So, you’re a musician who is looking to build and audience and get heard. Before you go hunting down A&R executives and trying to get a record deal, you want to play a few gigs, test your music in front of a live crowd, and hopefully start building a fan-base to use as incentive for any interested record labels.
But how do you go about getting gigs? Here are a couple of pointers:
Have enough material for a show
There’s no use in looking for gigs if you’re not prepared. Make sure you have enough material for an hour long show if you’re looking for opening spots, and 3 hours if it’s a multi-set night at a bar or similar venue. Some of these songs can be covers, but be sure to have a large portion of original work so the audience gets a true sense of your music. Our next post will give you more information on crafting an effective set list.
The music industry is a social industry. Getting shows will be a lot easier if you know people. Go out to venues, socialize with the employees, and get a feel for the audiences. Get to know other local bands. Chances are, they can help keep you in the know about venues looking to fill spots and upcoming shows. They also might have good contacts at local venues and promotions companies. The more people you know, the easier it will be to find opportunities for gigs.
Make a list of venues you’d like to target
As you’re networking, you should also be scouting out possible venues. Maybe you have a favorite hangout that plays live music. Maybe there’s an annual event you’d like to get on the billing for. Keep an eye out for venues that often feature music similar to your style, or who cater to people that match your target audience. The better fit your music is for the venue, the easier your eventual conversation with the person in charge of booking will be.
Keep a list of possible venues and start compiling contact details and any other important information regarding the location, requirements they have for musicians, and why you want to play there. Once you’re ready to start pursuing gigs, start at the top of your list. Even if you get some rejections, keep notes on your interactions so you can look back and learn from each experience.
Getting gigs isn’t easy, but it’s an important part of every musician’s journey. Whether you’re looking to make money from your music, or just expose more people to your sound, the three tips discussed in this article will set you on the right path to booking shows.