This weekend I was reading some articles online and in a famous guitar magazine. These articles had features on how to get more gigs and had some great tips in but also some bad advice for current and future musicians.
With expertise in this field here are some of our tips to get you getting more gigs.
1. Invest in yourself.
This is quite a broad point. But perception is important and investing in your product as a peforming artist is important. Invest some money in producing a good EP or single for distribution and also invest in some killer graphics to get you noticed.
Investing a bit of cash at the start of your career will get you taken more seriously and show that you care about what your doing.
Some readers may disagree with the above statement but its true. Think about the things you buy and why you buy them. If you present yourself more professionally you will get more recognition than your competitors.
Don’t produce “demos”. If you have the time and money to record then get it right the first time round. Recording studio time and home recording equipment is getting cheaper and cheaper. There is not excuse not to kill two birds with one stone and produce a record that will get you gigs and that you can sell at gigs and promote yourself online.
2. Is Pay to Play a con?
As mentioned in one of the top guitar magazines currently out there its written that artists should never pay to play and that promoters asking this should be avoided. We feel this advice is misleading.
We have experience in performing gigs and organising events and the “pay to play” scheme is common and on some levels acceptable especially as a starting artist.
Many promoters invest time and money in putting on an event. Therefore its not unreasonable for a promoter to ask the band to sell some tickets on the behalf of the promoter.
There are many venues and promoters big and small that employ this practice but usually offer a commission based sales inventive to the artist for every ticket sold. We used to pay the artist a percentage of the tickets they sold as a thank you. However we never expected the artist to sell any or made it a requirement that they needed to sell a particular amount in order to play. This method was simply to open up a distribution channel for artists family friends and local fans.
Especially in some cases this was the only distribution channel a younger fan with no credit or debit card could acquire a ticket.
If the promoter asks for money up front or that you are required to sell a certain amount of tickets then this is not great practice and should be avoided. But don’t be put off an event should a promoter enquire how many tickets you could sell and whether you would be willing to help sell tickets to fans for a commission.
This kind of leg work really does help your cause and is worth doing. A large amount of promoters that book small bands do employ these tactics but for the right reasons.
As a new band you should expect to put in some leg work and co-operate with promoters (to a reasonable extent). You should also not be expected to be paid until you are worth paying for. If you don’t get involved with marketing and invest in your product then why should anyone else? especially the promoter.
3. Play nice and Network!
Make sure your nice to other bands, sound engineers and promotors. These guys are all potential contacts that can help your bands career. So be nice! get some phone numbers and build your network of music industry professionals.
4. Put on a good show!
Goes without saying really. Make sure you perform your best and impress your audience and other artists. You want them all raving and tweeting about how great you were and buying your merchandise.
5. Don’t just promote online.
Although as a new band the investment in posters and flyers can be seen as a waste of money it is still important to get your image and brand out there into the public via any medium possible. Keep the investment in flyers and posters to a minimum as many could end up in the bin within minutes. Instead go and place them in strategic locations.
Promote your music! do a you tube video, release a track on iTunes. Get people sharing your content across, Facebook, twitter, myspace etc. Offer an incentive to fans who invite their friends to your page or event or share your posts.
Press and radio! get involved with local press and radio. They want to know about you and what you have to offer. If you have something to promote then send a few emails.
The unsigned guide is a great resource for music industry contact information for only around £35. So a worthwhile investment. But best bit of advice is DO NOT SPAM! take time to get you know your contacts and avoid sending mass emails. Once you get marked as spammed too many times the likely hood of anyone getting your emails is slim.
6. Play anywhere.
Don’t let your ego get in the way of a good gig. Sometimes the really unappealing gigs can turn out amazing! Charity, pubs, clubs, fetes. Don’t be picky.
Have some decent merchandise for sale. Get some snazzy merch properly made. Its not as expensive as you think. Check out EBAY for small companies that provide some great custom CD printing and sleeves as well as t-shirts.
Also have something for FREE. Whether it be a free download with a link on a flyer or QR code. Its good to have something for FREE available for fans to take away. As a reminder to check you out online when they get home.
Stickers are also good for this purpose.
In conclusion make sure you put on a good show, consider all your performance options, don’t let your ego get in the way or successful networking and make sure you have something to promote before getting out there and performing.
Should you have any more tips you would like to add to the above list please feel free to get in touch