How to Get More Gigs.

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.

7. Merchandise

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.

 

 

Conclusion

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

Tips for the Gigging Guitarist

If your already or about to gig or perform, here is a little list of advice to make sure your performance goes smoothly.

If you have some advice you would like to share or add to this list then please do! leave a comment.

  1. Be prepared! not just learning the song but make sure before a gig you change the guitar strings and ‘bed them in’ to prevent on stage breakages and it slipping out of tune too often.
  2. take spares! this includes, spare strings, spare leads, spare batteries for your on stage tuner to name a few! if your really organised, make a gig bag with all your gig essentials in and just keep it like it every time you need to gig.
  3. Don’t annoy the sound engineer! if your working with a venues sound engineer don’t annoy them, they are controlling how you sound and unless you are hiring them they don’t work for you. so be nice! buying them a pint helps.
  4. gaffa tape! have it in the gig bag! you’ll be surprised how many uses there are for gaffa and can help solve those little last minute emergencies.
  5. have a mini torch or keyring torch. it can be dark on stage so if your doing any checks or need to alter anything then this will come in handy.
  6. buy decent leads! and of sensible length! cheap leads lead to buzzing and break easily and most likely when you don’t want them too. they will cut out when you least expect it. and good leads aren’t expensive and a wise investment. if your playing large stages and opt for the wireless devices make sure they made by respectable brands! otherwise expect unreliable performance. take a spare lead anyway!
  7. Take a towel. buy yourself a small black towel to clean the sweat off. Stage lights can make you sweat like crazy and nothing stings more than sweat in your eyes that you cant rub out cause your playing guitar. Also take another towl to clean the sweat off the strings after playing. this will increase the life of your strings.
  8. dont put drinks on top of amps. this is common sense really, if a drink spills on electricals then it probably will blow up! especially as vibrations and the erractic movements of other band members are likely to increase the chances of a spillage. so put your drink somewhere else.
  9. thread your lead through your strap before plugging in to the guitar. This will prevent you treading on your lead and pulling it out the guitar whilst performing.
  10. dont noodle! its the pet hate of many musicians, sound guys and audience members. if your about to sound check and waiting for other band members to get ready or just waiting in general. dont start noodling your favourite riff or that bit of sweet child of mine you learnt last week. Its annoying and unprofessional, check your amp and everything works, sound check and leave it!
  11. use reliable gear, dont take amps or guitars that have problems. Obvious really, if your not 100% happy with the rig its probably going to fail on you.
  12. When writing a set list, print it out in large font so you can read it from the floor!
  13. script what your singer is going to say between songs. Unless your singer is a natural and can work a crowd like james brown its probably wise to script what is said. to prevent chit chat from going on too long and the audience getting bored. It also stops your singer saying something stupid and remebering to plug that important album release.
  14. Make use of seg ways. if you can like a couple of songs together in a clever way then do it. Removes the need for talking to the audience between tracks.
  15. Take a pedal tuner! if you do need to tune your guitar, use a pedal tuner designed for on stage use, these will cut out the sound to your amp when in use. No one else wants to hear you tuning.
  16. Move around and have fun. Audiences like seeing musicians having fun and moving around. Rather than scared musicians or ones that look bored. Make an effort and get into it. If you dance around, engage with the audience and other band members chances are they will do the same. Audiences are there to be entertained visually as well as hear your songs.
  17. Dont turn your back on the audience unless you have too. its rude. Also allows you to keep an eye out if they throw things 😉
  18. use glow in the dark pens or a small light if your using pedals. Simply so you can see them in the dark.
  19. Use a guitar stand, guitars against amps will get knocked over.
  20. PLUG PLUG PLUG! if you have an ep or some free stuff them let your audience know in a creative and casual way. if your banter on stage or off stage sounds like an advert constantly people will lose interest.