do the same kind of music as yourself.

2. Pitching To Venues

List & Approach Local Venues

Create a list of local venues that do live music events. Search the venues on Google, Facebook and any other place you can think of. Once you have the list, search for the venue's website and look for their contact information. A phone call goes a long way. Find out who you need to talk to in order to get a gig.

Offer To Perform On Weeknights

Don't worry about getting a Saturday-night slot if you're just starting out. Tell venues you're available for any open slots, including weeknights. Not as many musicians will be competing for these spots, so you will have an easier time getting a gig

Take high pay/low fan gigs to fund your band

Don't be afraid to play a paid gig at a birthday party or a wedding to earn some money. Take the money you make from those gigs and use it to pay for the expenses of playing a low pay/high fan gig where you'll get more exposure.

3. Getting Your Name Out There

Build Your Social Media Presence

Use your social media flowing as a selling point when pitching to venues.

Open For Another Local Band

Look online to see what similar bands in your area have upcoming performances. Reach out through social media and ask if they want an opening act for their show.

Invite The Press To Your Shows

Email local newspapers, music magazines, and music bloggers, inviting them to your upcoming gig. A write up about your brand is good publicity and you could land more gigs by word of mouth

What Next After Booking A Gig

Live Performance Contract

A Contract eliminates frustrating payment disagreements between the venue/promoter with the artists. It is of utmost importance that before you perform, ensure that your contract is fully signed by all the parties involved. Download a live performance contract

Practice Makes Perfect

Nothing will prepare you more for your first live gig like a rehearsal. You should have a know all of the songs that make it into your setlist, so you're free to relax and just let them come out on stage. The old saying, that practice makes perfect is really true. Get a venue where you can practice at least once every day before the d-day.

Update Your Social Media

Before your show, update your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and whatever other social media sites you use. Let your fans know where and when you will be performing. Remember it is your responsibility to pull your fans to your gigs.

Hit The Gym

Singing and dancing is a sport. We have seen artists who can't do both. You don't want to pant and gasp for air in the middle of your performance. You must be physically fit. Remember your first gig will determine whether you will be called for another. So hit the gym.

Know Who Else Is Playing

Chances are there are other musicians who will be playing either before or after you. Don't show up without knowing anything about your fellow musicians.

Spend a little time online learning about their music and what they do. You don't have to become their biggest fan, but knowing about others shows professional courtesy

Once the gig is done, you still have a bit of work to do.

  • Say Thank You

Mama was right; politeness pays off.

When you’ve finished up your gig, send your client a quick “Thank You” email within a day or two of completion. Make sure you include your contact information – as well as an explicit invitation to work together again. It doesn’t have to be long, fancy, or awkward:

  • Connect on Social Media

Your fans took the time to come out to see you, and because you played a great show, you likely gained some new ones! Using your various social media platforms, thank your fans for coming out. If you're smartphone savvy, get your fans involved by taking photos with them and posting them to your social media accounts. This is a great way to say thank you and get to know those who care about your music.

  • Getting Paid

You should follow up on the payment according to the agreement signed. Most clubs/bars pay after the show, usually for one of the following reasons: they want to make sure you actually play and don’t skip out or shorten the show, or (more commonly) they are paying you out of the night’s earnings and they don’t have the money before the show.

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